Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wednesday Word Work: What's in a Name?

Their story that we need to unfold!
I want to embrace my new students'name and honor their history. I am constantly shocked when I inquire: what do you know about your first and last name? There is silence in the classroom....

I notice unique names and take photos throughout the summer to share at the beginning of the school year. What a fun way for my students to learn about me and instantly they know that I embrace vocabulary. I found the image above on Twitter, and it grabbed me. I loved the idea of summer ABC photos and started thinking about a new visual "Get to Know You" activity. What if each student made an acrostic poem with their name but instead of writing they chose pictures that show about their life? Photos could include: a vacation, favorite activity, their family or even a pet. Or it could be as simple as the letter S for a soccer ball. Learners could choose their presentation tool which would open conversations and probably questions especially with technology. Let's face it by the time they get to fifth grade, do they really want to create another "All About ME" poster?

If you haven't ever read this book, rush out to your library. It's the perfect introduction for this activity.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Spotlight: Readers Sharing Favorite Books

Me: "I enjoy reading blogs and learning from others."
Friend: "Tell me more"
Me: "I still want to learn, but I am not sure I have any new ideas to share."
Friend: "Why don't you write about what you learn?"
Me: Tell me more"
Friend: "How about lifting up others and placing the spotlight on their tweets/blogs?"
Me: "Brilliant"

compliments of Google images

This tweet spoke to me and said, "What a wonderful connection between readers and books!" I instantly was wishing I could have last year's readers back and have them write their index card. Ahh well, moving on to next year's class. I am going to borrow this idea and make it my own. Isn't that the best part of twitter? A seed is planted and then you help it grow? The first few weeks of a new school year, I ask every reader to bring in their favorite book. They can write their thinking on a large sticky note and place it on the inside cover which will provide instant book conversations:
  • similar genres
  • similar authors
  • different points of view
  • sharing their story of why why chose the book
And of course, I will have my favorite books ready as a model. Thanks Kristin Crouch for sharing your idea on Twitter.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

My North Star Celebration

My blog has been quiet for a few months. The first several weeks I felt huge guilt.  As hours became days, days became weeks, weeks became months, I was able to release the guilt. I was always wondering did I have something to share on my blog?  The answers were consistently no. Thoughts would form, I would write them in my notebook, a few conversations would nag at me to be shared, or I would read something and be thankful that I was encouraged. It was more important that I left a comment to thank the author than write my own post. 

I celebrate the gift of friendship. Those who know me, love me, and best of all truly understand me.  We were able to talk on my back porch for three hours. I shared secrets that I hadn't told anyone, and my friend listened, discussed, helped me through my dilemmas about blogging.  She listened to new desires but wouldn't allow my passions to slip away.  After eight years of blogging, I realized it was important to reflect on the direction I want to head.  Asking what is my North Star?  Through our conversation and reflecting on my notebooks, I have found my North Star.     

  • Passion for vocabulary - collecting words, thinking about word study
  • Passion for reading so I am able to book talk throughout the school year
  • Passion for being a quiet mentor
  • Passion for shining the spotlight on others
I have always found celebration blogs posts  to lift me up and help connect with other friends. I am thankful for this community of readers. I hope everyone has a great week and if you are searching for your North Star I hope you find it. 

Compliment of Google Images
As I type this post, I realize quiet nights on our dock
have lead me to where I am today.