Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What to do about conversation?

This might be a long post, but I am seeking advice and opinions. After we have our independent reading time in reading workshop (and I conferenced), we have a sharing time where after seeing it modeled at an Ellin Oliver Keene conference I attended, students share anything they learned about themselves as a reader or something other readers should know. Then students can respond to the speaker before moving on to a new topic.

Question - Is it wrong for students to then ask the speaker, what their favorite part was, favorite page, why do you read those books? I guess these questions won't always come up, especially after we start some deeper comprehension strategies...maybe I'm just expecting too much right now and these questions really do go along with the sharing.

Today I didn't necessarily pay attention to the clock and almost 20 minutes had passed while we were in our sharing time. Some of it, I am loving...I just wonder if asking those questions all of the time is defeating the purpose? Any ideas???

Monday, September 24, 2007


Today I am deviating from my normal classroom talk. Sarah over at Amick's Articles did this and I am copying her because I liked the questions too. They also say that copying can be the biggest form of flattery.

How would someone find you in a crowd? Probably my laugh...or even the fact that I was in a crowd, they would know I was there. The joke is among my friends that they can't go anywhere without me knowing someone.

If you had a secret room in your house what would be in it? I would have a cozy chair, a bookcase with lots of my books that I am currently reading, probably a masseuse too...and you know those chairs at the chiro that you can lay and put your face straight down and rest your arms? one of those too! Basically anything to relax me...

Where do you like to walk to from your house? Normally I run from my house...down a mile and back. But I do like to walk and rollerblade in Winona Lake...a beautiful town that has lots of charm.

How will you change as you grow? I hope I continue to grow in my relationship with Christ, lean on Him more than myself, continue to keep running and pursuing goals that way and become a better teacher. One who reflects and is able to continue to do what's best for my class.

What sort of animal would you like to be? orangutan - they are so cute and I love their expressions...I could sit for hours and watch them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oh Happy Day!

During our sharing, one of our students (who has fallen in love with the Liberty Bell) shared that the bell was rung on special occasions. Another student asked, which occasions? He replied, "When the Constitution of Pennsylvania was signed, the Declaration of Independence and George Washington's b-day." Another student said, "Did you know that George Washington built the bell?" He didn't...although he was pondering it.

About 3 shares later and 10 minutes later...he asked if George Washington was a craftsmen...I wanted to know which he replied and blew me away. His reasoning - his books said that two craftsment built the bell and if George Washington is not a craftsmen, then he didn't build the bell. Wow!

Funny of the day - As I was counting for the kids to FINALLY get to sharing, I was close to 10 and the kids chimed in with 9 and 1/2, 9 and a quarter (they don't get the order, but you know their parents have said it). One girl then chimed in with 9 and a penny, 9 and a funny!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Am I Even Needed?

Today, one of my students brought in a plastic butterfly to show the details on the wing...we studied bees and this connects because of the insect family. As he shared, he talked about how he would show the butterfly. He gave the class two options...he could pass it or he could walk around showing it. One of the boys said, "Let's take a vote." (sounds a lot like me when I give them choices). Then after they decided...the boy overruled their vote and walked around showing the butterfly. I love that this class already has begun to be in charge of discussions and conversation. For a few minutes, I just sat and watched the class in action. They just absolutely amaze me!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sharing Time

I am really excited about how our sharing is coming together. Our assistant principal stopped in during the beginning of it and I asked him to stop and stay to observe it...I'm hoping he enjoyed it as much as I. I love that my students are using kind words...Can you speak up please? And asking questions already to the speaker...what book did you get that from? Why were you thinking that? How did you come up with that?

I absolutely love it!!! Although, I do get tired of the same question, can you speak up please being asked to every speaker, even if people could hear them...Focus lesson on that tomorrow.

Student quote of the week - I read Poor Puppy to the class, same author of Bad Kitty, which the kids love and as I read the part about the puppy dreaming about football in France, one of my boys chimes in..."yeah, France is a great place for golf." Huh...never thought about that.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sharing Today we're kinda getting it. Most of the kids remembered to thank the speaker...they knew to raise their hand to change topics and to cross their fingers to add to a conversation...They EVEN had a few things to "teach" the class. One of the girls reminded the class to check for periods. Apparently, she had forgotten and caught it when she reread her papers. Another shared how they sorted their pages alphabetically (they're doing ABC books) at the end of writing workshop. One shared how she was tired of using just periods so she also put in exclamation points...and yet even one more shared to look in a book for spelling words they may not know...and what was my mini-lesson on??? None of those topics! In fact, I just gave them their papers and reminded to add more to their writing. I love my little sponges!

Also, funny story...but rated PG-13...won't use the word typed out, but you should be able to infer. When I read, the class is very used to asking what words mean (I know...we'll have an inferring lesson in the future) if they aren't sure. For example, some of the words: tilted, increase, posse, horizon. Today, I had the kids come up to set reading goals...and told the next person who was next. One of my girls asked, what does d*ck mean...shocked, I had her come up so could explain where she heard that word and so she'd not say it again in class. She said that I had said can imagine my surprise. I had been telling the kids, you're up now and Sarah (not her name), you're on deck. She hadn't enuciated very well and I then had her repeat it correctly...there's a story you want to clear up before going home to parents.

Monday, September 3, 2007

We're almost ready!!!

Okay, so we have the book bins, the book nooks, the places to get books (which reminds me to get the tubs out this week), our reader's notebooks, what to expect in conferences, we've practiced sharing twice...and this week we are going to start talking about just right books...I'd say our reading workshop is almost ready! We may actually read for more than 15 minutes this week.

Question to others...when do you start reading partnerships with your class?

I'm excited about reading workshop...I'm actually thinking in units...the next unit is Figuring Out Tricky Words. I've already done 3 assessments...just 3 reader's notebooks entries...yay!!! Okay, so they weren't true assessments, but at least I'm able to get some grades, which is what I was nervous about.