Tuesday, May 26, 2015

{book room help} #sol15


The Slice of Life is
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 
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I'm having a hard time today with writing a slice of life.  I start writing.  Then delete.  I write more.  And then delete.  The stories are just not ready to be shared.  I'm still finding the moments, the words, and the messages.

My brain is full of so much more.  You know what I'm talking about.  There is a lot going on during the end of the year.   End of the year benchmarking.  Team meetings.  Documentation of instruction and learning.  Celebrations.  To do lists.  All the while I try not to count down the days.

And then exciting news .... every school in my district is being blessed with a book room.

Late in the game, but the teachers are excited ... resources and leveled books at their fingertips.

Add it to my overflowing to do list.  Creating a plan.  Thinking about organization.  Book bins.  Shelves.  Collecting books to start the book room.  New books ordered for the fall.  This is one item of business that is consuming my brain.

It's a BIG undertaking for my friend and colleague, Karen.  But we are ready for this challenge!  And we want it done right.

So ... can we ask for your help?  

Feel free to leave a comment here, or share your thoughts or even a picture or two with me (@litlearningzone) on Twitter using the hashtag #FrostBookRoom.

Tell us about your school leveled book room.
What do you LOVE about your book room?
What would you change about your book room?
How is it organized?
How do you check out books?
How do you keep it organized?
Tell us your book room celebrations!
Tell us your book room struggles!

We want to hear it all!  Thank you for your book room help!

Perhaps this will open space in my brain so that next Tuesday I can share a true slice of life.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

#cyberPD: Share YOUR Book Stack



This is our fifth annual #cyberPD summer learning event and we are more excited than ever!  

Our #cyberPD group has a new meeting place -- #cyberPD Google Community --  and Cathy Mere, Laura Komos, and I are anticipating YOU joining our community and conversations.
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It's almost that time of year.  School is quickly coming to a close.  A little extra free time is in the near future.  There will be time for sleeping in.  There will be time for vacations and get-a-ways.  There will be time to just sit and chat.  There will be time to slow down life.  

And there will be lots of time to read.   Early in the morning.  The whole afternoon.  Late into the night.  Whether it's picture books, MG books, YA books, or even a PD book or two.  Uninterrupted time to just read.   

I know you.  You will be reading a PD book over the summer.  That book that will make you think differently about your classroom.  And then you know you'll want to talk with someone about that book.   Of course, sharing your thinking with others will stretch your thinking even more.  Fresh ideas for when you head back to the classroom in the fall.  

That's what #cyberPD does for you:  Provides an opportunity to read a common book, share your thoughts, and grow with educators across the globe.  

You will not want to miss out on the conversations and learning this summer.

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I have quite a collection of PD books stacked at home and at school.  Some have been tasted.  Others fully digested.  And yet some books are still waiting.  Waiting to be discovered and read and talked about.  My book stack grows during the school year.  I have a stack waiting already ... They won't all be tasted or digested this summer, but there will be ONE that I can't wait to read -- alongside YOU and #cyberPD!

My 2015 Summer PD Book Stack

So, are you in?  Share your PD book stack by Monday, May 25th in our new #cyberPD Google Community

We'll be making a decision soon on our summer book read.  Then, come July, we'll all have the selected PD book in hand, sticky notes and highlighters ready, ready for sharing.  Let the true learning begin.  I hope you will join in the conversation too!


You read.  You reflect.  You share. You respond to others.
Then repeat.

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Stay connected via Twitter and our #cyberPD Google Community to learn more about #cyberPD starting in July and to find out more specific details.  For your planning, the book is divided into thirds and each week in July we read, reflect, share, and respond to others.  
Then the last week, a Twitter chat. 


Learn more about #cyberPD:

Got questions, suggestions, or wonders?  Contact one of the #cyberPD co-hosts:
@LauraKomos on Twitter and blogs at Ruminate and Invigorate
Michelle Nero on Twitter @litlearningzone and blogs here at Literacy Learning Zone

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

{hooked} #sol15


The Slice of Life is
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 
_____________________________________________________


How is it that I am counting down the days in panic?

There is still so much to do before that last day when we wave goodbye for summer.  Praying that I helped hook my readers into reading to continue throughout the long, hot days of "There's nothing to do ..."

Yet, I was able to smile amid these last stressful days.

You see, a fourth grade student that I work with during intervention time wanted to share a book.

Jaden sat down and immediately opened his book.

"What are you reading?" I inquired.

"Oh, this is a new book that my mom bought for me."  He WANTED to share a book that he is reading.  I encouraged the book talk.  And his friends in the group listened.

"Tell us a little about the book and why you like it so much."

Jaden provided us with a great overview of the book.  We discussed the blurb, and I also shared the summary statement on the inside front cover.  Jaden highlighted everything mentioned in the summary.  A perfect mini-lesson review on summarizing.

After sharing the book, Adam asked to see the back of the book.  He noticed another book cover.

"Oh, that's what I want to read next!  It's the next book in the series.  I can't wait until my mom buys it for me," Jaden informed us.

Yes!  Readers always have an idea of what they want to read next ... this led into mini-lesson review number two.

I was beaming with delight in the moment.  Thinking about my other readers, wondering if they saw the beauty in this book conversation.

Jaden caught my twinkling, dreaming eyes.  "So, are we going to get our five minutes to read?"

"I can't say no after all that!"  During our forty minutes together, when students are arriving, the first five minutes are dedicated to checking in borrowed books, checking out new books to read, or reading a book.

This was the first time Jaden didn't want to miss this opportunity to read.  He is hooked!

And I'm thrilled because he is ready for summer and more reading.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

{like riding a bike} #sol15


The Slice of Life is
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 
_____________________________________________________

This Mother's Day I received two special gifts.

One.  The BIG gift of time.  My husband took our now five year old daughters for a couple hours in the afternoon so that I could have some time for me.  In a moment like that, it's quite sad to say that I almost didn't know what to do with myself! 

My initial thought was to open up my school bag that I drag home every day but rarely touch.  But I didn't.  Then I thought I should just start a load of laundry, do the dishes and clean off the counter.  Nope, I walked away.

I found myself on the couch.  I learned more about the BIG planning it takes when visiting Disney.  I studied the Unofficial Guide: Walt Disney Word with Kids 2015.  Tabbing pages and making notes.  I scoured my Disney Pinterest board for tips and hints and suggestions to make that planning easier.  I found out my husband has been doing a lot of planning for this trip and I was just touching the surface of it all!

But the quiet of the house reminded me something was missing.
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Two.  The girls came in all excited from their excursion with Daddy.  Non-stop talking about all the happenings, but only to find out that we were all putting our shoes on for the next BIG adventure.

Bike riding.   I'm talking BIG kid bike riding.  As in, Daddy was taking off the training wheels and we are doing this bike riding for real.  

This was BIG.  The girls were all smiles with excitement, but I could tell there was a little fear.  I forced a little smile knowing I was full of fear.  Daddy and I each walked quickly holding on so they could feel the balancing of the bike.  We rode down the sidewalk to the open running track at the end of the street.  Plenty of space on the track and lots of grass.

It was at this moment, seeing the open track and room to spread our wings, that I thought THIS has to be one of the hardest jobs as a parent.  Teaching a child to ride a bike.  

Slowly, side-by-side, jogging, keep pedaling, balancing, letting go, back-and-forth, stopping. 

And then starting the process all over again.  Girls yelling, "Let go!"  "Aaaggghh!"  "Help me!"

Then it hit me: Teaching a child to ride a bike is a metaphor for life.  I was there next to her, letting go, but grabbing too quickly out of fear.  Letting go again, waiting, wondering, will she take off? Or crash and burn?  All scenarios in real life.  All bumps in the road.  All with possible endings.  

But it's about building independence.  Teaching our children about the freedom to make choices and  learning about consequences in life.  Then learning what to do next -- whether she soars or falls.  

All the while knowing, Mommy and Daddy will always be there ... 

Life is like riding a bike.  And my two five year old girls are learning!  A BIG day at our house!

Two unexpected gifts on Mother's Day!

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Image found on Pinterest


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

{birthday celebrations} #sol15





The Slice of Life is
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join in and share a slice of your life. 
_____________________________________________________

Birthday Celebrations

My baby girls, who will always be my baby girls, were born on May first.  We celebrated their fifth birthday last Friday.  I now have five year olds daughters.

And I cried the night before their birthday.

I sobbed in my husband's arms.  I cried asking him to pray together for them.  The more I thought about it, the more tears that streamed down my cheeks wetting the pillow.  I may have cried myself to sleep the night before ...

But by morning, the tears dried up, and it was all celebrations!  A joyous day full of smiles and laughter.  We are so blessed to treasure and nurture and develop independence with these gifts from God.  There was nothing else to do but celebrate all day long!

However, after I picked up the girls from school that morning, P. told me that when they were playing outside, she cried by the swings.

"Why? What happened?" I inquired.

"I just want to stay four.  I only want to be four years old," P. responded.

Then later in the afternoon, she saw the balloons and presents.  More smiles and laughter.  I think she accepted her fate of turning five years old.  Now she was okay with it.

And today, we celebrate five years and four days.

"Wait.  Will I be six tomorrow?" M. asked.

I smiled and responded, "Oh no.  We are not rushing it!  Let's enjoy being FIVE for now."  And I took a deep breath to remember this moment of being five.






Tuesday, April 28, 2015

{life} #sol15


Slice of Life hosted at the
Join in and share a slice of your life.
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It's one of those weeks in life.  
There is so much going on.
Everyday. 
There is something. 
Beyond all the every day stuff.

I'm excited, planning, 
nervous, worrying, 
shopping, wondering, 
meeting, more planning
frantic, and exhausted.

Checking items 
off my to do list. 
Between home and school.  
Celebrations of learning.  
Celebrations of birthdays.

Yet, it is the week 
with such an important day.
May first. 
That special day 
five years ago --

When my husband and I 
were given the most precious gifts. 
Gifts that could never return.  
Gifts that mean the world to us.  
Gifts that are only for us.

My baby girls 
are going to have a birthday.  
And they are turning 
five.  
Yes, five.

The days are long, 
yet the years are short.  
I'm sure feeling it this week.
There is so much going on.  
It's one of those weeks.

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Image from Pinterest


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

{the sandbox} #sol15


Slice of Life hosted at the
Join in and share a slice of your life.
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It was a long, cold winter.  We have been teased with glimpses of spring and even a couple summer like days of sunshine, blue skies, and a warm breeze.  Last Saturday provided us one of those days.  It was just beautiful, so we made our way outside as soon as we could.

We worked in the yard all morning: raking old leaves, picking up sticks, trimming plants, and mulching.  Lots of mulching.  The yard looks fresh and new and ready to grow!

The girls eyed the sandbox all morning.  "When can we open up the sandbox?" was the question of the day, repeated over and over, hoping that the answer would be "Right now."

"After lunch.  Then you will have the whole afternoon to play in it." Then I quickly added, " ... as long as the sand is clean and not too wet!"  Sometimes there needs to be a disclaimer.  I wasn't sure what we may find when we opened the sandbox.

After lunch finally came, and Daddy removed the bricks holding down the double layer of tarp that protected the sandbox all winter long.  One layer peeled off.  Two layers peeled off.  Then finally the sandbox cover was removed to reveal the sandbox just as it was left many months ago.  

Full of sand and toys. Toys of all kind: cars, trucks, shovels, buckets, sand castle molds, and bridges.  And the building and making began.  And the sharing and imaginations ran wild.  

For over four hours -- with maybe one bathroom break -- the girls played endlessly in their sandbox.  They built roads and mountains and lined up all the cars and trucks.  They built castles and houses and pretended to live in another world.  I had just as much fun listening in on their sandbox conversations and watching them create all afternoon.

It was dinner time with bath time planned right after.  After all the possible warnings that I could give, it was time to end the sandbox fun.

"OK, girls. Time for dinner.  We need to come inside and wash our hands," I called to them wondering how many times I would need to make this request.

"OK, Mommy.  But, can we come back out to play in the sandbox after dinner?"  M. asked ever-so-sweetly with a little cock of her head.

I smiled and thought:  Who would have known the day the sandbox opened up for the season was so magical?  

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

{life happens} #sol15



Slice of Life hosted at the
Join in and share a slice of your life.
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I had a difficult time deciding what to write about today.  I noticed that over the month of March, when I was writing every day, I could easily see stories all around me.  They shouted in my ear, "There's a great slice. That's a perfect story to share.  I can't wait to capture this moment."  The writing began in my head and then scribbled on sticky notes.  Because the stories were always there.  However, the vision of storytelling has faded with the opportunity of writing every day, even though stories are here for me to tell.  And, so, today, this happened ... because I still decided to just write.
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Life happens 

The stories are always there, 
waiting to be written ...

Because life happens and in life
there are stories to be told.

Then life really happens.  
Busyness.  Everyone.  Even me.

And life moves 
in fast forward.
Projects at work 
date night 
dance class 
meetings 
birthday parties 
playing outside
and all the every day things
to do in life
like laundry 
dishes 
paying bills 
picking up and 
oh, sleep.  

Because life happens and in life 
there are stories to be told.

Then life really, really happens.
Sickness.  Everyone.  Even me. 

And then life stops.  
Just like that.  
No projects at work 
date night 
dance class 
meetings 
birthday parties 
playing outside
and all the every day things
to do in life
like laundry 
dishes 
paying bills 
picking up and 
oh ... lots of sleep.  

Because life happens and in life -- 
and in sickness and in health -- 
there are stories to be told.

Then life really happens.
Healthy.  Everyone.  Even me.

And life begins to slowly 
return back to normal.  
A few projects at work 
date night 
dance class 
meetings 
birthday parties 
playing outside
and all the every day things
to do in life 
like laundry 
dishes 
paying bills 
picking up and 
oh, back to a regular sleep routine.

Because life happens and in life
there are stories to be told.

The stories are always there, 
waiting to be written ...

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