Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Teacher Linky Party

Hey there!
I am linking up with Jessica at Second Grade Nest for her July linky party- A Day in the Life... of a Teacher!
Click on the image below to link up with her!

With it being summer (what's left of it) my days look quite different than during the school year.
And I will be honest...
I am adding in a picture from Monday also.
So it is kind of like a couple days in the life. lol

So here was my Tuesday and part of Monday!

 My day started (yes I said started with a 10:00 a.m. time) with my must-have coffee and posting on my blog.
I haven't been sleeping well lately (maybe because of anxiety about school starting next week) and get my best sleep between 3:30 and 10:00.

Now is where my days split...
I have to include what I did on Monday because it was with my co-blogger, Emily.
We met up and went to lunch on the Plaza.
We went to M&S Grill.
Here was the view from the window we were sitting at.
Beautiful isn't it? :)

And what I did at that same time but on Tuesday...

I met up with my good friend, Tracy to work on ELA units of study.  We are almost finished with unit 3! YEAH!!!
In this picture I also included my teacher bag from last year.
I ordered a new one that is pink and black!
And of course I had to include the super large Diet Coke that Emily picked up for me! :)

After working on units of study for 4 hours, I headed off for my little shy of an hour trek to my sisters house to babysit my nieces.
Our evening started with dinner and a movie.
Dinner included fish and veggies for me, but my nieces had mac and cheese with their fish.
The movie was one of our favorites- Phantom of the Opera.
Have you seen it?  It is amazing!!!

 After the movie, there was some silliness with the pics above.  Caitlyn is at that age and didn't want to be in a picture (because she said she looked bad) so I posted the pic that she let me take; her covering her face. lol
Maddy is to the right.  I was in the pic with her, but couldn't get it to fit.
At the bottom is Audrey!
Aren't they adorable? :)

A large portion of my day-to-day life is spent on the road and drinking water.
So that is why this pic says throughout the day.
Water is important with my weight-loss journey.
I drink about 80 ounces a day.
I live in the city and have a pretty good drive to meet up with people!
So I drove up North to meet with Tracy which was about 20 minutes and from there I drove to Bates City which was about 50 minutes away from where I was working.
Then I drove home which was about a 40 minute drive!
Lots of driving, huh?

So that is a day in the life of this teacher!
I love having the summers off because there is so many fun things to do with friends and family!

Head on over to Second Grade Nest and tells us about a day in your life!

Antoinette :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chartchums and Types of Anchor Charts

Do you use anchor charts in your classroom?
Do spend time on Pinterest looking for new chart ideas?
I know I do.

I have another resource for you all on anchor charts.
Have you heard of this?
There is a website and a book.
Click the images below for more information on both.

I have only seen the Amazon glimpse into the book, but loved what I did see and read.
The book goes into why anchor charts are important to learning.
It goes into brain-based learning and visual literacy.
Section 1 goes into what to put on charts.
Section 2 goes into helping students use the charts independently.
Section 3 goes into assessing the success of charts.
I am thinking I am going to need to purchase this book!

The website has a slew of anchor charts.
Here are just a few examples:

There is also some great information to go along with the charts.  I have only looked at a couple so far but am looking forward to checking this site out more.

Did you know there are different types of anchor charts?
Here is what I learned from the Teachers College training:
Genre- purpose to define and give characteristics of genre currently being taught
Routine- purpose to teach and remind students of certain behaviors
Process- purpose is to break down a specific skill, idea, goal, etc into easy steps
Strategy- purpose is to provide students with a menu of options for a specific skill, idea, goal, etc
Exemplar (annotated text made by teacher, class, and/or student)- purpose is to show strategies in use

Do you use anchor charts in your classroom?

Antoinette :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

New and Tried and True

Today, I am participating the Optimum Organization linky party hosted by Kristen and Elizabeth.

If there is one thing I am not, it's uber organized.

Constantly working on it though!

Here are my tried and true organization items:

1.  My classroom library (tried and true)

 Wire shelving racks are a fraction of the price of regular shelves.
Plus if you have to pack up everything and move it to say your basement storage area, these take up a lot less space!
It does take about 20 mins to put them together every year when I come back.
I have had teacher friends of mine use zip ties to reinforce the sides.

Let's talk bins.  I know people use the plastic shoe box sized ones.  (I've been there are done that.)  I have found that these plastic ones from Target hold up really well.  I know they are a bit more pricey than the cheap ones, but I haven't had to replace them for the past 4 years.  (Knock on wood.)  I have been on the hunt for some more of them and found that they are only selling the black bins this year.

2.  Supplies and Papers (New)
Mail center!!!!  I am in love with this idea.  I have a take home folder system and passing out the papers was very time consuming.  Plus flyers only go home with just the boys or just the girls.
Here is my solution.  We will see how long it lasts.

Do you have any organization tips?  Link up and share them!


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mentor Text SS x3

I love the Must Read Mentor Text linky!
Thanks for hosting Collaboration Cuties!

As you know Antoinette and I have been in Professional Development mode.
I didn't get to attend the Teacher's College sessions, but I did get to attend some classes about reading and technology.

That's where I found the THREE books I am sharing today.  I can't help it.  I find books I love and I must share them.  (It's kind of an addiction.)

Book 1: Henry and the Cannons by Don Brown
Why I love this book:
-It talks about an "every day" person doing an extraordinary thing.
-The writing!!!
        "scant chance of winning"
        "Washington ached for cannons."
   I see a writing mini lesson about word choice and "show not tell" happening with this book.

Book 2: Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane W. Evans 

Why I love this book:
-The illustrations! The book focuses on finding the light, so the illustrations are dark, until the slaves are free.
-The writing style is minimal.
       "We crawl."  (That's all that's on the page.)
-This would be a great book to teach my Special Education or ELL students about slavery.
-I also think it is a great way for kids to look at writing style.  The author's purpose for not writing many words on each page.  (Since 5th graders write a LOT with no idea why.)

Book 3: Want to be Free by Joseph Slate

Why I love this book:
-The repetitive verse.
      "Before I die, I want to be free. But the Big Man says, You belong to me."
-The book shows the character has a brave spirit and heart.  
     You will be surprised to learn who frees the main character from his shackles.

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


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lots of Learning with The Teachers College

I received some amazing training this past week.
As I included in an earlier post, I am in training with Natalie Louis from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

One aha moment was Inquiry Lessons.
Have you heard of this?
This was my first time hearing of them and they are complete genius!
Which is to be expected from Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College.

Here is an example of one way you could use an inquiry lesson:
Inquiry Lessons

These lessons happen about three times throughout a unit; approximately every eight days.  It is not considered a mini-lesson as it will take quite a bit longer.  The purpose is to assess student progress and monitor what learning from daily lessons they have and haven’t tried.

First, the teacher reviews learning from the unit by looking over anchor charts created.
Next, using his/her writing notebook, the teacher models rereading entries and evaluating what learning has been tried so far.
Keeping the students together whole group, the teacher will encourage them to do the same with their notebooks.  The teacher walks around coaching students.
Then have the students discuss what they have tried out with their writing partners.
Next, the teacher will look over the charts and reread through notebook to determine what he/she has yet to try from the unit’s learning.
After that, the teacher determines a goal as to what he/she would like to try in their writing.
Keeping the students together whole group, the teacher will encourage them to do the same with their notebooks.   The teacher walks around coaching students.
Last, the teacher will send the students off to work on achieving their goals.

This lesson should be repeated about 8 days later and include additional learning since the last inquiry lesson.

In my earlier post, I included a video from Vimeo which the Teachers College shared.  Click here to read the post and view the video.  The Teachers College has 40+ videos on this site and the handful I have viewed are wonderful.  I am looking forward to watching many more.
If you haven't checked out the Teachers College Vimeo channel, you should put it top on you list of todos.  Click the image below to go to their channel.

On a side note- I am new to the world of Twitter and am extremely excited to say that I received a Tweet (I think that's what they're called lol) from the Teachers College, thanking 4321Teach for sharing their video!  I was so excited, that I took a screen shot of the Tweet to share with everyone! :)
I know... I'm a dork! lol

I want to share another Vimeo video from the Teachers College channel.
It is an inquiry lesson done slightly differently than what I described above.  This lesson's focus was to help students transfer learning from persuasive speech to writing a persuasive letter.  Same concept of reviewing and assessing previous learning though.

Hope you enjoy it!

Have you ever taught an inquiry lesson?  What do you do to involve your students in reviewing and assessing learning throughout a unit?

I would love to hear your ideas!
Antoinette :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Vimeo- Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

Have you ever searched for videos on components of Balanced Literacy on the internet?
Small group lessons...
Share time...

Have you ever been a little disappointed with what you found?
Well the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project has decided to do something about that.

Do you know about Vimeo?
It's sort of like YouTube...
You can upload, share, and view videos.
The best part about Vimeo, in my opinion, is that on this site, Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College are uploading and sharing videos for teachers all over the country to view.
Oh yah, and it's free to view!

When you are in Vimeo, do a search for TCRWP (Teachers College Reading and Writing Project) to find their videos.
Or click on the image below to go straight there!

The video below is one we watched in my training.  The little boy is absolutely adorable and there is so much to learn from this conference.

Have you ever used Vimeo?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Teachers College, Writing Conferences, and a New Look For Me

I am EXTREMELY lucky to be a participant in training with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project from New York!
Of course I would rather be in New York, but spending the week with Natalie Louis (one of the kindergarten co-writers of Lucy Calkin's new units of study) is definitely a privilege.

Natalie is quite the presenter.
She has made us laugh.
She had made us cry.
Not a bad cry of course...
A touching cry.

Click the image below to learn more about the Teachers College

One topic that we spent a lot of time on was conferring.
I loved it when Natalie said that even Lucy Calkins says you can spend your entire life learning how to confer.
It isn't easy!
And it definitely makes me feel better to hear Lucy say the same.

We discussed, in depth, the components of a conference.

In Lucy's words, "All the power to get a person to learn something is in the research."
The key points to remember during the research component are to connect with the learner and ask more than one question.
Sample questions:
What are you trying as a writer?
Can you show what your trying in your writing?
Is there another place in your writing where you tried that?

Give genuine compliments.
Don't say things like...
You're a good writer!
This is a great piece!
Key points to remember in the compliment component are to name the specific thing you notice the student doing well, tell where you noticed it in the writing, and tell why it matters.

Based on the research, it is time to make a decision about what to teach during the conference as well as how to teach it.
Key points to remember during the decide component are to think about area of growth which you noticed during the research or stretch a strength that you mentioned during the compliment.
"A student's growth is in the stretch." - Natalie Louis
Quick jump from Teachers College to Matt Glover-
Think of one thing to nudge the writer.  Yes we know there are many things we can teach, but choose one thing which the writer will most benefit from.

Teach the writer what the can and should do.
Teach the writer not the writing.
Key points to remember during the teach are to one way or another, demonstrate or show a good quality of writing and then give the student a chance to try it out in front of you.
Also, take notes.
In Natalie's words, "There is no expectation for how good your notes need to be.  They are for you!"
You are the one who needs to use these notes to help stretch your students' writing.  So write down whatever you need to help your students grow from conference to conference.

This is what you leave the learner with, based on your teach.  The goal the student will work on independently as a writer.  What you will watch for as you monitor and assess the student in the day-to-day writing.  You could do this in a variety of ways.  You could ask the student what they think their goal should be.  You could jot it down for them on a post-it note.  The students can write it down in their journals.
Whatever way you decide to go with, the key points in the link component are to keep track of the goal in your notes and monitor the students progress toward mastering the goal.

My goal this year as a Teaching and Learning Coach is to confer with students more when I am observing in a classroom.
I want to give the teachers the opportunity to watch and learn from my conferences (the good and the bad).

Now on to a COMPLETELY different topic!
Me!!! LOL
I have been itching to chop my hair off and finally took the plunge!
After 10 inches which will be donated, here is a pic of my new look!

Hope you found this information useful!  I am loving all the learning I am receiving from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

What does your conference look like?  Let's learn from each other!

Antoinette :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Favorite Things...Home edition

I am linking up with Across the Hall in 2nd Grade for:
Home edition!!!

My husband and I are DIY people!

1: Home=painting
Part of our kitchen cabinets.  Yes I sanded and painted them.  Hours of my life...
If you paint, I recommend Behr.  It is wonderful!
2: Home=plants
I LOVE growing things.
I blogged about it here.
I am obsessed with this flower right now.  It's called purslane.

Every garden needs pink flamingos!!! Click the pic to buy your own.

3: Home=linens
I love table cloths and kitchen towels.

My best kept secret is that I buy most of my kitchen towels at Joann craft store. 
Click the pic above to go to their website.

4: Home=endless possible projects
Here are some projects my hubby and I will be doing in the future!
Click the pics to go to the source.
Framing an existing mirror.
Soon my bathroom will look like this.   :)
How to recover a chair.
Recovering my dining room chairs before school starts!
I am going to sew some new curtains for our family room.  
My home never stays the same for longer than 6 months.  Rearranging furniture, painting, moving pictures...  That's what keeps the place "new" and exciting.

What makes you think of home?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wisdom for New Teachers

Being a new teacher, you will get lots of advice.
Here's my advice:

A mentor is essential.  Every district I have taught in assigns a mentor to a new teacher, so if your district doesn't then seek one out!
 (My mentor and I butted heads, so I found one that had a teaching style I wanted to emulate. The more mentors the better!)

Ask for clarification!
There are no stupid question.
If you are a new employee they expect you to ask questions!
Make sure you ask in advance.  If you always ask late minute questions it may make people think you aren't prepared.
(I didn't know where the "Science Room" was for two years, because I didn't ask.)

Management- There is a fine line between teacher in charge, a drill sergeant, and a friend.
As an upper elementary teacher, you want to be friendly with the kids but you aren't their friend.  Your management style will develop over time.  (You don't have to be a drill sergeant either!)

In teaching there is pressure to be a top notch teacher every day.  (After all you only have this group of students for one year.)  Just remember:
Good. Better. Best.
Never let it rest.
Until your Good is Better than Best.
You are not going to be at your best if you stay at school until late at night. (The same thing is true of taking home a giant bag of teacher stuff.)
Choose a time to stop working each night and relax.
The first year of teaching is EXHAUSTING.
Pace yourself, remember the school year is not a sprint but a marathon.

Good luck!
If you have advice for a new teacher link up to Fabulously First!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Do you have a foreign language for a special? (Need your help!)

I am in the last stages of research for my grad school class!!!!
I have been researching elementary foreign language education.  (Not immersion!)
If you have a foreign language "special" like Spanish, Chinese, etc, how often do your students have that class?
Is that language teacher just at your school or does that person also teach at the middle/ high school level?
Do think your students enjoy learning/ utilizing a foreign (world) language?

Please leave a comment!

I will post some of my research (not the boring stuff) about world languages and the common core later this week.  (Must focus on this paper 'til then!)

Thanks for ANY help you can give!  You have my eternal gratitude!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Linky Happy: A few of our favorite things: Vacation

We love a good linky party!

There are just a ton of them, how could you not want to participate. :)

Today we are linking up with Across the Hall in 2nd Grade.
This week it's vacation style!!!
You know we love a good vacation.

Emily's essentials
My hubby- After all, someone has to drive us around right?!  (We do share driving responsibilities some times.)  :)
This is my hubby and me.  (Not on vacation!)
Tennis Shoes- Hubby and I are sightseeing people, so these are essential for all that walking.
I am coveting a custom fit pair.  Find a custom store near you.
Snacks- We have done a lot of road trips and float trips!  
Fave snacks: Wheat thins, grapes, chocolate, and fruit snacks! 
A good book or two- I have always loved reading in the car.  (For the most part I was an only child until I was 13 years old, so I needed to entertain myself in the car for years.)  
I love the Kindle.  Finish one book to download another!
Tunes- I couldn't even drive to the airport without music. Singing along to a great song as you drive to "the lake" or drive through a state park is priceless.

What are your travel essentials?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party

Emily and I have been going a little crazy with linky parties lately,
But I couldn't help it when I stumbled upon this one.
First it was called Let's Get Acquainted.
I like that idea...
Getting to know all of you better.
Then I saw it was about favorite teachers.
Now that's a story I can't pass up!

So I am happy I found Latoya at Flying into First Grade and her Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party.
Click the image below to link up with her and get to know some of the amazing women behind these blogs.

Now for my favorite teacher...
Her name is Mrs. Hennon and I had her as a sophomore in high school.
She was my algebra II teacher,
And she made an amazing difference in my life.
I can probably say I am a teacher today as a result of her.

So the story actually starts prior to my sophomore year.
And it involves math.
I hated math.
Struggled so much at it.

I am probably unlike most teachers when it comes to liking the teachers they had growing up.
It wasn't until my sophomore year,
That I really found teachers I liked.
Teachers that made a difference in my life.
There are a bunch after, though.
So maybe it was partially me. lol

In junior high, my math teacher let us work at our own pace.
I wasn't one to ask a lot of questions.
So I just worked and got by.

High school came along and I was placed in algebra I.
I sat in the back of the room,
And didn't pay attention.
I took notes, but had no clue what I was doing.
At the end of the quarter, we got to turn in our notes for extra credit.
So guess what???
I got a C!
That's passing baby!

My sophomore year, I transferred to a new school.
Since I got a C in algebra I,
I was placed in algebra II.
Makes sense, right??
Not to me. lol

Once again, I was clueless.
Totally bombing everything.
Mrs. Hennon took notice and started tutoring me during study hall.
Gradually, algebra got easier for me.
The light bulb came on,
And I started developing confidence in myself.

I will never forget the evening when she called my mother...
I nervously awaited the news.
I never got calls from teachers.
I was a well-behaved kid after all.
My mom seemed happy,
So I began to relax a bit.

Mrs. Hennon had called to let my mom and I know
Imagine that...
Me with an "A" in math.

From that point on,
I loved math.
It is not my best subject,
But I am pretty darn good at it!

Unfortunately, Mrs. Hennon died not long after from cancer.
Most of the students didn't like her.
She was abrupt and not always super-friendly.
But she is a number 1 teacher to me.
She is my all-time favorite teacher.

Mrs. Hennon is why I read Thank you, Mr. Falker every year.

There is such a strong connection between Patricia Polacco's experiences with reading and mine with math.
We both overcame academic challenges.
She became an author and I became a teacher.
As a reader, I completely understand how she feels because I felt that way too.
So in a way, by reading this book,
I keep Mrs. Hennon's memory alive!
Thank you, Mrs. Hennon

Who's your favorite teacher?
Join Latoya's linky party.
I'm looking forward to getting to know you better!!

Antoinette :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

School Supplies- Friend of Foe??

I have a confession to make...
(Besides the fact that this is my second post in one day lol!)

I am not a normal teacher!
I DO NOT get giddy, AT ALL, when school supplies come out!
In fact, I posted about this topic on Facebook just today.

Let me tell you a little more about this experience!

My sister, Theresa, just bought a new, gorgeous house!
Yeah her!!! :)
It's at least 45 minutes away from me!
Boo me!!! :'(
(Wipe a tear from my eye.)
Ok- pitty party over... lol

So we were shopping at Wal-Mart for bedding for their new rooms.
Each of my darling nieces (see picture of them, with me, below) gets their own room.
So there is a lot of decorating in store for us.
Fun times ahead!

Back to Wal-Mart...
They had made their selections and we were heading out.
But not before I caught a glimpse of what I had been dreading...
It blind-sighted me.
School Supplies!!!!

Some might wonder why this is a bad thing.
Teachers love school supplies right??
Well, not me
Because it means summer is on the road to an end.
The sun...
The pool...
Sleeping in (oh wait, that doesn't happen with the construction)
Lazy days...
It just makes me sad. :(

So I posted, on Facebook, that I just about had an anxiety attack today when I saw school supplies.
I'm not kidding you either.
I really felt anxiety.
I had to get out of that section
And quick!!!

Well, I have another confession to make...
I am officially a school supplies hater hypocrite.
I went to Barnes and Noble to check out a teacher book and work on units of study for reading.
There, at the top of the escalator, was my downfall.
School supplies.
But not just any school supplies...
The adorable NOTEBOOKS that they always have.
The ones I love...
The ones like the cute one I posted about the other day.
Who can resist that??
Obviously not me.

So here it is...
The evidence of my hypocrisy.

On the very day that I complained and freaked out about school supplies coming out...
The very day I posted to all of my Facebook friends about it...
I bought school supplies.

So there you go!
My school supplies confessions!

On a different note,
Anyone love baseball??
Maybe Abbott and Costello??
Look what I found at Barnes and Noble...
Have you ever watched this Abbott and Costello episode?
It is soo funny
And it is a book.
I never knew that!
This would be a great one to have a couple baseball lovers in your class read.
Or anyone for that matter
Because it is quite cute!
They could act out the characters' reactions while reading!
Check it out!

So what do you think about school supplies?
Friend or Foe??


Follow us on bloglovin' Linky Party

Emily and I are so happy to have gotten over 100 followers on bloglovin' and we are wanting this number to grow!

So we are linking up with Blog Hoppin' for a linky party where you can find a bunch of amazing blogs in one spot.

So follow us on bloglovin' and "hop on over" to Blog Hoppin' to join the linky party and find some great blogs to follow!

Thanks :)