Monday, November 30, 2009

Current Read

Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I am enjoying the newest series called: The Missing by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It is exploring time travel and missing children throughout history. Sent is the book that follows Found in the series. It is about Edward the Fifth and his brother Richard from the late 1400's in England. The characters go back in time to figure out what happened. The book was hard to put down. I also enjoyed the author's summary of her research at the end of the book. It is a great read for the middle grades. I believe it will also spark the reader's interest in the history of the late 1400's. I would suggest reading Found, which is the first book in the series, first. Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Check Out This Great Giveaway

I found several new blogs today through my new twitter account. One of the new blogs is called The Write Brained Teacher. The blog author is doing a giveaway of Patrick Allen's new book called Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop. It looks like an awesome read. Check out her interview with Patrick Allen where you can learn more about the author and how to enter the giveaway. She also mentions Mr. Allen's Blog which looks very interesting, as well.

I learned about these two blogs through@aristotlefeet who blogs at Footsteps of Aristotle.

I was a little hesitant to join twitter because I believed I wasn't blogging enough already. I am very happy I did.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Current Read

Reading Essentials: The Specifics You Need to Teach Reading Well by Regie Routman is a book that I had previously begun to read but didn't get the opportunity to finish. The first chapter is titled: "Simplify Your Teaching Life." Who wouldn't want to do that?

Sometimes when reading a professional development book there is so much useful information in the book that it could be easy to go on information overload. I used to use Google Notebook(GN) to track things that I wanted to remember and put into place. I was frustrated when GN became obsolete. I think I lost all the information that I had saved on it. I have now decided to use a Moleskin journal to keep track of useful information. My goal is to write no more than three things from each chapter to implement and put into place.

How do you organize information from professional development? In what ways do you implement ideas from books or seminars in your classroom?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Theater in the Classroom

I love drama. I used to be a volunteer director for a youth drama group. Today I discovered some free theater curriculum while I was perusing a local children's theater website. I noticed that they had a professional development tab and discovered the curriculum on there. The curriculum was developed by the theater and a local school.

The theater is called Stages Theatre Company.

There are many benefits of using drama in the classroom including: building confidence in students, makes learning fun, and a way to get your kinesthetic learners involved and moving.

I have seen young people change and grow more confident by doing drama.

Have you used drama in your classroom? What resources have you used?

Organizing your Calendar as a Sub

I am going back to subbing for now. I haven't actually been back in the classroom yet this year. I have two more district sub meetings on the books right now and I have already attended one.

I prefer not to get calls in the morning or at night for that matter so I attempt to get my calendar full by watching the websites very closely. To help stay organized, I use my Google calendar to keep track of where I am supposed to be each day. I also block out days I am scheduled on all websites as unavailable so that I am not getting calls for days I am already scheduled.

Here is what I note on my Google Calendar:
  • School
  • District
  • Teacher
  • Grade
  • Start Time
  • Full Day (FD) or Half Day (HD)
Doing this not only keeps me organized by knowing where I am going when, it helps me to know who should be paying me what.

How do you keep yourself organized as a sub?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Update and Upcoming

I have been quite busy since I posted last time. Last school year I worked a job as a Library Media Specialist/Spanish teacher. It was a new position for me and a busy one at that. At the end of the year, I was notified that my position was cut due to budgetary restraints. I have spent the summer job hunting. I am still looking. I am also working on getting on the sub lists in my area. I am set to go in one district and have to attend meetings/turn in paperwork for three other districts. I have also applied to sub a few other places. I also got married this summer and am loving married life. So you see I have been a little busy.....working a new job, planning a wedding, job hunting.

  • Blog, blog, blog
  • Current Reads
  • Subbing Tips
I am going to be working on continuing to blog. I believe it helps my writing and communication skills.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Current Read

I am currently reading Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. I have just started chapter 2. I really enjoyed chapter one and I am looking forward to finishing it so that I can begin to use it in my classroom. It is a book about planning units which is very useful for me in the position I am currently in. I like beginning with the end in mind. The authors used this quote by Stephen Covey: "To begin with the end in means mean to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you're going so that you better underand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction." That quote comes from the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Although I am not very far into the book, I am enjoying that it stresses the fact of understanding. A quote from the book I like that talks about understanding is "How do we make it more likely-by our design-that more students really undersand what they are asked to learn?" The book's goal is being able to plan understandable units for our students. It argues against activity focused and coverage focused teaching and for results focused teaching. Some of what I have read reminds me of Madeline Hunter's ways to plan a lesson. Although this book's goal is to plan units. Another thing it mentioned that I liked is to be sure that " 'hands-on' is also 'minds-on'". It stresses engagement and understanding. I also like the fact that it talks about using Essential Questions in your unit plans, which I am also using in Curriculum Mapping. I look forward to reading more of this book.

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

This is a book I recently read that we had at the book fair last fall. It is the first book I have read written by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The preface was amazing. The author hooked us right away. The students wanted me to keep reading it, but I just wanted to give them a taste of it so they would read it on their own. I had many students read the book and reserve the book at the library even before it was on the shelf. A few of them were even passing copies around that they had gotten at the book fair so that their friends could read it.

Found is a great mystery that involves students and time travel. I have had many students read and thoroughly enjoy it! Many of us are eagerly awaiting the next book in the series that is due out in August. The title of that book is Sent.

Update On This Year

I have been enjoying this year immensely! It has been a very busy year being in a new position. I have read a lot of young adult literature. I have gotten to add books to the library, which is a blast. (It is soooo fun to buy books and not spend a dollar from my own pocket! Of course, I have gotten a few in the library order that I had to add to my personal collection. I have been pretty good this year.) I have enjoyed seeing students read and reserve books that I have read aloud an excerpt from to their class. I have enjoyed getting to know more students. I have also really enjoyed teaching research skills! It is really fun to teach students how to dig into something they are interested about. I look forward to developing the curriculum even more. I have been learning about Curriculum Mapping which I think is very useful. It is also an overwhelming task because I feel like I haven't made a dent in it. I have learned that video projects are a lot of work! I have gotten to know Dewey better! I have enjoyed helping students find good books and then seeing them check out more books from that author. I have enjoyed seeing books get returned quickly....knowing the student read the book very quickly. There are so many things that I have enjoyed! I am planning on getting back to blogging because I enjoy being able to connect to others with it!