Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thinking Aloud

I read to my class, If Only I Had a Green Nose, by Max Lucado (great book), and right away, my students realized once again, that it was a sequel to a book we had read earlier in the year. But what shocked me more was that one of my boys asked if I could read the back of the book jacket to give them more information and help them predict. Of course I obliged.

Afterwards, we had discussion groups where I let one student be in charge (a bit) and write down the important thinking that was shared. I put one of my struggling readers as a leader to see what would happen. All 3 groups shared at the end and here are some of their messages they feel Max Lucado was trying to teach: Be yourself and God made us the same (I think they meant different) - be yourself and not copy, and you don't have to be like others. I think they got it!!!

What blew me away was my struggling reader. She rephrased what one girl said, took it up a level and then asked, "Is that what you are saying?" Then as she was sharing, she started off by saying, "I found our thinking fascinating."

I adore reading workshop and what is has done for my passion for teaching. I am also blown away by how God has chosen to bless me with placing me in this position of importance and impression.

Out of the mouth of babes

We play a game called chicken (thanks to NYC teacher for the resources)'s a review game where one kid is in the middle and a ball is pass on the outside to time them. The person in the middle must name 5 whatever before the ball is passed all the way around. I asked for 5 words came out of the child's mouth. Another child volunteered and started right away - d, f, n, k, l. They misunderstood, how sweet!!! I then explained - continents, not consonants.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Just wanted to share this picture that I took at my friend's house. Although I supplied the flower, her vase made it gorgeous...I love having my breath taken away from the beauty of God's creation.

Just When You Think it's Over

First of all, thank you to everyone who commented...the encouragement and suggestions were appreciated immensely. It's so nice to know that in our community of educators, blogging has brought together people I would never have met and ideas I never would have encountered on my own. Thanks!

I read Pickles to Pittsburgh to my kids today as a sequel from yesterday's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Right away, some of my kids started gasping as I was reading...yep, they were thinking, this sounds familiar. We were able to have a great discussion about sequels and why they were so much fun. We also brought in movies that have sequels and trequels (is that a word?) One of my kids had to go get the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book because they saw references made from Pickles to Meatballs and had to show the class and myself.

Then, as we were talking about what is an eggplant, another one of my kids went and got Bad Kitty (thanks NYC teacher, my kids adore that book) because a picture of eggplant was in it.

As I was reading, one of my boys brought up the question he was thinking (I can always count on him for great thoughts). In Meatballs, it talked about how no one in the town dared go back, so why were people in the town? Great question! We found the answer as we kept reading, but I am just impressed that he remembered a small detail from Meatballs and then applied it to Pickles. Wow!!! I guess some learning has occurred this year!

And a special thank you to all those of you who read my blog. I love reading through yours (for those who have them). You have helped me renew my passion for teaching through reading and writing workshop.

Look out my next class, you're in store for some great ideas!!! I'm actually excited to try starting off a workshop from the beginning of the year and feeling like I am actually heading somewhere.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hard Day

Okay, I admit has been a rough day. I was praying hard at 9:10, only 40 minutes had passed since school began. I'm struggling with wanting the end of the year so badly, but yet knowing that I am unsure of how much I have helped these kids this year. I know they are stronger readers and writers than when they entered and hopefully, some have been challenged. It's just been rough and I don't know what started it all...thankfully, tomorrow is Friday and I am going to arrange centers so students can have independent work.

Teachers, how do you cope with the end of the year blues, when behavior from students seems to keep getting worse? Thanks for all possible responses!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Isn't He Cute???

So this is my nephew, Ethan! Isn't he adorable?

At the park playing...
I bought him this shirt!
He just loves me...actually he was staring I'm sure at the camera.
His dad is holding him and has a great shirt on!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's Happening!

If you do it, it will come. Meaning: Continue with procedures and ideas in reading workshop and the great ideas from the kids will come. During our discussion today, one of my boys couldn't remember what he was going to quietest (and quite possibly the smartest) boy said, "Make it up!" Something I say all of the time. They knew they needed to answer the question. This same boy who couldn't remember what he was going to say, later, was able to put into words what another boy was trying to say. I'm sure it would help if I had written down exactly what was said...the more important thing I am proud of is that my students know they should come up with an answer no matter how long they think and they want to clarify information for others so everyone can understand. I am loving it!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm Back!

I've been in Pittsburgh, PA for the past few days. I will put pictures on later! Today, in reading workshop, during our sharing of the girls shared about how she looked at the cover to get her mind ready to read. Before she could call on someone else to share, one boy stopped her and asked, "Why did you want us to know that? What are you trying to teach?" I was dumbfounded that 1) he stopped her to clarify, 2) that she was held accountable. Yay!

During one of my conferences, one of my ELL girls, told me that she figured out the meaning of common by reading on. I'm so proud of her thinking! She shared too in the group. It's so neat to see how far they have come!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Reading Away!

I am truly enjoying Reading Workshop. In fact, when people ask me these days, are you ready for school to be out? In a huge way, no, I am not. I never thought I would say that with this class. Starting out, I was shocked at how low my kids were and however were they going to grow? Now, I just want to keep working with them because I am amazed how far they have come and the great thinking they are doing. Today, one of my boys, was upset with a book because it was a Dr. Suess style book (non-sense and rhyming), but it was in our non-fiction basket. Because we have talked about six different layouts of non-fiction, he was able to determine they were trying to set up a fictional narrative to help him with the non-fiction.