Wednesday, May 21, 2008

They're Ready

This Sunday I was reading an article that I linked to after reading Growing Bookworms , a newsletter published by kid lit blogger extraordinaire Jen Robinson. It was titled The Journey to Literacy: Priceless. One of the biggest reminders I took away from this article that I knew I would use at next year's open house are the words Kathleen Hayes mentions in her interview that is featured in this article. "People mistakenly think learning to read is only about seeing things in print and decoding them. Literacy is about speaking and listening and reading and writing." These words reminded me of the balance my students need in reader's and writer's workshop. Kids need opportunities to talk about books with me and each other. They need time to listen to children's literature and books they've created. They need experiences independently crafting books and building strategies for understanding and reading on their own. To me these 4 ingredients seem to be the keys to a successful recipe for literacy learning. I thought further about the speaking and listening pieces. I began to think about how speaking and listening are huge life skills. My students this year have needed to think out loud, they've needed me to listen to them and they've needed practice listening to each other. I have had to be patient with them and there were days when I wasn't but I was aware that they all needed to heard. This week they have come together. This week all the speaking and listening practice has paid off because they are finally hearing each other. I was so worried I would never get that end- of- the- year -feeling of "they're ready!" Today I knew that they are ready.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I was tagged by Megan Germano from Read, Read, Read for a MEME and here goes...

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing ten years ago?
moving into my first home
finishing my 3nd year of teaching
playing on a co-ed soccer team

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
get to the grocery has been over a week and my kids are moaning about the bare cupboards
report cards

What are some snacks you enjoy?
Trader Joe's Pita Chips
Potato chips
Mixed Nuts

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
own my home
give more time and money to others

What are your bad habits?
forgetting birthdays
telling my husband "we need to clean out the garage" when I really mean "will you do it?"
not taking more time to just sit on the weekends

What are five places where you have lived?
Dublin...I am an Ohio girl!

What are five jobs you have had?

What people do you want to tag?
Literate Lives
Amick's Articles
Authentic Learner

Monday, May 12, 2008


These letters MOOY are actually the way my Mo spelled my name on the Mother's Day card he made me. After reading it to myself, I asked him while pointing at the word, if it spelled my name. He immediately said, "yes but I don't know how to spell it right." So I said, "Well, how do you spell it?" He said, "M-O-M-M-Y." I told him, "it sounds like you do know how to spell it. Let's see what letters you wrote right on the card." We looked at the M and then noticed he needed one O instead of two OO's that should have been M's. This little lesson brought me right back into the classroom. My Mo did just what many of the writers and spellers do in my classroom.

1. He is taking risks writing words independently.
2. He knew after looking at his word that he spelled it incorrectly.
3. He has a sense of himself as a speller and is beginning to understand that words can be spelled correctly or incorrectly.
4. He knew how to spell the word he wrote incorrectly after being asked to think about it (gosh this happens often in fluent writing with first graders).
5. He was able to compare what he had right and what was missing in his word.

I can't help but think about what this helps me understand about my writers as spellers. My first thought is that I have to remember that spelling and revision go hand in hand. Younger kids need time to come back to reread their writing and notice their strengths and weaknesses as spellers. Ooo, I will be thinking about goals for next year.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Seizing the Day on Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!!!
Even though the weather was miserable here in Dublin, Ohio, I have enjoyed every bit of this day. I think it it because I told my husband (days before) that I would be most happy doing just what I wanted to do. I didn't know exactly what that was until today. As a mom with younger children (5,7 and 8) and a teacher of young kids(6-7 yr olds), I knew that I wanted a day away. I love my immediate family but we are with each other all the time and I decided not to feel guilty being away from them on Mother's Day. So, I spent the entire day with my own Mom and it was heaven (it helps that we enjoy the same things). We walked to breakfast, talked, decided to sit on the couch (I never do this) and watch a movie, read magazines, ate ice cream, planned a trip to Florida this summer and just hung out. I am rejuvenated after was just what I needed ( my mom was thrilled too).

I also thought about a mother I watched and then briefly spoke to as I was waiting to eat breakfast at the local First Watch. She was juggling an infant while her husband sat on a bench next to her 4 year old who was moaning "I am soo hungry!" I looked at her and smiled saying "I know the feeling." (I don't know if I should have said anything but I felt compelled to console her and the frustration she was having) She replied "looks like you don't have your kids today." She then looked at her husband and said "that's what I would have liked to have too." Don't worry, her own children weren't aware of the conversation. It didn't appear that she was saying I don't love you family, just "I need a break." I remember feeling the same way a few years ago. We do need breaks and it is so hard to find time for them. I just decided that this year Mother's Day was about me and my mom.

Every mom feels a bit different about this day. It has taken me 8 years as a mom to figure out what works for me and I am happy to say that this year I was comfortable enjoying the time with my own mom, away from everyday stress of meals, dishes and clean up and for this year, ironically, even time away from my own family. I don't know if I will feel this way in the years to come. I have to balance my mom, my husband's mom and of course the fact that I am a mom. How do we make everyone happy? I can't predict yet how I'll feel about even next year's Mother's Day. I was just happy I made executive decisions for myself this year.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mom's out there!!! Enjoy today!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Reading Moment

Each Saturday morning I take time to visit the blogger's world and check in with Choice Literacy to check out the weekly newsletter and featured articles. As I was reading to myself this morning, my five year old kept tugging at my arm. "Wanna read Mommy?" he said. My first thought was no, I am right in the middle of my own thing. I forgot he was there and read on. A few minutes later he tugged again and then started to climb on my lap. I then remembered how I said no to reading to him before bed last night because it was late, it was Friday and I was tired. As I stared at the screen I told him in my teacher-like voice to grab 3 books and meet me in the family room. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "I awready have 17 books in the family room." Ok, it is time for me to read to my son (I thought)! I closed up the laptop and we curled up together enjoying books!

Later, I thought about how Mo(my five year old) is loving books, making choices about what he wants to read, finding a place that is comfortable to read and doing this independently. Wow, I have been working to help 22 first graders do this all year. It is so cool to watch it happen so naturally at home.