Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday/GiveAway/Freebie!

It's that time again! I'm linking up with this Friday favorite!
1) Summer time and the living is easy! Well maybe not so easy, but at least it IS summer. I'm savoring every moment I can with my "children" who are really not children any more. It is a bittersweet time to see your kids mature and grow into independent, capable, delightful people. Two are flying the nest and for my oldest this is her last summer vacation before she steps out into the real world. How did my sweet little boy grow into a man with a girlfriend and desire to go to college nine hours away?! I'm so glad my baby is my most demonstrative and sensitive child. She'll be good company for me for four more years...when she isn't babysitting, or hanging out with friends! Where does the time go?
I love these people...well most of them! I'm sure if I knew the random strangers I'd love them, too!

2) I've been continuing my reading on the kindle. I don't like it! I can't flip ahead quickly to see how many pages are left in the chapter. I can't take notes and highlight all over the page. I'm gaining so much from this book study.  Catching Readers Before They Fall is easy to read and has so much worthy information to take notes on and highlight. I'll admit that I wasn't real excited to read chapter 3{Wow! I'm not sure what happened here, but I'm too busy having fun with my family to fix it!}Vygotsky Takes a Seat in Our Classrooms. I'd never heard of this man. That's how old I am. When I was in school it was all Piaget. When confronted with the letters ZPD I didn't really have a clue what it stood for. I do now and I'm richer for it. I'm glad to say that I've had and continue to have a classroom where I have been able to meet with my students in small groups and individually to understand what they know about reading and guide them to a deeper understanding of the process. 
Go HERE to read more from Kimberly and friends about this chapter! 

Darth Vader and friends!
3) Do you like coffee? I do. I like it so much I'm going to make another cup. Wait here...I'll be right back. That didn't take long did it? I made it in my Darth Vader coffee maker. I'd love to give you a cup of coffee from Starbucks. That is why I'm participating with Jessica and giving one away on her blog. Check it out and other great prizes, too! Plus Jessica is one of the kindest most encouraging bloggers you'll ever have the pleasure to know. Click the picture to go enter.
Graphics by Emeto Designs at
Do you enter give aways you are a participant of? I'm thinking I have to enter to win some of these great prizes!

4) While watching Downton with my girls I was able to put together a freebie for you. This is part of a bigger more grand collection I'm selling HERE! It will be free for the first 10 or more, depending on how vigilant I am today, downloads. If you do download would you please give me feedback?! Thanks!

5) Would you like a cup of coffee? Comment below and I will randomly select someone next Five for Friday for a Starbucks giftcard! After reading this long, you deserve it! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

CRBTF Chapter 1 & 2

I can be very obsessive about some things. I have been looking forward to this book study for quite some time. The day we got back from Germany, I had to stop at our local bookstore to buy Catching Readers Before They Fall. They didn't have it. They couldn't get it to me any sooner than five days. I couldn't wait that long. I didn't have the patience to wait until Amazon could get it to me in two days! I decided to go where I have never gone before...My husband's Kindle! With-in minutes I was reading this wonderful gem by Pat Johnson and Katie Keir. The only thing I miss is being able to write in the margins and highlight my favorite parts. So far the Kindle experience is worth the not waiting!
The assignment: Chapters one and two The task master: The wise and wonderful Kimberly!
 Head over to see other teacher's thoughts on this very important book.
Chapter 1: Expanding our Paradigm of Reading
As I read chapter one I paused and thought back over the past years and think about how my ideas and practices in reading have changed. Once tied to a basal reader, I felt I couldn't go wrong if I followed the set prescription. I've learned that following the same prescription for each student doesn't work. Each year I've had struggling readers who need to have the prescription rewritten to support their needs. This thought sticks with me:

Chapter 2: How Reading Works

How does reading work? It is a pretty amazing task to take children to text and expect them to get meaning from it. A task that is made up of many different process going on at the same time.  Guiding all readers to be aware of this process will help them become strong readers. 

I couldn't help thinking about the importance of reading to children from infancy. It is the best safety net a parent can use to insure their child will be a successful reader. Children who are read to are already becoming proficiant at predicting, inferring, visualizing, making connections and the other processes that make up the symphony of reading. These don't happen in isolation. They work together to weave meaning and beauty out of text.

I'm off to practice this processing of text as I read The Elegance of the Hedgehog. How are you practicing?

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Ferdinand Tree

My family and I just got home from an adventure in London, Paris and Southern Germany. It was as wonderful as it sounds. I'd be happy to give more details to anyone who asks! My favorite part was staying in a small town in Germany hiking, biking and spending time with my family.

The power of literature has had a far reaching affect on my family. The way literature has woven our lives together amazes me. We still recommend titles to each other, but the books that have had the deepest impact on us as a family are the ones read aloud by me or my husband when they were too young to read to themselves. (and even when the could!)  My children and I share so many inside jokes related to  children's books I read them when they were much younger. Now that my oldest is 21 I felt so rewarded by the hours I spent reading to her when she turned to me and said, "Doesn't that tree look like Ferdinand's tree?" When all three of my kids burst out with this quote from Millions of Cats after seeing yet another cat in our small German town my heart surged with pride..."Cats here, cats there, cats and kittens everywhere. Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats."

One of the best experiences on our trip was in London. We had tickets to see The Tempest at the Globe Theatre. My son loves The Tempest. We have all loved watching the BBC production Merlin on Netflix together. Colin Morgan, who plays the role of Merlin, took on the role of Ariel. My son badgered asked me to read the play before we left. Did I? No! When we got to the theatre we went to the gift shop before waiting in line for two hours in order to get good groundling "seats"! There in the shop was an easy to read chapter book of The Tempest. It was so much fun sitting and waiting to get in while reading aloud a child's version of The Tempest to my grown children. The play meant more to me because I had read the book and even more because I had shared it with my children.

Keep reading to children! It gives them connection. It gives them memories. It creates and strengthens family bonds!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Owl Remember!

What a sad day. I'm really going to miss my little Owlets! Yesterday one of my demonstrative cuties said, "Mrs. Reck, I love you. You are in my heart with Jesus!" I don't tear up very easily, but that really got to me. Even the kids who usually choose high fives, or handshakes, were giving me lots of hugs.
 Yesterday we made a list of  what we will Owl-ways remember about first grade. I finally had to stop them when they reached the 20th thing they remembered.  It amazes me that the things that were often remembered were  the things that were the simplest. I was so happy to find THIS template to use for these owls...

Writing prompt: "Owl remember..."

Owl remember the pond study.

Owl remember the store.

Owl remember making new friends!

Click on the picture for you own copy...minus my name!

What a happy day. It was my last day of teaching for the year. My grades are done. My room is partially clean! I'm ready for rest and relaxation. I'm ready to spend time with my OWN kids! I'll be on a vacation for the next two weeks. I'll be spending time with my kids before they all go different ways. If you are going different ways this summer and you happen to be in Michigan, let me know, I'll show you some of the most beautiful places on earth! I'd love to have you visit!!