Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top 10 Posts 2015

Thank you for joining me this year and being a part of my blogging life, readers.  I've appreciated the comments and realize these opportunities offer me more reflection and opportunities for further conversation with so many wonderful educators.  A new year seems to bring a natural pause in life to reflect and think about the next 365 days.  Reflection involves looking back and I began wondering; what posts were had the most readers, what might my readers be interested in, and what do I like to write about.  Here's what I discovered in looking at the top ten viewed posts.












Reflections -

7/10 posts were shared as part of a larger community
6/10 posts Cathy Mere as a part in hosting the larger community event
4/10 posts are about or sharing children's literature
3/10 posts are about professional reading
2/10 posts are about my math thinking

This is my 100th posts for 2015.  Since I started blogging, this is my "lowest" post year. There are several reasons for that within my personal reflections and as I pondered those I realized I'm not ready to retire this writing space.  So friends, I would really love for you to join my conversation and make it bigger than me talking to myself.

What would you like to see me share?  What would you like to know more about?  What would you like to see me continue to do new?  Happy New Year and be safe in your celebrations!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Boy, Were We Wrong About the Weather!

We stopped by our local tiny local library over the weekend and Boy, Were We Wrong About the Weather! by Kathleen V. Kudlinkski just jumped off the shelf and into the arms to come home.  The title alone sounds like a daily conversation here in Ohio when there's a small chance of snow nearby.   I think this book not only helps readers learn interesting information about weather but it's also about history with a focus on change over time.  

The book begins with the Sumerian warriors who believed the weather god, Enlil, was creating thunder and lightening.  The believed if they danced Enlil would get in a better mood and the storms would stop.  As you can imagine, the text says - "Boy, were they wrong!"


The story flips back and forth from a past to present day or more current time frame with a current explanation for past thinking.  For example, the reader learns sailors from Spain met the Tiano Indians who taught them the storm go, Huracan caused the storms they had just sailed through.  People didn't believe their stories when they returned home and then the reader learns how scientist today study hurricanes.  


Many different types of weather are explained in this story with modern day science thoughts.  Did you know the Chinese thought if a dragonfly flew up and down instead of side to side it would rain soon?  I didn't know this and now I wish it was summer to see dragonflies and investigate this idea.  


I love the ending of this book.  It encourages the reader to become that scientist that makes people say, "Boy, were we wrong about the weather!"


Thank you Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy for encouraging us to share nonfiction picture books all year on Wednesdays.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Nonfiction Wednesday - Secrets of Air

Secrets of Air written by Mi-ae Lee and illustrated by Hae-ryun Jeong brings a challenging topic to life for early scientists.   The front cover has an interesting tidbit of information.  The editor is listed with the author and illustrator.  It's none other than Joy Cowley.  I love Joy Cowley books for emerging readers and this book doesn't disappoint.

The illustrations are a full page and a third of a two page spread.  The first two thirds of the page on the left is where the text is placed throughout the book.  I just enjoyed this layout and knowing where to find the text as I read each page.  Big concepts about air are shared with the reader in mind.  An air fact drives the page but the author carefully makes connections to help the reader process the information.

Here's an example; Air is close to the earth, above the pointed roof and between the trees.

Then on the same page; When we go to the top of a high mountain, there is less air so it is harder to breathe.  

Students will think about the movement of air, warm and cool air, sound waves being carried, oxygen, the weight of air, and air being invisible.  So many important ideas for early scientists.  

Thank you Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy for encouraging us to share nonfiction picture books all year on Wednesdays.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Math Monday: Make Your Own Place Value Disks

This past summer I learned about new math manipulative  - place value disks.  

The ETA - Hands 2 Mind website offers this description.

"Place value chips (disks) are non-proportional models that can be used once students have a solid understanding of our place value system. Colored chips with values imprinted on them allow students to develop strategies based on properties, reinforce traditional algorithms, and build understanding of the meanings of mathematical operations and other topics such as rounding to the nearest."

We wanted to order some as a grade level.  As I began looking at various vendors, I soon realized to order the recommended amount for five sections of second grade we needed to spend between $450.00 and $500.00.  Yikes!  Everybody has a budget or should choose wisely how to spend any budget money available.

I then began brainstorming because when I began teaching we repurposed many common objects and turned them into tools for the classroom;  bread tags, bottle caps, old screws and nails, and old keys to name a few.  Beans were the best counters around.  Then I realized, poker chips could be place value disks.  Sharpie markers could be used to label them.  

We got them for five classrooms for just $45.00!  It did require a bit of work labeling them but by saving money here I was able to order everyone true yardsticks and true meter sticks for each classroom.  It's hard to teach what a yardstick is, if it's 39 inches on a meter stick.  I purchased ours at a one of my favorite, "old fashion" stores - Star Beacon.  I believe you can order from them online or at least call and they ship anywhere.  


                                     

Friday, November 6, 2015

Helen Lester Author Visit!

Helen Lester is a rock star in author visits!  She's adorable, charming, sweet and funny.  I've used her stories for years to help launch my classroom community and think about our actions with each other.    I was excited she was coming to our school but once I met her I became ecstatic!  

Her journey began as a teacher and turned her into a writer.  Her students inspired her by who they were and by what they did.  It took her three years to get her first book published.  She finds she does her best writing not at a desk.  She writes while walking in the woods, or when she is bored and once she wrote a book not he back of a grocery list.  

Helen shared so many tidbits about writing, you've got to know them all!

- Writing is like baseball.  The author is the pitcher and the illustrator is the catcher.  

- Hatching - notes on paper for a book

- Writing is like a maze.  You try things that work but they don't always work.

- When she gets stuck she tells herself she is thinking.

- Best thing about being an author is people laugh in all the right places.

- The more you exercise your writing the better you get.

- Keep your old stuff in a Fizzlebox.  It holds ideas to be used one day, maybe.

These were wise nuggets for students learning to write and adults.  She shared personal stories.  She taught us how the do the Flap Waddle Dance like Tacky the Penguin.  She even had a clog dancing penguin that was hysterical to watch.  She is quick on her feet and tells you about life just as it is with humor and truth.  If you can cross paths with her, I highly recommend it.




Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Tigers by Valerie Bodden

After using Tigers by Valerie Bodden during a mini lesson yesterday, I fell in love  it.  On the surface it looked like a great nonfiction book for younger readers.  The photographs are brilliant and large; almost a whole page size in most cases.  The text is big for younger readers and not too much print on a page.  The photographs have just a one sentence caption which is perfect because the photos are focused requiring just one sentence.  I quickly scanned and saw a few words in bold typeface and thought we've got some things to work with here for a mini-lesson.  

We are currently talking about nonfiction keywords and if we can predict some words we might see while we are reading it will make our reading go better.  It will sound better and we will understand better the "lingo" on nonfiction books.  The book Tigers was suggested as a mentor text to use for using nonfition features to help find keywords and understand what they mean.  I find glossaries a bit challenging for younger readers because they may not want to stop and flip to the back of the book to find the definition of a keyword.  Valerie Bodden must have great insight for early readers because she puts the definition for her words in bold print at the bottom of the page, easily accessible for the reader.  This makes the reading process easier to navigate and helps foster more meaning for the reader.  

I'm a bit worried because during lunch yesterday, I discovered this book is part of the Amazing Animals series published by Creative Paperbacks and there are 16 books in the series.  I want them all!

Thank you Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy for encouraging us to share nonfiction picture books all year on Wednesdays.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Math Monday - Wrestling with Fluently and Memory


In February of this year, I wrote a post Math Fact Fluency has Literacy Connections and here I am back wrestling with -


Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.2 By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.



I was thinking and driving this week and realized this standard has two words I need to wrestle with; fluently and memory.  I got a little bit excited because it reminded me of my work with two other tricky words while teaching kindergarten; prompting and support. Let's look at the definitions for fluently and memory.

fluently - spoken or written with ease

memory - the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences.

I want to jump up, dance and start singing!  These two definitions don't include a set number of problems.  These two definitions don't include an amount of time.  These two definitions don't include a clock!  But now I want to look at another word - ease.

ease - freedom from difficulty or great effort; facility:  It can be done with ease.

I find these three definitions quite interesting and having a place in my math workshop.  I see verbal and/or written recall as an option.  I see the need for students to easily use their memory to recall basic facts just as they recall the letters of the alphabet.  Here's an interesting thought I just had, we don't ask student to write the letters of the alphabet under a minute why would we ask students to do this with math facts?  I see students working on learning their basic facts without worry and difficulty.  This might mean looking closely at students needs and working with them in different ways.  We have students identify letters of the alphabet orally, why not have them show fluently, memory, and ease of basic math facts orally?  We surround emergent readers with stories, predictable language, shared readings and read alouds.  Let's surround our mathematicians with math stories, mental strategies, math games and images of math.  I think this will guide our students work towards fluently, memory, and ease with addition and subtraction.



Thursday, October 22, 2015

I don't like koala by Sean Ferrell

This past weekend I picked up I don't Like Koala by Sean Ferrell with pictures by Charles Santoso and I can't wait to share it with my students this week.  I don't like, is a pretty strong opinion for the character Adam to have about his stuffed koala.  He tries to tell his parents his opinion but they don't understand why Adam would feel this way.  Koala is always with Adam which is a bit of a mystery since Adam puts him away in different locations.  He tries to lose him but he keeps resurfacing. The expressions Charles Santoso has created to help these two characters tell their story really help generate feelings for Adam and Koala.  Then one night, Adam realizes there is something more terrible than Koala and he is grateful to have Koala there to comfort him.  I hope you pick up this book to find out what Adam is afraid of and to help students think about how opinions can change.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Math Monday: #OCTM2015 Recap

If you have never been to a math conference, you really need to consider going!  They are a lot of fun!  You get to connect with other teachers.  You get to pick sessions of interest which can provide new learning and opportunities to reflect.  Each time I attend the Ohio Council Teachers of Mathematics conference, I walk away energized. It's really fun to try and solve math problems with other people.  As much fun and maybe a bit more fun than talking about books with my literacy friends.

I think mathematics is really a topic people feel they need to have a speciality in to attend a math conference but you don't.   It's so energizing!  We actually need more elementary teachers attending this conference and presenting.  We can only benefit from getting together to learn for ourselves and our students.

During two days I attended 13 sessions, including one I presented and truth be told I went home on Friday with two more to go.  A total of 15 seasons in two days is well worth your money for this conference.  Also, for presenting one session you can attend free.  You could start thinking and planning right now, this school year to come and attend for free next October.  

I thought the best way for you to get a feel for this conference would be to recap my personal experience with the session title and either an ah-ha or a quote that is sticking with me since I left.

Moving from Performance to Learning with ODE/Annika Moore

                          Performance  vs   Learning
answers questions correctly              explore rich connections
take test                                         appreciate the beauty of mathematics
perform                                          learn about applicability

Q and A with ODE/Ann Carlson
"Good instruction leads to success.  It's not about preparing for a test, it's about quality instruction. Take  notes and offer feedback.  It will lead to future success."  

Implementing CGI in the Classroom with Emily Hermann
Organizing the sharing at the end of a math workshop is crucial.  One strategy would be to pass out number cards 1 -5 as you confer with students and then these students share with everyone in this order.   The order is established ahead of time for particular reasons.

Exploding Dots with James Tantum
I had a huge Ah ha moment here when I understood how I could use dots on a  place value chart to solve the answer.   It was basically understanding what a base 3 and a base 5 system for place value could look like.

Rich Tasks:  How Do You Select, Design, and Implement Them?  with Chris Bolognese
"We are way too eager to front load - it doesn't always have to be an application."

Focus and Rigor: Situation Word Problems and Basic Facts with Karen Boremen
"Use small numbers - we want Ss to see the concept and solve the numbers, not struggle with the numbers."

Number Lines as an Instructional Tool with Linda Price
Lots of ideas for using number lines in our math workshop including using it for elapsed time.  

Math Writing Tasks in Early Elementary Grades with Karl Kosko
Looking at writing argumentatively about math
    mathematical statements - making a math claim
    written recounts - describe own experience with the task
    procedural writing - describe procedures
            with mathematical quantities and/or operations K/1 goal
    mathematical descriptions - procedural writing with justifications
            and references that connect all the procedures together 2/3 goal
    mathematical explanations - descriptions that include a rationale, justification

Teaching Fractions Using Pattern Blocks with Lorraine Henn
"The value depends on the whole - big understanding for fractions."

Morning Math with Dori Daskalakis/Scott Mitter
"We don't learning anything for keeps unless it's in some kind of context."

Putting the Practices Into Action with John San Giovanni - AWESOME keynote!
He had me hooked within the introduction with this, "I know the great struggle and the great rewards of being a math teacher."  Headline News - grabs attention and summarizes - that's what an equation does.

Listening to Student's Thinking to Support their Mathematics Learning with Kim Yoak
"We can never assume, a correct answer does not necessarily indicate full understanding!"

Thursday, October 15, 2015

OCTM 2015 Presentation

If you were able to join me today at the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference - for my session on Using Mathematics to Connect Home and School, thank you!  I was honored and happy to spend time with you during the last session of Day 1.  If you weren't able to join me or even attend the conference here are the materials I shared and a glimpse at our thinking for the day.

You can find the full parent letter, communication sheet, and game directions in my OCTM 2015 folder.  I hope this will help you find meaningful ways to engage your students and families around mathematics.  They need guidance, it's much easier to go to the library or buy books than interact over mathematics.





Monday, August 10, 2015

Happy #pb10for10 Day!


What an exciting day today is!  The number of participants surpasses our hopes.  We are thrilled so many educators are using picture books in their classrooms and even more thrilled they are willing to share their favorites to help others.  Our profession is hard work and it's our hope that our #pb10for10 sharing helps lighten the load for each of you in some small way.  There are a lot of blog posts to read and check out.  Remember to post within our community to help others find you but also give twitter a big shout out with your post and our hashtag.  With this many participants wouldn't it be great to have a positive teacher event be twitter trendy?!

Please consider commenting on 10 different lists over the next week.  It's so helpful as writers to receive feedback and showing appreciation fills your own bucket in life.  

PS - My post will be coming later.  August 10th is filled to the brim with goodness; chapter writing deadline date, first day back as a teacher work day and then meet my new students, National Kidney Services pick up for my donations from my summer purging, and then a moment or two to breathe.

  1. Contact Us:  Contact us on our blogs, on Twitter (@mandyrobek or @cathymere), or by e-mail to let us know you are joining this event.  This way we can try to be sure we don't miss anyone on the day of the event.  
  1. Grab a Badge:  Add the Picture Book 10 for 10 Badge to your blog.  
  1. Choose your favorites:  All you need to do is choose ten picture books you CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT for whatever reason.  Believe me, that's not as easy as it sounds.  Here are some tips that might help (Choosing Picture Books and More About Choosing Picture Books). 
  1. Write Your August 10th Post:  Write a post telling us about the 10 books you cannot live without.  Share your post on August 10th and link it to our Google Plus Community, on the page for 2015.
  1. No Blog?  No Problem:  If you don't have a blog this might be the perfect time to start one --- or you can find alternate ways to participate here.  Cathy and I are not huge rule followers so feel free to adjust as needed.  
  1. Enjoy August 10th:  It's such a fun day to be in the blogging/twitter world!  We feel fortunate to have so many friends new and old join us and share some book love.  This is our 6th year and each year we aren't the only ones reserving lots of library books and/or increasing our personal book budgets!





Sunday, August 9, 2015

Picture Book 10 for 10 How To, for Tomorrow!


  1. Contact Us:  Contact us on our blogs, on Twitter (@mandyrobek or @cathymere), or by e-mail to let us know you are joining this event.  This way we can try to be sure we don't miss anyone on the day of the event.  
  1. Grab a Badge:  Add the Picture Book 10 for 10 Badge to your blog.  
  1. Choose your favorites:  All you need to do is choose ten picture books you CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT for whatever reason.  Believe me, that's not as easy as it sounds.  Here are some tips that might help (Choosing Picture Books and More About Choosing Picture Books). 
  1. Write Your August 10th Post:  Write a post telling us about the 10 books you cannot live without.  Share your post on August 10th and link it to our Google Plus Community, on the page for 2015.
  1. No Blog?  No Problem:  If you don't have a blog this might be the perfect time to start one --- or you can find alternate ways to participate here.  Cathy and I are not huge rule followers so feel free to adjust as needed.  
  1. Enjoy August 10th:  It's such a fun day to be in the blogging/twitter world!  We feel fortunate to have so many friends new and old join us and share some book love.  This is our 6th year and each year we aren't the only ones reserving lots of library books and/or increasing our personal book budgets!




Pass the news along to all your crazy picture book friends.  Educators, media specialists, parents, book enthusiasts are all welcome!  The more the merrier, we are currently at 159 members!  

Cathy and I are honored and humbled to have old friends and new friends joining us.  Picture books are enjoyable and full of instructional value.  Thank you for making them part of your life and our day on August 10, 2015!

Monday, August 3, 2015

RUFUS the writer by Elizabeth Bram


My "dangerous" friend @mollienye72 knows books and has been recommending several to me in the last few weeks.  I've been holding off sharing them here with you in hopes she will take my nudge and start her own blog.  We even had a name or two for Mollie's new space; Mollie's Mojo or Mollie's Books and Knitting or how about Mollie's Mojo; Books and Knitting.  Maybe this public nudge will make her think a bit more about blogging or tweeting her favorite book titles.  Either could work Mollie and in the mean time I just had to share this title, hope you don't mind.

RUFUS the writer by Elizabeth Bram and Chuck Groenink is sweet, enduring, and delightful.  I love the warm tones created with gouache, acrylics, pencils, and Adobe Photoshop.  I'm always intrigued when an illustrator mentions technology with traditional illustrating tools because I can't tell where the technology was used.

Rufus decides he isn't going to have a lemonade stand this summer and instead he creates a story stand!  Yep, you read that right.  Rufus gathers a table, supplies, and dresses up in a jacket and bowtie to sit at his story stand.  Neighborhood friends come by to ask Rufus to go swimming.  He passes on the offer because he's got to run his story stand.  After they leave, Rufus writes his first story.  Readers will enjoy then reading this story and thinking about the interaction that just happened between friends to figure out where the ideas came from.  Three more friends stop by the story stand and Rufus then gets ideas for another story readers get to read.  

What I love about this book is how the Elizabeth Bram shows readers/writers where ideas can come from and how one idea can creatively turn into a bigger story.  I can't wait to use it during our launching writing workshop unit this month.

Monday, July 27, 2015

What if? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

It was a treat to find, What if? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger on sale a couple of weeks ago.  I originally picked it up because the simple text intrigued me for engaging student's with questioning.  There is a repeating question cycle that happens three times.

What if...?
And what if...?
Then what if...?
But then...
Or...

I thought wouldn't it be wonderful to have my students think about the same idea and notice switch the wording, to open further thinking and inquiry.  However, I realized on my second read these questions do not stand alone and this book is filled with lots of thinking.  The pictures tell the story and while the text stays the same, the images tell three different possible scenarios.  I found this completely clever as a reader and had to go back and look at the first cycle of questions to figure out the second one.  I imagine a lot of classroom discussions and multiple reads to to understand and read the different possible scenarios.  Then on my third read, I discovered this is a book about friendship and including everyone.  That message sounds like one we all need to share with students as we think about a new school year.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Poetry Friday - My New Favorite Resource


At The Farmers' Market
by Buffy Silverman

A peach,
a pear, 
a bag of beans,

Onions,
carrots,
lettuce greens.

Crispy,
crunchy,
juicy, sweet...

Pick your 
favorite 
veggie treat!


One of my goals for the upcoming school year is to use poetry more within our community for literacy work and enjoyment.  Over the years I have been better with finding poems to match our unit of study in content areas and finding poems to help us study word study features.  I've used poetry for reading mini lessons and taught units of poetry writing.  However, last year when I switched grade levels poetry was a sprinkle here or there.  Yikes!  The first step in using poetry more is to rebuild a poetry collection to use in second grade.  My students will keep their own poetry notebook and receive copies of the poems we read together and discuss.  I decided last spring I wanted my collection of poetry to focus on celebrations, content area learning, and word study features.  Poems selected in any of these three areas can be used for literacy mini lessons.  

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong is one of my new favorite resources to help me with my goal of using poetry more.  There are 156 poems by 115 different authors, all written for children.  Each poem has a Take 5! mini-lesson that suggestions for using a particular poem with students.  These suggestions are wonderful.  They begin with a suggestion for introducing/connecting the poem to the students.  Then suggestions for engaging the students are offered along with a discussion idea for following the shared reading.  Each poem is paired with a picture book, which opens doors for all kinds of thinking and comparisons.  The last suggestion involves connecting this poem with another poem or poetry book.  We are blessed to have so much thought and guidance for using these poems with students.

The introduction/guide that begins this text is filled so much valuable information for educators.  You won't want to miss out on their ten easy tips for reading poetry aloud, thinking about using picture books with poetry, or the thinking behind lexiles and leveling poetry.  I just love this quote.

"Poetry for children begs to be heard, to be shared out loud, to be talked about.  
It is a social connection as well as a language experience."

Thank you Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for hosting this week.

-

Thursday, July 23, 2015

#CyberPD - Digital Reading Part 3

I didn't want the book to end.  I just have to be honest but if good books have to end then this ended the way I wanted it to.  "But in this digital age, we both believe that we must keep our eye on the literacy assessment practices we have trusted for years."  

Franki along with other mentors have had me conducting reading interviews with students for twenty years.  However, I was nudge here and wrote revamp next to Franki's new list of questions.  I completely agree if we want to foster digital readers we need to find out where they are to see changes during the school year.  

I enjoyed the very encouraging pep talk on the bottom of p92.  Digital tools are not meant to throw out things we've done previously.  They are meant to be an addition for creating and fostering successful communicators.  I feel comfortable with the suggested list of tools for assessing reading.  I just need to now think with intention when and why we will use them in our classroom community.  I am pondering if second graders can annotate on digital devices, has anyone tried this with primary children?  I'd love some tips.  

I want to quote Franki and Bill at my curriculum night, "I realize it was the conversations around these projects - not the projects themselves that truly mattered most."  I think it's important to not only share the projects when they are completed but share the journey, which in turn may foster more conversations or an extended conversation.  I do understand sometimes it's hard for students to share all they have done during their day when they are tired after school but we are doing some meaningful work hopefully out side of recess and lunch.  

I have been using a website for quite some time for communicating with families and have always received positive feedback but I never considered this as an act for engaging parents themselves as digital readers.  I think this could be another talking point at curriculum night.  Who is a digital reader?  Who has checked out our class website?  Then if you have, you are a digital reader.  This scenario might be a good lead in to guiding parents through the various tools we will use this year at our curriculum night and help them log in if necessary or have some intentional guidance for following through at home.  I'm familiar with some of the other digital communication tools and will be spending some time over the next few weeks in deciding exactly what I will use this next year.  

Thank you to Cathy, Laura, and Michelle for co-hosting and generating some summer #CyberPD love!




Thursday, July 16, 2015

#CyberPD - Digital Reading Part 2

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Chapters 3-5 in Digital Reading by Bill Bass and Franki Sibberson this week.  When you read several books by the same author its like visiting with a friend.  I find their writing together friendly, inviting, and encouraging.  I really hope other participants are feeling the same way as you continue to read about using technology in your literacy work.  Personally, I'm finding this book nudging and pushing me to do more with my students and digital reading.  I've been skimming the surface with technology and I'm feeling some nudges and pushes by reading Bill and Franki's book to find ways to use technology with more authenticity, with intentional decisions in hopes of becoming more connected.  

In making the work in my classroom authentic, I clearly need to share and think carefully about my own digital reading life.  I loved the questions on p30 and thought they might make good mini lesson topics for my second graders.  I also think these might be worth talking to parents.  I wonder if they are digital readers?  I wonder if they share their digital reading with their child?  I usually invite parents to come in and share their reading lives with us and over the years my students have loved to ask if they read on an e-reader.  Maybe my informational letter about reading to families needs to include a digital reading piece.  

I want to model digital reading more in our workshop and have digital reading an option for my students.  I think a Symbaloo board called, Places We Read might be a great project in the near future.  This way students could also access it from home.  In the past, a few students have owned an e-reader but they haven't brought them to school.  I wonder why and might offer that as an option, my district does have a BYOD policy.

Several times throughout these three chapters I read Voices from the Classroom scenarios that connected written digital or video pieces to content areas of learning.  I think this might be a great first step with our primary learners.  I want to spend some time exploring and finding digital text to compliment our science and social studies content, especially. I'm wondering how Franki or others organize the clips they use?  Our school days are being reorganized and we are being asked to do more without any additional time.  Integrating the content areas into our literacy work might be very helpful and vice a versa.  

The connected piece has been missing in my classroom community.  I have not had parents or encouraged parents to leave us comments on our classroom blog.  I have not shared it very publicly for others to learn along with us.  I've created a twitter account and just last spring figured out how to work around district filters to be engaged with it.  We were able to connect with Amy LV at Poetry Farm and what a great experience this was for my students.  I think our twitter focus will be to connect with other classrooms and authors or professionals in our field/area of learning, not a reminder of things for parents.  I hope to Skype with an author this year, participate in Global Read Aloud and World Read Aloud Day, all things I have known about but never participated in.  

As you can tell, I have lots of things swirling through my head.  Thank goodness for summer to regroup and connect with all of you to help me grow.  Thank you to Cathy, Laura, and Michelle for co-hosting and generating some summer #CyberPD love!



Saturday, July 11, 2015

10 for 10 Picture Book is Coming!

Dear Cathy,

I have to be honest with you.   I don't have a clue what my #pb10for10 will be about this year.  If you recall last year I was SO ahead of the game and even changed my plan up to focus on a theme.  I don't know if you realized how big this was for me.  I like routine and by just tweaking my list each year a smidge, I've been comfortable with our project together.  However, since I had the list already by this time last year and it had a theme I am sweating just sitting here in my kitchen.  

What will I do?  This year life is a bit calmer because I'm going to be teaching second grade again.  Yahoo!  Maybe I can ponder what kinds of picture books I want to use right away because August 10th is my first teacher work day with students coming on the 12th!  Maybe I can think of a content area I need to collect books for.  Maybe I can make a collection for a writing or reading unit.  But wait, maybe I can collect some poetry books to share with my students.  Oh my, this idea of a theme has endless possibilities and while I'm thinking about all of the content theme areas why not a list of books to enjoy on any day of the school year, just because.  If I don't want to stress out about something new, I could always go back to an old list and think about tweaking that.  

I certainly hope our #pb10for10 friends will join us and stay tuned to my dilemma this year and that my thinking above helps them generate some ideas.  


Participating
We are hoping you will join us.  
  1. Contact Us:  Contact us on our blogs, on Twitter (@mandyrobek or @cathymere), or by e-mail to let us know you are joining this event.  This way we can try to be sure we don't miss anyone on the day of the event.  
  1. Grab a Badge:  Add the Picture Book 10 for 10 Badge to your blog.  
  1. Choose your favorites:  All you need to do is choose ten picture books you cannot live without for whatever reason.  Believe me, that's not as easy as it sounds.  Here are some tips that might help (Choosing Picture Books and More About Choosing Picture Books). 
  1. Write Your August 10th Post:  Write a post telling us about the 10 books you cannot live without.  Share your post on August 10th and link it to our Google Plus community, which Cathy will provide more information on and I will update that here.
  1. No Blog?  No Problem:  If you don't have a blog this might be the perfect time to start one --- or you can find alternate ways to participate here.  Cathy and I are not huge rule followers so feel free to adjust as needed.  
  1. Enjoy August 10th:  It's such a fun day to be in the blogging/twitter world!  We feel fortunate to have so many friends new and old join us and share some book love.  This is our 6th year and each year we aren't the only ones reserving lots of library books and/or increasing our personal book budgets!
Pass the news along to all your crazy picture book friends.  Educators, media specialists, parents, book enthusiasts are all welcome!  The more the merrier! 


Friday, July 10, 2015

#CyberPD - Digital Reading Part 1

I have to begin with a confession.  I own all of Franki Sibberson's books.  I am a huge fan of Franki's writing and when I read her next book was titled Digital Reading, I jumped with joy and was ready to click preorder!  Then I read the byline, What's Essential in Grade 3 - 8 and my heart sank a little bit.  I teach 2nd grade!  I didn't know what to do and I wasn't sure who to ask.  I am blessed to know how to get in touch with Franki and call her my friend, so I did just that. I reached out to my friend who was brilliant in her response.  She told me the first chapter was online and I should read that to see if I wanted to purchase the book.  I followed her suggestion and clicked preorder within minutes.  

I usually follow grade level suggestions but this is what I know about Franki's writing.  It's down to earth.  It's full of good suggestions that make me stop and think.  It confirms what I'm thinking when the world seems to spin a little bit in the opposite direction.  I know digital reading is a way of life.  I know it's important for K - 12 to think about embracing digital reading because our students either are trying to read digitally or will be very soon.  

In reading Franki and Bill's first and second chapter, I find myself thinking about what I might want digital reading to look like in my classroom.  Figure 2.2. The role of digital texts in the literacy workshop made my mind spin really fast and is some information I need to process more.  I was surprised how many ways digital reading could be incorporated with our reading workshop, as I read through the questions provided.  I was surprised to reflect and decide I'm not modeling digital reading enough in my classroom and maybe this is where I might focus my work while reading this book.  It might be taking this recommended for grades 3-8 book and finding nuggets we can use with more modeling or shared participation for a longer period of time.  However, if I truly think about how my students work, they will be eager and willing to move the pace a bit faster from the I do to we do to you do, meaning they will be engaged with digital reading!  

I also want to share a few thoughts from the book that made me stop and say hmmm
     -"reading on a computer does not make a digital reader"
     -"digitally literate vs technology users"
     -"Figure 1.3"
    -"learning to read digital texts must be embedded in the ways we do our     literacy word on a  day to day basis
    -"authenticity, intentionality, connectedness"

Thank you to Cathy, Laura, and Michelle for co-hosting and generating some summer #CyberPD love!
    


Friday, July 3, 2015

Poetry Friday - Natures Welcoming


One morning this week I woke up while on vacation to discover my friend Cathy, at Merely Day by Day is at it again!  She is constantly inspiring me and pushing me to do projects with her and projects on my own.  I love how she is using Instagram to share her poetry and photography.  Maybe she will do a blogpost to share if the poem comes first or the photograph.

Cathy wrote a haiku poem about mornings at the ocean beach and I looked out my window at the lake beach and began pondering about my own haiku.  For me, this image came first through observation and I snapped my photograph.  Then while walking my dogs I began my pre-writing process to think about my own haiku.  I started putting together word phrases and counting out syllables.  When I returned from my walk, I went down and sat on the dock to draft my own haiku using the app Phonto because I believe that is what Cathy uses.  

I decided writing a haiku was fun and having the syllable format made me think a bit more intentional about my word choice.  I wrestled with the first line the most and like my final decision.  Haikus are intended to be about nature and I found this poem easier to write than the one I tried later about doughnuts.  Let's just say eating the doughnut was a bit distracting.


                        

Thank you to Donna at Mainly Write 
for hosting Poetry Friday and organizing the Round Up!