Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A New Adventure

Tomorrow is the day my new adventure begins. I am going to be a Library Media Specialist/Elementary Spanish Teacher this year. It is a brand new position for me. I am looking forward to all the new and exciting experiences that await me. I would like to think of myself as a bookpusher. Bookpusher - one who discovers appropriate, interesting and engaging books for each reader who comes her way. I also get to interest students in learning a new language.

With the start of a new year, I am going to make some new habits. I am going to get myself organized the night before. This will enable me to enjoy my mornings more. I am going to exercise in the morning. This will help me to wake up and get my day started on the right foot. I am going to be more deliberate about my weekends. This will help me to actively combat stress.

What are some new things that you are doing this year? New habits? How do you get to know your readers?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nonfiction Monday

Nature's Fireworks: A Book About Lightning by Josepha Sherman

During the next storm this fall, see if you can identify the types of lightning in the sky. This book is a great way to teach what lightning is. It talks about the different types of lightning and illustrates what they look like. Thunder is explained in the book. The dangers of lightning are mentioned, as well. At the end of the book it gives some ideas of where to learn more. You can even make your own lightning by doing the experiment at the end of the book.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I have been running since December. The lovely thing is that I have gone down two sizes. My original goal was to go down one more size but I had to readjust it to two. I recently discovered a fun site called Map My Run. I like the site because you can map your runs and keep track of them. You can also join challenges. I joined the Asics challenge to run 100 miles in a month. I started on the first of August. The best thing about the challenge is that you can win prizes. I think you can also map your bike rides and keep track of other types of workouts that you do. Check it out!

Kentucky Days

So, have you ever visited another part of the U.S. and felt like you were in a different country? My brother and I drove from Minnesota to Kentucky yesterday. It was a fourteen hour drive. At one point we stopped to eat and it was just very different. It reminded me of when lived in Georgia for three months when I was in third grade. Many time when we would be out somewhere others would be quiet when we talked. I remember distinctly one time when we were at the pharmacy I said something to my mom and the rest of the people got quiet. If one part of our country can be different from another, can you imagine being a student from another country in one of our classrooms?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Memoir Monday - Called to Teach

When I was young, I wanted to be a lawyer (they made the big bucks and I was good at arguing), a mom (what little girl doesn't), an astronaut (it is still a dream of mine to go to space camp some day) and a teacher (Thank you, Mrs. Soltow). As I went off to college, I would have to say that teaching won out. I began the program and took the dreaded Teaching 101 (I hated retaking that miserable class in my M.A. program). At our school the text was So, You Think You Can Teach. During that class, we had to do a clinical experience. I was so excited! My first time getting to be in a class. I met a teacher that didn't seem to want to have me there. I didn't really get to experience what a classroom was like. At the end of the experience, I got to interview this teacher. She basically told me that she did not like teaching. She had taught for the last twenty years and it was the only thing she could do. She completed the interview by advising me not to teach. I took her advice and decided to become a psychologist and promptly changed my major.

After graduating, my first principal recruited me to be one of her paraprofessionals. My response was negative. I was going to be a psychologist. She eventually hooked me by asking me which grad program I was in. When I couldn't answer her and had no idea where to even begin, she responded by saying that I could do this while I was deciding and applying for school. She made perfect sense. It wasn't an easy year. The job of a paraprofessional is hard and demanding. I have to say that it made me very aware of how hard they work. At the end of that year, she asked me to teach for her the following year. I jumped at the chance to have my own classroom. I taught prekindergarten on a variance for 8 years after that.

After teaching a few years, I went back to pursue my M.A. in Education to get my licensure. Teaching full-time and going to school was not easy. Last May I finished the program and graduated. This past year I subbed for three local districts and did two long-term sub positions. I am so glad that is over. This spring I signed a contract for a Library Media/Spanish position for the school that I taught prekindergarten for.

I can't imagine being not being a teacher. If you are in the job hunt right now, don't give up! Finding the place for you make take some time but it is well worth it!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

First Day of Class Questionnaire

I am thinking about doing some type of a questionnaire for the first day of library. I thought this would be a good way to get to know my readers.

Questions I am going to include:
What is your favorite book? Who is your favorite author? What type of books to you like? What is the last book you read? About how many books did you read over the summer? What would you like to learn about? What do you enjoy? What are you interested in?

What do you do to get to know your learners?

This Fall

I am going to be doing something different this fall. I have taken a position as a Library Media Specialist. My schedule will rotate weekly between teaching research skills and Spanish. It will definitely be a change but I am looking forward to it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Good question.

I have done two long-term sub positions. One was Pre-K two times a week and coaching cheerleading. The other was a sixth grade position. You would be amazed the things you will learn from sixth graders. I just wanted you to know that I am back. I going to get back to posting!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Reading Books and Incorporating the Ideas in the Classroom

When I read I tend to write in my books or jot notes in a journal. I plan on continuing to do this. When a journal fills up I get a new one. At one time I had many different journals for different aspects of my life and now I just keep one. It has a leather cover and the inside can be refilled. I recently talked about using Google Notes to keep track of a few things. I am currently using it to track progress of my goals for the year. I am also beginning to use it for keeping track of ideas from books. I titled one of the notebooks Research and Development. The nice thing is that each notebook can have sections with notes in them. I believe this way I will be more able to implement ideas from books. I can keep the same types of ideas together or I can keep all the notes from a book together. I can move my notes around. I can access them from any computer. I can easy copy and paste things from the internet that I see into my notebook as well. I can also share my notebooks with others.

Do you ever read a great book that has lots of ideas and things you can implement in the classroom? What do you do with the information you learn? How do you incorporate it?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Can It Start So Early?

I have a few comments and a few questions. Tonight, I was at Ambercrombie with my niece. I had gotten her a shirt there recently but it didn't fit so we had to go back to get a larger size. She is an average nine year old. (Please keep in mind that the smallest pants size there is a ten which she is beginning to wear. ) She will be 10 in May. I had picked out one og the t-shirts assuming she would be a small because she is only 9. When we went back tonight, we had to buy a large. I know that sizes are just sizes because I am an adult. But do all young people get that? And we wonder why we have young women with eating disorders.
Another thing I should mention is that we would not ever let our girlies wear skin tight clothing even if that is the look. There are already people in the world that we have to protect our children from because they are unnaturally drawn to them. Why dress our children in a fashion that draws the wrong kind of attention? Perhaps, I have no business being in that store feeling the way I do. However, at the same time it is just one of the many stores that are like that. I do not want my nine year old niece or any other girl developing the idea that she doesn't look the way she should.

What are your thoughts? What can be done?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Book Recommendation

I would like to recommend Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students By Their Brains by LouAnne Johnson. She is the author of the book My Posse Don't Do Homework. It covers subjects from classroom management, being prepared for a new year, motivating students, and shares some time and energy savers. I am currently re-reading this book and getting more out of it the second time. You will probably see me post about different things she has reminded me of or taught me through the book.

Student Participation in Discussion

Most often I am finding that the same students participate in discussions or respond to questions in the classroom. One thing that I have seen in some classrooms is an action that students do when they agree with something said or were going to respond in a similar fashion. A few actions I have seen include snapping, giving two thumbs up or patting themselves on the head. I like this because it gives the students an opportunity to do something instead of blurting "I was going to say that." I believe that it demonstrates who is tracking along with the discussion and who is thinking the same thing.
I have also found that there are different ways that I would like students to respond in different situations. There are times I would like students to raise their hands. Other times I want to hear the first thing that they think by saying it spontaneously. Yet, at times I would like students to think before they respond. LouAnne Johnson recommends teaching all three of those ways in Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students by Their Brains. She discusses it on pages 90-92. She suggests explaining each and making a visual to display for what types of responses you expect in a discussion. I am going to implement this in my classroom.
She also talks about how beneficial wait time can be in some discussions. It is amazing the type of responses that you can hear after giving students some time to think. She states that "Students who normally didn't respond began raising their hands, and their thoughtful comments inspired deeper thinking from the quick thinkers." (pg. 92) I have found this to be true even in an early childhood classroom.

How do you get students to participate? What kind of procedures do you use for classroom discussion? Do you have any stories or comments about using thinking time before allowing students to respond?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Carnival of Education

Check out the latest Carnival of Education which is being hosted this week by The Median Sib. I submitted two posts that I would like feedback on. One is What are you Reading? and the other is about creating a peaceful classroom. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts or suggestions.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What are you reading?

I have been thinking about my reading list lately. There are so many things I would like to put on it. I have to admit at this time I have part of my list on paper and part of it in my head. I know that the part of my list that is in my head is ever changing, which is mostly due to the fact that I tend to store it in my short term memory. I need to be more diligent about it. I have made a master list using Shelfari. The list has 31 books on it. I know there are more that I could add. I will use Google Notebook to take notes. (I won't take notes on fiction.)

I read for several different purposes. I read to relax. I have to admit almost every type of reading is relaxing to me. It is just that some reading prompts me to think too. I also read to develop myself in different areas including personal, spiritual, and professional. I just need to organize the books so that I am using my time to read effectively. I think I am going to categorize the books and develop some kind of rotation for reading. I'm going to have to think about this some more.

Is there a way you organize your reading list? How do you fit reading into your busy schedule? Is there some kind of rotation you use? How do you decide what to read next? Do you read more than one book at once? What are you reading? Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share?

Another Recent Read

Ok, so I just posted yesterday about 3 books I have recently read. I finished two of those books yesterday and I started a new one. I have really been enjoying Shannon Hale. I am going to start reading her book Goose Girl next. I have decided that I can start reading it tonight or I will spend the day doing it and finish it tonight.

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. I thoroughly enjoyed Dashti's story. It is a fairy tale that is told through the diary of the main character.

Well, I am working on clearing the clutter and getting myself organized today. It is amazing that I have almost filled a paper bag full of garbage from the top two little drawers in my desk. (Ironnically, I am always wondering why I don't sit and take advantage of it.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Recent Reads

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. I throughly enjoyed the mix of pictures and writing. I am also a fan of possibilities and talent in each of us. This book also won the Caldecott for 2007, which was it was very worthy of.

Shakespeare's Secret written by Elise Broach. This was a great mystery about a girl who just moved, an interesting neighbor, and a diamond. I enjoyed it.

Bloomability written by Sharon Creech. This is a great story about a girl who discovers and becomes confident in herself. (I am getting better at html. Allow some of the grow areas in my knowledge of it are quite evident.)

Perhaps the reading of these three books in the last week and a half is a good reason I have not posted more. I am aware it is more of an excuse than a reason. I have discovered that reading is quite simple if the television is off.

Well I had better be off... so that I can work on clearing the clutter. I know it is the first step to organizing.

The Saturday Survey

Last Week's To Do's
1. Blog Goals - Post 4 x's, comment
2. Reflect on teaching 2 x's
3. Evaluate and organize goals

Last Week's Progress
1. Posted once and commented
2. Reflected on teaching once

Next Week's Goals
1. Blog Goals - Post 4 x's, comment
2. Reflect on teaching 2 x's
3. Evaluate and organize goals

This week I am going to clear the clutter and get organized. It will be nice to have a day off to work on it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Classroom Discord

Today, I was in a classroom that was full of discord. (My mom would call it strife.) I am not saying that everyday is like this in the classroom I was in. On the contrary, I am sure it is not. I have experienced it before. It just happens to be that it is very fresh in my mind. I would like to discuss what to do when the classroom gets this way.

Today, I reiterated who each student was responsible for, I talked about how I was responsible to help each student in the class follow directions, and I also talked about how it makes us feel when there is so much discord in the classroom. We discussed that being responsible for yourself will help to make the classroom a place we want to be. During our discussion, they explained what reporting was and when to do it. They also talked about how tattling is inappropriate and what it was. In the past I have also modeled how to tell a classmate something when necessary. I have also talked about how to be a good friend. In a classroom I was in earlier this year the teacher had a fish who the students could talk to and tell or write notes about their concerns about others to. I believe it helped squelch the discord in that classroom.

What are some of the things that you do in your classroom? How do you hold each student responsible for him/herself?

Whirlwind of a Few Days

The last few days have been a whirlwind. I have been keeping up with reading blogs but obviously not with posting to mine. I am have begun to coach again as a long term sub which I love. It just makes my life very busy. I know we all have busy times. What are some ways you make your busy life less hectic?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Poetry Stretch

This poetry stretch comes from The Miss Rumphius Effect. She provided us with the picture as inspiration to write a poem.


Believe in yourself and others.
Learn continuously.
Organize yourself.
Overcome obstacles in your way.
Make every effort to celebrate accomplishments.

This year I have had to bloom where I am planted. I am going to spend some more time expounding on each of these lines more.
(I think I am a few days late for my poem but I wanted to participate anyway.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Anecdotal Notes

I have been thinking about anecdotal notes. I think they are a great way to remember the smaller accomplishments of my students. (Not that any accomplishment is small.) The big accomplishments are more evident and memorable. I believe that the smaller accomplishments are a great way to show process in a growth area for a student. Another benefit of anecdotal notes is a way to get to know students better. Progress report comments would be much easier to write with anecdotal notes. Now for a way to organize them. I am going to start by using a three ring binder. I think it would be great to have some kind of a weekly sheet and then a sheet for each student in class. This is a great time to ponder it because I am not back in my own classroom yet. I also think it would be great to use while I am doing the long term sub positions because then I could incorporate them into my routine.

Any ideas or thoughts? Do you have a system for anecdotal notes? Or is there a way you suggest remembering the everyday occurrences of your classroom?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


I am home today with a lot to do. One nice thing about subbing this year is that I have that option.

Yesterday was a good day. I subbed in a first grade classroom. The day was peaceful.

I enjoyed the way the teacher did the jobs. She used craft sticks with children's names on them and drew them each time a student was needed to do anything. I think it ensures that each student gets a job often. It also frees up bulletin board space where a job chart would be.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

What and How Are You Learning?

As I walked the dogs (I am taking care of a friend's dogs) this morning, I started to think of learning. One of the dogs kept taking the road less traveled. She was choosing to walk through the deep snow instead of walking on the plowed path. Her journey was a bit more difficult because she kept sinking in the the snow. On the other hand she was discovering interesting things because she was off the track sniffing them out. Some of the things she was discovering were not useful. Another thing they were both doing was investigating everything.

As a teacher, I believe it is important to take the road less traveled and investigate everything that we are able. I think that this helps us to keep learning new things. I know there are many things that we do that work well and produce great results. We should continue doing these things. I think investigation of new things is vital to making the necessary changes in education. I also think it is important to investigate the things we are doing by reflecting to be sure that they are relevant and successful. Karl posted a great quote yesterday. Ms. Whatsit made me think about the importance of blogs and nings in our journey. Blogs and Nings are a way to connect with other educators and collaborate about the things we are doing. Elizabeth is also thinking about this.

So my challenge to myself is to: Take the Road Less Traveled and Investigate Everything.
What are your thoughts?

The Saturday Survey

Hello All! I am beginning. My survey will probably change and evolve, but the important thing is to start, right? I am just going to survey my educational goals here. I will be tracking other progress at my new blog. Of course, now I have to keep it up! I hope your week went well.

Last Week's Progress
1. Started My New Blog: Carpe Diem....Seize The Day
2. Memorized the first 16 Presidents and got through the first hour of my review of American History
3. Blogging - I have commented on many blogs this week and I have added more links in my posts.

To Do Next Week
1. Blog Goals - Read next part of Clear Blogging, add a blog roll, and continue being consistent with my posts.
2. I would like to reflect on my teaching at least twice this week.
3. Research when we started to spend social security on other things instead of saving it up and earning interest on it. (Something I have been thinking about.)
4. Re-evaluate my educational goals.

My first week went ok. I have started working towards my goals. I think I need to continue and add momentum next week. How is your progress?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy Friday!

I just wanted the opportunity to wish you a Happy Friday! I decided not to sub today. Instead, I slept in. I have to get back into the routine of going to bed early so that I can get up easily.

I have gotten to enjoy a few blogs today. Poetry and math is being discussed at The Miss Rumphius Effect. She has also started a new blog called Open Wide, Look Inside. Ms. Whatsit mentioned Skitch, which looks very interesting. I also discovered an article about the 80/20 Rule through Sharp Brains. I added the article to my Google Notebook called 2008 Goals. I really like Google Notebook and have been using it for over a week now. I discovered it in Clear Blogging, the book I am using to improve my blog. I am also thinking about my first edition of The Saturday Survey, which I will be doing tomorrow. I am also working on the 30 day challenge that HipWriterMama started on Wednesday.

How did you get back into the swing of things?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Life Long Learners

Thank you, Larry for encouraging us to think about what we learned last year! I learned a lot. It is encouraging to see what other educators are learning, as well.

I also thank you for all the great tools on the web that you are so kind to share with us.

The Saturday Survey

I mentioned that I am going to figure out a day to check up on my goals for the year. I have decided that Saturday is a great day because it is the last day of the week and they day before a new week begins. I am going to call it: The Saturday Survey. I will be doing it every Saturday. If you would like to join me, please do. I would like to take my goals more seriously this year and I believe this will help. It is kind of like Healthy Monday that I mentioned a few days ago but it will encompass all of my goals. I will be only covering the goals relevant to teaching here. I will be following my other goals at my new blog once I start it.