Friday, April 27, 2007


I love hearing my kids (although sometimes it's annoying) use the word inference! They are inferring all of the time. I am starting some new things (even though it's at the end of the year) to establish more community and respect. I am greeting them in the morning before Reading Workshop and they share anything they did at home that connects to our learning at school. One of my boys I discussed that taking your hat off in front of ladies is respectful...for the past two days, when he says hello to me at the door of the class, he takes off his hat. It's darling!

I am going to work with my kids next week with non-fiction. I've been hoarding our Weekly Readers and I am hoping they will not disappoint me!

Also, asking all teachers: what do you think the difference is between predicting, inferring, and drawing conclusions???? Leave a comment. I've also contacted Ellin Oliver Keene (not that she is the expert, but she probably will have some neat things to say).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Translate please!

I had to make a quick phone call after the bus students had left and wasn't sure if I'd reach someone who spoke English...I quickly scanned my room and asked my students if anyone spoke Spanish. They quickly said, "B. does!" "Didn't you go to Mexico last year?" Yes, he work on a mission trip. He learned a few words: Hi, girl, good-bye...don't think that's what I had in mind.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What is that smell?

No, it's not me! Yesterday, on Wednesday I noticed a horrible smell coming from a group of students...smelled like old clothes taken out of an attic. It was incredibly strong, but I didn't know what to say. After lunch, it had vanished....Fast forward to my prep time. Our teacher who watches at lunchtime asked me if I knew what R. brought to school to play with? No...what could it be? He brought a moth ball in a pocket to play with and was playing with it at lunch...yuck! No wonder I smelled something! I looked it up on Wikipedia. com...there are poisons and yucky chemicals in it which could have really hurt him if we hadn't explained that he shouldn't be touching those ever again...He mentioned that one of the boys wanted to eat it because it looked like candy. Also, for all of you Office fans, I had to laugh when a guy at the Y recommend Wikipedia...


What does this represent? My mile time today! Woo hoo! I am so proud of myself, but even more amazing was my class! One boy tugged on my sleeve to keep me running, how sweet. Another girl, D., ran the ENTIRE 4 laps with me. All of the other kids did a spurt event (run out like the wind, then walk, run like the wind, walk, etc.). D. ran the entire 4 laps and kept encouraging me. She even told me as we were running she had her fingers crossed to give me good luck to keep running.

Why was I running you ask? At the beginning of the year, I talked with my class how we are all gifted at other things...I am a great reader, horrible runner. But I was still going to give it my all and do my best...just like they can do with their reading. So I ran the cross country race with them. I feel that I am better able to relate to my class and they see me in a different light simply because I joined with them.

On a sidenote, a great analogy to share from one of my girls: Teaching is to them as a massage is to sweet is that?

Friday, April 13, 2007


I liked the phrase that Ellin used at her conference, happy accidents. Am I enjoying the happy accidents that occur in my students' learning or am I setting my expectations too low? I think it's the shouldn't surprise me that they are performing, IF I start to raise the bar and expect it!!! Today, I did a think aloud on a book I read to the kids where I showed them what inferences are. Then during my conferencing, one of my girls (who struggles with decoding and reading fluently), made a comment during her conversation with me. Guess what it was? Yep, an inference! I think what I enjoyed the most, was how another student reacted at how astonishing it was that this girl inferred in her reading. It was sweet!

Funny stories today: One of my Hispanic boys showed me his Purdue hat...He asked, what does the P stand for? Like a dummy, I say, "Purdue"...No, Paul (his name, although I changed it to protect identity...) How funny, that he thinks his hat is made just for him!

During a game we play at the end of the day, one student had to name 5 states before the ball got all the way around the circle...Michigan, Indiana....State of America? might work, right?

Off to enjoy a relaxing weekend???

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A New Step

I attended the Ellin Oliver Keene conference the past two days. Can I just say amazing! I tried several new things with my class today. One of them was what Ellin had us do as readers. I gave my kids a short story and read it to them. Then I had them reread it and write down what they noticed about themselves as a reader as they were reading it. I was sweating bullets for a minute (could they really do this?). Then I had them turn and talk with a partner. To top that off, I had them share what their partner had said (I did horrible at this when I talked with my partner). The class actually was able to share without turning back to say, what did you say?

Their noticings??? The things I overhead were: wanting to know the name of the boy in the wheelchair (he was unnamed), wanting to know more details about the story, how the boy first got in the wheelchair, what they were like at age five themselves, and predicting about what would happen next.

We charted two columns: (please note, I helped sophisticate their language)
What did we do?
  • Asked questions
  • Inferred
  • Connecting to text
  • Wanted to know more
  • Thinking about before the story
What was the outcome for ourselves?
  • Answers
  • Filled in a puzzle in our heart, minds, and books
  • See better pictures, saw flashbacks, stronger tie to story and will remember it
  • Got mind ready to read

I'm excited to continue on this journey of reading workshop. We're going to study for the next couple of week on inferences...should be great!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


So, over my spring break, I came to visit my sister in Indy and just have a relaxing break. Well, I brought several books with me to read. Why is it that I have more questions in my head after reading than when I started about Reading Workshop? Granted, it's good...but I'm the type of person who loves algebra for a reason...there's always a definite answer.

I'm currently reading Mosaic of Thought by Ellin Oliver Keene (who I get to see in a week) and A Table for One by Camerin Courtney (a Christian single woman's guide to life). I'm reading for different purposes. Mosaic is giving me new ideas for reading workshop (more to follow later after I've finished) and Table for One is giving me peace about my life and knowing that waiting on God is the highest glory that I can give Him. My friend, Megan, told me this quote today...I'm paraphrasing. Quit telling your God how big your storms are and start telling your storms how big your God is.

I feel like my thoughts are a mosaic right now, but any comments or feedback people want to leave is great. I'll start to put more things on as to what I have learned. I just need more time to process.