Friday, July 22, 2016

Five for Friday- July 22nd!

Time for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching

1. This past weekend I was at the Columbus Crew Soccer game.  They had Teacher Appreciation Night and I was able to snag a couple of tickets for a good deal, while also managing to get to go down on the pitch!  It was a perfect night for a game.  Unfortunately, there were some pretty bad calls and the Crew tied, but we still had a good time!

2. So, I tend to get a little obsessive with books I am reading or Netflix binging.  Recently, I have been watching Reign on Netflix.  I am slightly addicted and it is causing me to stay up late to watch episodes!  Similarly, I've read a few books by Philippa Greggory.  Like Reign, they are just as engaging and wrap you up in a different time!  I used to think I hated reading/watching about this time period, but I have really enjoyed both of these.  Thankfully, the book can be read by the pool, so as to not be keeping me awake as much as the Netflix binging!

3.  Through my summer book club #CyberPD, I have learned so much.  I have enjoyed reading DIY Literacy and thinking about ways to adapt these teaching tools in my classroom.  To check out my last post on this book, click HERE.   Through this, I learned about a Facebook group for The Reading Strategies book!  YAY! This was a highlight of my week! 

4. I have been trying to get things prepped for the school year.  Usually, I just do the normal items on my list.  However, this year, I thought beyond my normal list.  I made a list of things that take a LOT of time during the year, but are essential to a productive school year.  Our team already created our year-long scope and sequence.  This week, I worked on monthly calendars. Typically, I do these as we plan out and revise each unit.  However, this year, I took the information on last year's calendars and mapped them out.  These are a great way for all of our team members to stay somewhat on track.  We switch for reading and math.  This helps us to teach similar content from our units around the same time as one another.  I finished our calendars from August- December! Now we will print them out and scribble all over them!

5. Last, I am hoping I am not the only one that does this.  I always read TpT comments/reviews as they pop up on my phone, however, I do not always write back to the buyers.  I've been working on going back and responding to reviews.  I LOVE reading all the kind words.  It definitely motivates you to keep working! 

Happy Friday!  So sad that another summer week has gone by.  Only three weeks left.  :(

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DIY Literacy- Final Reflections

      This week I've finished the final chapters of DIY Literacy. This week, there were a few quotes that struck me and I will share my reflections based on those quotes.  
      But first, I have to share a moment I had recently.  I absolutely LOVE when my students have aha moments!  Luckily, I also had one myself!  I've been reading DIY Literacy and have had some good ideas on how to implement some of the tools in ways that I am not already using them.  However, most of my ideas have been in relation to Writer's Workshop.  As I was reading The Reading Strategies Book at the pool, it hit me! OMG, I could create a demonstration notebook for some of the strategies highlighted in Serravallo's book!  EEK!!  How awesome would that be to pull it out when conferencing with readers or working in a guided reading group?!?! AHA!! I am planning on adding this to my to do list before heading back to school.  

  •  "When we find ways to differentiate that conserve our energy, we are able to do more than just deliver lessons.  We are able to imbue our teaching with the best part of ourselves--our love for the kids, our sense of humor, our deep compassion for students and the world." (P. 72) The idea of using these teaching tools, especially the demonstration notebook, allow us to SAVE time!  What?! While, at the same time allowing us to spend our classroom time meeting each child's needs in the best ways possible!  
  • Real time assessments (P. 79) In an era of testing, it is always nice to hear affirmation that observations and real time assessments are essential to really understanding where your students are and where to take them next. The text suggests polling your students, looking at student growth, looking for students struggling, and looking at student engagement.  
  • "We are outnumbered.  And while we might like to think that we can get to everyone every day (or every other day, or every week), the truth is that all too often we cannot...Teaching tools offer students support and inspiration when we can't be by their side" (P. 86) This serves as a reminder that it is OK.  No one can be superman, flying around from student to student while providing quality instruction.  Students need tools to aide in independence when we aren't there to help out.  While, I feel as though I do a great job of this during Writer's Workshop, I am not sure that I force students to use these tools during other parts of the day.  Instead, I am always trying to jump in and help.  It is a good reminder to provide students with the tools and allow them to become more independent!
  • I LOVED the problem/suggestion section in chapter 6.   Pop culture, using kid friendly voices, asking experts were all points that I will continue to use in my teaching in order to help students stay engaged, using their tools, and hopefully building independence.  
  • For the perfectionist ME- "But in the end, it is far, far more important that teaching tools be helpful to kids, not attractive.  When kids are involved in creating the tools, even in the small ways, you'll cultivate a spirit of ownership and creativity that you just can't buy." (P. 104) Although, I have "cute" handwriting and posters, this serves as a GREAT reminder. It is NOT about what it looks like.  It is about how the students use the tool.  Does it promote independence?  Does it help my student to grow as a reader and writer?  That is the goal!

 I've enjoyed being a part of #CyperPD and reading this book.  It has sparked some great conversation and allowed me to reflect on my teaching and teaching tools.  I look forward to implementing some of these great ideas this fall!  Happy teaching!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday Made It- July 18th

      Today I am linking up with Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!  I have been working on trying to get a few things off my school to do list finished, while also getting some things done around the house that will make the year go smoother, as well.  

 This week, I did one of my FAVORITE summer projects.  For the past few summers, I have made book marks for my students.  I love doing this because I wanth their eyes light up when they get these at the beginning of the year.  It is as if I am officially naming them as readers!  I laminate these at home with my personal laminator.  This is a little bit better quality than at school and they last the entire year! One thing I did differently this year was to print and laminate a few blank ones.  Once the year starts I always get a new student.  My hope is that I can use a pretty permanent marker and write the new name on the bookmark. Otherwise, I don't always end up making them a bookmark with all the craziness going on with getting a new student.  I'm hoping this will help with that scenario!

 This weekend, we worked in the garden, picking tons of veggies and canning green beans, pickles, and relish!  It was one long Sunday, but it will be well worth it this year!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Five for Friday- July 15th

 It's Friday, so I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday! Check out what everyone has been up to this week!

1. This week, I had a short adventure to Cincy to do a little dog sitting for a family friend.  Oh, this dog is such a sweetheart, but not your typical dog.  She does NOT fetch or want to really be outside.  She'd much rather lay around inside and just have you pet her!  She is an easy dog, though!

2. I had the chance to do a little running and biking in Cincinnati.  I've been trying to keep my workouts up, even when I'm not at home!

3. I  have been trying to work on things this week that I can get ahead on for the beginning of the school year.  I have managed to get all of my newsletters prepped for the first month of the school year.  Most of the content will not change in these.  I changed the dates and have them ready to go, for the most part!  I also have gotten my lesson plans for the first three days ready, as well!  What a nice relief to have those little things finished. This means less to do when all the craziness begins in August!

4. Reading engagement is a game changer in the classroom. I've recently been asked about how I engage my students in their own learning and how to promote intrinsic motivation. I have always tried to develop intrinsic motivation, by acknowledging student knowledge.  When students share their learning, I try to spotlight it, by writing their names by their thoughts, or showing their work to other students. We talk about pride and what it means to feel proud of yourself and have others feel proud of you.  This past school year, my team focused on reading engagement strategies from The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo. These engagement strategies combined with a sense of pride in their own learning, began to change the "feeling" my students had about reading.  They really did begin to love reading.  

5. This last piece of my week is something I wish I wasn't sharing.  This week, my school community had a huge loss.  A sweet little boy, who just finished fifth grade passed away.  This kiddo was always happy and willing to talk to anyone.  His sudden passing was a shock and heartbreaking to so many in our school community.  If you are moved to do so, please consider giving to this sweet family.   Click HERE to donate to this family in their sudden time of need. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

DIY Chapters 3 & 4

   This week I've read Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 of DIY Literacy.  These chapters begin to look deeper into why the four main teaching tools are presented in this text.  The authors suggest that we use these four teaching tools in order to help students to remember information and attempt and be successful with more rigorous tasks.  
    Chapter 3's focus on helping students remember had a lot of information that affirmed what I am doing in my classroom.  As a teacher, it is always nice to read what the "experts" suggest and know that you are right on track.  However, here are a few reflections that I had after the reading:

    • I LOVED the idea of the demonstration notebook for Writer's Workshop.  I feel very comfortable conferencing with students, but when it comes to small groups, I feel as though I need something to help SHOW the students, exactly what the teaching point means.  I think this is a great way to do this.  My goal for this year, is to begin to develop a demonstration notebook, that will be able to be used in small groups for re-teaching/modeling.  
    • Going Digital- I love the idea of putting charts or tools online.  Third grade at our school is the year in which the students begin to use Google Drive.  We mostly use this for Writer's Workshop.  So, what a better idea than to actually have my students access these teaching tools digitally, through Google Drive.  We also use Schoology. This will be a great way to have our teaching tools available to students at home and for parents to see what we are learning and how to help their child at home!
      Ahhhh Rigor!  Chapter 4 delves into rigor.  I feel as though rigor has been such a buzz word the past few years, but it really is more than "just" a buzz word! "Rigor is performative- it is a stance, an action, a state of being that is taken to move through the world, tackle tasks, or work toward a goal.  And when we focus on the work and effort that students put into tackling a task and not just the task itself, we create opportunities to really see whats difficult for kids".  (Roberts and Roberts, P. 54) Rigor is an essential component to ensuring student growth.  So, what do we do to ensure that we provide rigor? Here are a few highlights that hit home for me, while reading:
    • The authors quote some of my favorites in the educational field. Kylene Beers is phenomenal.  I completely agree with her stance on rigor.  I saw her speak in Columbus this past spring, where she said the same quote that I read in this book.  "Rigor without relevance is simply hard".  Relevance is vital.  Making our curriculum relevant to our students is essential to their understanding.  But to present difficult curriculum to students, they have to have an intrinsic desire to master those concepts, which means it has to have some relevance to their lives.  
    • This past year, my team focused on intrinsic motivation and developing students who are engaged in their own learning.  It was amazing how work that seemed "simply hard" became the rigorous tasks that we were actually hoping for.  This year, our goal is to begin some of these engagement strategies earlier in the year.
What stood out to you?  How will you ensure that your classroom instruction is rigorous and one in which students are engaged, intrinsically motivated, and growing as learners?    


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Two for Tuesday

     It's time for a SALE again.  I am linking up with Chalk One up for the Teacher for 2 for Tuesday This is the one day a week where you can find steals and deals.  Each teacher that links up will have two products on sale for 50% off all day!  
    This week, I am putting two of my newest products on sale for 50% off all day today.  The first product is a novel study for I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005.  This is a great book that allows students to hear the story of Hurricane Katrina told through a child's fictional experience. If your students are like mine, they LOVE these books.  Grab a copy here!
    My other product is one that I used ALL the time this past year.  Click HERE to read more about this product. 

Click on the pictures below to get these new products today!

Happy shopping! 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Five for Friday-Sunday Edition!

Thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday. I had this post ready for Friday night/early Saturday morning and I never published it! Oops.  Here is what I was up to this past week!  

1. We had a great time during the Fourth of July weekend!  We found a new Metro Park to go hiking.  We managed to hike 9 miles!  You can say we were a little exhausted by the end of the adventure!  The next day, we went for two bike rides totally about 30 miles.  By Monday, the 4th my entire body was done!  But, we had a great time outdoors. 

2. So, I recently joined a group of educators who are collaborating and learning together this summer.  This #CyberPD has been going on for a while, but this is my first year joining in for a book study on DIY Literacy.  So far, I am enjoying the book.  Take a look HERE to see my first post about it!

3. Chicago!  For the past few summers, I have gone to Chicago to see a friend and her family.  This trip, we planned a little outing downtown to go shopping!  We went to BHLDN to look at bridesmaid dresses, shoes, and jewelry.  Their store is amazing.  If you ever have the chance to go there, it is worth the trip! We also went to look at dresses at JCrew and managed to make a stop down at Nordstrom’s for a little lunch and more shopping. I also had a little surprise when I found out that my Aunt and cousin would be in town.  We ended up getting together for a bit to take him to Nike Town and grab some dinner! This is a picture of me with my little cousin. 

4. One of my favorite things to do while I am in Chicago is to run from my friend’s house down to the lake and then along the lakeshore.  It is always so pretty and there is so much energy in the city and along the lakeshore! 

5. Last, this week I took the plunge.  I had been reading so much about Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club.  I was on the fence about joining, in hopes to bring a little more balance into my home/school life.  I then watched a podcast about the “Big Five” Principles for Productivity at Home and School.  While watching this, I realized that there were so many things I was already doing and I am already very productive.  However, I also realized that there are many ways in which I can focus my time in a way that I am accomplishing more in a smaller amount of time, therefore allowing myself that time each night to relax and not devote all night, every night to school work.  I also know that I like the accountability.  While I am motivated, I also like to feel that I am accountable and this usually helps keep me on track with things.  So, I did it!  I signed up this past weekend and I am looking forward to being part of this group and seeing what it brings! (Photo from Click on the picture to learn more about this!

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