Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Monday was my first day back from Spring Break. My husband and I took a seven day cruise. Even with being empty nesters our lives are filled with jobs and daily projects which in the spring on the farm are adding up quickly. The biggest decision would be which deck chair to choose in the "Serenity" over 21 area which was in the front of the ship. I always wanted the front row (that's the teacher in me) so we could look out over the tranquil blueness of the ocean. I have to admit I'm a people watcher and enjoy conversations especially on a cruise. The first piece of advice from our Cruise Director Adam was to say, "Hello" because everyone has time to talk. The stories we listened to the past week were touching, funny, and a little out of my comfort zone.
Life is so different when I allow myself the chance to slow down and say,"Hello." We met a 73 year old gentleman who was born in France and lived there most of his life. Moved to Canada to get duel citizenship and while on vacation in Amber Cove, Dominican Republic he decided at age 48 that he was going to move there because of the blue skies, water and of course the warmer temperature. He opened his own business which is a tourist company that has zip lines and helicopter rides. He's brilliant and still flies his own plane and helicopter. In addition, he also owns thoroughbred race horses. Sitting on the bench, visiting with him was a quest. A chance to remember the importance of saying, "Hello" and sharing a story. I appreciate the kindness of his voice, and I am thankful to be reminded every quest continues to lead me to my story.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
TE (text evidence) WC (word choice) and S (structure).
As I thought about this slide and Word Choice (WC) I like how it is circular. Many times in word work I believe, myself included, we see skills in isolation. I always want to connect word work with writing for that implementation piece; however do I build enough time in for that practice? Probably not if I am honest with myself. I encourage the transition from word study to writing but I struggle because I don't want to force it. "You must use 8 words today from word work in your writer's notebook." because that is not writers do. Writers collect words, learn words and apply them. I'm pretty sure most of my students aren't transferring their words, and now I'm reflecting on that transfer - the authentic piece of connection.
There is a small group of teachers reading Choice Words by Peter Johnston. I've read this book several times, but each time I read it I learn something new or think differently. Perhaps all of this word work thinking will all fall neatly into place soon or maybe not? Next week is Spring Break and time to recharge. I'll be back posting in two weeks. Happy Spring Break friends and as always thanks for reading.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
I had an amazing week! One of those weeks when everyday I was thankful for a big event which helped me grow professionally and our family was blessed this week with several exciting events. Life has it's ups and down but when life is up I have learned to appreciate it and have extreme gratitude.
One of my highlights was having the opportunity to visit a third grade classroom during math workshop. I've been working with our math coach, McKenzie. She is constantly asking me questions that help me to think deeper. In the beginning I was a little intimidated because I didn't know the answers but once I learned it was a conversation of learning my mind shifted and I embraced the learning. We spent over an hour observing Kami's classroom and listening to her students share their mathematical practices and thinking. I wrote down as much as I could I wan interested in the "talk." I will be processing what I heard and am anxious to begin to think about how I can apply my new learning to fifth grade. I am thankful for this opportunity and the celebrations of this week.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
- collecting words (from the read aloud or picture books) new skill
- word observations (she had already taught this skill earlier in the year) review skill
- playing with words (sharing magnetic letters, dry erase boards) helping with spelling
|Compliments of Google Images|
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
My slice for today is about furniture. Moving furniture in my classroom. Wanting better bigger furniture. Being envious of colleagues rooms and taking snapshots of "wanna be classrooms." It's taken me 27 years to learn that furniture is more about me than my students. I learned that yesterday as my students entered the classroom. We had a work day the past Friday and after completing my progress reports I started rearranging my room. Not huge changes, but small changes. How did I make these changes? I knew my learners - their strengths and weaknesses. Like any year, I have a mixed bag of students who need to work alone, work together and work in small groups. Some like quiet, some like digital (need a plug) some like noise (not my favorite but I support it).
Here's what I figured out...it's not about the furniture it's about meeting the learners and creating an environment which allows for choices and supports their learning styles. I didn't spend any money to update anything. I just rearranged and created different spaces. It was complete joy seeing students using the low beach chairs, the "new"writing table, and laying on the bench discussing their books. I am extremely slow to learn this lesson. My hope is that anyone reading this post can learn quicker that I did. Feel free to print this as a reminder :)
PS. I'm embarrassed that I asked Kristin Z. where did you purchase those really neat benches? Now I know it's not about the benches. Although she told me years ago at Target :) Thanks Kristin :)
|Notebooks (whole class writing journals taken home the first night)|
Life Quote (thanks JoEllen McCarthy for suggesting a dry erase board)
Cushions from the Super Bowl underneath (Thanks Susan)