- Being back in the classroom this week and into two of my favorite schools, I caught up with what was happening with kiddos as the year is getting on its way. In a couple first grade rooms these writers were into narrative writing. Both classes were using the Magic Words of Story and writing stories over three pages. They were using the technique of putting a word at the top of the page to remember what they were going to write on that page. This is a little different from Lucy Calkin's idea in the Units of Study. She has the students sketch on each page to plan. I like that for beginning writers, but these kiddos were ready to move on. Can't wait to see what their prompts will look like. Great Writing, First Graders!
- In second grade we worked on peer conferencing in one room. The teacher and I took the idea from The Two Sisters with their Daily 5 and used the process to make an I-chart for what we would see in peer conferencing. This was like the Daily 5's partner reading. In the other second grade we did a vocabulary lesson with a read aloud, using the book Fancy Nancy. We made a chart with a T-chart, Plain on one side and Fancy on the other. We listed the plain word and then the fancy word we had heard in the story. They were going to add their new fancy words to this as they read their own Independent Reading books. As I left that day, they all yelled, "Merci!" A new fancy word.
- Two of my 4th & 5th grade teacher friends were gracious enough to let me "try out" a new idea that I had heard in Indy last week. I read the book: An Angel for Solomon Singer and we stopped and talked about what the author was trying to tell us. This was tough because these kiddos are so good at looking at the book and discussing what the characters and setting is doing to the story. As we got further into the book and I challenged them to think deeper, they were getting it. As a follow up the next day, we did a write around to what did they still wonder about. What great thinkers we have in our district!
- Presenting two in-services kept me busy this week, too. On Wednesday night we did our first Writing Workshop in-service for our new writing curriculum. Barb Boggs and I worked with the 4th and 5th grade teachers. We went over notebook work again and then showed them how to take their notebook quick writes and go into a draft. We shared student work and they left with three lessons in their packet of tricks. We also talked about conferencing. I even did a "fish bowl" conference with Barb and helped her with something she has been writing. Carl, you would have been proud of me! The other in-service was for our district's two-hour delay. It was on Friday morning and I helped the entire staff at Glenwood learn more about our new reading series and the 90-minute block.
- After a long day of teaching and presenting, I made it home one night by 7:00 for supper. However, as I entered the kitchen to the smell of supper being fixed for me by my wonderful hubby, I saw a package. Yes, books had arrived! I was like a kid at Christmas. I hurried through supper although I was starved and the Big D had outdone himself. Here are a few that I now own: Day-to-Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop (look out, Jen!); Continuum of Literacy Learning; mindset- the new psychology of success (I already love this one!); and Write Beside Them by Penny Kittle (did I mention that I love Penny Kittle!!) Yes, my bedtime is longer now with all these great reads beside my bed!
- Last of all, I have to include a personal note. I made it to the hospital this morning for my lab work. I promised my son, Todd, that I would go, so I did. The line looked long at 8:00 a.m., but they added another nurse and it went faster. Now I just wait until next week when I again see the doctor for the verdict. I will post more on that later!
Have a great week and keep reading and writing!