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.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Slice of Life - An Open Letter to Honda

Dear Honda,

I didn't always think I would love your Odyssey minivan.  I actually wasn't thrilled to buy my first Honda Odyssey minivan.  I was nauseous and outgrowing your lovely Accord station wagon as we expected our third baby.  I thought this was going to be a short term relationship on that cold winter day 13 years ago.  Our relationship is anything but short term and I should probably confess more about our relationship.  My husband works for you and we moved to the Midwest to work for you.  So, our relationship started long before the day we bought our first Honda Odyssey minivan, it began in August of 1992.  Let's get back to the current status of our relationship.

Over the years, we've been blessed to lease company cars for two years.  I am currently driving my 5 minivan.  I've driven midline models and top of the line models.  I think I fell in love with you when the sliding doors became an option and I could have them open with groceries and three kids in tow or the many bags I carry out of my classroom each night.  I not only love you for these features but driving a minivan has come in handy when I was the traveling soccer mom doing the carpool thing or going camping with Girl Scouts.  What's been more enjoyable is driving a Honda Odyssey minivan when the grandparents visit and we can all go places in one car very comfortably or the long drives for family vacations with beach gear and dogs in tow.  Falling in love again can be a good thing and happened with the vacuum in my current minivan.  

I have to confess though with all this love and our relationship going way beyond short-term status, I am quite sad about the current color options and I just want to make a recommendation to your company.  If you want to see a revival of the minivan love for others - then why not offer some colors  that are softer, lighter, less dreary?  I don't think a shocking color is the color for your target audience but Moms with three kids still have minivan needs without looking dreary.  They need to move things back and forth to college, they still have groups of kids to drive around, vacations to take and grandparents who visit.  They might even want to drive around a carload of girlfriends for FUN!

So, Dear Honda - please consider just looking at your color options from your Pilot line and brightening up the image of your fantastic Honda Odyssey or even bring back one or two from pervious years; light blue, cashmere, a hint of green would just be nice.

Thank you and if you really want to rock the minivan world, what about a convertible?  A del Sol Super Sized.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for inviting teachers to write and share their writing with each other.  This community helps teachers and students grow in writing.

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.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Slice of Life - Did I hear her right?



She asked me to read her paper when I got home from parent teacher conferences.  This was her second attempt on the project and a much better version.  We make a few adjustments.  We have a few questions for her teacher and I purposefully created these questions so she had to ask for help and clarification.  We are getting near the end of her piece and I'm starting to feel how tired I really am from the day when I'm not sure I heard her right.

"Under-case the word Cinema."

I know I turned and looked quite puzzled.  I wasn't sure I heard her just right.  I questioned what that meant.  She looked at me as if I wasn't listening.  Her expression made me stop and think I should understand the word under-case.  But I didn't understand so I asked again for clarification.

"You know, make the c smaller."  

I burst out laughing and we had fun talking about uppercase and lowercase.  It's always interesting to hear how students or your own children create phrases to explain what they need.



Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for inviting teachers to write and share their writing with each other.  This community helps teachers and students grow in writing.

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.




Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Slice of Life - Slowing Down



Finished the unit, moving on and launch the Unit 6 Week 1 Day 1.  That was Monday early afternoon word study until my students went to lunch and recess.  Mondays are great, I get an hour of no duties and meetings.  Quiet promotes reflection and barely obtainable in an elementary school.  My reflections kept circling around the suggested resources guidance of 80% scores on post assessments are considered mastery of a unit.  Half of my students just missed it.  There was overall improvement but we didn't meet that expectation.  

Then my reflection went to the unit itself.  In this unit we were to work on combining syllables to form multisyllabic words.  A further description is two closed syllables together which is really code for compound words.  If there are three consonants together, the blend usually goes with the second syllable to divide the word, like children.  The students were introduced to more suffixes; full, meant, it, ness, less, able, and en.  We introduced the sounds of au and aw while reviewing previous suffixes and some other various sound groups along the way.  We also had 6 tricky sight words to learn, which we did.

I've been asked/told to use this resource.  I know the creator put a lot of thought into it.  It's a spin off of an individualized program for word study and I'm really thinking taking something individualized and smashing more together for a whole classroom setting isn't the best idea.  These are a lot of concepts for you average seven year old to wrestle with.  So, we are jumping off the Unit 6 Week 1 Day 1 bandwagon and spending more time with spelling multi-syllable words to breathe and enjoy words.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for inviting teachers to write and share their writing with each other.  This community helps teachers and students grow in writing.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Celebrate this Week - Finding Joy


This week I celebrate it's finding joy for students and myself.

While reading an On Demand Narrative Piece I discovered Family Math is having a positive impact on students and families during a sister's birthday.  A win - win for everyone and my heart is full.  What we do matters.  Students are finding joy and choosing to do math for fun.  Learning should be fun.



"We got board of t.v. so we played my family math game!  It was very fun and I won. It felt like I was in card maineya!!!!!!!!"


Thank you to Ruth Ayers for fostering a community where celebrations are found and shared.  Reminding us of the joy in our daily lives, inside and outside our classrooms. 

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.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Slice of Life - I Didn't Expect to Get Homework!



"That didn't just happen."
"Did I just get homework from my daughter's principal?"
"I think I did."
"Do I walk around with book reader stamped in on my forehead?"
"Do I walk around with one who is always learning stamped on my forehead?"
"Did I just get homework from my daughter's principal?"
"I just got homework from my daughter's principal!"
"It's not a small assignment, it's to read a whole book!"


I had a great meeting with my daughter's principal a couple of weeks ago.  I've had some concerns about her learning, we've done some tutoring and wanted to get some support through school with something we finally found helpful for spelling.  I requested some testing be done and the results were what I expected but to be truthful, I was hoping to find an explanation and didn't besides she didn't learn how to spell in the right way for her.  It's a tricky conversation to have when you also teach in the district.  I just wanted to review some thinking with him and I really enjoyed our conversation and his willingness to realize we needed to keep momentum going with combination of school and home being united.  We are blessed to have a great team of teachers working with her this year, also.

I never expected to leave with a book to read!  He had just finished reading Drive by Daniel Pink and offered for me to read his copy.  I offered to buy my own version and he declined, handing me his copy.  I said I had a couple of books to finish first and he said, "no hurry."  As I read the blurb and the introduction, my appreciation for our meeting grew deeper.  I think he quickly listened and thought this book might be interesting to Mandy as a parent and a teacher.  He didn't know I was a reader.  He didn't know if I would follow through or did he?  One day, when I return this book I'm going to ask, why did you give me this book to read.  I'd love to know his point of view for why I got homework from the principal!


Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for inviting teachers to write and share their writing with each other.  This community helps teachers and students grow in writing.

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.



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Celebrate This Week - It's Okay and Memories


This week I celebrate it's okay and memories.  

For weeks I asked, what would you like to do for your birthday?  I would toss out all kinds of ideas; big, small, nothing, go somewhere, and silence.  This past Monday out of the blue I got a bubbly response.  "Mom, I want to relive one of my childhood birthday parties with my friends.  They never got to come because we met in middle school and our parties are always the best!"  My reply, "Great idea, plan it and I will get the things we need."  Inside I began to wonder how would we pull this off for Friday night.

We did pull this off and the evening has been filled costumes, pizza and wings, creating spider cupcakes, playing pin the spider on the web, mummy wrapping a friend, relay races, presents, making "spooky" halloween treats for the movie which is occurring right now with lots of laughter, music, and talk.  The house is full of joy.

While shopping for everything Thursday night, yes the night before I found myself talking to myself a lot.  It's okay I didn't do any school work.  It's okay my plans were sketchy in my mind.  It's okay I put work aside because the house is full of joy and joy matters.  While this started out as reliving a childhood memory it's turned into making new childhood memories.  

Thank you to Ruth Ayers for fostering a community where celebrations are found and shared.  Reminding us of the joy in our daily lives, inside and outside our classrooms. 

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.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Slice of Life - I hear something...

It's the middle of the night.  I'm not sleeping well.  I seem to be laying awake and must drift off for small chunks of time because I hear a noise but I'm not registering what it is.  I feel tired but begin to get up because if feels like I should check on something.  

My friend and math conference roommate says anxiously, "Mandy, that's a fire alarm.  We've got to get out of here.  Grab your purse!"  I'm trying to process everything while I grab my purse and realize I need my glasses to see and a pair of shoes to go out of the room.  I realize boots weren't the most practical shoes to have for this emergency but I have nothing else.  I have to make them work with my pajama pants but slow down the GET OUT OF THE ROOM mode my roommate is in.  We are luckily on the first floor and walk out of the lobby and decide to sit in her car, which is in the front row of the parking lot.  The location of the car is very important because we were able to observe a lot.

Our observations were a bit alarming.  People were exciting the building slowly or standing in the lobby.  Many ladies had grabbed their purses.  There didn't seem to be enough people up and about for the size of the hotel.  The front desk help didn't seem alarmed.  Hotel guests were choosing to sit on the sidewalk right where a firetruck should pull up.  A very cute older conference attendee had put on her conference badge over her bathrobe.  While this was cute, I actually thought how smart it was for people to know her name.  The firetruck did pull up and hotel guests had to move.  All of these observations were happening at 4:15am.

After this experience, I reflected on a few things.  Pack flip flops for all trips.  They are very quick to put on and off.  Why don't we have a consistent fire alarm sound in every building in our country?  This hotel alarm sounded nothing like the fire alarm in my school building.  Why didn't the guests at the hotel move away from the building as they practiced growing up and going to school?  We hope our lessons in school carry over to real life and travel with a friend who is quick to respond to a fire alarm!

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for inviting teachers to write and share their writing with each other.  This community helps teachers and students grow in writing.

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!"

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Celebrate This Week - Spaces


This week I celebrate spaces.  

I've been pondering this post for a few weeks and thought I would celebrate the various spaces in my life and how beautiful each one is as I wander in and out of each.  None of these spaces get equal time and sometimes they are neglected.  When I think about spaces being neglected, I realized that spaces don't mind a little neglect and they often call you back.  Spaces are forgiving and spaces are inviting.  Spaces can be overwhelming but spaces are comfortable with little steps.  

This week I particularly celebrate this space.

This space has been neglected.  This space has called me back.  This space is inviting me to write and share again.  This space is encouraging me to connect.  This space is willing to take little steps and be active again.  This space encourages rest amongst my busy days as I write and reflect.  This space doesn't need a plan.  This space doesn't need a schedule.  This space is happy I'll be writing again.

Thank you to Ruth Ayers for fostering a community where celebrations are found and shared.  Reminding us of the joy in our daily lives, inside and outside our classrooms. 

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!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Slice of Life - What does it mean to you?

What does it mean to you?

It's my favorite new question, for today!  My middle daughter enjoys sewing and is currently making a wallet for herself.  She is trying to be more independent while soaking in some words of wisdom.

Mama's Getting Better Words of Wisdom
   (said over time, not all at once.)

1. Sewing more often will help you reach your goals.

2.  Practice more often will fine tune your stitching.

3.  Being very precise is important, everything matters in sewing.

4.  Sewing when you are tired is dangerous.

5.  Read the pattern carefully.

6.  Go slowly.

7.  Yikes, don't leave the iron down on the ironing board when it is hot.

8.  Ask for help when you don't understand or need to clarify.

This is where my favorite new question comes in.  A has been able to figure out some of the pattern directions on her own but when she is questioning something she comes and asks me what step ?, means.  Before I tell her, my reply has become, "What does it mean to you?"  I figured out I'm pre-assessing the situation with a little formative assessment.  I can tell if she's read the directions all the way through.  She can then show me with her fabric what she thinks she has to do.  I can agree or reread the directions aloud to tell her where there are some glitches in her understanding.  While doing this, I can give her a compliment or use her fabric to show her a slightly different meaning and send her back to her sewing machine.  

I think I need to use my new favorite question more often in my classroom.  At home, it's causing less frustration and more independence - something my students deserve too.

Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers blog for fostering this writing community.