Sunday, November 21, 2010

Steelcase node classroom chair and Tribeca Flashpoint

I love these chairs!  They would make transitioning from direct instruction to group work efficient.  They also look way more comfortable than the students desks we currently have at school.  In my perfect world, I would have every classroom with older students filled with these.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Skeleton Creek: Crossbones

Patrick Carman has done it again. The third book in the Skeleton Creek series is coming. I can't wait to see what ghostly places Sarah and Ryan find in the third installment.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Telling a Story to Improve Writing

Storytelling comes before writing.  Read this blog post from Two Writing Teachers for ideas on how to incorporate story telling into your writer's workshop routines.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's Not All Flowers and Sausages: Let's Pause for Positivity, Shall We?

It's Not All Flowers and Sausages: Let's Pause for Positivity, Shall We?

Read the blog above and I dare you not to cry. As teachers we all have days, weeks, months that we wish that we were doing something else. Then, just when we feel there is no hope. BLAM! A student steps up and shows that he is learning; he does pay attention; and he does care about other people. Today as Ms. K read me D's bell work, I knew that this was one of those moments. His use of personification was fantastic. It was just a small thing, but wonderful nonetheless.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 4

The alarm goes off and I struggle to find the snooze button.  It is still going off because I am too blurry-eyed to shut it off.  Finally, silence and I drift back to sleep.  I awake again to the horrendous noise of the alarm.  This time my cat is curled up next to me purring away.  I smile and find the snooze button.  I pet the cat as I contemplate crawling out from under the heating blanket (a wonderful invention).  "It will be cold," my brain is telling me, but I know that I must get up.  I pet the cat and think ahead to my day.  I turn off the alarm and brave the cold, long enough to turn the heat up.  My cat follows me around in hopes of being feed before I take a shower.  No luck!  I have a routine and must stick to it.  The morning is a calm time before the busyness of the school day proceeds.  Besides the getting up at the crack of dawn, it is one of my favorite times of day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 3

I just got the phone with a wonderful friend (and teacher) who lives in Tennessee near Nashville.  She teaches seventh grade reading.  She has the best stories about her students.  Today she told me about M.  He came up to her desk today and asked her if she had a lint brush.  She said yes.  M replied that she had alot of hairs on her arms and shirt.  She told him that she has a dog which launched him into a story about his dog.  He had a lint brush at one time too.  Then he was grounded from his dog and the use of the lint brush because he "made the dog naked" (his words).  My question was:  How do you use a lint brush to completely take the hair off of a dog?  She told me that she didn't want to ask.  The story made me think.  I don't have any stories about my students as of late.  I have been so worried about getting them reading for the state writing test that we have stopped taking the the time to tell stories to each other before we write.  We just focus on the prompt, not the stories of their lives.  That is something that I really need to think about.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 2: I Can Do This!

Writing everyday is going to be a big challenge.  My students tell me all the time that they don't have anything to write about, and I now I feel like them.  What to write about?  Disney World!!! How could I have not of thought that sooner.  I am in the process of planning my second trip to Disney ever.  I took the first a few years ago and it was the best vacation ever.  No, I don't have children, yet.  I always wanted to go to Disney World, but I grew up very poor and food on the table was more important than summer vacations.  Because of the encouragement of my parents and their sacrifices, I graduated high school and then later college. Eight years later, I have a wonderful job as a middle school literacy coach and am able to afford my own vacations.  So here I am again planning an all-out trip to Disney.  If I am going to go, I am not going to nickel and dime it.  I don't know when I will get to go back.  It has taken three years to get my husband to agree to go back.  He is not a fan of crowds.  Today I began looking at places to stay.  I want to stay on property for the extra Magic Hours.  Last time, we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and it was AMAZING!  This time I am looking at the Wilderness Lodge or the Polynesian.  Difficult choices!

 (Slice of Life Challenge sponsered by Two Writing Teachers

Monday, March 1, 2010

Slice of Life - Day 1

Begin and end in laughter....
I have a really long drive to work every morning - an hour and a half.  Sometimes that is good a thing because I am able to plan my day and organize in my head what needs to be completed first.  On other days, it is a real pain because I am tired by the time I get to work.  Today was a pain.  I was tired and ready to go home halfway to work.  I wasn't excited to see the teachers I work with or my students.  Five minutes before I pull into the parking lot at school, I hear a story on the radio that makes me laugh out loud.  Suddenly I am ready for the day.  Just like that.  I feel rejuvenated and ready to teach my students and work with my teachers.  The day was pretty typical with just a few downturns.  However, at the end, all the sixth and seventh grade teachers were standing in the hall talking and laughing.  I feel that we have really bonded as a team this year, which makes us all stronger teachers because we have multiple people we can rely on in the tough times and laugh with in the good times.  I want to start and end every day with laughter.  It does a body good.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's Not All Flowers and Sausages: First Dates

It's Not All Flowers and Sausages: First Dates

Reading this blog made me smile and cry at the same time. I may be a bit emotional, if you didn't know. These are the moments that make up for all the other moments that make you want to scream in frustration, that make you want to quit.

Conferring Reminders � TWO WRITING TEACHERS

Conferring Reminders � TWO WRITING TEACHERS: "A Mid-Workshop Share is always a good way to redirect students who have started chatting during work time."

A wonderful idea if you are in reading or writing workshop. : Entertainment : "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" : Entertainment : "The Invention of Hugo Cabret"

Amazon has a four and half minute video of Brian Selznick talking about his book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. This is book is different from other chapter books you have read. Selznick seamlessly combines text with pictures. There are sections were there are only pictures to tell story. You cannot skip past these pictures or you will loose part of the story. If you haven't read this book, then you should definitely check it out.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Teachers Love SMART Boards: SMARTBoards and Scholastic Interactive Whiteboard Activities

Teachers Love SMART Boards: SMARTBoards and Scholastic Interactive Whiteboard Activities

Check out this blog post about what Scholastic has to offer in the way of SMART Board activities. As teachers, you are extremely busy and I appreciate this. I hope to post ideas that help your planning time go more smoothly and more quickly.

Tales from the School Bus: Overheard - Two for the Price of One

Still catching up on blog reading....This reminds me of why I love teaching middle school students. They are unpredictable. You never know what the day will hold. Sometimes that isn't a good thing, but in the following blog it is. After reading it, I couldn't help but smile.

Tales from the School Bus: Overheard - Two for the Price of One

I did get to take the 7th graders bowling. This trip was a reward for good behavior. As always with trips, lots of random and unexplainable things happen. This happened on the bus en route to the bowling alley:

7th Grade Boy(standing up randomly): When I say Hillshire!, You say Farm!

7th Grade Boy(continuing after a pause): HILLSHIRE!

Whole Bus(including myself and the teachers): FARM! GO MEAT!

Complete with pumping arms in air victoriously.

Yes. It was a good ride.

The Bus Driver

How the author "built" the text....

As I was getting caught up on the blogs that I follow, I found this tidbit.  I really like how she describes nonfiction text structure in a way that kids can easily follow.

Recently, I have worked with kids a lot on nonfiction text structure. We talk about how the author "built" the text-- whether it is a house (all about one thing), a duplex or triplex (comparing several different things) or an apartment (a little bit of information about a whole bunch of different but related topics (e.g. all about bears, with one page devoted to grizzlies, and one page devoted to polar bears, and one page devoted to brown bears).
---Blog:  Carol's Corner (January 26)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Taylor Mali: What teachers make | Video on

Taylor Mali: What teachers make | Video on

Teachers make a difference every day in students' lives. This is one poet's response to the saying "Those who can't do, teach." I dedicate this to all the teachers I know and those I don't because I believe we are here to help students in anyway possible.


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