Friday, November 28, 2008

I am still here...

Having been back from NCTE for days (maybe even weeks) now, I have had some time to think about what I took away from the fabulous three days of learning in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. I think the session I attended by Tim Tyson helped me see the ongoing need for incorporating technology into authentic learning. Tim was an amazing presenter. The two Katie W Ray sessions helped me just first love KWR even more (she is so real and funny) and remember how good mentor texts are crucial for writers. The Regie Routman session helped me remember teaching is about putting kids first. She was awesome.

I was swooning when I met Debbie Miller in my hotel lobby because she is one of my heroes ( I swooned really after she had gone...don't worry I didn't make a huge fool of myself) I felt blessed to have met with her and share a little technology learning that Mary Lee was graciously guiding Karen and I with in our hotel lobby.

I am keeping it short these days as life gets crazier in the midst of the holidays. I found a ton of books that will be out this winter and spring..favorite sequels to my favorites. I will share soon.
Happy back to school after Thanksgiving break!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A day away

Report cards are ready
Plans in their place
I'm almost ready to get outta this place!
A trip to the bank, the cleaners and store
are on my list before I walk out the door.
I am anxious to hear from authors I've read
Anderson, Wood-Ray, Routman, Tankard. ( not the closest rhyme but you get the idea)
Don't worry, I'll keep you posted on the sights that I see
during my very first trip to NCTE!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Do you love shopping for new shoes?

It has been a wet and gloomy day here in Dublin, Ohio. What better way to cheer up then to take a quick browse at the new releases in the children's section of the library. Today as I was returning an over due dvd, I did jut that. I was pleasantly surprised to find poetry! I am always on the look out for new poetry that primary kids will enjoy. Franki recently discovered a new find on my list called Bill Martin Jr.'s Big Book of Poetry. Check it out here!

I happened to discover a book by Marilyn Singer called Shoe Bop! Shoe Bop begins with the words...Today my sneaker died. These words share the page with a pair of torn up purple sneakers. The story in this text is driven by short poems that Marilyn has written to compliment the journey of a little girl picking out new shoes at the shoe store. Who doesn't love getting new shoes? I have boys and they love new shoes as much as I do.

As the actual short poems tell many of the detailed parts of the story, we are given larger titles in larger text that help us along the story like...the salesman thinks he's being helpful. After this title, we enjoy short poems that tell about the shoes he tries selling ...poems about Mary Janes, Loafers and saddle shoes. The voice of the little girl jumps back into the story when we read a title called...Maybe I should get party shoes instead. The author then has short poems about dress up shoes, fancy sandals and High Heels. I like this one.
High Heels
I like how it feels

to wear high heels,
platforms or wedges.

I can peek over hedges.

I can reach a tall shelf.

I am so proud of myself.
Mama says, "No,
wait till you grow."

But isn't it true
that's what heels
make you do?
Marilyn takes us through the rest of the shopping trip with poems about many other kinds of for exploring, shoes that are noisy, light-up shoes, shoes I used to wear, and shoes I've never worn at all. The ending is not surprising as the little girl finally chooses a pair of new is the style and color that leaves you smiling. These poems are short, sweet and readable for primary kids. I love the way this book is laid out and I love how I will be able to talk to kids about how poetry is storytelling.

You can visit Marilyn's site for quotes and notes about writing stories and poems. One that warmed me comes from writer, Walter Mayes. He says "A poem is a communication from one soul to another that makes one or both hearts sing." I can't wait to ask my own students what poetry means to them.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Finding time to post

Well, it has been yet another crazy week. I can't seem to find time to read and write what I would like to be thinking about. Since I have a few moments before jumping in the car for my son's hockey game, I thought I would list a few thoughts.

1. I am through 5, yes five full report cards including comments. Before getting this done, I had to go back to my assessments for refreshers on my kids. Math assessments, notes I make while kids read and running records for a few and the most abstract...writing. I have kept a growing portfolio for my writers, student reflection for Sept and Oct published pieces and a rubric I created for our Oct unit on story writing (small moment, personal narrative...whatever you like calling it). I am not sure if I liked jumping into story writing this early in the year for first graders but this group as a whole seemed ready and you know we will come back to it all year. It also is the biggie for first grade in terms of Ohio standards. Next week we will start a unit I found in Katie W Ray's About the Author's. It is a fun way to help kids understand and craft pieces using punctuation.

2. I just received my very first NCTE convention looks more like the NCTE bible for the convention being held in San Antonio, TX. I am a first timer at this convention and can't wait!! Any bloggers with tips...I will take them!

3. I read Punk Farm this week after buying it at Border's this week. Well I never expected it to be such a hit. I read it aloud and my students immediately wanted to hear it again. "Again, again!" they chanted. We read it again . I just went to search info about the book and realized there is a Punk Farm on Tour as well. I also found the web page Punk Farm Space. This page has a version of Old Mac Donald from the story. It is a riot. I am absolutely playing the song for the kids tomorrow especially after trying to imitate what it would sound like ourselves. Very fun...

4. I have been noticing that my kids feel that my husband and I are nagging to much (which we are ) and we think they are not listening and complaining too much (which they are). We sat down for a family talk about what to do about it and also laid down the law about respect. We all agreed to start helping one another. We'll see how it goes. I think the conversation is know just like in the classroom. We'll see how it goes.
Have a great week!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Taking a day

Yesterday, I had to take a day off from school. It was hard. I didn't allow myself to stress about all the things I should be doing or could be doing. When my mind would wander toward assessment work, plans, upcoming report cards or ideas for differentiating in math, I had to intentionally turn my direction of thinking. It was good...I think. Now it is Sunday and I am beginning to overload. I have to get to the grocery, hockey practice, the library and then to school before the day is over. I was up early and accomplished quite a bit but the day will feel like it is shorter with the time change. Is there ever enough time? I am taking deep breaths and am off to jot down some plans. 24 days until Thanksgiving break. Happy Sunday.