Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Back to Bloggin' with a Slice of Life

As much as I enjoy blogging, it has been difficult for me to keep up. I'm venturing back and linking up with Two Writing Teachers for a Slice of Life Story.

" Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen."  Horace Mann

It is these words that inspired me make a dream come true.

I am a huge fan of the Reading and Writing Project at the Teachers College in New York. Last year, I applied to attend one of their summer institutes and was accepted. I had to decline because I was switching schools and there were no funds.

Flash forward... I'm in a new school and asked by my principal to work with a colleague to help teachers in assessing writing and also provide teachers with resources to help with their lessons in the teaching of writing. As we tackled this project, I inspired 3 teachers to apply for the summer institutes this year. After securing funds, we successfully applied.

What a surprise when we learned all 3 of us were wait listed! One of my colleagues got into the reading institute and I was still left waiting. After much persistence, I  am now blessed with the opportunity to attend both the writing and reading institutes in a little less than a week. This is a dream come true. I will be surround by many who share the same passion, teaching reading and writing to make a difference even if its in the life of one child.

I will reflect on my experience and share whatever I can.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Comma Quest ( Mentor Text Linky)

I am back on the blogging wagon, so I am linking up with Collaboration Cuties for the Language Arts Mentor Text.

I had to start the New Year writing about this great new book Comma Quest by Lesley Roessing.  It is a fun book that teaches boring and sometimes complex rules through a silly story and song. It is a delightful little story about a Comma Momma that must send her comma children to find sentences of their own. As the story goes on, the commas find themselves in the appropriate sentences. The song approach that worked so well for the Schoolhouse Rock series is a strength of this book.
Your students will learn and remember comma rules through songs that are written to the tune of popular favorites such as: "If you are Happy and you Know it.", "Row, Row, Row your Boat, and a few others.
The comma rule songs are for the Direct Address, Introductory Clause, Nonessential Clause, Conjunctions are Joiners, Items in a Series, Compound Sentences, Double Introductory Phrases, and a bonus with a song about Prepositions and Nouns.
In my class, my fifth graders got a kick out of the silly story and now anytime I have to remind them about a comma rule, I sing the little ditty.
Lesley also has a blog Writing With Comma Momma where she talks about punctuation, grammar and everything about writing.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year!

It has been a long time since I have written a post. Life has gotten in the way. Being in a new school and in a new grade has taken up most of my time. A daughter in college, keeping up with 2 high school girls,  and a boy in middle school takes up the rest of my time. I can't forget my wonderful husband as well.

My New Year's Resolution is to share some of the great things that have been happening in my class and also to share some of the great resources that I have come across. Although 2013 has been hectic and full of so many changes, it has brought me many blessings.

 I hope that 2014 will continue to with more blessings.

Tomorrow, I will link up with Collaboration Cuties to share a brand new language arts mentor text on teaching comma rules.

What resolutions have you made?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Liebster Award

I know I haven't been blogging lately, but I have been so busy both in my class and at home. I am moving into a new school and had to go  through an entire classroom full of lots of STUFF! I had to throw away tons of ancient materials and recycle what I felt others could use. It has taken forever, but I have made profess. In the midst of all this I have had to get my first daughter, Francesca, ready for college. It was a whirlwind of emotions. I am so happy for this milestone in her life, but at the same time sad that she won't be around as usual. The dynamics of your family quickly changes. She is only 2 1/2 hours away, so I know visiting will be easy. This week I officially start back at school for a teacher work week and students come next Monday.

With everything that has gone on,  I was was thrilled when Stephanie from Forever in Fifth nominated my blog for the Liebster Award! This award is for new blogs with less than 200 followers. It is a great feeling for someone to recognize your efforts. I still feel very new to this, but when I look back to where I started I can definitely see progress. I keep reminding myself to be patient. I am so thankful for all those amazing bloggers that leave tutorials and those that are always willing to help. It truly shows that teaching is a profession of service because everyone is always so willing to help.

To accept the Liebster nomination I must do the following:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated me.
2. Nominate 5 -11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted by my nominator.
4. Answer 11 random facts about myself.
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees.
6. Contact my nominees to let them know I nominated them. 

Let me answer Stephanie's questions:

1. What is the best book you read this summer?
It is always so hard for me to answer this question. I love to read books. Professional and Children's books seem to be what I read the most this summer. My favorite children's books where Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea and Laugh with the Moon  by Shana Burg. My favorite professional read was Notebook Know-How Strategies for Writer's Notebook by Aimee Buckner and Ralph Fletcher.

2. What is your hardest food to resist?
I love french fries!

3. What is the best thing about the grade level you teach?
This will be my first year in fifth, so I'm going to say probably that they can work independently.

4. If you had to move to a different grade level, what would it be, and why?
I would move to 3rd grade because I taught this grade for several years and love that the students get excited about everything and they love their teacher!

5. What is your favorite vacation destination?
My favorite vacation destination is New York City and the Florida beaches (my hometown).

6. What is your favorite thing to do unrelated to school?
I love to spend time with my family. I have 4 kids and the older they get the harder it is to spend time together. I cherish those moments.

7. If I could meet any celebrity who would it be?
This is tough because I'm not a celebrity kind of person, but if I had to pick one it would be Pope Francis. He is not really a celebrity in the eyes of many, but someone I admire and would love to meet.

8. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
I would be a nurse.

9. What is your favorite all time read aloud?
This is tough there are so many! I am going to go with one of the last one I read Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

10. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Definitely a dog person

11. What would you tell a college student considering being a teacher?
I would tell them it is not any easy job, but it is rewarding if you are passionate about learning. Many people go into teaching because they have summers off, little do they know you need those summers to prepare for the coming year. Patience and a passion for learning is key!

That was harder than I thought!

11 random facts about me...

1. I love gummy bears!
2. I am a Miami Hurricanes Fan.
3. I love to read.
4. My favorite food is Thai food.
5. I love children's books.
6. I love living on the coast.
7. I have 4 beautiful kids and love being a Mom!
8. If I could have 1 wish it would be to rich, so that I could help others.
9. I wish I could work in a children's hospital as a teacher.
10. I love sharing and collaborating with teachers.
11. I love dogs.

 My nominees for Liebster:

1. Vanessa at Kinder Loves
2. Leslie Ann at Life in Fifth Grade
4. Cindy at Teacher Blog Stalker
5. Ms. K at Teacher Blog Spot

Here you go:

1. What made you decide to go into teaching?
2. What is your favorite things to do to get ready for school?
3. Tell about your favorite school memory.
4. What is the best thing about the school you teach at?
5. Who inspires you?
6. Any advice for new teachers?
7. What's your favorite subject?
8. Do you use technology in your classroom? If so, what?
9. What is the last book you read?
10. If you could do anything, what would it be?
11. What is your favorite quote?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Georgia Children's Book Award Nominee

 Last week was very hectic because I was on the Diocesan Committee that is working on the math curriculum for our diocese. It was hard work, but a step forward for our diocese. 

Although I was very busy working on math, I managed to get one of the books read from the Georgia Children's Book Award List. This year I plan to get my students involved in reading the books that are up for awards in our state. Then we will be able to vote on our favorites.  I like to read the books myself before I recommend them, just in case I come across something that might be inappropriate at my grade level. I read Because Of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea. I picked it up on Monday and could not put it down. It was a great read in the evenings after working all day on curriculum development. 

Mr. Terupt is a young teacher who inspires his students and wants them to think for themselves. He reaches out to his students and wants them to appreciate their differences. It is a wonderful book for any kind of reader. The chapters are short and the characters are easy to follow. The book was both funny and sad. I had a hard time putting it down even when I was tired. As a teacher, it inspired me to do some of things he did. When I read the book I had no idea that there was already a sequel. From the reviews that I have read some topics discussed are a bit much for the students I teach. 

Because of Mr.Terupt is a must read!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Classroom

I finally was able to get in to see my new classroom. It is huge! Now I can begin to plan what it will look like. I am a bit overwhelmed because I won't be able to start setting up until next week. At least I now have a visual to work with.

Here are some pictures of my class. You know what I will be doing the next couple of days... 

This is the view looking in.
I'm thinking maybe some curtains to cover  the storage space.

One side of the room. Yes that is an old chalkboard.
Can you believe it?

Front of the room.
2 whiteboards and a SMARTBOARD. That podium looks kind of like a pulpit. 

There's a close view of the storage.
 No kidney table just the long banquet style table with the bench. I might need to dress that table up.

I forgot to take a picture of the back wall. You can see it slightly in the first picture. It has windows with old bookshelves and a table with 2 computers. 

I will post part 2 of the finished product once I finish.

If you have any great ideas, please share.

During my some of my blog hoppin' I came across Mr. Smith at Teacher Tipster he has a song for everything and so many wonderful ideas. If you haven't seen his videos they are worth watching. 

Books I''ve Read

Tuesday I went on vacation to visit my family in Miami, FL. My sister gave birth to TWIN GIRLS! They are precious.  It was a nice surprise because she was not due to have them until Aug. 5. It was so wonderful to get to see these precious little babies. It brings back so many memories of my own when they were that age. It makes me realize how time flies. With that said, where is summer going? This week I have to attend a 3 day Diocesan Institute for Math and then school will begin in about 2 weeks.

Caitlynn and Daniela

I haven't had a chance to get into my classroom, so I do not know what is there or even how I will set things up. I'm a little anxious. Today I will go take pictures and try to figure a plan for my classroom.

Since I will be teaching 5th grade, I have been reading several books to be able to recommend to my students. Here are the last 3 I read. Also, with the completion of my Writing Institute I made a book trailer. This is part of my implementation plan. My son was very helpful. I used an iMovie template because I have an iPad. It is very easy if you know what you are doing and even if you don't know, it is easy to figure it out. The first time you do anything it takes a little time before you get comfortable. I now know what strategies to teach my kids and if they have any problems, I can help.

I had no idea when I was reading this book that it was inspired by a true story. It is about a gorilla that lives a simple, sad life with a couple of friends, including Bob (a stray dog) and Stella ( an elephant). He lives behind a glass wall at a Mall with an Arcade. He is unaware of his misery until a baby elephant named Ruby comes to live with him. The chapters are short an easy to read. It is a story about friendship, hope, and love.

I read this book because Aimee Buckner the author of Notebook Know-How and Notebook Connections. She talks about using this book as a read aloud. It is definitely a good book to read to students. It has the perfect mix of "scary" and funny to keep the kid's interest. If you are teaching the genre of fantasy this is a good example. While reading out loud you can use different voices for the goblins. Each chapter leaves you with suspense which makes you want to keep reading. Bruce Coville has several good books. This book introduced me to a new author.

I don't remember where I got this book recommendation, but I am so glad I read it. This was the book I also did my book trailer on. Again this was a book inspired by the author's visit to Africa. She works with Save the Children. It is about a thirteen year old girl named Clare who has suffered the loss of her mother. Her father is a missionary doctor and they go to Malawi for several months where he will work in a rural hospital and she will attend the local village school. She is so angry with her dad that when they arrive she gives him the silent treatment. This story not only engages the reader, but teaches lessons about life and gives the reader an insight to what conditions in Africa are like. A MUST READ for any student.

This is my first attempt to making my own book trailer and also loading a video. YEAH!

What books have you read? Do you have any tips for using book trailers with 5th grade?