Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SOLC~Mommy Moments

Getting ready for parent teacher conferences, starting up new writing units, and getting grades finished leads to one tired mommy.  Tonight the girls and I were just playing. Giggling. Having fun. The girls dressed in their new fall pjs.  Hair drying from their bath.

"Mommy, C'mere."

"What do you have, Emma?"

"This." Emma points to a piece of paper that she has used at school. It has her first and last name on it along with Gracie's, Nana's, Papa's, and mine (Mommy).

"Hmmm..well what does this say?" I ask as I point to Emma's first name.

"Emma, " she states then she grins really big and points to her last name. "'Nowsbarger."

My mouth gaped open. I think she just read her last name. I squealed picked her up and twirled her around. "Say it again, Emma!"


My eyes fill with tears. She recognized her last name in print. Her difficult, long last name.  Gracie and I danced with Emma around the living room saying "Snowbarger, Snowbarger!"

These are things mommies are made of.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Celebrating Writers!!!!

Today as my kids put the final touches to their writing, I am in awe of their hard work and dedication. Tomorrow is their day. Celebration of the weeks of revision, partnerships, and writing.  Can't wait to see their reaction tomorrow as my group of writers celebrate themselves!!

“Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.”
~John Jake~

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Slice of Life

“One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter.”

~James Earl Jones

Today isn't so much a slice of life, but more of my musings.  When I read the quote by James Earl Jones, "One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter" I first thought how true.  Then as I began to think about October and it being Down syndrome awareness month I began to ponder on these words even more.  

Last night I watched Ty Pennington's Extreme Home Make Over. It featured a family who had adopted 6 children (who are now adults) with Down syndrome.  The love I saw on all the members of this family made me cry with joy. The pure joy on the workers as they help this family build a home so that the adults with disabilities feel as if they are living on their own, yet have the safety of a care giver near by.  As  a parent of a child who has Down syndrome, I firmly believe that it is my job to speak for her and others that truly cannot.

But, I also believe it is the same for the classroom. It is my job to advocate for my students, for myself, and for my profession.  Right now education is being reformed, bashed, or however you want to word it.  But, I can firmly say that some things do need to change.  I don't have the answers I can only say what I know. 

I know majority of teachers teach because they have desire in their hearts to teach children.
I know not all students are not on grade level--it's my job to make them grow.
I know daily assessment should be driving instruction, formal and informal.
I know the problems will not be fixed over night.
I know we need to work together to change things.
I know both sides have the same driving force--what' best for kids.

My musings may be messy, but it's what is on my heart now. 

Want to participate in the Slice of Life Challenge? Two Writing Teachers would love to have you!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Grammar Rulz

Gone are the days of the only writing you do is out of the grammar book correcting and diagramming sentences. Grammar should be taught within the writing unit.  Teachers need to use the child's writing. Practicing the endless sentences only teaches them to look at certain parts...or in my case it taught me to really dislike the English Grammar Rules. (Thanks to my Comp I professor) Grammar should be used within the child's writing--either in the notebook or in their drafts. ( I do lessons within my drafting and when we go back into our notebooks to practice. ) My lessons this week were from Jeff Anderson's Mechanically Inclined on beginning and ending punctuation and dialogue. 

First I introduced dialogue with Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.  I love to use this book because of the speech bubbles.  Then my students and I look at a typed copy of the book and talk about things they notice.  Then we discuss the "rules" of dialogue.  I follow it up with making comic strips of their own.  I have comic strip examples that we make into written dialogue and then they practice with their writing partner.  After that they make comic strips and then a peer will write the dialogue in paragraph form.  This has been hugely successful in the past.

Hope it works for you!

This is an exciting week for my writers!! CELEBRATION OF OUR PUBLISHED DRAFTS!!!

What are your writers working on?