Saturday, June 30, 2012

 A Versatile Back to School Checklist

For the first few years, every summer before school started, I would write out a LONG to do list and use that to keep on top of everything I needed to be ready for the first day of school.  Then a lightbulb went off and I thought why am I handwriting the same thing every year.  So I typed up a back to school to do list and then just add in the extra things I plan to do.  Click the picture to see what I put on it and then you can make your own....don't forget to save it so you can reuse it each summer.
Starred items I save til I have a final list of students.
Also, I have been given a blog award by Jenn @ Owl Things her and her cute blog!  Go check it out!

The rules of the award are as follows:1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. 2. Include a link to their site. 3. Include the award image in your post. 4. Give 7 random facts about yourself. 5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award. 6. When nominating, include a link to their site. 7. Let other bloggers know they’ve been nominated. 

7 Random Facts:  (Random, but some of you who know me, this is not new info!)
1)  Dodgers-Have loved them since I was 8 years old, but have no reason why.  My dad was a fan of baseball, so I wanted to like baseball too....and apparently Dodgers were the team. 
2)  Josh Groban-I refer to him as my future husband and love love love listening to him in the musical Chess.
3)  Summer Reading-The past two summers I have read a book a day!  It is the BEST thing about summer vacation!  I read inside.  I read outside.  I read in the pool.  I read everywhere.  There is ALWAYS a book in my purse. 
4)  Teaching-As a 7 year old, I knew I wanted to grow up and be a teacher. I can't imagine doing anything else.  Going to work never feels like a job.  The blogosphere has been a refreshing addition to teaching.
5)  Music-In high school I was in the field show marching band and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony.  Hours and hours every week were devoted to playing and practicing.

6)  So You Think You Can Dance-Favorite favorite and only reality show I will watch.  I am fascinated by choreography that interprets music and have zero dancing ability....I watch in awe!
7)  I really really think being part of a Roller Derby team would be awesome!  I have watched a bunch of matches...and am pretty sure I could do it!
I couldn't get rid of Josh, so you get 8 random facts!
8)  Aunt Shell-My favorite aunt (her name is Michele, but I have never called her that).  She used to live in Bethel, Alaska and visiting her was somewhat difficult.  Now she lives in Medford (5 hours south of Portland) and I spend a lot of the summer with her.  We often call each other to talk and find out that we have both finished the same book without even knowing the other was reading it!
Bethel, AK
My aunt's "resort-like" backyard!
More Versatile Bloggers:
How Cute is This 
I Do, We Do, You Do 
The Polka Dot Desk
Happy Saturday,

Friday, June 29, 2012

 Need Iced Coffee....without $5 Pricetag?

In the summer, I love to drink iced coffee.  Drip coffee cold with ice does not equal iced coffee!  I have tried many many different ways to create iced coffee at home and have found my perfect plan thanks to a couple of fabulous websites/blogs!  And it is SOOOO much less expensive than buying it!

First the coffee.....super easy and it lasts for weeks (or less) if you drink it as much as I can:-) Click the coffee beans for the recipe and steps I use to make the coffee concentrate.  I used a 32 ounce wide mouthed water bottle instead of canning jars.

Now at this point you can drink it straight over ice...or you can add milk and sugar to sweeten...whatever you like.  However, thanks to Pinterest (of course) I have been enlightened to something even more delicious!  Allow me to introduce: 
I like my coffee sweet!  She has come up with a recipe for sweet cream.....after pouring coffee concentrate on ice, add "sweet cream".  A combination of sweet and condensed milk and evaporated milk. 
Often things I try don't turn out as good as they sound...but this seriously is yummy.  It will be the perfect companion as I finish reading chapter 7 of In Pictures and in Words.
Happy Friday,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

 Daily 5 Chapter 3

"When we follow routines day after day, our students can use their energy to grow as readers and learners rather than to figure out what we expect them to do.  And we in turn, can focus our energy on teaching, not managing, or independent learners."  -Kathy Collins. I can connect this to I am unfamiliar with, I repeatedly look back at the directions and follow them step by step to figure out what I am supposed to do.  But the recipes I have made over and over, I can alter and change to make new things and try new ways to make them better.  I want kids to know the expectations so well, they are willing to be risky and try new things.

Gathering Place:
I refer to my gathering place as "the nest"  Just like baby birds, the nest is where they learn skills they need before flying off and trying them on their own.  In class, we need a place to learn all together, before we go and try reading strategies independently.  A lot of helpful reminders about our jobs as learners surround this space.  Here is one of them that helps us remember how to hang out in the nest.
Appropriate Books:
Before we get to choosing books, we spend a lot of time talking about how to choose books, why to choose books, how we are all different and unique in our reading lives.  We do the shoe that fit one person might not be a good size for another.

Because I hope that choosing books in the classroom library, would help students navigate through the public library, my library is organized by author (fiction) and topic (non-fiction).  I do have baskets full of the easiest books, because without fail, every year those are my kids always trying to sneak "too hard" books into their bookbag.  So I do make them choose all their books from these baskets.  For more on the library, see this post.

fiction-chapter books
easy readers

The books are leveled, using reading lexile. 
Lexile is written inside the book
All the books have dots on the s
Overall, my chickadees were pretty good about picking just right books.  There were a few who had a check in with me, so I could make sure they were on the right track.  My biggest issue with picking books was kids who wanted books that were way below their level....every week we were we having discussions about trying books that would grow them as readers.
Each student has a 3x5 card.  I write their lexile number range and the matching color dot on their card.  They use that to help them find just right books.
Anchor Charts:
Of course, the anchor charts that the sisters put in their book are a staple to setting up a successful Daily 5 system.  But my favorite routine, that I think really helps with the stamina and being on task is about three kinds of readers.  I have posted about it before, but here is a refresher.   I tell my kids there are three kinds of readers; pretend, dutiful, and engaged.  We define these three traits and talk about what a reader looks like while doing them.
Pretend:  Book might not be out-eyes moving around room-they may distract others-off task.....
Dutiful:  Is doing what they are supposed to be doing-might be easily distracted.....
Engaged:  Loves their book-is not distracted-might show emotion because of story-not distracted-hard to put book down

Then we act them out and try to guess who is showing each trait.
Students put thumb up when they were ready to guess.
Can you find the three traits?

Engaged reader is thinking, "I like this book.  It is cool."  The dutiful reader is thinking, "I don't like this book, but she told me to read it."  The pretender is thinking, "I like dogs."
My kids remember this all year long...and use those words to help each other stay on task!  We review our own reading behavior each day and ask ourselves what kind of reader we are.
Getting students back to the carpet The student of the day, gets to wind it up (they all LOVE this job) and it plays "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."  They play the song for about 30 seconds and by the end everyone has made it to the "nest."  To encourage the 30 second transition, I let the first 5 students to the carpet area move their clothespin up, on the clip chart!
Then we choose our next session choice.  At first this is slow, but after a couple weeks we have got the alphabetized list going and everyone has signed up and on their way to session two within 30-45 seconds....sometimes we even time it and try and beat our record.  Here is what I use to record what they are doing.
My other favorite thought from this chapter was the 10 Steps:
1.  Identify what is to be taught.
2.  Set a purpose and sense of urgency.
3.  Brainstorm behaviors desired using an i-chart.
4.  Model most desirable behaviors.
5.  Incorrect model-least desirable behaviors, then repeat most desirable.
6.  Everyone practice and build stamina.
7.  Teacher stays out of the way.
8.  Quiet signal-come back to group.
9.  Group check in-"How did you do?"
10.  Repeat 1-9.

This matches our school PBIS Behavior teaching model.....why not apply it to class instruction as well.
For more Daily 5 Book Study thoughts, check out,

Happy Wednesday,