Wednesday, May 27, 2009

48 Hour Challenge


What a great idea, a challenge to read books for 48 hours and the timing is perfect! It's the first weekend of summer. I have never participated in this 48 Hour Book Challenge created by Mother Reader but am excited anticipating the thought of making reading for myself a goal for a short period of time. I'm not sure how much I can participate with my daughter's schedules but I am going to give it a try and blog about my reading.

I'm even more excited about joining some of my Central Ohio blogger friends and meeting more of this great group for breakfast and shopping to kick off our summer and reading. A little bit of grown up time. My friend Franki over at A Year of Reading posted about connecting our reading and helping out a charity.

To quote Franki, " Mary Lee already posted that she will not be able to attend this year's Blog Event due to her participation in a FISH-A-THON. She will be raising money for a cause that is important to her--Casting for Recovery, a nonprofit organizaiton that offers no-cost retreats for breast cancer survivors."

I too am going to participate by contributing a dollar a book for each book I come home with from shopping. The great news is I have a purchase order to help with our cause this day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Poetry Friday

I'd like to thank my daughter's third grade teacher for doing a poetry writing cycle with A! A is more successful with poetry because the pieces are shorter and mechanics break all rules. She enjoys playing with words in a simplier format. She is also more successful with poetry because she can write about her memories and emotions as she did here. This event happened four and a half years ago when she was five, what a memory!

Golf Cart


Falling out!

Not a pretty sight.

Falling out!

Not a pretty sight.

Ouch!

Cars stopped.

Ouch!

Cars stopped.

My dad ran out of the cart.

I felt scared and sad.

My dad ran out of the cart.

I felt scared and sad.

I got the blues. Wouldn't you?

I got the blues. Wouldn't you?

Monday, May 11, 2009

nctm.org website

I had the pleasure to attend my friend and mentor's retirement party last week. We taught together for the first seven years of my career and I tried to observe and learn everything I could. We have stayed in touch on and off through the years and even at his retirement party there I was motivated and pushed to reflect and think about best practices for myself and my students. After his current staff sang, carried out skits about his career, and spoke about him...he blessed us with his own thoughts. The room was filled with laughter and tears.

Part of his message led me to this post. In reflecting about his career, he urged his peers and shared some of his experiences with professional organizations and opportunities he's had being involved at levels outside the immediate classroom. There are opportunities for learning, sharing, and growing and I believe this is very important to keep fresh and a passion for what we do daily.

I had let my membership expire to nctm.org this year, The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. When I began to think about this over the weekend, I realized I needed to belong again. One reason, was the need to check out their professional resources that are just fabulous and purchase those related to kdg. Another was for the current information related to mathematics teaching and their publication Teaching Children Mathematics. You might look for this in your school library in the professional journal session, if you have one. Through their Members Only area, one is able to find more lessons and resources to use, and you can search standards and principals in mathematics. Illuminations is a free resource with lessons, activities, web links that have been reviewed to help educators teach mathematics. Figure This! is a great free resource to help middle school families with rich engaging math challenges and advice for communicating with your child's school about homework and their math instruction. I have found things here to extend my higher students with problem solving. Children grow when they have to think a bit harder and are feeling challenged. You can also find some helpful things without being a member. Definitely a site to explore.

I have a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a multidisciplinary focus. It wasn't until a few years ago, I realized why I chose this focus beyond the reason that most of my hours would fit into it when I transferred schools. I love the integration of learning and all areas of our school day. I think this blog might include this, too.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

About the Authors


by Katie Wood Ray with Lisa B. Cleveland. I heard about this book when it was published in 2004 while seeing Katie Wood Ray speak at a conference. I wanted to read it then but it didn't apply to my current teaching position. I am so glad I started my kdg. professional reading journey with this title! Section One supports teachers thinking about setting up and organizing a writing workshop. I felt as I was reading this, I was returning to the work I did earlier in my career and thinking based on the early work of Donald Graves. To quote the authors from the first chapter...


"Over time and with experience, we have to come to believe that it is the energy of making stuff in a daily writing workshop that drives all our teaching with our youngest writers. From the very first day of workshop we fold up the paper, staple it together so it looks like a book, and then say to the five and six year olds in front of us, "Come on everybody, let's make books!" It's this making of something that matters so much to them and drives their work across the year."


We know when the work is meaningful and purposeful there will be more engagement and more engagement leads to greater learning. Section Two guides teachers in thinking about minilessons, instruction with units of study, assessment, and writing conferences. All of the components that outline a workshop model for teaching. In this section, I found lots of valuable information but the following were things I underlined and may have stretched my thinking a bit more.


- "...assessment is important because it helps us maintain a celebratory attitude about our teaching.

-...we're supposed to teach the writer, not the writing.

-Our goal is that our conferences will leave children with energy for the work they're doing and that the teaching will also be leading children toward independence."


I highly suggest reading Sections One and Two to help your understanding and how to use Section Three with greater success. Section Three is a valuable resource to the teacher of writing. It's a collection of suggested units of study for our youngest writers. Studies that make sense to children. For example, the kinds of things writers make and how we'll make them in this room, how to read like writers, and how to make illustrations work better with written text are a few you will find.