Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mentor Text Linky- Those Rebels, John & Tom

I'm linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their weekly mentor text linky party.

This week is centered around Social Studies!
I LOVE Social Studies!

I also love my school librarian.  She understands that I have an OBSESSION with books.  This title came in a couple weeks ago, and I was the first one to check it out!  (Not that there was much competition.  It just excites me to say that my class read it first. )

This book jacket description begins:
"John Adams & Thomas Jefferson were very different.
John was short and stout.
Tom was tall and lean.
John was argumentative and blunt.
Tom was soft-spoken and polite."

The book describes their childhood differences and personality differences.

Then it takes you to the Continental Congress where John and Tom discover they can get more accomplished by using their differences, and in the process they develop a friendship based on their love for American independence.

You have to read the Author's Note at the end.  It describes that both men died within hours of each other on July 4th, 1826, America's 50th anniversary.  AMAZING!!

Do you have a new book you just can't wait to share?


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Teaching about Careers in Jobland

My district is gearing up for Take Your Child to Work day.
Now that I am teaching 5th, I am really hoping to have more students participate in going to work with a family member than when I taught 3rd grade.

There are always students who aren't able to go to work with an adult, so this year my building has decided to have a day of career education.

I found this great website about different career paths.

Click the image to go to the website.
There is a dog that guides you through Jobland.
Each career path has a list of jobs.
When you choose a job, it has written info about each job.

It also has a career quiz to guide kids to the career path they have the most in common with.

What activities does your school have for kids to learn about careers?


Monday, April 22, 2013

42, Baseball, and Reading Workshop

Do you love hearing those words?
I do...

Which is why I had to see the movie 42.
It is a MUST see; baseball fan or not!
Jackie Robinson's story is so inspirational!
His courage to take a stand...
Not just a stand for equal rights of all...
But a stand to not fight back when so many are against you.
To not fight back when you are humiliated, ridiculed, injured.

One of many favorite quotes from the movie was when Branch Rickey called Jackie Robinson into his office to talk to him about being the first African American in the Major Leagues.

The conversation went something along the lines of...

Rickey:  I know you are a good ballplayer.  What I don't know is whether you have the guts.

Jackie Robinson:  Mr. Rickey, do you want a ballplayer who doesn't have the guts to fight back?

Rickey:  I want a ballplayer with the guts enough not to fight back.


Here is the trailer to the movie in case you are interested:

So how does this tie into reading workshop?
Books about baseball and Jackie Robinson are great ways to teach theme, character traits and development, how characters respond to challenges, perspective, historical events, etc.

There are some great books out there about Jackie Robinson as well as many others who had the courage to stand up for what is right.
This message of courage is so important to teach children and can tie into many topics besides racism (bullying, telling the truth, peer pressure, etc.)

One of my many favorite books is Teammates by Peter Golenbock.

This book not only shows Jackie Robinson's courage to take a stand on segregation and racism but also his teammate, "Pee Wee" Reese's courage to do the same.

In "Pee Wee's" hometown, which at that time was not a fan of Branch Rickey's decision to put an African American into the MLB, he was confronted with a difficult decision- Go against the beliefs of his family and community and ridicule and shun Jackie or take a stand for his teammate and do what is right.

Such an AMAZING book with a powerful message for all.

Here are some other books, among many, about Jackie Robinson:

If you are a baseball fan and want to take this one step further, you could also go into the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.  In a time when most men were off fighting the war, women were asked to step up and keep alive the love of baseball.  A truly inspirational time in the history of females and their struggles to be treated equally.
Check them out!!

There are so many picture books out there that are excellent ways to inspire children to have courage and stand up for what is right.

What are some of your favorite books that have powerful messages or strong characters that face difficult challenges?
We would love to hear your ideas.

Antoinette :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Genre Connections

Did you hear Tanny MacGregor has a new book?!? Genre Connections.

I loved her first book.
I had to order it! 
I have only read through the first 2 chapters so far, and let me tell you they did not disappoint.
Tanny MacGregor writes in such a way, that her lessons seem so simple but so powerful. 
Here are my favorite thoughts from the chapter about poetry:
"Teaching poetry is like matchmaking.  If we want our students to fall in love poetry... we must create experiences where positive emotions run strong..."   (p 10)
"Provide a collection of poems to explore...The small collection I provide for this exercise reminds me of the old wedding rhyme, Something old, Something new..." (p 16)
The last quote reminds me of our district staff development with Matt Glover.  He talks a lot about building stacks of pieces the students can refer to. 
If you are looking for a new professional resource, check out Genre Connections.
I'm off to read!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reading Workshop- Notebook Connections

Have you read Notebook Connections Strategies for the Reader's Notebook by Aimee Buckner?
It is a MUST READ!!!

I am currently reading it (amongst many other professional resources) and am LOVING it!

I want to share with you some of the great things I have learned just in the first chapter.

Chapter 1- Reading, Writing, and Harvesting Hope

This chapter, at first, talks about the bridge between reading and writing.
This is SO true!

"The reading-writing connection is a bridge of understanding that helps the reader write more reflectively about his or her reading and the writer write more purposefully for his or her reader.  Taking time to focus on this bridge gives students the opportunity to think both as a reader and a writer."
- Aimee Buckner

In a writer's notebook, students can collect their ideas and thoughts about what they are writing.
In a reader's notebook, students can collect their ideas and thoughts about other people's writing.

Aimee was looking for a way to challenge her students to really think while reading.
But more than that, she wants them to think beyond reading...
To become lifelong readers and writers.
She decided notebooks was the perfect way to take this "from hope to reality".

Why Notebooks?

Here's what Aimee has to say:
- It is a tool which can capture student thinking and understanding of the text.
- It allows students to generate and elaborate on responses to text.
- It is a book of strategies students can rely on- from book to book, from genre to genre.
- It pushes their thinking beyond retelling a story.
- It is flexible enough for students to respond in a variety of ways, yet structured enough to provide explicit instruction.

Aimee Buckner has another book which she wrote prior to Notebook Connections.
It is called Notebook Know-How Strategies for the Writer's Notebook.
I haven't read it yet; probably should have read it first.
But I am too into Notebook Connections to stop now. lol

I can't wait to tell you more about this amazing book.
It is an easy read with information that will make you want to change the way you think about, and teach, reading and writing.

Do you use, or are interested in using, reader's notebooks?
Have you read Notebook Connections?
If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts about the book and how you use notebooks in your classroom.

Your long lost friend (since I have been MIA for quite sometime),
Antoinette :)

Hey, it's Emily.  I don't usually hop on to the end of Antoinette's posts, but I couldn't help myself.  I LOVE Aimee Buckner!  More about Notebook Connections to come.  Happy Friday! :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Writing Workshop, Matt Glover, and Spring Break Pics

I was lucky enough to get another opportunity to receive PD from Matt Glover.
Yup... Very exciting.
He is such an inspirational speaker.
I learn so much from him every time I hear him speak.
Click the following link to read a post regarding another PD session with Matt Glover.

One of the sessions I attended was primarily over reading like a writer.

Wow was this a great experience for myself and the teachers of my district!
We started with a more primary text.
This could totally be used in the upper grades also, though.
Bat Loves the Night by Nicola Davies

Our focus was to "read as a writer".
As Matt read the book to use, we were suppose to think about ways we could use this book to teach writing.
So often, we think that there are only a few ways to use a book.
Boy did we see how wrong that is!
I think we found close to 30 ways this book could be used to teach writing.

Here are just a few...
Descriptive vocabulary
Use of different fonts
Story starts and ends the same (1st line and last are the same)
Written poetically (similes, metaphors, personification, etc.)
Tone (use of pronouns, interesting verbs, names the bat, colors)
Use of punctuation (ellipses, exclamation points, etc)

I could seriously keep going... on and on and on lol

We did this same activity with a upper elementary text and had quite similar results.

"Bat Loves the Night" is a great book.  If you haven't read it, you should really check it out.

I look forward to more PD with Matt Glover and continuing my learning journey as an educator of writing.

So sorry it has taken so long to get posted.
Just been busy, busy, busy!

Pre-vacation shopping fun...

The place were we stayed was up in the foothills.
My brother kept saying our place was up in the "hills".
I was like, "Umm... Anth, those are not what we call hills in Missouri!"
Temecula is a valley.
Here's some gorgeous mountain pics!!!

Now for our place...
Can you say, AMAZING!!!

This was the pool in back! OMG!! AMAZING!!

The slide to the pool!
 The slide in the above picture leads into the pool!
Although the temperature outside was absolutely amazing,
the water was absolutely FREEZING!!!
Did that stop us???
Polar Plunge, baby!

Some family pics...
My brother, Anthony (Father of the Bride)
My great, nephews and niece!

Making Italian cookies for the wedding...

Wedding Day...
The Bride!!!
First dance...

My brother and family

My sister, Theresa, and I.

St. Paddy's day fun!!!

Heading home...

We went from 80 plus degree weather to 30's upon returning home.
The next week brought more snow!

But at least I got to enjoy gorgeous weather during my spring break and got to come home with a great tan! :)

Hope you enjoyed the Matt Glover information and the spring break pics!
Antoinette :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Currently!

It's April?!

I would say time flies when you are having fun, but that isn't exactly my life right now.
I would rather say, time flies when you have busy weekends!

Here's our currently:
Emily's answers will be in orange.
Antoinette's answer will be in blue

I LOVE Psych.  The pop culture references crack me up.  
I am watching the 100th episode West Coast version.  (Thanks to our new Apple tv converter.)

I LOVE my hubby all the time, but especially for the past few weeks.  
My bday was 2 weeks ago and I thought my gift for my big 3-0 was our Spring Break vacation, but hubby snuck out and bought me birthstone earrings!  
Plus he has done the dishes at least 4 times in the past week, without me asking!  (Don't tell him, but that is worth more than the earrings!)

Do you find that your day is full of chaos, sometimes organized sometimes not?  My days lately have been like this:

It makes feel likely Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.  Tomorrow will be better!

Don't force creativity!  A great idea will come to you!

This is so true!  Often times, a great idea will come to me during a conversation or driving to work.  Sometimes the ideas come to fruition, sometimes they don't.  It's just important to be inspired!

Antoinette, it's your turn!

I have so wanted to post about my trip to California.
It has been in the process... TWICE!
I can give you a zillion excuses but I have pretty much been a slacker!
The pics will come... Promise!!!

Currently time...

I was so getting ready for bed when I saw Emily's reminder text about the Currently.
I rushed to do it because I would love to be one of the early posters.
Not so much...
It is April 1st, and they are already in the 300's.
Farley is so popular! :)

So needless to say, I did not make my 10 o'clock sleeping goal.
Don't think I'm making the 11 o'clock one either.
Here's to 11:15...

So update on my weight loss journey...
As of this evening, I am down 45lbs.
It's like a whole new me.
I am absolutely loving how my clothes fit, how my body feels, but most importantly how I feel!!!
I wanted to have 20 additional pounds off by the first week in May.
Far fetched, I know, but I'm not giving up because you should always
"Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss you land among the stars." - Les Brown

I choose blue as my April color because...
I don't care what anyone says,
I love me some Boys in Blue!


I am SOOO wanting the first week of May to get here because my family and I are going on vacation!
5 days on the beach!!!
My kind of life!
This Missouri weather is not really my style.
I could SOO be a beach bum! :)
Not to make anyone jealous, but here's a couple pics for you...

 The place we're staying at.
The beach... Yes, please!

My advice...
I have posted numerous times about positive attitudes.
I feel SOOO strongly about this.
Negativity only makes stress and/or a bad situation worse.
It doesn't help. AT ALL!!!

If you want to have a good day, then have one.
Make that decision.
No matter what happens.
I am not always perfect with this type of attitude but I give it my best shot.
I keep telling myself to look at the positive side of things.
I owe a tremendous amount of my weight loss to these kind of thoughts.
Hope my advice helps!

Night everyone!

Don't forget to check out Farley's April Currently Post.
It's so much fun to check out many sites that link up!

Antoinette and EmilyK