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?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Advanced Writing Institute

It has been a week since I have been able to post, but I was busy with the Advanced Writing Institute.  Two summers ago I was fortunate to be a part of the Coastal Savannah Writing Project. It was an amazing experience and this year I was able to be a part of the Advanced Writing Institute. It was an advance course for previous participants incorporating a digital technology to our writing. The opportunity to collaborate with other teachers who have the same passion was worth all the hard work. Each teacher shared a piece of technology they had used in their classroom and we turned one of our writings into a digital piece. Some ideas I was familiar with while others were new. These were some of the ideas teachers shared.

  • - is a creative writing site that matches beautiful images with carefully selected keywords in order to inspire you. The object is to put the right words in the right place and the right order to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture.
  • - On this site you can make a picture talk by recording sound. (I did a previous post on this)
  • iBooks - This is an amazing app that allows anyone to create any kind of book- for iPad. You can create it on a Mac and preview on an iPad.
  • iMovie - Allows you to create your own movies. This is great for book trailers.
  • Animoto- This is another site that allows you to create and share videos. Also great for Book trailers.
  • - Lets you create comic.
  • - This is a wonderful site where you can create lessons using historical documents. It has a bunch of resources for teachers.
  • Photo Story 3 - Photo presentation for Windows. Another good site for book trailers if you do not have a Mac.
  • You can create animated lessons for your class or a viral video.
One of the biggest things that I have learned from my experience at the Institute is that as a teacher of writing, I consider writing to be one of the most important things I can do with them. I need to put myself in their place on a continual basis so that I more fully understand what I am asking them to do.

This is very important in all that we plan for them to do. Create your teacher model. How can I know what difficulties they face if I don't face them, too? How will I know what strategies to suggest if I have not tried them first? How will I know the joy that they experience when they are genuinely pleased if I have not felt the same joy?

Professional Development is so important in being the best that we can be no matter how many years experience we have. Whether you attend a workshop, conference,  institute, or read professionally it helps in energizing your profession. We all need to be energized!

What Professional Development have you enjoyed?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Language Arts Mentor Text

Someday by Eileen Spinelli is a precious mentor text to use for language arts. I came across this book at a Scholastic Book Fair and immediately I could see a writing lesson.

It is a simple book written in free verse poetry. This book could be used at any grade level. It depends on where you want to go with it. I used it with 4th grade and 3rd graders in my school used it as well. This book makes you feel great about the possibilities about growing up.  But most importantly, it leaves you glad about what you are doing right now. We all have dreams about what we will be doing someday no matter what age we are.

Someday would also make a great book to use for a community unit. This book has endless possibilities if it speaks to you. I think it is key that a book speaks to you in someway and then you are able to pass it along to you students.

We wrote books and used Student Treasures to publish them. They were a wonderful company to work with.  A student of mine used Someday as her inspiration. It was precious and her voice was all through it. The quality is not great because I scanned it, but you can get the idea.

Isn't it precious! The 3rd grade class did a class book and each student had 1 page with their dream. Sorry I don't have any samples of those, but it was an adorable class book .
I'm attaching some documents for you to use if you'd like.  A comparing and contrasting graphic organizer, a search for adjectives and verbs, and an organizer to write their own poem. You can create what fits for your classroom. The possibilities are endless!

Head on over to see Collaboration Cuties they have wonderful posts and link ups to several great mentor texts. You will enjoy all they have to offer!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

More Summer Reading

I just listed 3 professional books I recently read. Now this is my current children's books.

My Children's Book Stack

I wasn't so sure about this book, but once I started it was hard to put down. I loved the suspense and it is a great book to use to teach inferencing about characters. I chose this book because I read Steven Layne's book Igniting a Passion for Reading another must read (for teachers) and thought I would give it a try. I admire an author that can write for teachers as well as students.

This book was on the 5th grade reading list for one of my neighbors. I loved it and Dan Gutman has several great books. What kid wouldn't love to have a homework machine! There are some funny parts. The way it is written is perfect for reluctant readers because it is broken up into different personal narratives about each character and their involvement with the homework machine. Also it is the perfect springboard to talk about friendships and how many times we judge a book by its cover (a person) and friendships are about getting to know the person. Sometimes what we perceive on the outside is not what is on the inside.

Summer Reading

I am one of those teachers that LOVES to READ! I read a lot of professional books and magazines, but   I enjoy children's literature the most. It's not to say that I don't read adult books, but because of time I read mostly kids. I do this because I love to be able to talk about books with my students and I also want to be able to recommend books to my students. Since I am moving to 5th grade next year it seems like I have had to make a small leap. Thanks to the world of blogging I've been able to get some good recommendations. Also the kids in the neighborhood are a great resource as well. Here are a few books I have finished.

My Professional Book Stack

This book encompasses the Reading Workshop Approach. Many books are filled with only theory and that is great, but I am often left with O.K. what do I do in my class now? This book not only gives you information on comprehension theory and instruction, it also gives detailed steps to help acquire the strategies to help with comprehension. There are also mini-lessons provided to help integrate comprehension instruction into your everyday reading lessons.

This book has great ideas in setting up your writer's notebook. Aimee is a 4th grade teacher and it is wonderful to have the perspective of someone who is in the classroom. I enjoyed this one so much that I also read this book.

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Design

Summer gives me a chance to catch up on so many things I have wanted to do all year long. This summer I'm working on getting a little more savvy with technology,  blogging, preparing for a new school, a new grade, and sending my first born to college. The world of blogging is amazing and the people you meet along the way are incredible and so willing to help. I am enjoying this! Thanks to my new blogging friend Vanessa from Kinder Loves Graphic Studio I have this new blog design. I just love it! She was amazing and so helpful in my journey as a teacher blogger. Vanessa is so talented and helpful.  She would ask questions and because I'm a newbie (at blogging) my answer was usually "I don't know" or "I'm not sure how I got that there". She was so patient and I'm so appreciative of her help. I have a whole new appreciation for my students and how they feel when they are faced with new challenges.  It can be scary. I'm hoping to do my first link up soon and I promise to try something new or write a post at least once  a week!