Thursday, February 28, 2008

Slice of Life #1 (A little early...does it count?)

As I was surfing the Internet exploring the many blogs that I read, a noise occurred. Hard to describe the noise, but it sounded like a bird knocked into the side of my house. It was enough of a noise that made my cat pause and take his attack stance. It was enough of a noise for me to go investigate.

I pulled the curtain near the window just to show anyone who might have been outside that there was someone inside. I then noticed that my pantry light was on. I hadn't been home all night and the thought raced through my did that get turned on?

I reach my hand out, take a deep breath, and open up my pantry door...half expecting someone to jump out. Now, let's step out of this for just a moment...what did I really think I was going to accomplish? Scare the intruder with my smelly self (I worked out earlier and just haven't had time to shower yet...I've been busy!)?

After sitting down and taking in many deep breaths to alleviate my racing heartbeat...I remember opening up the pantry door earlier to grab the can of black beans needed for the new recipe my mentor and I made at her house. Lesson - Shut off the light when you're finished with it...and come up with a better plan to scare people!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If you wait, it will come...

On Monday, I had the privilege of having our writing coach in my classroom where I taught a lesson on how the author we are studying used a repeating line. Then I asked the kids, "What do you think I want you to try today?" Today, I gave a lesson on how Lynn sets up her problem, solution, and has a few events in between. We used her book, Winter Waits. Then I had the students turn to each other and talk about how they were going to be like Lynn today. One of my students, D, told me that she was going to try a repeating line.

Okay, conference time! I watched two boys turn to each other and start talking. I joined in because one of the boys was on my list. He started talking and wanted to add more to his writing. The other boy then asked him, "is this your planning?" "This is my title." "Maybe add more - add characters."

I then interrupted the conference, because I wanted to know more about his thinking. He wanted to add more, but wasn't sure where. I showed him how Lynn stretched her writing with action and description. I also showed him to use spider legs. So he and the other boy went and worked together and reread and then added more. BTW, he had a repeating line in his writing. I was so happy, I had tears in my eyes. I'm just very proud of the hard work he has done. Granted, there's some work to do with conventions, but the ideas are what are so important! Here is what his draft looks like now.

Another conference I had involved a student who often becomes overwhelmed with too many I introduced the question, "How do you eat an elephant?" "One bite at a time." So, I asked him, "How do you write a story?" "One sentence at a time. I have a picture of his plan. I am very impressed with how he knows exactly where his story is going and has important details of the story written, but not in a way that I had showed. I am so glad I got to see his plan. He knows exactly what is going in his story, just not the way that I expected.

I also met with another writer, the D from above. She told me that she was modeling her story after Horton Hears a Who, but she flip flopped the main characters. Her repeating line is "But we didn't get him yet." (or something to that point) She is having the elephants chase the monkey and each time the monkey escapes. I had her revisit her writer's notebook and write down different ways she would want the monkey to escape...Not to pat myself on the back, but I feel like I did a nice job with my conferences today and encouraged these writers to make choices in their writing for themselves, and not for me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's YouTube night!

Is it wrong of me that I laughed? You won't see it coming!!!

She's adorable!

I don't watch the Star Wars movies, but she does a great summary! And who taught her how to recap at the end? Sorry to Deanna, I stole this from her blog...but I figure we have different people that read our blogs, so it might be okay...

Monday, February 25, 2008

I am loved...

With being out three days, this is what I came back to! My class is wonderful and sweet! Their thoughtfulness is one the reasons that I love being their teacher! They covered the board with messages and cards they made! I missed them too.

Reflection - what does it all mean?

I began a unit on inferring with my class today. I also had the privilege of having our writing coach in my room today. Through talking with her, an idea was given to me that in order for me to grow, I need to write about what occurs in our class and reflect on it. Tonight's my first attempt.

***Quick note to add*** I should be doing so many other things. I actually have grades entered, but I have dishes to do and thank you cards galore to write and address...but what am I doing? Surfing the net and wondering if we will have all of the snow they are forecasting!

On to reflecting - In reading workshop, I read Officer Buckle and Gloria...later in the day, one of my students returned the chair she had borrowed and said, "Don't stand on a swivel chair. Rule #77." She remembered it from the book...another girl then also said the same comment (she hadn't heard the other girl)...I love that they notice so many things in the text and feel free to talk during our reading time. I had another teacher observing me and I'd love to hear what she thought about the students making comments while I was reading. I'm sure there's a time and place for students just to listen, but at the same time, if they aren't sharing their thoughts either on paper or out loud, how do I know what they are thinking?

I made sure to say...I'm inferring. I was blown away when a student that I conferenced with shared an inference she made. Then during our sharing time, two more students shared their inference and said, "I'm inferring". It was wonderful! My next step in inferring is to continue modeling and gradually bringing them in with sharing with partners as I read. I'd also like to talk a little about how my experiences from life (schema) helps me create my inference. I'll be introducing this as a Venn diagram. Just not sure exactly when I'll introduce the reproducible.

In writing workshop, one huge comment that I made that I'd like to start changing...We're studying Lynn Plourde and how to write like her. Today, I focused on her repeating lines. When I sent the kids off, I said, "What do you think I want you to try today?" What I could and should have said to give them the decision is "What do you want to do as a writer today to write like Lynn?" In my conferences, I need to ask them what they are doing to be like Lynn. As long as they are paying attention to a writer's craft and they are attempting to model their writing after a strong writer, I should push them in that direction. I know there are times and places to have writers do exactly what the focus lesson was, but I need to give my students ownership of their writing.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I was overwhelmed and amazed at what transpired on Saturday. For those who don't was actually my 30th birthday and I had plans with my small group to eat lunch and then I was just getting together with very few friends and my sister. I didn't want it to be a big deal, so I kept the group extremely small. As I walked into the restaurant Saturday afternoon, I started noticing things that didn't make sense. I saw friends of my parents walking and even one of my friends with her boyfriend drive in their truck. My sister, with the help of many, decided to throw me a surprise party. This was only the second surprise party I have had and it was so much fun! I am still sorting through the kindness and love that was bestowed. And amazed at how many people knew about it and had talked, behind my back, about it. It was the best birthday I could have ever asked for!

My first attempt at writing a poem: (it's a first draft)

Opening presents...
Yet, ripping the envelopes
Seeing creativity from Hallmark
Reading the messages
Seeing text that was perfectly meant for me
Feeling and beginning to understand
Love pouring out
Blessed and filled with gratitude
Undeserving of the kindness
Overwhelmed with love
Somehow thank you doesn't seem enough.

I'll be posting pictures was a day that I won't soon forget!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I was going over blends and digraphs with my students (prepping for a standardized test)...Honest conversation...

Me - What's at the beginning of thank?
Amazing class - t-h
Me - What do you hear at the end of fish?
Amazing class - s-h
Me - What's at the end of church?
Amazing class - c-h
Fun boy who is quite smart - goodies
Me - goodies?
Fun boy who is quite smart - Yeah, at the end of my church, we always eat good things.

Gotcha! That's thinking out of the box! I love my class!

Old Photos

I've been transferring info onto my Mac...which by the way, I'm able to use all of the keys except the left command key. It's okay though! I have a right one!

I've moved lots of photos and music (I have enough music on my itunes for 1.1!). For those who know me, I've lost weight over the past two years (on purpose), but wish I would have had a before photo...I've found several. Wanted to show a few since this blog is all about me becoming a better person. I'm not saying I wasn't a great person before, (listen to me toot my own horn) but I've become a healthier and more active person who takes better care of herself and wants to do the right thing for her body (getting better). I'm also happier with myself...I see the beauty that was always inside, but yet is finally coming to the surface.


For the past two days, I attended the Debbie Miller conference. I was able to have my book signed by her, had my picture taken with her, saw lots of teachers I knew, had several laughs (at the expense sometimes of others...but all in good humor), and learned many valuable lessons I want to take back into my classroom.

One big one, was the concept that I have wrestled with for a while, but feel reaffirmed in my decision. I am not following the basal this year. I looked at the reading standards, what I knew about second graders, and where I want them to go to set my curriculum this year. Debbie made a comment today about how is a reading company supposed to know on day three that my students will be ready for this skill? They don't! I normally plan a few days at a time...leaving my writing and reading workshops in a more flexible fashion (sometimes blank till the day before). After working and conferring with my students, I have a better idea as to where they are, not some book company that is not in my classroom every day!

It was a very refreshing conference! I'm excited to go back and keep plugging away and trusting myself and my students.

In this photo is Ruth (a great writing coach), myself (cheesy smile), Debbie Miller (Reading with Meaning), and Sarah (of Amick's Articles).

Monday, February 18, 2008

When will it get better?

Okay, cause and effect visited. I started off Sunday morning with water in basement...cleaned it up with the wet/dry vac. The pilot was out...I relit it...through all of this chaos I left my coffee at home. No problem...I took it to my friend's birthday party. If I would have had it at home...the following would have never happened! As I was writing out sub plans (I'll be gone three days), I put my coffee near my almost still new Macbook...yep you got it...It spilled! I'm still waiting to find out if I've completely ruined it or not. It could be just a fluke and it'll dry out or I could have to have the motherboard replaced...anywhere from 75 dollars to almost 500...we'll see how much that cup of coffee cost!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Finding Joy

Okay, so if you're not on the internet, you can't access the web clips on the dashboard - Bummer! Okay, finding joy when things go wrong. Once again my basement has water in I cleaned it up again. Finding joy in this...knowing that I have great friends that have helped me out by either loaning their huge wet/dry vac and other friends came and gave me support while helping me clean up (they even wore their bathing suits!).

This morning, after cleaning up the water, I realized that the pilot had gone out over the had only dropped to 60 degrees in the house (I keep it at 64). Finding joy - I have amazing long matches that light the pilot pretty quick and I know how to do it now in less than a minute :)

I'm not complaining...I'm choosing my attitude.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Another reason to love my mac!

I can capture clips off of the webpages that I am looking at and put them on my dashboard. I will find out in a few hours if I can access them when I am not in a wifi place. One more reason to love finding recipes on the Internet.

***For those of you who love to eat healthy or at least healthier...check out and then look at Chew the Right Thing...I can't wait to try some of these recipes!


***Disclaimer - Hope this entry makes sense...just a bunch of random thoughts strung all together. :)

This week was a week where I began to doubt myself and what I am doing in my classroom. I have drifted from following the plan set before me in the reading series we have had for six years. I am doing more of a reading workshop and trying to allow students the chance to read on their level, discuss their thinking, and encourage their love of reading. We had a meeting this week to discuss what series we want to adopt for next year. I left the meeting encouraged by the series we might take a closer look but discouraged by the people that I talked with...not going to go in detail because I don't know who all reads my blog.

I even talked with an amazing teacher who has been an inspiration to me and is so encouraging! She was even having doubts. The people she works with are even less encouraging and supportive than what I find (she is one of the most professionally read teachers I know too). As I listened to her read and watched the interaction among her students and what they talked about, I enjoyed hearing what they had to say.

The following day, my students surprised me during morning meeting with books they had checked out during their library had of the last books we have yet to read from Chris Van Allsburg. I read it that afternoon and they were so excited as each page occurred. We predicted, explored the meaning of words, and made connections to other books. At the end, the students were shocked at how the book led straight into Zathura. If you could have seen their faces, you would have enjoyed it.

So, why am I doubting? After what I saw...I love what I do and I love what the students are doing. I'm trying to make sure that I have covered the standards given to me by the state. I feel that with our workshop, we dive deeper into some of the standards. No more doubts!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Joys of Being Single Part 2

Okay...setups...let's talk about them. I don't know whether to appreciate people not setting me up or wonder why people don't. One lady at church decided that this single guy (who doesn't live in my town) and I should meet. Her reasoning? He's looking for a good, Christian girl and apparently I am one. Hmmmmmm...anything else? Just because two people are single does not make them compatible...moving on. She told his mom...gave her my e-mail address and...nothing! She talked to his dad and gave him my e-mail address and...nothing!

She asked me at church if I had heard from him...nope. Her comment, "Your eggs are not getting any younger..." Ouch! I attended a conference a few weeks ago and ran into this lady again. What are the odds? She was with the parents of this boy...a little embarrassing after she made another comment.

Fast forward to last night...I attended a viewing last night and who was in front of me? Thankfully, just the parents and not their son. The father brought it up and apologized for the embarrassing comment made at the conference. We made small talk and then before we left and went our separate ways, he asked if he could tell his son a little about me...hmmmm...I said fine. What will it hurt? Stayed tuned to see if anything ever happens. :)

Anyone wishing they were STILL single? Sometimes the dating part of it just isn't fun!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Joys of Being Single

An honest entry and a look into my life - read on if you dare :) There's this guy that I have seen at various places: church, a local store, and at my workout place. I've noticed through talking with him and watching that he doesn't have a ring on and I think he's cute plus he goes to church (a definite bonus). So naturally, I wonder...I've seen him lately at church and I finally said something to the girls I sit with. I don't mention which guys I am interested in because it allows no build up at all (which, btw, there are none) but this time I did. One of the girls that I sit with (who is amazing) after I mentioned just seeing a cute guy proceeds to tell about her date from Friday night. He's a nice guy, she says...but he's divorced. Hmmmm, the guy I was thinking of I know has children...she mentions his name...could it be the same? As she then describes him, yep! It is...the same guy I had mentioned. What are the odds? My town isn't large, but over 10,000 and my church isn't huge, but over 2,000...what are the odds that the ONE guy I mention was the guy she went out with? I can't figure them out, but I find it humorous and wonder what God wanted me to learn through it!

As I approach my 30th (two weeks), I reflect back on this month and am amazed how at my singleness doesn't seem to affect me as bad as it did over Christmas Break. There were a few nights where it was just torture. It seems all of my friends around me are dating someone and I am one of the few singles...not so hard most of the time except when they are ALL couples and then become all lovely dovey and do their great PDA, or they go out on double dates and you're not invited because you don't have someone to go with...

I've had over the past two weeks several people ask if I am dating anyone and my answer is...I don't have time right now. I am training for a mini-marathon and my training takes up 1 - 3 hours a night depending on the workout. Not the best answer I know, but I am so grateful that right now when people ask that question, my heart doesn't break at it as much. Do I want to be dating right now? Yeah, it'd be nice, but do I want to go out with someone just because I'm single and he's single? No. I want to date a guy because he's interested in getting to know me more and sees something that God has put into his heart...lofty expectations, I know. But with all of the advice that I get from marrieds, I'd rather be single than be in a bad relationship.

Thanks for taking a journey into my single life...if anything occurs, I'll let you know.

Monday, February 4, 2008

What would you do?

Teachers...I am at a loss...this year, I am trying something new. I require my students to read 15 minutes a night and then they have to write it down on a reading log and turn it in every Monday. I also file the papers and record who turned it, out of 17 students only 2 turned it in. I have noticed that there are a select few who never turn it in. What do I do? Call parents? Make kids stay in and read during recess and keep a log here? What would you do in my place?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

My Weekend

With the snow day and just a weekend not filled with many activities...I began to tackle a bit of organization and give aways. I'm not done yet, but wanted to show the progress I've made. My end goal is to totally remodel the office in my house and make it a nice and relaxing place where I can work if I want or go read a book and disappear from chaos.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Cute video

Check out this video I saw...

and this one too...I love his accent!