Technology and Writing {Celebrations}

October 26, 2014
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Tellagami allows you to record for 30 seconds on the free app. They love seeing the animated character.

Celebrating my learning from the Digital Literacy Workshop last Saturday. Thank you to Ruth Ayres, Colby Sharp, Franki Sibberson, and Bill Blass.

As a Title I teacher, working with small intervention groups, I have not incorporated much technology into groups. This week, my students were introduced to two apps. Although I’m still fumbling with the technology, their energy for improvement has increased. My spirit was lifted. I was bubbling with joy. My students were proud of their hard work. My goal in using technology is to increase my students’ motivation for persevering through the hard. No, I don’t have it all figured out, but the little I did, have my kids asking for more.

Tellagami app is a favorite. We work on fluency frequently and the children are more than willing to reread for fluency when they know they will be recording on the Tellagami app.

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The children alternated writing their sentences on the iPad app, Primary Writer, while also practicing in their notebooks. Simple but energizing.

Primary Writer is the other app bringing enthusiasm to learning.


World Series book

October 21, 2014

A few weeks ago, I reflected on the beginning of the year. I realized a stumbling block to my reviewing books and decided I didn’t like it. The realization sparked a plan to change. Taking a personal day, I took two bags of books, my sticky notes, and computer to the nearby Starbucks. Books laid out, pen in hand, I wrote. I had so much fun. I laughed at books, trying to hold my chuckles in. (I’m sure the groups of men around me wondered what I was up to.) I found a system I can manage and am happy.

In the height of the World Series, one Giant’s player needs to be highlighted: Willie Mays. He is one of the best all around baseball players.  In You Never Heard of Willie Mays?! Jonah Winters shares how Willie’s hero, Joe DiMaggio, inspired Willie to play hard. His natural talent mixed with determination and fatherly coaching, Willie worked at perfecting his baseball skills. By age 15, his career in the Negro Leagues began.

In 1951, Willie Mays was drafted by the Giants, rejuvenating the team with his intense effort. In the 1954 World Series, Willie made an incredible catch  – and was viewed by millions of people on TV.

“You could fill a whole book with all the jaw-droppin’ plays Willie made, all the homers he hit, all the bases he stole.”

View the amazing catch:

Savorings for reading and in writing for You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!:

  • Explode the moment – the catch, the throw
  • Quotes – radio announcers
  • Repeating line – “He was the kid who…
  • Voice – draws the reader in
  • Ticket inserts – informational text highlighting the history and stats behind the story



The Teachers’ Lounge

October 20, 2014

Kids wonder what happens when teachers get together. They pass by the room with the sign Teachers’ Lounge and try to peek. Jerry Pallotta portrays adventurous activities for teacher relief in What I Saw in the Teachers’ Lounge. Wouldn’t it be fun to walk through the forest during lunch time? As I reread the book, I noticed Howard McWilliam gave some clues from the paintings on the wall. Several match the adventures the teachers have.

After reading the book, kids could draw and write what might be happening in the teachers’ lounge. It would be fun to hear what they think.

Below is a video of the book, narrated by a student. The quality is good. It definitely gives you a preview of the book.

Savorings for reading and in writing for What I Saw in the Teachers’ Lounge:

  • Wonderment – what is happening?
  • Interjection – Yikes
  • Sentence Structure – simple text as well as complex sentences with clauses
  • Plural possessive
  • Magic of 3

Little Red Writing

October 13, 2014
Little Red Writing by Joan Holub is a must-have book to encourage narrative writing in young children. From the beginning, my attention was captured. Like a mystery, clues are interspersed throughout the story. Melissa Sweet’s  mixture of fonts, mediums, and cartoon frames create added action and intensity to a rather predictable fairy tale.  As a mentor text, you will be able to teach story elements while Little Red is exploring her story. As a fractured fairy tale, this book creates a great compare/contrast lesson with the actual fairy tale. It is an example of how children can also gain ideas for their own stories from books.

The play on words is brilliant. Each scene, short but with depth, creates the opportunity for discussion about narrative basics, tension, balanced description, and focus. The element of surprise brings a twist to a rather known fairy tale.

Little RedI must say, I wondered if Ruth Ayres had collaborated with Joan Holub. At the end, Little Red’s teacher encourages her to “Write On!”, a phrase I hear Ruth extending to us all.

Have fun reading this tale!

Savorings for reading and in writing for Little Red Writing:

  • Story elements
  • Idioms
  • Types of genre on the same subject
  • Compare/Contrast texts
  • Vocabulary


Taking Action {Celebrations}

October 11, 2014

20140531-222133-80493943.jpgToday I am celebrating fall break. I have spent the past two mornings reading children’s books, writing about them, and snuggling with my cats. Delightful!

Wes is home too. He has one paper to go and I spent part of this afternoon talking through ideas with him. I love helping him. Elizabeth and Tim have been laughing with the practical jokes. Wes literally ate half of Elizabeth’s French Toast as she was getting the syrup. She wouldn’t have noticed, but I couldn’t stifle my laughter.

I am figuring out how to sneak time in to read to kids. I read two different books this week and loved it!! My realization is fueling some change. (Thanks Elsie and Ramona.)


Sunshine after the rain. Gorgeous!

The sun is shining. The moon was brilliant this week. The reds in the trees are radiating. Beautiful fall.

Senior night for Elizabeth happened. Smiles from the three senior golfers. Great memories as this page turns in her life.

Congrats ladies!

Congrats ladies!

Tam and Ruth were enjoying family; I miss them. Tammy, Ruth, and I still met together, brushing off the difficulties of teaching. We shared stories, laughed, listened and laughed some more. Our spirits were uplifted. (And I shared books.)


Beginning of the Year Reflections

September 30, 2014

Reflections from the beginning of this school year …

Teaching and learning should be filled with joy.

When I decide to smile and be positive, students reciprocate.

I’m not going to always like the kids I work with. This doesn’t mean I have to let them know it.

One kid in group drives me crazy; he doesn’t have a fruitful past. I decided to enjoy him PRIOR to small group instruction. Because I am positive, he can’t wait to come group. Me: I don’t mind him so much anymore.

Kids love books. They just need to have someone to cheer them on.

I like sharing books with kids. Correction: I LOVE sharing books with kids. I believe my excitement ignites interest in students.

I miss reading a story to a class.

I realized my heart hurts when I am not able to read to children. Thus my blog has been silent.

Intervening with children is hard work. I smile a lot.

A question that drives me: what am I doing to help kids get from where they are to where they need to be?

I want to create joy in learning.





Summer Memories {Celebrations}

August 10, 2014

School has begun. We celebrated the end of vacation with birthdays, friends, and fishing at the cottage.

I am making a goal to share celebrations with kids, colleagues, and family.

I love my dad. His birthday is 4 days after mine. His smile is awesome!

I love my dad. His birthday is 4 days after mine. His smile is awesome!


Wes turned 21 on the 21st of July.

Wes turned 21 on the 21st of July.

Tim loved fishing from the row boat at the cottage.

Tim loved fishing from the row boat at the cottage.

Doesn't this make you laugh? Fun in the work.

Doesn’t this make you laugh? Fun in the work.

Prize fish Tim caught.

Prize fish Tim caught.

Elizabeth and Grandma being beautiful!

Elizabeth and Grandma being beautiful!

Breakfast with my friend, Michelle.

Breakfast with my friend, Michelle.


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