Friday, March 30, 2007

How Fitting

I had to laugh at myself last night...I got a haircut and after she styled it, I said, "Wow, it's so becoming." Then I thought, how funny, that's the title of my blog. I love how God shows us who we are Becoming through Him.

On a side note, we started the Action of Apology. Two actions occurred yesterday that required an action of apology...okay, three, but one involved a teacher. It was interesting to see what types of actions they would come up with to "make up" the fact that they had hurt someone: write a letter, write a letter of apology to a teacher, and play with them at recess.

I can tell it's almost time for Spring Break, my poor kids couldn't be quiet during Reading Workshop if their life had depended on it today...however, when it was time for their Reading Responses to me, I could hear the crickets chirping, they were so quiet. Wonder what the afternoon will hold!?!

To all teachers, have a great break!!! To all parents, enjoy spending time with your kids over break.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Okay, so in reading about The Responsive Classroom (some other blogs I've seen out there and a method NYC teacher was talking about), I want to start working with my kids on their apologies. So many times we say sorry and sometimes that just doesn't cut it. There was a teacher who created an action of apology chart...if you insult someone, you must pay them a compliment...

Today, we've had two problems occur already. One girl nailed (with her fingernails) another girl in she had to do something nice for her. She made a butterfly out of paper for her. Another girl stole a reading bag from another student. Why? Who knows! She can't even explain to me why she did it. She'll need to come up with something nice to do for him.

Is it going to help students take responsibility for their actions? I don't know, but we'll see!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Perfect Timing

Okay, so most days if you're being observed, it never goes the way you want it...Not today! My friend and fellow teacher, Barb, came and wanted to see some of the things we are doing in our classroom. During our Reading Workshop conferences, I talked with one girl about tricky words and maybe her partner would be able to help her. I grouped my students with partners more in ability-based groups because they would be able to show each other different strategies (the plan) and wouldn't you know, it happened!!! R. showed B. her tricky words and then B. used a different strategy (chunking the words) that R. wasn't trying. Perfection!

Then, during Writing Workshop, we were showing how to edit our prompts and we inserted quotation marks because the student hadn't. As I was ready to dismiss the kids, one of the boys was waving his hand and said..."But Miss Laker, when you use quotation marks, you need to capitalize the beginning of the sentence, even if it's in the middle of the sentence."

All of the glory goes to God for these amazing minds...soaking up the knowledge and passing it on to others. I am just so blessed to be in this profession at times and to see students becoming true readers and writers (they beg to stay in from recess to read, who does that?). Thank you to my mentors, you have done so much for helping, encouraging, and molding me. I am truly appreciative!

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I notice a difference between my class and others...not necessarily good or bad, but during a read-aloud from a speaker where all of the second grade classes were together, it just seemed that some of my students made more out loud comments than the others. Could this be from my read-aloud time where we share predictions, connections, and thoughts about our stories? I'm excited because I found a sequel to Gooney Bird Greene (thanks to Barb for getting me hooked) and am starting that today. I had the kids create response journals for during our read-aloud time to see if that helps, plus I'll be able to see their actual thinking or lack thereof.

In response to Ruth's comment - I am using the same colored groups as in Writing Workshop, but trying not to conference with same group on one day...I am using one notebook per group and using notebook paper and writing down what I notice, what they are doing well, what I taught, and any goals for the future. The kids seem to be making more comments to me about their reading and especially their reading outside of school, what they are doing at home that we do in class.

Cute story - one of my girls, after Christmas, talked about how she got "do-rags" for Christmas. She had worn one and exclaimed (she has a firecracker personality anyways) that the do rags are for when her mom doesn't do her hair. Fast forward to today, she asked me, if I knew why she was wearing one this morning? I responded, "because your mom didn't do your hair???" "No, she likes snowmen!" Duh, her do-rag had snowmen on it...What was I thinking!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Not Bad!

Okay, so our sushi wasn't half bad! A little triangular rather than circular, but it'll happen!

However, I overslept 20 minutes this morning, so I just didn't straighten my hair and scrunched it instead...wrong choice! As my students entered my class today, I heard comments of, Are you having a bad hair day? I think she forgot to brush her hair...Is it crazy hair day? That will teach me to try a new hairstyle. Kids are the best critics aren't they.

For those who are dying to know...Reading conferences are going okay. I'm getting to a group a day and still feel like I am treading water barely, but they will come easier and easier every year I know!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Small Steps

So, I've been trying lots of new things this year:

  • reading conferences

  • writing workshop being more fully implemented

  • not using the basal as much

  • reading professional books during the school year

  • bulletin boards

  • sushi (although not with fish, so technically it doesn't qualify)

Tonight, I'm actually going to attempt to make my own sushi...I'll let you know how it goes. And as promised, I've included 2 pictures to show the bulletin board.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Okay, so I am going to brag just a little. But I'm bragging about God, so hopefully that cancels out the bad notion of bragging. I love getting ideas and knowing there was no way that I could come up with it myself.

Example: Today in writing workshop, I didn't know what I was going to do (sorry Ruth!) and lo and behold, thought about how we could stretch emotions. I had the kids write down an emotion before library and then during writing workshop, I went to work. I walked in (okay, stomped) threw my papers down, and then made an angry face and yelled at them. I quickly changed my temperament and then talked to the kids about how they knew what I was feeling. They gave me lots of descriptions and then some of them got a chance to play Emotion was a neat lesson, I think.

Also, another example (I'll post the picture later.) was a spring bulletin board that came to me as I was laying in bed (another brilliant idea by the Teacher) and thought how I could use word families to create a board. My students came up with a word family and then based on their color used the circles to create clouds, flowers, caterpillars, and even butterflies (although they look like birds). I, personally, like it very much! I'll do that one again for sure!

Friday, March 9, 2007

I Think It's Working!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just when I think I'm not making a difference, God goes ahead and makes a difference! In my reading workshop materials, it talked about students should learn to transfer what they do in class to home...Today, in writing workshop, one of my students wrote me a letter. It states, "Miss Laker you are the best teacher ever. And when I'm home I throw my eyes ahead of my voice all the time. My sister doesn't know how." I changed the spelling and punctuation so you could read it.

I used her letter to teach the kids to take their reading home with them...their mission? To read everything in sight this weekend, even the closed captioning on tv, dvds, and video games. We're having a community circle on Monday to share their findings. I'm kind of excited.

btw - throwing your eyes ahead of your voice means your eyes are further along than your mouth (we do it naturally, struggling readers need to learn how.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

One Down...Too Many To Go

Well, the first reading conferences seemed to go smooth. I know next year will be better because I will have read all of my books that I am purchasing to help teach reading in a better way. Most of the conferences seemed to go over tricky words, which I know is important still in second grade. I learned my lesson in writing workshop that there is more to a conference than editing and spelling...that's kinda my view of reading workshop, there's got to be more than tricky words. I know it will come, but if you have any topics and ideas, post away!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Comfort Zones

Today marks a new day in my teaching. I am going to try for the first time, reading conferences. I must admit, I'm a little scared. That's probably why I haven't tried it yet...I'm hoping to set it up well by talking with the class before about what they expect of me during a conference and what should I expect of them.

It made me think this morning as I drove in (btw, saw the sunrise, so beautiful) that I'm stepping out of a comfort zone. I've done this a little more each year...talking with the athletically fit at the Y (yes, they can be intimidating) and asking them for ideas in lifting, joining the drama team (you'd be surprised how easy it is to act like a fool in front of your class but incredibly difficult with adults), and even starting this blog (I was traumatized in college when a teacher told me I didn't write well, because I wrote how I talked...gee thanks).

But if I never step out, then God never gets the chance to show his glory and show his splendor in my, what are your comfort zones and where are you willing to step out?

Friday, March 2, 2007

Loving Kindess

So I always hear this term in the Bible about God toward us...but I got to experience it in my class the other day. It had been a rough day (a precursor to this lovely snow, my kids are great barometers) and I was at my wit's end regarding their procedures and how they were working. So after chewing them out (although, it's only a few that cause all of the problems) for what I felt what the 100th time...a boy comes up to my desk and hands me a page of small stickers. He told me they were for our 100 % papers...his kindness and generosity to me was unbelievable. It was so sweet that he had thought of me and gave them to me, especially on a day where I felt like Miss Viola Swamp (Miss Nelson is Missing, if you haven't read it). Kids are great at showing how God feels towards us...always loving, always giving, always generous...May I remember this lesson and extend it back to the kids in my classroom.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

What have I created?

Okay, so I've been trying new elements of Reading Workshop and trying Writing Workshop this year in a more productive way. Yesterday, one of my boys told me about how he uses the writting workshop lesson and looks for it when he reads during his choice time. I had him share this idea yesterday with the was already bad to begin with. Bad meaning, kids come up constantly to me during their reading to tell me what they think about their book or something that they notice or parts they find funny...well, yesterday, I had kids showing me conversation (we're studying dialogue), the -er and -est words, and connections that they had a book because of other books we've read this year.

I know it's a good thing and I'm going to have to work on managing their comments and thoughts during Reading Workshop. I've created little reading monsters. Got to love it!