Saturday, May 20, 2017

Celebrating: Last Week of School

We just completed our last full week of school. Celebrations were abundant this week as we started to close out our fifth grade year together. The highlight for me was taking down all the book covers from the books we read this year.  As one of the students took them down and matched them with the books, there was a constant buzz in the classroom.  Conversations including “I remember” “That was my favorite” “I heard that story before, but I loved hearing it again” 

Thanks H. for always helping me and making strong decisions. 
I celebrate books!  A core value of my teaching is that I will read with my students everyday.  Posting the covers on the wall for my readers to refer to all year helps create a culture of readers.  I believe picture books need to be read K-12. The power of picture books open windows for all students. Allowing every student to see themselves in the books I have read this year is another core value for me. 


I celebrate summer reading!  Starting next Friday, I will be sitting on our new screen porch and starting to explore my TBR pile.  Life is going to quiet down, and I’m ready for summer. Honestly I am more than ready for summer.  Plus there will be more time for blogging, reflecting and savoring my time with #virtualPLN.  Oh did I mention gardening, walking, traveling and spending time with my family.

Every Saturday morning, I always read something that helps me breath deeper and reminds me of the importance of having a virtual community of learners. Thank you Ruth for encouraging us to celebrate every week. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Celebrate: Clearning Up the Fuzziness

There is a calmness and a sense of "I’m not totally crazy" after I read blogs.  I do quite a bit of self-talk on my way home from school.  Having conversations and reflecting on my day.  What could I have done better? What went really well?  At the end of my 20-minute drive, most of the time I have processed my day. 

However, there are those days when I am twisted like a ball of yarn, self-talk doesn’t seem to help.I walk in the door at home befuddled. Conversations with my daughter, who is a teacher, and my husband sometimes lift me out of my confusion. 

But there are those situations that I can’t let go, and I am searching for calmness.  My celebration this week are my peers who write brilliant blogs that guide my thinking and help me clear up the fuzziness.  Blogging is a give and take; push and pull of learning and writing. 

I celebrate these posts that cleared up the fuzziness for me. 

·      Exploration Strategies for Informational Writing Two Writing Teachers
·      The Hard Work of Real Human Beings A Year of Reading
·      Slice of Life Tuesday: Testing, testing, testing A Teaching Life
·      Grace for Myself Ruth Ayres Writes

Every Saturday morning, I always read something that helps me breath deeper and remember gratitude is so important in everyday life. Thank you Ruth for encouraging us to celebrate every week. 

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Celebrating: Presence and Presents

It’s easy to get wound up like a ball of yarn during this time of year.  6 days of state testing, more district tests and knowing there are only 27 days of school left until summer.  One aspect that I love about getting older is perspective.   I clung onto my OLW (quest) and as each month passes I realize that my quest has been to dig deeply and continue to learn some of life’s grand lessons.

This week my celebration is about presence and presents.

Presence is defined “being in a place at a certain time” I am learning that presence is my learning target. Learners have several learning targets throughout a school day; however, I have one learning to be in a place at a certain time.   It’s been a week of learning for me. Challenges I have faced where I had to choose to step back and pause, go eat my lunch prior to having a conversation, and finally taking deep breaths when asked the same question 58 times.   I am thankful when I purposefully choose to be in the presence.

Presents are defined “something you give to somebody” My thinking about presents have changed with my age also.  I enjoy giving presents at the unexpected moments.  Finding something at special store and knowing that I have it in my drop drawer at home when I need it.  Leaving presents on someone’s desk without a card is my new favorite choice.  This concept started for me with Sandy Hook Elementary. I watched 60 Minutes this past Sunday, and it’s been four years, and I still wept as I listened to the parents.  This week I had a celebration in our school library.  A first grader brought her new book in and I was looking for books.  I paused and looked at the book which was almost as big as she was and I asked her about it.  She shared her favorite pages and facts.  Connecting over books is the best present of all.  Thanks to Ruth for encouraging us to celebrate every Saturday. 

I never knew until this post that both words are
next to each other in the dictionary. I believe they
are connected. 





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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Celebrating: Student Voice

Last Saturday I spent the day listening to #TheEdCollab Gathering "PD in my PJs" with a cup of hot tea, and my notebook to collect all the juicy nuggets that I learned.

I am extremely thankful for this opportunity to learn side by side virtually with brilliant educators.  The ease of learning at home, being able to pause a session to switch the laundry or answer my phone was a perfect Saturday combination. Another key for me is writing down nuggets of learning and referencing the session numbers.  Did I mention the power of twitter? When you tweet and there is an instant community of learners. #purehappiness All the sessions are archived, so I can go back and listen again, or better yet share a session with a colleague.

One of my favorite quotes “Step back in your classroom and let your learners take center stage” My biggest take away was the reminder and importance of student voice.  This shift in thinking has happened for me over the last 2-3 years; however, I have to be purposeful with creating this feeling in our classroom. The sessions I listened to were focused on writing and honoring the power of writer’s notebook. The importance of teaching my writers that their notebook is a safe place to write anything. A sacred place they can choose to share their thoughts that they may not be able to express verbally.  Writers need a place to capture their thinking with free choice on topics.  Opening a mini-lesson with What Do You do with a Problem? allows all writers to have an opening and a choice to write about a difficult situation.  Some of my favorite picture books for an opening include:
·      First Day Jitters
·      Courage
·      Those Shoes
·      Henry’s Freedom Box
·      The Book Itch
·      OK Book

Continuing to learn to step back as a teacher and reminding myself that writing workshop is a perfect place to allow students to share their voice will be my target the last six weeks of school Thanks to Ruth for encouraging us to celebrate every Saturday. 

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