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Showing posts from May, 2011


Motivation comes in all shapes and sizes. My colleague (and great friend), Chris , and I have been pushing each other this year.  Not only do we have great conversations about kids and reaching all learners, we have blogged and twittered our way into the 21st century.  A new genre of learning.  We are not only the teachers incorporating technology into our daily lessons, but we are the learners of this inspiring technology as well.  Learning together. Check out what Chris created:  a prezi.   An online presentation motivating students to read this summer.  I L.O.V.E this!  And, of course, I can't WAIT to try it out for myself!  I could easily make a prezi about where we can catch our students writing this summer! What do you think?   I'm motivated.  What about you?  

This Plus That: More Little Equations

This school year we are counting down the last days of school.  I mean, we all secretly count down the days, but this year for the first time we are doing it together as a school.  We are counting down the last 26 days of school by participating in an ABC countdown.  You know, A is for art creativity day, B is for busy buzzy bee day, C is for compliment day . . . and so on, until Z -- zip up your bags and zoom home for summer!  I have to say, the students are really enjoying each simple, yet fun activity as a break from the normal routines! Well, Monday was M day (secretly that means there are only 13 more days to go).  M is for math activity day.  I teach reading and writing, so how was I going to manage this one?  Of course, we could read a book about  fractions  -- Hershey's chocolate anyone?  We could write our own story problems using our names, or even write about why we love math so much because most kids who struggle with reading love math . . . There are numerous ways to

A Long Walk To Water

A Long Walk To Water , by Linda Sue Park , was recommended by a fellow blogger, Linda at  teacherdance , a couple weeks ago.  I love when teachers share great books; especially books that I may not decide to pick up on my own.  (Sound like any of our students???)  I've recently professed my love for picture books , so I'm not always scouring the internet or bookstores for young adult books.  So keep those recommendations coming! I'm always encouraging my students to share a great book that they have read and loved, and think about who else would enjoy this good read.   (Check out this "gotta read it" form your students can use to recommend a book!)  Well, Linda said that she loved this book , and after reading her post, I was thinking it would be a good read -- even though my schema about the troubled country of Sudan and the 'lost boys' was minimal. What a great read!  I started the book last night and didn't put it down until I finished it!  It

The Best Medicine: You've Got to Try This!

photo © 2009 brendan.adamson | more info (via: Wylio ) Some of the best medicine these days is free. We all need a little dose every now and then to feel better. It doesn't come in a pill or taste like pink bubble gum. But it is good for your health -- a healing gift that keeps on giving. Enjoy a little by yourself, but let me tell you: it's even better when shared with a friend. It will make you feel silly and sometimes you may even cry. It lightens the mood, calms the tempers, diffuses tension, and chases away anger. Some say it can be addicting, but I know for sure it is contagious. What is it you ask?  Where can you find it? How do you get some?  Now? It all starts with a smile and a giggle to follow. Then the laughter arrives.  And it doesn't stop. Laugh.  It's an amazing cure.  Try it.  Just laugh. Feel better?  I sure do.  And it was free! photo © 2009 Justin Cellini | more info (via: Wylio )

End of the Year Crunch

Are you feeling it? Summer is coming. Time is up. Seventeen more days. We're making lists.   Sharing data. Using every last tick of instructional time. She's moving? Oh, they need to be separated. Intensive.  Strategic? Keep an eye on him. We have all year to stress about our students and what we are teaching, yet it catches up to us in May.  We feel the push.  We want what is best for our students and prepare them for the next grade.  We plan extra mini-lessons.  We plan with big ideas.  Then the questions begin:  Did I do enough?  Is she ready?  What about this?  I still need to teach them that.  It feels like May is jammed and crammed. We should be feeling this pressure all school year.  We should feel this concerned and aware of who is sitting in front of us.  We should be worried about what we need to teach them to move them forward.  All. Year.  With excitement and enthusiasm. Let's teach every month as if it's always the last month of school.  I bet

Life's Little Equations

Ok. I'm a reading teacher, so I love books.  All books.  But here is the brutally, honest truth: I L.O.V.E. picture books. I need them. I want them. I have to have them!  I check out books all the time from my local library, but then I fall in love.  I need them. I want them.  I have to have them in my hands!  (Ask my husband, I seriously have a problem.  There is no budget big enough for great books!) I just picked up this book a couple hours ago from the library and I've already purchased in on Amazon!  I need it!  I want it!  And you are going to have to add this book to your collection at home and at school too! One of my local (Chicago) favorite authors is Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  She has written many fun books like Little Pea ,   The OK Book , Yes Day!  and her newest titled: T his Plus That: Life's Little Equations .  Amy plays with words in math sentences and proves to the reader that life is made up of many equations, but it always adds up to something special.

Blogging: Practicing a Craft

photo © 2009 Charles J Danoff | more info (via: Wylio ) Just over three months ago, I thought about venturing into this world of blogging.   It was full of promise and learning and cool technology.  It was intriguing, yet frightful. I want to be the best me no matter what hat I'm wearing or what role I'm playing in my life.  I'm constantly searching for ways to continuously improve: reading, learning, discussing, collaborating, and experimenting with technology.  I want to improve myself as a teacher, a mother, and expand my knowledge and schema about so many topics.  Life-long learner at heart! I decided to take the first step in blogging.  Yet so many questions swirled around in my head:  Did I want to create a professional blog and share my thinking and learning?  Or, what about a personal blog and I could record the details of being a new mom of twin daughters?  What do I write?  Where do I write it?  I think it's going to be difficult to manage one blog, s

First Birthday Celebration

Family and friends arrived with hands full of thoughtful goodies and gifts.  Hugs came with smiles of pure happiness.  Loud laughter echoing.  Constant chatter consuming.  Children floating inside and out.  Babies being bounced from here to there.  Everyone clamoring for their attention.  All trying to hear a giggle or see a smile.  Stunned looks on the babies' faces as they did not know what to think of all this excitement.  Joy in the celebration of our two beautiful daughters on their very first birthday. One year full of . . . smiles   giggles playing  dancing      singing    bathing     eating      changing     changing and more changing prayers      hopes  dreams sleeping      waking   crying rocking       holding    snuggling hugs     loving             kisses questioning surprises     newness      deep breathing comfort.  relief.  peace. two precious angels.  all our love. one. full. year.