Thursday, September 26, 2013

A GREAT New Book...

A Must Read! 
 Rock It! Transform Classroom learning with Movement, Songs, and Stories by Steve Reifman!    

      For those of you who saw my post, Five for Friday on September 13th, I shared about how my students are writing about their favorite books or MUST READ BOOKS!  This summer, I attended the Staff Development for Educators Conference in Chicago and if you saw any of my summer posts, you know that I had the opportunity to meet and listen to some amazing educators!  This post is combining both!  I have a MUST READ book to share with you as well as tell you about one of those amazing speakers I heard in Chicago!
     I was really lucky to be able to meet and hear this awesome educator, speak at the conference.  The session I went to was not a typical session, where you sit and jot notes. Instead, we learned about strategies and ideas from Steve Reifman's book, Rock It! Transform Classroom Learning with Movement, Songs, and Stories, by participating in the activities that we would ask students to do at school! I am a FIRM believer that students learn through the experiences they have and this book helps you provide those experiences for your students!
     I thought I would go through some of the highlights/chapters of this book to share with you and show you just why you need to grab a copy of this book!  

Chapter 1- Talks about how to set up a morning warm-ups.  Morning warm-ups get students prepared to think and focus throughout the day.  When I went to the training this summer, Steve had us participate in the morning warm-ups, just as he would ask his students to do. I have since, been implementing these warm-ups.  My kids LOVE them!  They also use some of the activities during their independent reading, when they need to refocus or get energized!  I love seeing them stop and self-regulate throughout the day.

Chapter 2,3,4,5,7,8- Talk about ways to integrate movement, stories, songs, and chants with content and how to use these to create an inviting learning environment.  I LOVE to teach through song.  In fact, just yesterday, one of my students, who has difficulty retaining new learning, said he could add 8+8 because he sang the doubles song to himself! I try to find some sort of song, movement, or chant to introduce every new concept.  Something I hadn't ever tried was using a story.  During the workshop this summer, Steve told us his stories of Area and Peri-Meter!  I have NOT forgotten these stories and I could tell you them by heart!  Why?  Because the stories were engaging and included movement!  I am really excited to use some of the stories this school year.  

Chapter 6- Focuses on movement breaks.  Do you use movement breaks in your classroom.  Students need opportunities to get up, stretch and reactivate their brain, throughout the day. This chapter gives some good suggestions on how to use brain breaks throughout the day.  

     With most states adopting the Common Core Standards, the best part is that he has taken the time to align the activities with Common Core Standards.  For me this is a HUGE addition to the text. 
     So...How do YOU incorporate songs, movements, stories, chants into your day?  I would love to hear about your experiences!  If you are up for learning some great new strategies, definitely check out this new book.  You can grab a copy at or on Amazon.

I hope you enjoy this MUST read!  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five for Friday!

     HEY friends!  I am linking up again with Doodle BugsTeaching for Five for Friday.  This has been a crazy, crazy week! Here are just a few highlights! I'm finally posting on a Friday!  WOO HOO!

1.  Our school had it's first fundraiser today.  Families pledge money toward their child and we have a Dance-A-Thon!  I wasn't quite sure what this was, being new and all.  I learned quickly!  Basically, during recess, we had a DJ and a Hip Hop Instructor come and lead the kids through dances during their recess time!  They had a BLAST!! Here are a few highlights!

2.  Getting ahead!  Finally, oh finally, I am starting to feel like I am getting ahead.  By getting ahead, I do not mean by my old standards, which meant I had planned and copied things for the following month.  No, more like, today I pretty much planned out parts of next week!  I did not have to stay at school super late today nor will I have to work ALL day Sunday!  I am a slight perfectionist! With everything being new (new state, school, grade) it has been a big adjustment. So, I am just happy to start feeling like I have a hang of things!

3.  My Enemy!  I don't know about you, but at my previous school we had Smartboards in our rooms, but all of the projectors were mounted in the ceilings.  My new school doesn't have them mounted and so every time the kids (or I) bump the cart, I have to reset the Smartboard! AHHH! PS...I bump into it WAY more than the kids even do.  I know I shouldn't complain because I am THRILLED to have a Smartboard in my room, BUT, ready wish I could magically put it in the ceiling! Haha :)
4.  At our school we have a way to encourage students to make good choices each day.  We have whats called the GOES Promise.  This promise is an acronym that corresponds with the acronym for the name of our school.  The kids work really hard to demonstrate these qualities.  Each Friday, I give awards to one student in each area.  The kids REALLY look forward to receiving these awards!  I put this poster up and they get their name on the board, once they have received a GOES award!

5.  Anyone notice anything outside this week? Well, I will leave you with this picture from the Huffington Post.  This week we had a Full Moon and I really believe that everyone is a little "off" during a full moon!

I am ready for the weekend!  
Have a good one!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Five for Friday...I Know it is Saturday!

Well friends, I really did have intentions of taking pictures this week, but I just forgot!  I am proud of myself for blogging two weeks in a row, considering how crazy busy I still am! I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday.  P.S. I did start writing this last night, but had some Internet problems.  So, at least I am posting today, on Saturday!

1. This has been another LONG week.  I can't believe we have been in school for 22 days! At our school we do DRA assessments and they took me FOR-EVVV-ER!  Seriously!  I just finished them on Wednesday and the whole class said "OHH YEAH!"  They were pumped.  
I can't wait to actually start reading groups and "working" with kids instead of only assessing!  

2. While I have been completing DRA's our students have been busy building stamina and working on independent reading.  We have practiced writing blurbs and giving book recommendations to our friends. They LOVE writing these.  I kept the first round up for about a week and just changed them out.

3. Well, I used to workout a good amount and since I moved I haven’t done a whole lot of exercising.  This week I went and joined a gym that is really close to my new place!  Very exciting that I actually made it there a few times in the mornings, before school. 
Yay me!  Hopefully, I am getting back into my old routines. 

4. LOVE Kid President.  Have you seen Kid President’s latest video for Teachers and Students?  It was great.  If you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out. I love his videos and this one is just as good as the previous ones!
 It is time to be more AWESOME! Click below to watch:

5. (THIS is not from this week, but it is sort of random!)  This summer I had an awesome opportunity to meet a fellow teacher, as well as author and speaker, Steve Reifman, while at the SDE Conference in Chicago.  I met him only to realize while talking to him that I would be attending his session the following day.  His beliefs about teaching and learning are very well aligned with mine and I was excited to learn new strategies from him!  Be on the lookout for my next blog posting which will be all about his new book that is coming out..Rock It! Transform Classroom Learning with Movement, Songs, and Stories

Happy Saturday!

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