Saturday, September 5, 2015

September Currently

Listening:  It has been HOT and dry here in Ohio.  So, tonight, it has been so nice to sit and listen to the thunderstorm outside.  I love to hear the rain hitting the roof and the booms of thunder.  I love it.

Loving:  It's Labor Day weekend which means no school on Monday.  I've only been in school for two weeks and I am already in need of a three day weekend.  I am looking forward to a pool party with friends tomorrow and a relaxing weekend with my husband and two children.

Thinking:  I started reading Wonder by Raquel J. Palacio.  I think I should go cuddle up in bed, listen to the thunder, and read this wonderful book.

Wanting:  My son is a little over 3 1/2 years old.  He has never really slept through the night.  After fighting with many different doctors, my son had a sleep study last December and found out he has sleep apnea.  We had his tonsils and adenoids removed in February.  He FINALLY started sleeping through the night in March.  Unfortunately, he has now hit a stage of being afraid of everything.  So, we are back to not sleeping through the night. zzzzzzzzzz

Needing:  I've had glasses since I was in second grade.  I am sick of glasses and I am sick of contacts.  By the end of the day, my eyes are done.

Goals:  My husband and I have been working on potty training with my son since June.  Not going well.  I need it to go well.  He will be 4 in November!  I also need and want to wash the outside of the living room and kitchen windows.  Lastly, I need to relax.  I've been in school for two weeks.  My school does not have air it has felt like 1,000 degrees.  I am worn out.  I need to relax (which is always a little difficult with two children at home).

Want to share what you are currently up to?!  Head over to Oh' Boy 4th Grade to link up!!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

September-My Favorite Things Linky

School has been back in session for two weeks and two days.  With all the beginning of the year assessments, I do not feel like I have a solid routine yet.  But I do feel like I had done some great lessons with my 3rd graders.  I am linking up with Teaching Trio and sharing my 3 favorite successful lessons that I have done in the past two weeks.  

1.  Within the first few days of school, I got the feeling that several, almost all, of my students needed to change their mindset about a few things.  We do a lot of "getting to know you", team building activities, and reading/math interest surveys the first few days of school.  These activities are pretty revealing about students' attitudes, likes, and dislikes.  I knew afterwards that I needed to do a few lessons on growth vs. fixed mindset.  I found a great WONDERFUL PowerPoint on TPT that made this lesson! Thank you Eve Coates!  The lesson ROCKED!  I wrote about the lesson here a few days ago.  There are a few different bloggers that I had to thank in that post for their amazing ideas.  It was such a success.

2.  Another lesson that went well was the day I taught my students how to pick out good-fit books for independent reading.  I think using concrete representation (in this case it was shoes) can really foster deeper understanding of skills for students.   The lesson started with a large brown paper bag filled with different shoes from my closet.  I talked about how we pick out our shoes every day and how our shoes have a purpose (just like when we pick out books to read).  Check out the post here.

3.  My weakness in life is Oreos....They are dangerous.  I can eat the whole bag in one sitting.  It really is a sickness.  So, needless to say, when I saw this activity on Pinterest, I had to do it.  Turns out, the lesson was a great way for students to see the importance of reading a text more than once.  I have not written a blog post about it yet, but here is where I found it on Pinterest.

What are your favorites this month? 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

September's Pinterest Pick 3 Linky

September is here!  Yay!  My favorite season is almost upon us....fall!

I am linking up with Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner for September's Pick 3 Pinterest Pins!  Here are a few Pinterest ideas that I will be using in September with my students.  I hope they will be helpful to you and your classroom

The first pin is from Who's Who and Who's New.  The post is called Close Reading with Oreos.

Picture from original post
Picture from original post
 I love this lesson....and it's not just the fact that I get to eat two Oreo cookies (they are definitely my weakness!).  This lesson is great for showing students the importance of reading things more than once.  First, the teacher gives the students an Oreo.  The teacher explains to the students that they must quickly eat their Oreo so that class can get started.  Once the students finish their Oreo, the students are asked to write on a post-it what they just ate.  Super easy, right?  Next, the students are handed another Oreo and are invited to sit on the carpet.  The students spend time touching and smelling the cookie.  Next, they close their eyes and take small bites, savoring the taste.  Afterwards, the teacher adds their descriptions and thoughts about the Oreo to an anchor chart.  The purpose of the lesson is to get students to understand the importance of reading a text more than once.  Just look at the difference between the first anchor chart after eating the first cookie to the second anchor chart after eating the second cookie.  Such a powerful lesson!

The second Pinterest pin I want to share is mostly for you (the teacher).  The post is from Emily at Education to The Core.  The post is titled, When Teachers Compete with Other Teachers.

I love this post because it is a great reminder that we are here to do our best and teach our kids. That's it.  We did not become teachers to see if we could be better than the teacher in the room across the hall from us. There are so many teachers out there that try to out-do or out-shine others.    Do you ever feel like another teacher is trying to compete with you or trying to compete to be the best?  This post gives great tips on how to rise above and be the best teacher you can be.  Some of these tips you may already know, but they are such a great reminder.  We need to take our energy and direct it towards what really matters....and that's our students!

My third Pinterest pin is from Angela at the Cornerstone for Teachers.
I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of sending home reading logs.  They are boring and its always a struggle to even get my students to bring the logs back to school.  I really want to start my year off right and use an authentic way of making sure my students are held accountable for reading at home.  This post gives 10 great ways to hold your students accountable and foster a love for reading at home.  I think I will be using her idea #1 and replace my reading logs with book journals.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Let me know if these three pins will be of any help to you and your students!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Did I-PICK the Correct Shoes today?

I love beginning of the year activities!  Last week, I did a lesson about how to choose a "Good-Fit" book.  If you've read any of my summer posts, you've probably noticed that I could not stop reading during June, July, and August!  I read books for pleasure, picture books, young adult chapter books, and a lot of professional development books.  A week did not go by where I wasn't spending a ton at Half Price Books or relaxing at the library with my kids.

One of the books I read was called The Daily 5 Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  I am not 100% implementing this in my classroom yet, but I am taking small steps.

Inside the book, the 2 Sisters give an excellent lesson on how to teach your students to choose "good-fit" books (I-PICK).  The lesson includes two of my favorite (anyone else have a shoe-buying problem?!) and a concrete example.  Almost all my lessons I present to my students have some kind of concrete representation or example.  Below is the anchor chart that I prepared a head of time, but didn't show the students until the end of the lesson.

Class started with a large brown bag on one of my tables.  As soon as class started, I had so many students interested in what was inside.  I told the students that I had such a dilemma this morning, and that I couldn't figure out what to wear to school.  Of course, some of my girly-girls jumped in and had comments about how that happens to them all the time too!  So I told my class that I brought in a bunch of my shoes because I just couldn't decide what was going to look right.  Naturally, everyone wanted to see the shoes inside the bag.  

First, I laid all the shoes out and said out loud what each shoe was called.   I had a pair of brown ballet flats, Old Navy flip flops, Nike gym shoes, Nike soccer cleats (these were actually my 3 year old's cleats), Columbia work boots, and a pair of black high heels.  After laying the shoes out,  I had to ask myself, "What might my purpose be today?  Why might I put on a certain pair of shoes?"  All the students jumped in and said I was going to school today to teach.

Next, I had my students tell me the purpose of each shoe that I brought.  They did a great job.  Here are some of the things they said: The brown ballet flat is for a casual to dressy occasion. They said it can be worn with a skirt or with capris.  The Old Navy flip flops are usually worn at the beach or the pool.  Nike gym shoes are for exercising, walking, running, jogging, wearing to the gym, or for going to Kings Island.  Nike soccer cleats are to be worn when playing soccer.  Plus, my students did mention that I would not be comfortable in the shoes because they were too small.  The Columbia work boots are for shoveling the snow in the winter.  The black high heels are for weddings, fancy dresses, funerals, and special occasions.  

After we talked about the purpose of each shoe, I said that I also have to think about which shoe I am interested in wearing.  I have my students look at the shoes they are wearing at the moment.  I asked them how they decided what shoe to wear this morning.  (Luckily, my students had gym class today, so they all knew to say that they had to wear shoes appropriate for gym class).  

Once we were finished talking about the purpose and interest of our shoes, I had my students elbow talk with their friend about how picking out shoes for the day is similar to picking out a book to read.  Wow....I heard a few weird answers, but I also heard a lot of great thinking.  Some of the students were able to make the connection between the two.  This is when I decided to pull out the "I-PICK Good-Fit Books" anchor chart.  

I discussed each letter with the students.  I also had an anchor chart for the students to glue into their reader's notebooks under the "mini lesson" tab.  Next, I let my students explore my library and practice picking out "Good-Fit" books.  I think the students were able to walk away from the lesson having a good idea of how to pick out a book that is a "good-fit."

How do you teach your students to pick out books to read?