Friday, March 28, 2014

Parents as Study Partners

I just LOVE when parents get involved in student learning, don't you?! 

How cute is this video a parent sent me!?  They were working on studying for our Civil Rights unit test and it became a whole family affair!  I guarantee this made the learning more memorable (and fun!)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reader's Theatre

One of our sweet librarians shared this resource with us last week and I am in LOVE!

Featured here is a teacher's dream: Authors Avi, Sharon Creech, Walter Dean Myers and Sarah Weeks perform their books and share insights and strategies for incorporating Reader's Theater into the classroom.  A few of my writer hero's promoting reading in SUCH a unique way!  I can't wait to show my students when we get into our poetry unit especially!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

O, Canada!

We're gearing up for a brand new Social Studies unit on.... Canada!  That's right!  I've never taught (or learned much, for that matter) about our neighbors to the north, but with the help of my colleagues, I'm starting to get excited for this unit.

To get you in the spirit of Canadian national pride, I thought I would share this lovely video of "Oh, Canada" along with all the sights and sounds.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Exploding the Moment

I am excited to introduce Chelsea, my (semi-forced) guest blogger today.  Chelsea is one of my sweet colleagues with awesome style, precise organization, and great ideas.  And when she shares those ideas with me, sometimes I tell her, "You need to let me share this on my blog."  And she says yes!

But before I share that great idea with you, let me tell you just a little bit more about how awesome she is... Chelsea is not only a sorority sister, but a soul sister and fellow goof ball.  She is tons of fun to be around and would truly doing anything she could to help a friend out.  In short, she rocks my socks.  (Which, by the way, you should ask her about her husband's thing for colorful socks... He wore coral and blue ones to their super-fun wedding last summer! I digress...).

I made a screen-casted revision mini lesson on how to "explode" the important moments in a writing piece.  (I took an OWP class this past weekend that talked about revision and some different strategies... this was one of those ideas.)  I used Kizzy Ann Stamps (by Jerri Watts) as the mentor text.  This lesson could be posted for early finishers, too as a nice way to extend them.  

Also, it's a super easy site to use!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Simply Love.

Janelle over at Simply Love has the most adorable blog!  Janelle and I went to college together, and I always appreciated her insights and style.  And now I LOVE getting to keep up with her via cyberspace.  Jump on over to Simply Love and check out out.

And in case you're not convinced yet, check out her post from last week called, "12 Things Happy People Do Differently" via Stephen Covey.  I love it and think it's incredibly relevant for incredibly busy teachers (and others)!

12 things happy people do differently

1. Express Gratitude
When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. If we aren’t thankful for what we already have, we will have a hard time ever being happy.
2. Cultivate optimism
People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison
Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous. The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday.

4. Practice Acts of Kindness
Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.
5. Nurture Social Relationships
The happiest people are those who have deep, meaningful relationships.
6. Develop strategies for coping
It helps to have healthy strategies for coping with unexpected life changes.
7. Learn to forgive
Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.

8. Increase flow experiences
Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that nothing distracts  or competes for your attention.
9. Savor life’s joys
Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy. Rest. Be thankful to be alive and its experiences.
10. Commit to your goals
Persistence is key. Magical things happen when we commit ourselves to accomplish      our goals.
11. Practice spirituality
When we practice spirituality, we recognize life is bigger than us. We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest lifeform ever.
12. Take care of your body
Nutrition and exercise: this is crucial to being well-balanced and the happiest person you can be.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Figurative Language Rap

Don't you love it when a kid says, "You should really watch this one [whatever weird thing is cool now] youtube video!"

I usually go, "Sure, email it to me and I'll watch it."  And then they drop it, because that sounds like a lot of work to them.

Unless it's really a good video, and then they keep asking and asking and finally send it to you.  And it happens to actually BE good. 

Ever happened?

Anyway, here is a recent find a la one of my very persistent students.  Maybe someone can use it for some figurative language practice.  You know I love a good rap moment...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hashtag That

Last week I was teaching on the Civil Rights era when this picture of the 1963 March on Washington prompted a bit of a silly moment...

We were looking at pictures as a way of brainstorming for our upcoming historical fiction pieces and got hung up on the guy taking pictures on the right, about three rows back.  We started imagining him taking "Washington Selfies" and then joking about what he would probably hashtag....which turned into this:

I love instructional moments like this...when something organic and memorable makes a connection to students.  Don't you think I can count it as formative assessment?!  :)