Friday, October 30, 2009

What is happening?

On Wednesday, we had a sharing circle so three students could share what they did in their reading that others can do. After talking with another teacher, I asked the students to first ask themselves what the speaker was teaching them before they ask what they were teaching the readers. One of the students wasn't quite getting his idea across about being deliberate in stopping and asking questions as they read (our new strategy) so a student did ask what they were teaching.

He explained (after a little help with me) and another reader asked him a question. One of my girls popped in as he was sharing the answer and asked why he was only looking at that student. (Woo hoo...she was getting the point of eye contact with everyone.) He explained that he was looking at the person that asked him the question. (He understood that you look at people when you answer their questions). Another girl pops in and tells the group that we shouldn't interrupt his teaching. (She understands that people need to wait their turn to talk.)

It was amazing!!! So glad I was paying attention as they were sharing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I am in a Bible study about Esther through LifeWay with Beth Moore as the leader. Once again, God has drawn together my reading of the OT to match His perfect timing. I am currently in 1 Samuel and with reading through the OT so far, I can see where the history of meanness resonated with the Jews and Amalekites. It was amazing as she was talking how all of the pieces came together and made sense. And knowing this, I can rest in Him and what He has planned for me.

Tonight's lesson was mostly about the history of meanness between these two groups of people, but asked some very relevant questions that I am posing to you...I pray that as you read these words, God opens your eyes and begins a revolution of kindness where you are.

One of the points was that meanness perceives a threat and that woman are often the worst critics of our own kind. So, when you (and I mean you) perceive a threat, what are you measuring yourself against? What are you comparing yourself to? Who is your rival and how much time and energy are you wasting on it? What is at the root of it? Insecurity is at the heart of rivalry.

As Beth was speaking, sitting there and listening to it, I know many of the answers in my head and heart. Now the hard part will be to identify it and hold to the Truth that I know is real.

Thanks for joining me on this entry...And if you're game, what are your answers to these questions? I'm sure I'll be posting some of my own answers very shortly!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


What do you do when you have 14 boys and only 5 girls...workshop is very different this year. Last year, the girls would try something and then the guys would too...this year the boys just don't seem to take the initiative. I also don't quite know what to do with my students that receive special services for writing workshop. When they are "finished" with their writing, they think it's okay to put everything away and just sit there while everyone else is still working...huh. They did offer to get a book. I know in a few months, I'll look back and see growth in their stamina, but it's just getting old.

And while I'm on the subject of complaining...I just need my personal space...that's why there is a bee on the floor. Stop, kids, stop! And for the 4,999th time, if there's a scan card problem or it says to see your teacher, put it in the basket and then walk away.

Okay, I feel better now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All in a day's work...

It started with the coffee cup left on the top of the car at school. I got it before school began, thankfully.

* My kids love Edward!!! They cheer when it's time to read. They ask what words we discussed daft, discern, skivvy, and miraculous. Which brought up what does miraculous mean and breaking it down into miracle. A student immediately came up with Miracle Whip. Not quite.

* As my students were cleaning out their desks, one of my cherubs was upset because someone threw away his banana (snack for the day). I asked her why. She said it was because it was black. He said it was only bruised. Who was right? Unfortunately, I told him I wouldn't eat it (it was more black than yellow and had a few dents in it.)

* Odd answers. Question - How long is 180 days? Answer - 1955. If anyone else sees the correlation, please let me know, because I don't.

* One of my boys from last year (and he is truly missed this year) stops by EVERY day and gives me a hug. Today was no exception. Most days, I start the day, end the day, and halfway through get a HUGE squeeze from him. When he left today (since it was beautiful out), he left some sweat prints on the shirt. A little grossed out.

* For fun. We (some of the teachers) have this cardboard figure around that was a promotion for a fundraiser. We have decided he is going to become a Where's Waldo? He keeps showing up in different classrooms...should be fun! :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


In our punctuation study, we looked at quotation marks today. I showed them on my blog where I had used quotation marks to show the conversation that occurred in my classroom...which led me to the homework assignment tonight. Spy on a conversation and record it in your notebook...

I'm excited (and a little nervous) to see what they record!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Honesty is what you're getting here.

This weekend was unplanned and ended up becoming filled with friends. This morning at church, I felt like I was going from group to group, looking for my niche. I saw some small group girls that were visiting home while on their break. (Yes, I cried when seeing them.) After catching up with one of them and then having a McCafe with a friend, new thoughts have come forth that need a little "fleshing out" if you will.

In high school, I just wanted to be part of the popular crowd. In college, for some strange reason, I became friends with a popular crew. Out of college, when I became a small group leader, I had a group of students that were well-known and could be called the "popular" crowd. They are now in college and I am left once again, looking for the popular crowd. At church we were placed in groups for our study and I don't know many of the girls personally. In fact, when looking at other groups, I want to be in those groups because in my mind, they are the "popular" group.

I shared this today with my friend (and now sharing with the world) and realize that I still am finding some of my identity in how others see me.

While we were at Mickey D's, there was an older lady (50s or 60s) that came and sat down by herself, with no ring on her finger, and ate by herself. She ended up spilling part of her coffee and I went up and got her napkins so she didn't have to. Why? I guess, deep down inside, I didn't want her to have to do everything by herself. I wonder what her story is. I have no idea what her life is like outside of the restaurant. Does she have people around her that care for her? Help her? Support her?

These two big themes keep coming back in my mind...being seen as someone who has worth and not wanting to be viewed as alone. Where do I go from here? Right back to the Truth. Claim what I know is true and choose to believe. Find myself in the Truth. It's a journey, not a destination...thanks for joining me for part of it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Music and Commercials...

This video just says it all. While some parts may be a little crude, some parts were hysterical...

To those who have to give the ISTEP

Hoping that this inspires you. She's an amazing teacher and I think she understands what really matters.


The benefits of teaching...
(A poem by me)

The benefits...
* quick little hugs in the hallway as we walk to lunch
* previous students who come back because they want (need) to give you a hug
* watching a child "get it"
* excited voices over a book that is being read aloud
* apples placed on your desk
* having students be teachers
* witnessing conversations where students are solving their own problems
* getting to be a kid
* reading aloud in different voices
* changing lives forever


I have continued to read every morning through the Bible. I recently finished Deuteronomy and today finished Joshua. I'm actually quite shocked at how attached I was to Moses and when the book ended and he died, I was sad. I didn't seem to connect to soon as I had started the book, I was finished. The one phrase that was repeated over and over again was to love God with everything you have and to be strong and courageous because it takes a lot to follow God. Soon I'll be jumping all over the OT as I read chronologically, but I'm excited to see how events played out through time.


I have this amazing cadet teacher. She takes charge and works well with the students. Seriously, amazing!

On Friday, one of my students needed help with an Accelerated Math practice. She had missed several and needed to understand why she missed them. I asked her if she wanted to meet with me or the cadet teacher. You could tell she was thinking about how she was going to let one of us down...

I told her, "It's okay. You can go with Miss K."
She said, "Ok, but only because she's younger...and she probably knows more."

As I walked away, I had to laugh. I'm thankful that my students want to work with the cadet teacher and that she has helped make our end of the day routine run so much smoother.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Today I had the students review some of the spellings of long vowel words while hanging up paper clothes. Quite fun watching them figure out how to use clothes pins. But the best part was a conversation between two boys. The word was phone. Yep, you know what's coming.

"Grab a p"
"No, it's an f. phhhhhone...."
"No, it starts with a p."
And now you can tell that he's thinking..."It doesn't say pone. It's an f."

I was able to show them a few more words then that have a ph in the word to create the f sound. I just had to laugh at their disagreement over letters.


This morning I ended up (kind of) scrunching my hair with mousse and letting the rain create a not-so-straight hair-do. One of my lovely girls said, "What did you do to your hair?"

"What do you mean?"
"It looks like you didn't brush it."
Another girl chimes in..."Teacher, you really need to bring a brush to school so you can brush your hair here."

I love their honesty!


I lied to my students. I told them that Edward Tulane was coming to see them yesterday at 11:15. They grabbed their books they made for Edward (just blank pages to keep track of thinking and mental images) and headed to the Hive. As they waited for him to open the door, they were super excited when someone walked by the room. And then the cheers turned to groans when they realized it was a girl going by.

At 11:15, I pulled out The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It took the students quite a while to figure out that Edward wasn't real and even after reading another chapter, they were still wondering when Edward was coming. They were quite disappointed that he really wasn't coming.

I am hoping that this class will fall in love with Edward the way my students from last year did. They still speak of him with joy and love in their hearts.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

They're getting it...

Well, after many sharing circles, my readers finally know that they should be teaching and learning from other readers. I was about to ask a student what he wanted the readers to learn from him, when a girl popped in with, "What are you trying to teach us?" When asked later (in front of my principal), she stated, "Well, you've only said it every single time." At least they are paying attention!

And on a side note, I let the students act out their visualization...they loved it! I need to incorporate more action into our daily routine...just not sure how. With 14 boys and only 5 girls, the end of the day gets a little rough. They're just simply done by then.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Trying something new...

This year, we are not going guided reading groups cross grade level. This means, I need to do guided reading groups in my room, but the thought of doing them during our reading workshop is hard. I don't want to take away from our focus lesson, but I also want to allow students to be reading together in groups. So, stations were invented! I tried it on Thursday and Friday and wrote out plans for Monday through Friday of next week. After having our morning meeting, we move into stations - guided reading group, buddy buckets (buddy reading - sometimes ability wise, sometimes not), listening center, words station (creating words using rimes on my desk with magnets), and other stations that will change throughout the year. Currently, they are song binders, ABC station (alphabetical order), and Making 10 (a math game to improve their addition facts). I am excited at how well the students stayed on task and worked Thursday and Friday. The hardest part was organizing names and making sure everyone got to the ABC station and the words station and at least buddy buckets and/or listening center at least once and had no duplications daily or by the week.

Will let you know how it goes...


So excited...just finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. It's the second book in Hunger Games...Wow! Cannot wait for the third book. Just wondering how many months it will be until it comes out.

Also, found out there's a new Skippyjon Jones students will be so excited when I bring it to them on Wednesday. They love reading the songs out of the books. In fact, I typed them up (okay, my cadet teacher did) so students could read and sing them. LOVE IT!


Friday morning was amazing! Friday afternoon, not so amazing. I'm going to chalk it up to being at school the day before for 12 hours and then knowing Friday would be a late night because I had to write sub plans for two days. But Friday morning...

After talking with another teacher, I wanted students to be able to share their teaching points and their thinking, but felt that some students didn't get to share their teaching point until others had shared their thinking that may or may not have connected to our current learning. (Don't get me wrong, readers realizing they are thinking and sharing it is amazing.) I asked the students to allow for teaching to occur first and then we'll share thinking.

After a few students shared their teaching, one girl asked if anyone else had anything else to teach? Seeing no hands, she immediately asked, "Does anyone have anything to share?" And wouldn't you know it, hands rose just to share their thinking. One boy (Bob (not his real name) shared how his book had reminded him of the movie he had seen. Two boys said his name and one boy waited to let the other speak (we're working on interruptions in class). After Bob answered his question, I asked Bob to say it again, but to give him (the other boy) eye contact. This other boy said, "Yeah, cause on our chart when we share in a group, we are supposed to give eye contact."

Wouldn't you know it...they are using the charts we created and they remember it! I am excited to see how their sharing circles will continue to grow and shape themselves this year.