Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nerd Alert!

Nerd Alert!

Remember how I went to that two day training a few weeks ago?

Well I met with a teacher friend on Monday and got my panties all in a wad!

She just finished reading the Daily Five book and wanted to talk all things reading.  I was trying to tell her about all the things I learned and want to implement....but I was getting SO overwhelmed!

I learned about it....but I haven't read the research about it!

That is so important if I want to become a better teacher!

so, I just bought this
 and this
 to help the situation out.

I know there are a few bloggers out there participating in the Guided Reading Book Study.  But I'm wondering if any of you use the Buddy Study Spelling system?

I am hoping to find answers from Fountas and Pinnell!

While I patiently wait for the books to come in the mail, I will be reading the ORIGINAL guided reading book by Fountas and Pinnell!

In other news:

Today is our three year anniversary!  

Reminder:  as if you needed one Only a few days left to switch over your google reader blogs to Bloglovin.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Balanced Literacy: What They Didn't Teach Us in College....


A week ago, I went to a two-day Balanced Literacy training all thanks to Melissa!

I remember hearing Balanced Literacy in college, but I didn't remember learning THIS!

Now that I think about it, I thought I was so prepared for my first year of teaching-fresh out of college.  Little did I know, I had no clue what I was doing!

After three years of teaching, I am humbled to say, I still have no clue what I am doing!

But I am willing and able to learn.

Here's the scoop from the conference that I'm still pondering, mulling over, and working into my classroom.

Balanced Literacy consists of Shared Reading, Independent Reading, Word Study, Writing, and Guided Reading.

Let me break it down for you:

Shared Reading

1. The first time you read a book should be for enjoyment.  After all, isn't that how adults read?
2. The second time you read a book to your students, they have a purpose for reading, such as finding the author's purpose.

In shared reading, students should be able to have their eyes on the text.

That means our weekly Imagine It stories can be incorporated into Shared Reading each week!  I have been doing double work teaching mini lessons for Daily Five and teaching the weekly stories.  Why didn't I think of that?

During this reading, the teacher reads aloud, thinks out loud, and teaches one specific thing that readers do.

Students also practice and participate in the reading.  Hence the eyes on text idea.

Brilliant.  I am so excited to incorporate shared reading with our weekly stories.

Shared reading is what I will consider my Mini Lessons for Readers Workshop (You could say Mini Lessons for Daily Five as well.)

Independent Reading

This is Read to Self.  If you are not familiar with the Daily Five you should go buy the book and read it you might know about DEAR time or SSR.

It's all the same.

Students are reading independently, but the kicker is with direct, explicit instruction!

I imagine it being the same as Writer's Workshop.  The teacher gives them the invitation during the Mini Lesson, and hopes they will accept the invitation during independent reading time.


I consider this time Writer's Workshop.  I am was trained well my second year of teaching.  The biggest things to remember are time (students should be writing more often than not...most days...for 20 minutes) and choice (students should be writing on topics of their own choosing within a specific genre).

One thing that I want to do a better job of next year is including more variety in my student's Writer's Notebook.  We fill our notebooks with ideas, or seeds for writing, but we will now add brainstorms, quick writes, and experiment with writing techniques.

Word Study

This is the investigation of words.  I learned about the possibility of keeping a Word Study Notebook.  In second grade, I plan to put this in the back of their Writer's Notebook.

We also threw around the idea of buddy study- a better way to conduct spelling tests!

I'm curious, do you use buddy study in your classroom?  I need to pick your brain (and your classroom) if you do!

Guided Reading

At the heart of your literacy block is guided reading.

Let's just say I thought I was conducting guided reading in my class.

I have never been more wrong.

This was probably the biggest piece of information I gained at the training.  I am still processing it.  I have checked out SEVEN books from our local library in order to figure it all out.

Did you know that guided reading is NOT the time to shove your super-duper lessons down their throats teach teach teach your little heart out?

It's actually a time for the teacher to "guide their thinking" by having students reading text on their own level independently in a quiet voice.


I know!

Don't get me wrong, teachers are helping at the guided reading table.  But it's meant to be much different than teaching a lesson.

We also learned all about practical ways to run your Reader's Workshop along with ideas for a Reader's Notebook!


After writing this post, my head is spinning just thinking about how to implement all of this!

Good thing I've got a great group of bloggers to help me along in this process!

What's the biggest HELP when planning your reading block?
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why do you teach?

Today was day two of summer school for me!

I have big plans of teaching you all of the things I learned at last week's balanced literacy conference.... unfortunately, that post is scrambled somewhere in between my ears coming soon!

Tonight, I wanted to write a quick post of inspiration.

Being a teacher is such a challenging job.

We work double time during the school year and would do anything for our kids.

The summertime is our chance to rest, relax, and make all of those pins on pinterest recover.

But let's face it, most of us teachers are spending more time researching best practices, reading ideas from other teachers, working in our rooms, attending workshops, and thinking about what we can do better next year during our "Time Off"

I have to admit that on the first day of my summer break, I was BORED.OUT.OF.MY.MIND.

Then I realized, Duh!  How else would someone who has been going a thousand miles an hour for ten months feel when they are suddenly traveling at Zero mph?

Don't you hate it when other people *ahem* put our profession down because we get two months of vacation?  Insert tangent I will spare you.

Once, a friend asked me, "Is teaching worth it when you work so hard during the school year and having the summers off?  Wouldn't you rather have a bit of work spread throughout your year?"

I've thought long and hard about this.  I did not take it lightly.

My answer is yes, it is worth it.

The stress and pressure that overcomes my world during the school year is worth it to me.

Here's why.

The feeling I get when I realize this was what I was created for is like nothing else in life.  

I only have that feeling after I take a sabbatical.

When one removes themselves from a situation, they can see the beauty from afar.

Yesterday, the first day of summer school, I picked up my students (second grade students, most of whom I had two years ago in first grade!) from the cafeteria.  The students didn't know who their teacher would be, since it was at the new campus and only for four weeks.

When they realized it was me, I saw bright smiles, high fives, and uncontrollable bouncing.

It has been such a sweet joy to reunite with some of my students again and help them along in their learning.

This is what life is all about.

As you are laying on the beach, reading that professional book, or surfing through pinterest, enjoy every second.  You deserve it.

And soon, the world of fresh pencils, lunchboxes, and tattling will come flooding back-bringing with it-the feeling of it being all worthwhile.

I teach in order to inspire the learner onward.

Why do you teach?

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Currently Summer is Here!

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Can you believe it?  

May is gone and June has swooped in...saving the day!

Just when I thought the end was so far away and summer was a long lost relative....

It is HERE!



Put your party pants on!

It's time to celebrate!

For all of the teachers who have not tasted the sweet release of summer, go here to get a survival laugh!  

I saw this on a blogger friend's facebook page and just.about.died laughing while reading it!  

I know teachers have it bad come May, but I've never thought about the perspective of a parent who is in survival mode!  

Hang in there.

Now, time for the party....Farley's Party!

* Since I am out for summer (well...I technically have two more days of staff meetings and training on Monday and Tuesday....but who's counting anymore?) I decided to catch up on movies I haven't seen.  I rented Argo this weekend and would recommend it to you if you haven't seen it!  

* I am loving summer!  End of story.  Period.  The end.

* I have about a million to do lists floating around in my head that I need to put down on paper before my summer fever gets the best of me!  I am teaching summer school for four weeks, hosting a bachelorette party, planning my sister's birthday, moving classrooms, moving grade levels, meeting up with a long lost teaching sister, along with pinterest-inspired projects and relaxing at the pool!

* I want to travel.  Everyday I get a friendly little email from livingsocial with a travel deal.  It is killing me softly.

* I just recently finished reading Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella.  Great book if you want a purely entertaining read.  Now I need another.  I also need to get my book list for Professional Reading this summer.  Any advice?  I'm always looking for good book recommendations!

* My 3 vacation essentials are a good book, wine, and sunscreen.  Good Book? See above.  Wine?  Duh!  Sunscreen?  Let's just say fair-skinned redheaded freckled girls don't tan that easily!

Seeing that I don't have a vacation lined up yet, where is your favorite vacation spot? 

-The Frizz in First Second