Monday, November 30, 2015

A Reading Drought

I'm an avid reader, the kind who had a seriously difficult time going to bed last Friday night at 1:00 due to a book I couldn't put down, but sadly this school year has taken a toll on my reading plans. I've been in a bit of a reading drought. This post is catching everyone up, at least those who care, on what I've read since August. 

I liked this one. Historical fiction has become an enjoyable genre for me.

 I liked this historical fiction one too.

The technical jargon is way over my head, but the plot is great.

This book gave me some good ideas for how to be more open-ended with math problems.

This one gave me so much to think about. It's a must-read for elementary teachers.

Elementary math teachers need to read this book. It's both wise and practical.

This book is a sequel to one of my favorites of the year (Me Before You). I liked it okay, but it was nowhere near as amazing as the first. I still adore this author.

I enjoyed this one a lot. It was an enjoyable read.

This was a touching story.

I've read every book in this series and loved them. This one was a bit slow though.

I liked this one.

You have to read this one. I couldn't put it down and read it in less than 24 hours. It was my favorite from this list.

Here's to no more droughts. I like my books too much.

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

The 3 Hs

The 3 Hs are part of every morning in room 18. As I greet kids at the door, they have a choice of whether they want to give me a...

High five

Most choose the hug, but sometimes there's a handshake or high five in the mix. (And there are usually a few kids who aren't really touchy feely, which I completely understand, so of course I don't force anything upon them.)

I've been doing this for so long that I don't even remember where I found the idea. All I know is that I can't take credit. :)

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Jane Movement

My teaching life is an overwhelming one this year. I'm spending way too many evening and weekend hours grappling with how to best teach my crew of 26. I just purchased my 5th professional read since school started in hopes of finding something that will help me reach them better. I'm definitely being stretched by this young bunch with a vast range of abilities and personalities. 

In those moments when I'm feeling defeated and like a failure, I can see Jane, with the most beautiful eyes a first grader could ever have, but more importantly, with the most beautiful heart, walking around the corner of the building in the morning holding high for all to see the sign for "character" on her hand. It doesn't matter to her that other kids are running, because she takes my words to heart. "Character is doing what's right even when no one is watching." 

My Jane started a movement that day. Many quickly picked up on it and now come around the corner in the mornings holding up their character signs. Others make the shape of a heart which they hold over their own hearts. That's because I tell them to listen to their hearts. "Your heart will never let you down."

Last week I heard a boy from the room next door saying my name while I was letting my kids in one morning. There he was, holding up the sign for character. I doubt if he even knew what it meant, but the movement was spreading so I hardly cared.

Thank you Jane for reminding me that I'm doing something well. 

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Name Envelopes

As all elementary teachers know, names are powerful tools for literacy learning. With the help of Patricia Cunningham I invest several days at the beginning of the year to celebrate and investigate every name in the room. Check out those ideas here.

One year I figured out that I could do something more with those cut-up names than simply send them home.

I put the name into an envelope.
I tape the child's picture to the front so that it can flip up.
I write the child's name underneath the picture. 

The envelopes become part of word work, and kids of all abilities love to put the names together and then check to see if they're right. Once the envelopes become less thrilling, I send them home.

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