Sunday, October 24, 2010

Planned a birthday party with...

A is turning 11 tomorrow, Monday and we celebrated Friday night with seven girlfriends in our kitchen.  She opened a Sweet Treat Shop for a one time event only this year.  We planned the whole evening with Ghoulish Goodies, which I reviewed a year ago and after making about 8 of the recipes I thought it deserved another shout out.  The recipes from punch to Pumpkins in a Haystack were easy to create.  The photographs are mouth watering and easy guides for creating.  With a little organization of materials and ingredients the girls were pretty self sufficient.  It was a great gathering and fun evening to spend with A and her friends.  Happy Birthday, sweetie!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

acorns everywhere!

It's the perfect time of year to read, acorns everywhere! by Kevin Sherry.  The simple text makes this book very accessible for our earliest readers.  The main character is a two tone orange squirrel with big white eyeballs.  The opening page is hysterical.  The big orange squirrel is holding larger than life size photographed acorns declaring, "i must hide them."  He follows a routine of gather, dig and bury.  As he conducts his routine he has to take acorns from other animals in his way.  He is feverishly burying them until he runs into a large brown bear.  The bear mistakes bury for berries.  What a wonderful play on words to discuss with our students.  The photographed acorns are now photographed blackberries.  As the squirrel diverts the brown bear from acorns to berries he himself forgets where he has buried his acorns.  What will he do?   You must read the ending to find out and carefully watch the mice in this story.

Monday, October 18, 2010

If You're a Monster and You Know It

If You're a Monster and You Know It is going to start our week off just right!  I can't wait to share this brand new book at morning meeting this morning.  Ed Emberely has teamed up with his daughter Rebecca Emberley for a twist to the song If You're Happy and You Know It and you get a slight feeling of the Hokey Pokey.  The reader will be snoring, growling, smacking, stomping, twitching, wiggling, and trying to put it together.  Students need to move and will love the participation this book encourages.  This book is also filled with vibrant illustrations in bold and bright hues, set against a black background.  I was actually drawn to this book immediately because I think we could easily replicate the illustrations.  There is a free download at Scholastic to help you sing along.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

OCTM 2010

I've spent the day at the annual Ohio Council Teachers of Mathematics.  It's a great state conference, affordable and full of smart math teachers to learn from. 

My first session with William Wever, from the University of Toledo was right up my alley.  His session centered around the notion of mathematics being more than counting.  In mathematics there's procedural knowledge and conceptual knowledge.  He strongly urged the audience to embrace conceptual knowledge.  Conceptual knowledge is about relationships, connecting pieces of information to other pieces, taking new information and making connections to prior information.  Conceptual knowledge can use a concept map as a pre and post assessment.  He examples of ways to develop and use structures to help the brain develop strong number concepts.

My next session was about writing in mathematics.  One idea I walked away with was to have students write a math autobiography.  This would be a great tool to get to know them and understand their past experiences with math.  They also suggested having the parents write one about their child.  Another idea I thought was interesting if I was teaching older students is a preassessment using a list of unit vocabulary.  Students put a check next to the word if they get it, a question mark if they aren't sure and an x if they have no clue.

I can't wait to use a clothesline to help teach mathematics and build number sense with digit cards.  Thanks Timothy McKeny from Ohio University for your great ideas!

Douglas Clements from University of Buffalo, near my old stomping grounds at Buffalo State, was promoting better mathematics.  He spoke a lot about his early education work and research was very informative.  He said several times, "drill without meaning doesn't work."  The students learn it short term and it doesn't stay with them, one reason fact fluency is repeated every year.  We have to know our learning trajectories and help foster continuous growth.  We can't spin our wheels doing something our students can already do or know how to do. 

I learned a lot about the new Common Core standards and yea the math curriculum is changing in kindergarten.  We will be focusing on counting and cardinality, going beyond our current expectations (with other things).  This has big ramifications and implications with curriculum and assessment.  It was suggested that kdg. embrace them next year so the third graders in 2014 are prepared when their assessments change.

It was a full day of learning.  A few sessions tomorrow and a presentation.  Sharing 50 picture books in 50 minutes, I better talk fast.  My hope is with that many books there will be something new to participants.  I'm sharing something old and something new, come have a look I've got a book for you!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Diner Cookbook

My fifth grade daughter, A has been reading Diner Cookbook.  Diner Cookbook is published by Publications International, Ltd. (2010) as her nonfiction reading choice during class.  This past weekend she brought it home to try a couple of recipes in it.  I have to be honest, I wasn't that excited based on the title.  I or should I say we don't eat fast food very much.  I like a diner atmosphere for breakfast and then I hope they have egg beaters on the menu but I survive if they don't.  I was pleasantly surprised by the content and recipes found in Diner Cookbook.  This morning for breakfast A made us all chocolate chip pancakes.  They were quite yummy!  The book is actually in a board book format with thick heavy pages.  Each recipe is on the left hand side of a two page spread with a full photo on the right hand side.  The photos are mouth watering.  The majority of the recipes are 6 - 8 no more than 10 ingredients.  The directions are not complicated and ones children can follow, with merely an average of 3 steps.  The index lets you  know where to find recipes for breakfast (all day, that would be diner style), soups, burgers and more, daily specials and pies/sweets.  The recipes had many I thought were worth trying and on the healthy side.  I might just borrow this book next to make Grilled Veggie Sandwiches or Roasted Chicken and Vegetables.  A has added strawberries and ice cream to my grocery list to make a Strawberry Shake.  She's already planning on doubling the recipe, it only makes two.  I'm so glad A was motivated to bring home her cookbook and follow through on making something for all of us.  She applied her reading well.

Please note the photo and link I found are for a soft cover spiral bound version, not the board book version.