Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Woo hoo! It's Wednesday! Boo! It's raining!!!

Actually, I don't really mind the rain, it means I don't have to go out and water my garden today! The downside is that I will not be dragging the girls to the farmer's market in the rain, and, man, I'm going to be missing my fresh local produce till I can get there on Saturday!

To sooth my poor, sad, soul, I am linking up to the What I'm Loving Wednesday Linky, hosted by Covered in Glitter and Glue (I love the colors of her blog, by the way...totally matches my classroom...but that's not one of my items for What I'm Loving..or maybe it's just a bonus item, LOL!).

So, anyway...What I'm loving today...

1. I do not have a photo for this one, but I'm loving it anyway...NO GRAD SCHOOL WORK UNTIL SEPTEMBER!!! Woot! Okay, so I was done on Friday, but I'm still basking in the glow of no homework...this will be my longest stretch of time "off" since before I started back!

2. Instagram! I've been using it for a while, but I've just recently started using it as a teacher! I am loving it! Seeing what everyone else is up to, connecting with other educators...awesome! I'm still getting going, but feel free to check out what I've got going--my user name is becca372.

3.My desk is almost clean!!! And I've figured out how to use it from both the front and the back, for connecting to my projector...(if you look closely at the above photo, my desk (not clean in the photo) is in the bottom left picture). It's in a line of cupboards forming a "wall" of sorts, which divides my carpet area from the view of my neighbor's students walking through (if you look at the bottom right corner, you can see the doorway...that goes from my room to hers...her kids have to walk through my room to get to theirs...or to the hall). Anyway...last year, my desk was facing the wall, and I hated it. This year, I turned it 90 degrees.Here, you can see it, blocked in the front by my big book box and drawers...the keyboard and mouse are on top of the big book box. I love that I can now use my desk and computer from either side, and I can run the projector without being "away" from my students. I don't know if it's all going to stay this way, but my desk sure is!!!!

Whew...enough rambling? Anyway, those are a few things I love. I started this post at ten a.m....and now it's after midnight here...can I still call it "What I'm Loving Wednesday"???'s still Wednesday somewhere, right? 

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bloggie Makeover and a Little Ramble

Well, what do you think of the new look? Does it show up properly on your screen? I have not redesigned a blog in ages, but I was not loving the way mine looked, even with the cute freebie background from Cutest Blog on the Block. Took me ages to get it to look just so on my screen, and there are still a few things I'd change, but...done is better than perfect, right? I hope so! ***edited to add...I did just notice, because I have a "smaller" size laptop screen, I have to zoom out one notch (hit control - ) for it to look perfect. Boo. Not sure I have the patience to find the fix just yet***

Just to be all official, because I've been trained too well from years of working as a creative team member for digiscrap designers, I created all my blog "stuff" from a kit called Crazy Beautiful by Sarah Bennett. Sarah has been retired (as has this kit) for a couple of years now, but I am using it with her blessing, and within her TOU. Plus, Sarah has been one of my digi besties since we started scrapping together 6.5 years ago after our eldest "babies" were born (crazy!).

What did you all get up to today? I didn't do a linky, though I came close. Wrote out a whole different post, rambling about some stuff, and then decided discretion was the better part of valor. I didn't really do anything teaching related today. My kids got up to lots of high-jinks at 4 year old is a bit of a bull-headed terror, and the 2 year old wants to be just like her. Sigh. Then we went to my mom's to make more lasagna for my sister's wedding ceremony dinner. We are DONE with prepping lasagna now...phew! I also made 3 loaves of zucchini bread, with enough zucchini left to make 2 more...project for tomorrow morning. Then I spent ages working on perfecting (I hope) the look of the bloggie, though there are still things I want to do with it...all in good time, right?

Anyway...I have an email I have to go read from our district instructional/data coach, about the district-wide tech team she's heading up...probably have some "homework" to do for that. Good thing she's one of my favorite people! Off to watch my recorded episode of So You Think You Can Dance (yay for commercial free!), and do my tech work! Catch y'all tomorrow...I'll try for a linky!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday (almost!) Made It and Let's Get Acquainted!

Hi! Today I'm doing a double linky...phew! I'm tired just thinking about it!

First off, I am joining the Monday Made It linky party, hosted by Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics.

Okay, I have to Monday Made It project isn't quite done. But, here it is so far, and maybe you can help me figure out the rest of it!

I found this display thingy at another teacher's garage sale this summer (got a BUNCH of other great goodies, too). It was okay, metal, and therefore, of course, magnetic, but a bit scratched up. I knew right away I wanted to fancy it up some how...and then it sat on my kitchen counter for over a month...sigh.
You can even see in the top right corner, how the previous owner had put something sticky there... Yeah, not so attractive. 

Well, here it is all painted, and coordinating with my classroom...YAY!
The question now is...what exactly do I do with it? Some ideas I have had include using it as my star student board, and displaying their info on it, or using it to post some inspirational quotes for myself...or as a place to use name magnets to document who is out of the room....other ideas??? I'd love to hear them!

In other Monday Made It, not school related, items, my mom and I made two of the lasagnas we are prepping for my sister's wedding ceremony dinner. Today was Giada DiLaurentiis' lasagna roll-ups...YUM! Tomorrow, we are tackling Pioneer Woman's delicious lasagna (yummmmmmm).

Okay, so that is one linky down, and one more to go! The second is the Getting Acquainted/Goal Sharing linky, hosted by Latoya at Flying Into First Grade.

So, in yesterday's Sunday Smorgasboard post, I gave you some information about me, personally. Today, Latoya wants us to share some of our goals for our new school year. Wow! What a big question, and so important to discuss, and plan for...after all, doesn't the saying go, "A goal without a plan is only a dream"? So, these are my dreams, which I am working to make into plans...and then into reality!

Goal #1: Be more organized. This is my goal every year, and every year, I'd like to think, I fail a little less miserably than the last (in other words, I am closer and closer, but it's a really slow process!). Taking some time to put things where they belong at the end of each day is going to be a huge deal for me. I have been trying to come up with more ways to be organized (binders, bins, etc), but it's still going to be one of my biggest challenges for the year!

Goal #2: Successfully make it through my masters practicum. Yeah. Successfully equals with a grade of B or better (preferably an A), and without completely losing my mind. Thank goodness one of my favorite people in my district has agreed to be my mentor...Reading Curriculum and Instruction degree, here I come!

Goal #3: Be a better, stronger, less nervous leader on my team and in my building. I mentioned in a previous post that I have always felt a little LESS like an expert than others on my team. In the last couple years, though, I have come to realize more and more that I am selling myself, and my experience and knowledge, short in many ways. I have a TON to offer to my team, and I just need to be braver about putting it out there.

Goal #4: Put together a great idea for a presentation at our state's technology conference, and get approved to present. This goes along with goal #3, as in, this terrifies me in many ways...but I really think I can do it! I am thinking about proposing a presentation along the lines of walking beginning tech teachers through what they can do with sites/apps like Pinterest/Twitter/blogs, and more...any thoughts and ideas? I know that those teachers who are attending the conference for the first time, or those who are overwhelmed by tech might really love a session like this...Do you think this would be a good topic? Or maybe you are totally techie, and you can't believe anyone would propose such a ridiculous session at a tech conference...I appreciate all points of view on this one! I want to propose an awesome session!

Goal #5: Successfully implement math journals AND My Math (our new Singapore Math based program) into my classroom. eeek.

Goal #6: Improve my Writer's Workshop teaching and conferencing skills. Period. I need to be a better writing teacher.

Goal #7: Use anchor charts a LOT in my classroom to improve student learning and encourage student independence. If you have never visited the Chartchums blog (on Wordpress), you are totally missing out. And if you are an early el person and you haven't at least looked at Smarter Charts K-2 by the blog authors, Marjorie Martinelli and Kristine Mraz, you totally should. Wow.

Think I have enough goals for this year? I guess maybe it's a case of go big or go home. I am hoping I can really go big and rock it out with my kinders this year!

Thanks for reading, and go check out both of these awesome link-ups! Go add yours...and if you already did, I'll be around to read it soon!


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Smorgasboard of Randomness

As a new blogger (I'd ask if I'm supposed to admit to that, but I think my blog (both content and look) give that away), I am loving the linky parties as ways to keep me blogging. Every other time I've tried a blog, I just didn't blog. Link-ups are almost like accountability for me. Plus, reading through everyone else's posts is definitely helping me to find some amazing blogs!

In that vein, I am linking up to Fabulous in First's Sunday Smorgasboard and I think what I will do is share some random "stuff" about me, because I haven't really done that on here, and hey, you all might (maybe???) want to get to know me a bit better!

First off, my favorite hobby is digital scrapbooking (part of the reason why I can't wait to get/give my blog a major makeover soon!). I have hardly done any scrapping in the past year and a half, between having 3 kids, working, and doing online grad courses, time just wasn't there. I am working on getting back into the routine! However, I am going to do my "random" post in pages I created before my hiatus (the links take you to the digi site galleries where the images are posted, and link you up to all appropriate credits for the pages)...

This is me, two years ago. The sentiment remains the same...I know the print is small/blurry, and if you are curious, you can follow the link, and it takes you to a slightly more clear version. Basically, it's about how lucky I feel to be a kindergarten teacher.

I totally love to watch Top Gear. These men make me laugh. Really, really hard.

But my favorite, favorite, favorite tv show is Doctor Who. This layout is about the Tenth Doctor, before I had watched much of his series. I adore David Tennant (the tenth doctor), but I think Matt Smith (the current, about to depart (sob!)) eleventh doctor is MY doctor.

I am married to an amazing guy. We've been married for seven years. I am SO very proud of him, because he has been on a personal weight loss journey for the past year and a half, and has lost over 130 pounds--pretty much by diet alone! He is {much} thinner now than he is in this picture! Skinnier than he has been since high school, and he looks amazing! Like I said, I am SO proud of him!

We have three little girls (you can see what they look like now in yesterday's post, the Saturday Snapshot Linky Party). This is a layout I did when we found out we were having a third girl. Just a crazy aside, their birthdays are each two years and two weeks apart...all born in the spring. Three birthday celebrations within one month is craziness (yikes), but I am so grateful the timing worked out--I didn't have to go back to work after having any of them--they were born, I stayed home on my maternity leave, and I went back in the fall. It was wonderful, and I was/am so blessed. Their names, btw, are Aerin, Liliana (Lili) and Evelyn (Evie).

So, that's a little bit of randomness about me. In other random, non-scrapbook related stuff...I am finishing a masters degree in Reading Curriculum and Instruction this fall, I love to read, Double Divas is totally my guilty pleasure show (I get sucked into it after Project Runway a lot), and I love vintage bead necklaces. Yeah. There's some randomness for you!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Snapshots Linky

Hi! I am back again, joining up with a super fun Saturday Snapshots linky party:

 What a fun idea! Mostly took photos of my kidlets this week, since we spent lots of time together! 

 This is my youngest, who is two. The girls were all trying on their dresses for their Auntie's wedding in August.

 This is my four year old. She thought getting all up in the camera was a brilliant idea. I am tempted to post the picture after this, her reaction to the flash...haha.

And this is my six year old. She did her hair herself. Gotta love independence. See that basket back there? That is all stuff that needs to go to my classroom. I should probably go soon.

We went to spend a day with grandma...the girls destroyed the playroom...then the littlest fell asleep in there.

Being silly on the potty. Feels like we've been working on potty training for years (and the child is only two!). One of these days, we'll get there!

See that face? I asked her what she was doing..."I make peanut butter toast!". She had the PB out, and had gotten out a loaf of bread...needless to say, that jar of peanut butter was...well...toast.  The fabric in the background? That's my corkboard and fabric from the previous post. Cute, right? I had just finished washing the fabric...and then she got peanut butter all over. Sigh...

And a little selfie. Because, hey, this is me. All righty...I'm going to head off to see what everyone else in the party has been up to this week, and probably found about 12 more blogs I need to follow. Plus, I'm watching Little Mermaid with the littles...(and the littlest just tinkled on the potty all by herself!...because you all wanted to know that, right??? At least you aren't getting THAT picture in the Saturday Snapshot!). Hope y'all are having a great weekend!


To Do Lists and Pinterest Projects

So...I know some of y'all are heading back to school already, but here in Michigan, we have a state law that says we can't start until after Labor Day...which is a beautiful thing, in many ways! However, I realized yesterday, I have one month of my summer left to complete all the things I need to do--YIKES.

In the interest of trying to prioritize, (and instead of doing the actual work, because, well, I am the only adult awake in my house right now with the four and two year old, so I can't do a whole lot of any projects!), I am here on my bloggie, trying to create a list of the projects I most want to finish before the school year starts. So, in no particular order, here are my Pinterest Projects I most want to complete this summer. No, none of the images are mine. I will TRY my very best to link them up to their proper homes on the web, though...

First of all, there is this, from the blog NewlyWife:

I bought a great corkboard, with a heavy duty wood frame, for $2 at a garage sale earlier this summer. I have a gorgeous turquoise chevron fabric, I just need the nailhead trim (because I LOVE that detail), and then I will be getting this project done. My board will be oriented vertically, and I think it will sit on my desk, leaning again the is WAY heavy, and I am also sure I won't be able to get our custodian to drill into the walls to hang it for me...sigh. It'll be great at my desk, though!

Next up, labeling binder clips to mark their mailboxes, from Teaching with Love and Laughter:

 I wanted to do this last year, but didn't know I wanted to (LOL) in time to order the clips with my classroom budget, and just could not afford them at the price in stores. This year, I ordered them (yay!), and they should be just waiting for me in my classroom. I need to get some paper (thinking turquoise, of course) and probably wait till closer to school starting for this task, so my class list will be as "correct" as possible (do you all get tons of before-school-changes too?). I am hoping these will be easier to see than the signs I have contact papered to the sides of their cubbies in the past, as well as easier for other teachers (speech teachers, Title I parapros) to use.

Then, there's the math journals...

Oh, the new things that are happening with math in my classroom this year! First off, I decided mid-way through the year last year that I really wanted to try math journals. I never quite got to it, though. This year, I am starting the year with them. These journals are from Living, Laughing & Loving, but I don't think I am going to do mine quite this way--I will use full notebook, for one thing. I do love her labels, though, and might just use those (they are free on her blog).

Also math related...

I have GOT to figure out better, more kid friendly math manipulative storage. We have made the daunting switch from EveryDay Math to My Math (Singapore Math based), and I know my manipulatives are going to need to be out at tables a LOT more. I have a sorty-thing kind of like this (picture from the kindergarten kindergarten blog), but I think my bins are a lot bigger. I also love the bins she uses for their "problem solving" materials...may just have to get some (these are from the same blog post I linked to above).

Now, let's not even think about the billion things I have downloaded from different amazing teachers over the summer, and still need to print, cut out, laminate, organize...I don't think a month will be enough!!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Freebies and a Check In

I know I LOOOOOVE freebies, especially good ones, so I know anyone stopping by my little bloggie will as well. There is a great freebie bloghop/giveaway being done by some super cool Minnesota (and Wisconsin) bloggers today--and there is some good stuff to be had! I am loving the fonts I picked up (but I am a font addict) and the Pete the Cat and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activities...Totally worth the blog-hopping--and definitely some blogs I will be visiting again! PLUS! If you do the blog hop, and are willing to follow their blogs, you can earn entries into a giveaway for an amazing product from each of these very talented teachers! Awesome! Here's the link to one of the sites participating--each blogger links you up to the next on the list, so it is super easy to get through--Kindergarten Kel (she has the awesome Chicka Chicka game!)

In other "stuff"...I think I am dragging all the littles (ages 6, 4, and 2) out to my classroom to drop off all my Target dollar spot goodies today. We'll see if we can get out of there in less than 2 hours. I am SURE we will have to visit the playground. There are definitely times I am happy to work in an early childhood building--I am much less worried about having my little ones play on the equipment!

I have some homework to finish for my ever-so-awesome (haha) class, which, thank goodness, ends tomorrow! Only one more day of 4 hours worth of driving! So excited to be done! Then, I am cool on my own schoolwork until September, when I start my "practicum" for my master's degree. So excited to have August "off" (let's not think of the sheer number of hours I will be putting into my classroom during that time).

Hope you all are enjoying your week and I hope you visit again soon!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ten Things I've Learned From Teaching

I am linking up to Miss Kindergarten's Linky Party...loved this idea! The image below is linked to her post...which is hilarious, and I totally wanted to steal almost all of her "things she's learned teaching kindergarten". Yep. She nailed it, big! Let's see, though, what I can come up with!

So, what have I learned teaching K? Hmmm... (fair warning, I tried to think of some funnies, but there is a lot of serious ahead, too)

1. A day without specials is a special kind of...well..he**. Students need time to move and play and need a break from me! On the same note, days with no outdoor recess...well...compound those with no special, and put it all on Monday, and you know the day is just going to rock your socks off. I am so grateful that I will have one special a day this year (though the day I had two was nice, in some ways).

2. The first few weeks of school are like childbirth. You "forget" how hard they are. And go crazy and do it again, because the end result is wonderful...but the labor of the first weeks of school is exhausting.

3. Winter = at least half an hour of academic teaching time gone, because you are spending that time helping 25 little people do the routine of "Snowpants, ZIP!, boots, coat , ZIP!, hats, scarves if you have them, mittens or gloves LAST!!!" about 3 times a day (at least in my building--2 recesses, plus dismissal time). I am always SO ready when we can finally be rid of winter gear!

4. You learn to eat REALLY fast. And you learn how to NOT go to the bathroom when you really want to. Like, when you are doing what feels like the 17th bathroom break of the day with your students, and it is your no-special day, so you haven't gotten to go since you got out of bed at 4:30 that morning. And it's now quarter after 11.

5. Being a leader is scary...but worth it. Okay, I say this as a person who has always felt a little bit like the "junior" member of her grade level team (there are typically between 7 and 9 teachers on our K team). I started as the person who was not the "expert". I didn't have an early childhood certification. I had a couple rough years to start out, and (I'll be honest here) was assigned an amazing teacher to be my mentor...and, due to a lot of personal "stuff", she was a much less than amazing mentor. I figured a lot of stuff out on my own. I didn't have a lot of close grade level I kept my head down and my mouth shut...a LOT. Even after I got my masters in early childhood, I still felt like less than an expert. Now, though, I know, more and more, that I AM a good teacher, and I DO have a lot of expertise to offer. Do I know it all? No way!!!! But my perspective and opinion are not worth any less than that of anyone else on my team! Especially now that I have my EC masters, and am on the cusp of a masters in Reading...I am working hard on being braver, on being a leader, and on doing more and more to improve myself as a teacher, so that I can, in turn, help to improve my grade level team as a whole. It's hard...not gonna lie. I am far from a good leader (yet), but it is something I am definitely working on!

6. Take time for yourself!!!! (I fail at this one regularly, which is why I know how important it is) Find something, anything, that you enjoy, and do it, at least once a week. Is it hard as heck? Yes. But when I sat down in May and read a book (FOR FUN!!! Yay for Nora Roberts!) from cover to cover, and did not do ANY homework, or was amazing. I felt rejuvenated. DO IT. You will not regret it. In fact, you will be re-energized for tackling that other stuff by taking the time for yourself.

7.  Kids love a tape line on the floor. Best liner-uppers EVER this past year, because they had a line to stand on. Define their space, and they are happier. (I guess this could be broadened to read: "Kids like to know where they stand. And their boundaries. Keep it clear and consistent, and life will be better"). Will certainly be doing the tape line on the floor again. (and, for any who don't know, if you have tile/hard floor, "Gym Floor Tape" is your friend. Comes up clean and easy!!! AND comes in great colors!)

8. Kids really do say the darnedest things. Example: Teacher--"Jimmy, you are the caboose today." Jimmy--"I don't want to be a caboose! I just want to be a kid!!!!" or "You are a solar panel!". My brain is too much on summer mode to remember the more current classics on my list. They crack me up almost every day with the things they say, though.

9. You have to be flexible. You never know when the fire alarm is going to get pulled, or someone is going to puke, or when your kids are just going to need more time to wiggle, giggle, and move, or when a lesson is going to take a very sudden turn. Be willing to change your plans. Be able to adapt to their needs. Being flexible also means not getting trapped by something that "works" for your classroom. Try new things, even if it means leaving your comfort zone...again, something I am working on!

10.Remember what a special job being a teacher is. It is hard. It is often belittled. We often get the short end of the stick. We also get flowers, and pictures, and hugs, and called "mommy" or "grandma", and told we are the "best teacher ever" (even when they've never had another teacher), and we get the reward of watching just how far these amazing little people come from September to June. They inspire me, make me laugh, make me cry, and fill my heart every day. More than anything, I have a passion for this job, and for these little people. Knowing that I am setting them up to be successful individuals motivates me every day to get up and face the bureaucracy and the belittlement.

This image was someecards card was created, as indicated, by the fabulous teacher from I pinned the image months ago. I tried to find the original post, but the person who pinned it before me didn't link to the individual post...after scrolling through many of the creators great posts, I was totally distracted (and inspired). So, this image does NOT link to it's original source. I have, however, linked you to his awesome website. Check it out!

So, that's my ten. Off to read some more of what others had to say.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's Hot!!! (and a bit of a kindergarten soapbox)

Are you in the middle of a heat wave too? It's really hot here! Thank goodness for our house having central air, though it doesn't quite reach to the upstairs..

Just had to stop by and share the giggle that I had this morning. I am finalizing all the paperwork to do my Master's "practicum" in my classroom this fall. My advisor emailed me, asking if I would be able to meet the requirement of doing 2 hours worth of reading/language arts instruction in my classroom daily, since I teach kindergarten. It was all I could do not to respond to her with a "LOL" or "You have GOT to be kidding me!".

I am well aware of why people can't believe kindergarten is academic to the level it is. When we (meaning people over the age of 20 or so) were in kindergarten, there was a much stronger focus on the social and emotional development of students than on the academic development. Students only came for half a day, and spent their time on songs and fingerplays, listening to stories (which do all build language and literacy skills!), had playtime, nap, and snack. I've heard it from parents many times, and my own fuzzy memories of kindergarten reinforce this. As anyone working in early childhood today knows, though, kindergarten is the "new first grade" (and it sometimes feels like second grade!). We spend the vast majority of our day in academic pursuits. Do we, as teachers, try to teach those academics is developmentally appropriate ways? Oh, my goodness, yes! But are we required to hit a level of academics teachers 20 years ago would never have imagined? Again, oh, my goodness, YES. The level of academics today even exceeds that which I taught when I first began in kindergarten about 10 years ago.

I often marvel that students I passed on to first grade, confident of their skills and abilities in my first few years of teaching, would be students I am significantly concerned about in today's kindergarten (I know, though, that they have grown into successful students!). However, as my administrator likes to say, yes, we are expecting more of our students, but we have also found, in the majority of cases, that they are READY for more. So, while we challenge students more than ever before, we have also found that, in many cases, maybe we weren't expecting enough before. I feel like I am walking a tightrope everyday, balancing the academics that are expecting a lot of my students, with meeting their developmental needs. It's a very fine line, and it means we need to be very aware of our students needs and abilities, their instructional levels, and that level where they are too frustrated to learn. The hard part at any grade, but especially at kindergarten, where so many students arrive with diverse learning backgrounds, After kindergarten, they all have some sort of common ground to work from, even if they aren't all at the same skill level for that background.

At any rate...I spend a large percentage of my day involved in literacy instruction. Reading, writing, speaking, really is the heart of kindergarten academics. When you add in the current expectations (via Common Core, which is in flux here in Michigan) for content area reading and writing to be happening as well, the question really should be, "Are there two hours worth of your day where you are not working on language arts skills?". I really don't believe there are. Thanks for giving my rant a bit of your time. I will try to be back soon with something more light-hearted...maybe a summary of my recent splurges at Target's Dollar Spot...they've had turquoise teacher "stuff" this year...and my room is turquoise, black, and you just may be able to imagine my lack of self-control!  Stay cool and come back soon!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Thoughts on Reading

So, the state of Michigan requires all teachers to take a reading diagnostics and remediation course in order to move from a provisional to a professional certificate. I have known this for ages, and thought I had it covered with my coursework for my masters in Reading Curriculum and Instruction. Then I found out the course I was taking would not cover the requirement...sigh. So, on July 1, I finished my masters class in Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties at University of Phoenix, and on Friday the fifth, I began a class in Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties at Concordia University. Exact same textbook, LESS fieldwork than U of P. Can we say ridiculous? 
On the plus side, I am enjoying taking my first ground course in years, and while I really don't feel that I am learning much that is new to me, it is a good review, and I should certainly have a good handle on remediating struggling students now!

That being said, we had a good discussion about a Shaywitz quote yesterday (I will come back later and add it, we are on the road right now). Essentially, it said that our lowest readers in early el tend to continue to be our lowest readers, and that the gap just widens...basically that no matter what we do, we can't close that gap. We discussed a lot of things--the need for early intervention, the necessity of parental involvement and awareness of reading difficulty,  and how to motivate and engage learners. My arguement is that if an individual is motivated and has the capacity to learn to read, it is only a matter of finding the key to unlock that door for them...  it is not a perfectly organized thought in my head yet, and maybe it is very biased by my careerlong kindergarten focus, where I help children achieve amazing gains...I just have to believe it is possible for everyone. Easy? Absolutely not. Possible? Without a doubt.

That is my opinion, at least. What are your thoughts? I have two more 8 hour classes left...I am interested to see what else gets me thinking. Always good to reflect on teaching and learning, isn't it? 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Teacher Reading

I have been on Pinterest for what feels like forever (but as actually just since the days when someone had to invite you in order to be there). I started pinning items for my classroom right away. And then I started talking about them, and using the terms I learned. One of those first terms was "anchor chart". I used the term. I tried making a few charts for (not truly with) my students to use. Needless to say, the charts were less than well used by anyone. 

Just a few weeks ago, I randomly stumbled across the book Smarter Charts K-2 by Marjorie Martinelli and Kristine Mraz. I did not buy it immediately, but I did find their blog, Chart Chums, which promptly sucked me in for, no joke, about three hours. I was up till 2 a.m. devouring that site. Obviously, the next day I went over to Amazon and bought the book.

I have read most of it (it is an easy read, but full of great tidbits), and will be reading it again. I have also ordered more chart paper and markers, bought repositionable glue sticks, and am stocking up on every kind of sticky note under the sun. I am going to figure out the art of anchor charting this year or go down trying.

Also on my list for this summer: re-read Daily Five and revisit all those blogs that did the book study last year, read the CAFE book, and figure out how to work D5 into my day. I also need to finish reading Boys and Girls Learn Differently by Michael Gurian, which I started last fall. Not much to do this summer at all, at all.

So...what about you? What are the rest of you teachers out there reading this summer? Kindergarten friends, what are your "must-read"s?



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Hey all!

So, I know there is not much (okay, basically, nothing) to follow right now, but along with starting this blog, I am starting my Bloglovin' account up. If, once I get more on here that you want to see, please feel free to follow my blog on Bloglovin! Can't wait to see you!

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Hi and Welcome!

Oh, my goodness! It is the obligatory "just getting started on my blog" post. Here it is! It's July, I've just finished my last course before my practicum to complete my (second) master's degree in Reading Curriculum and Instruction, and it's the middle of the night. So what I am doing, when I should be sleeping? Sitting on the couch with my middle girl (age 4) who just got up from a "bad dweam" and creating my new-and-improved classroom/teaching blog. Woohoo! I am looking forward to using this blog to communicate with parents and families of my students, but also to participate in the amazing world of education bloggers out there. I've learned so much browsing around other people's websites; I look forward to adding my two cents, and sharing what I have learned, and continue to learn, about living, laughing, and loving teaching kindergarten! 

Just as a side note, the content on this blog will reflect the content placed on my classroom website/blog, maintained through Weebly. If you are interested in checking out my website (definitely under construction, still!) you can find it here.  I may try to make more of this website reflect the same content that is there...still trying to decide! How much work will maintaining both be? Not sure...working on figuring out which site will be easier to update and maintain, which will generate more traffic, and so on. It is all a learning process for me, despite having tried blogging several times before...