Thursday, June 30, 2011

Math Workshop Resources- Dear Jean,

While on vacation Jean left this comment to my blog. 

"Cathy Mere (Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community) suggested that I ask you for a recommendation. I am looking for resources on creating a Math Workshop in my classroom. I have been doing Readers' and Writers' Workshop for several years. I want to stretch the format to Math. We use Saxon, but I want to restructure for the kind of learning I see in Reading and Writing. What books shall I read???"

Hands down, Jean I would use, read, borrow, collect books by the Math Solutions group which was all started by Marilyn Burns.  I went to my bookshelf and found these four titles and didn't want to only represent one source.  About Teaching Mathematics by Marilyn Burns is a great book to help grow a teacher's understanding about mathematics and has ideas for K-8.  Another invaluable math resource is Teaching Student Centered Mathematics by the late John Van de Walle and comes in three different grade level bands.  A new resource to me but one I am enjoying for the format of ideas and just filled with lessons is Hands On Standards by Learning Resources and available for specific grades.  Now, back to Marilyn Burns and Math Solutions.  She is the queen of teaching mathematics in a workshop format.  Growing Mathematical Ideas is a series, one for grades K-4 and would be a great jumping point for a year of mathematics for any grade level.  You can't go wrong with other books from this group either.  They have some Math and Literature books, fiction and nonfiction with lesson ideas based on a book which helps a teacher feel like the are in the middle of literacy.  I hope you have found these ideas helpful and enjoy your journey!

PS - I thought this was a great question for everyone with summer here to refresh our thinking.

Vacation Reading - Cesar's Way

Life has been busy and in an attempt to find balance and telling myself it's okay to let something go, my blogging and sharing slipped.  However, it never left my mind so I have lots to share with you and must start slow.  When packing for vacation, I decided to pack books that I had in my To Be Read pile and nothing for school. 

Before I can tell you about a book I read you have to meet this guy.  He joined our family the Tuesday after Memorial Day.  We weren't looking for a new dog or a second dog, but he found us.  Back in 2007, after two years of not having a dog our family put in an application at Pilot Dog, Inc. right here in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  It is a seeing eye dog training facility and has dogs that need rescuing.  I honestly thought for some reason we weren't a good match for this organization since we never heard from them.  It just takes almost 4 years to get a call.  He is purely delightful!  My 8 year old can walk him in a heel through the neighborhood.  He fetches and is loved by all!  I am so glad my husband pushed me a bit to get him.

In keeping all things fair, I have to share with you our first rescue who we adore.  She had some service dog training for different reasons and was too friendly to continue.  She is everyone's best friend.  She brings us joy and crazy stories about her antics with food.  She is probably more of your typical house pet and the reason I purchased Cesar's Way by Cesar Millan 3 years ago.  However, I just got to reading this book and wish I read earlier.  Yes, Cesar Millan is the Dog Whisperer on National Geographic TV Channel.

First, you  must know this book is not a training manual.  It's a book about understanding your dog starting with their pack instinct.  Cesar believes in routine, I believe in routines!  I'm not sure I have followed through as religiously with my dogs as they have aged and/or as more daughters were born.  Excercise is essential according to Cesar and the first step in a routine for dogs.  Followed by discipline and affection.  He talks a lot about a calm-assertiveness with dogs and becoming their pack leader.  Some of these things were familiar but not to the point of understanding through the psychology of a dog.  The book began with learning about Cesar's journey to becoming the Dog Whisperer and I felt as if I was reading a biography.  Connecting with a character to help understand his thinking.  Just loved that!  I immediately implemented some changes and have ideas to continue with for our journey with two dogs.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Soon...

I just got back from New Hampshire and have lots to blog about.  Just need a bit more time to get my feet planted in the home summer schedule and get my ordering done for school next year.  I never leave for summer with things undone but the minivan and family were leaving with or without me.  Who could miss ten days with this view all day long?  I hope your summer is going well.