Monday, February 28, 2011

March is here!! Time for a Writing Challenge!!

The Two Writing Teachers does this writing challenge every year. It's where they commit to writing each day for a month. I've done this with my own students before. My students will be doing this in April instead of March because of our Spring Break. I plan on participating both months. This one with The Two Writing Teachers and next month with my students. Please join! Click here for more info!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stepping Into the Story

Photo attributed to
Today I asked my readers to step into the story of City Dog, Country Frog.  The concept of stepping into story came from the Reading Recovery conference a few weeks ago in Columbus.  I had the opportunity to see Debbie Miller and she talked about how she has been asking the students to step into the stories. 

What I noticed as I asked my readers to step into the story is that their inferences were better. I had asked them to read the book as a writer and notice the visual images in the book and images the words created.  Their responses were well thought as they stepped into the story and responded in the small group setting.

As we finished the book I asked students to draw the image that stuck with them. Whether it was an image the illustrator provided or an image in their own mind as the book was read. On the back I asked them to write about what stuck with them in their mind after reading the book.  A few had questions, a few made predictions, but all responded on their level and shared it with a peer. 

Reader's Workshop lends itself easily to differentation...all readers accepted where they are at so all can participate.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Slice of Life "Chinny, Chin-Chin"

"Oh no mommy!!!"  After last night's escapade of urgent care, stitches, and lollipops the words sent fear through my mommy heart.

"Gracie, where are you?" I yell from the kitchen dropping my dust pan and broom.

I go running and we meet each other  in the living room. No blood. No screaming. Good sign.

I scoop her up and she embraces me in only a way my youngest can.

"Mommy,  why does my chin have hair now?"  she asks quizzically.

I laugh out loud and  hug her tight.  I reassure her it is not permanent and the "hair" aka stitches will be removed in a few days.

Slice of Life is brought to you by Two Writing Teachers.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Back from the Buck-Eye State

Inspiration.  This is what listening and learning does for me. As I sat in the audience and listened to Lucy Calkin's addressing 2800 educators my heart began to soar!!  I kept thinking to myself I hope my grant comes through so I can go to the Institute this summer.  As I looked at my colleagues from my school, their eyes full of delight and rapture at the words echoing in our ears I felt at home.  It is amazing how this one woman has changed the face of education.

Perfect birthday present.  Looks like 33 is going to be a great year!

Malissa B, Kelly J., Lucy Calkins, and ME!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow, snow, snow

My Backyard...Whoever said Spring was coming soon...lied. :-)
And no I'm not just repeating my last name over and over. Oklahoma experienced a blizzard on Tuesday, Feb.1, 2011. We got a record 17 inches and 6 more today.  They are predicting more on Sunday and Tuesday.  Ugh! We've been out of school since the storm hit. So I've been using technology to talk and discuss with my students.

At the beginning of the year I setup online blogs for my students through weebly.  This allowed for them to have a place to write at home and not worry about their notebooks. Then they print their writing and put it in their notebooks at school.  If you would like more info on this click here.

I've been emailing parents and having them respond on their blogs and on the classroom blog. Here are a few ideas that we've been working on this week as we sit and wait for the snow to stop.

  • OCCT test prep
  • summarzing in 10 words or less
  • monitoring our thinking
  • turning in reading minutes online (Might make this permanent for next year)
  • framing our essays
  • how to write to a prompt (our test is 20 days away)
  • slice of life
 If road conditions and the weather doesn't improve soon, I'm thinking of videotaping some lessons and the posting them on the blog.  But I've never done that. However, I can always just google it and figure it out.