Read and Write 180-Day 72

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is what I want in my classroom.

Β 24 Kermits (or students) in each class who gaze at me so attentively with a smile like they are thinking that I am the best thing since sliced bread because I am such a great teacher and they can’t wait to get to my class everyday so they can learn and become wonderful readers and writers and they always do their homework and think while they read and study and try their very best……Oh, wait-was I dreaming???? Apparently so, because in my afternoon class when we started reading the 1st 1/2 of our reading story that they were supposed to have read last night for homework, when I asked what kind of person the main character was I (seriously) only had about 10-12 that could tell me!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t even give much homework because I think that family time is important as well as just plain downtime!!!! Why is it so hard to read 6 pages??????? Especially since the cold hard fact of the matter is that I sent out D/F letters with almost 1/2 of my class today!!! 21 out of 48! What are they not understanding????? I really do want to help them, but they have to be willing to help themselves! OK-that’s the end of my soapbox for now! πŸ™‚

Our sentence today that we labeled was ” The mangy, old dog grudgingly went after the almost new ball”. The words mangy and grudgingly threw a couple of them-I’m not talking parts of speech-I mean they couldn’t read them. Sigh. I am hoping that these daily sentences will expose them to some great vocabulary and maybe some phonics skills as well. A few of them figured out that the word almost was an adverb!! Kudos to them! πŸ™‚

We started putting our notes that we had written yesterday into paragraph form for our reindeer job application. We will continue working Β on them tomorrow. One of my students has the last name of Daunhauer. He asked me if he could change it to be “Deerhauer”!! HAHA! Of course I said yes!

We talked about our question of the day-What do you know about Kyoko as a person? Well, those of us who did our homework last night talked about it! πŸ™‚ It almost makes me want to send the kids who don’t do their homework to the hall while the rest of us analyze the story and prepare ourselves for the reading test! Wait-I wasn’t supposed to go there again!

We worked with our 5 whole vocabulary words today by making a 4 column chart. They wrote the words-I gave them the definitions-they worked in groups to come up with synonyms, antonyms, and sentences.

Ahhhh-on to small group instruction. Today we focused on our vocabulary words-reading them, finding words within them, paying attention to the phonics aspect as well as their meanings. Then we worked on our fluency. I picked a part of the story ( a very important part of the story), and I read it twice with both times being NOT fluent. Once where I read too fast with no emotion or pausing for punctuation. The 2nd time I struggled to read the words and replaced words with incorrect words. Then I read it a 3rd time fluently. We talked about how both of the non fluent readings break down our comprehension. I think they really get that. With my 1st class we had time for them to partner read (fluently) while I listened to them. We didn’t have time with my 2nd class-in fact I didn’t have time to call back both groups of 4 so I just called all 8 of them back at the same time. While they were on the rug and we were talking I noticed 2 students paying more attention to us than what they were supposed to be doing so I told them they were welcome to join us. They actually did. πŸ™‚ Tomorrow we will focus on comprehension during our small group time. Today was cut a little short because I gave out graded papers and the dreaded D/F letters.

Here is a picture of our predictions chart that we made yesterday about our reading story “Learning to Swim”. I think that what I will do next time so that we can go deeper with our predictions is 1st of all make a bigger chart. πŸ™‚ AND-add a column where we can track our evidence of rejecting or confirming our predictions. Also, keep interacting with the chart while we read the story so that they can realize that predictions are not just made at the beginning of a text, but the whole way through!

Over and out!


Read and Write 180-Day 71

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday all day long! πŸ™‚ Hit the snooze button at 6:00 am and didn’t wake back up until 6:38 am!!!!!! Cold, cold, cold. Rainy. Internet didn’t work when I got to school. Left some books at home so couldn’t make the work packets (I know the kids were sooooooo disappointed!). πŸ™‚

Looked forward to going to the dentist ALL day πŸ™‚ since I didn’t exactly follow the directions they gave me last week when they put a temporary crown on and told me NOT to eat anything chewy on that side of my mouth. Those milk duds made me do it!

Anyway, the school day actually went well! AND I DID SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION! ON A MONDAY! πŸ™‚ I’m patting myself on the back right now. LOL!

So over the holiday break I did a lot of thinking about reorganizing my teaching to put more emphasis on reading and writing and not so much on spelling and english. Not on the isolated part of those 2 subjects anyway. This is what our day looked like today:

English- We still labeled a sentence (we will continue to do this everyday). We labeled the parts of speech, subjects and predicates, and identified the type and kind of sentence it was. (Declarative, Exclamatory, Interrogative, Imperative) (Simple, Compound, Complex, Compound Complex). Then they wrote a paragraph using this sentence. Sort of a short story. With a title. I think they enjoy doing these. Well, as much as 6th graders can enjoy doing anything remotely related to school! πŸ™‚ Our sentence today was:

The gobbling, plump turkey trotted hesitantly through the grassy, open field Thursday.

One title that struck my fancy was “The Hunter and The Hunted”. πŸ™‚ We then discussed one student’s paragraph using the ELMO. We ALWAYS give stars (things we noticed they did well) and wishes (things we would like them to focus on improving). We do this EVERYDAY. I hope it pays off!

Writing- I am introducing persuasive writing this week. We are going to fill out a job application to try to get Santa to hire us to be a reindeer. I got this fantastic idea from pinterest-I think a 1st grade teacher had posted it, and then I found where a 5th grade teacher had modified it to suit her older kids. I read them the picture book “How Santa Got His Job” so that we could discuss things we noticed about Santa Claus during all of his jobs leading up to his Santa job and how they prepared him for that ultimate job. It’s a CUTE read aloud! Then we brainstormed for all 3 sections of the job application in our writing notebook.

1. Talents and skills

2. Why I want to be a reindeer

3. What makes me a good reindeer

Tomorrow we will take these notes we jotted down and put them into paragraph form as a rough draft. This will probably take a couple of days.

Reading- Mondays will be devoted to building background knowledge for the upcoming story exposure to the reading strategy and skill for the week. So here’s an outline for today. Our story this week is an auto-biography “Learning to Swim”.

Read Aloud-I chose NOT to use the 1 page story in the textbook and to instead use a picture book “The Ant Bully“. Since our strategy for the week is predicting that is what I wanted to focus on with the read aloud. BUT-it is HARD to predict when the majority of the kids have seen the movie!!!!!!!!!!!! So really we just enjoyed a good read aloud today!!! Gotta remember that for next time! πŸ™‚

Strategy- We created an anchor chart for our predictions for the story. They talked with their partner about their predictions, wrote them on a sticky note, and placed on the chart (forgot to take a picture!). I discussed the difference between simple and complex predictions and the importance to KEEP predicting as they read a text!

Question of the Day-Discussed this. The question was “Why is it important to stay calm during a crisis”.

Skill-We read the skill story (short 1 page) in the textbook and practiced the strategy and skill for the week. Then we did a sequencing worksheet together using the ELMO.

Small groups-We had about 35-40 minutes left in class to do small group instruction. I only pulled 2 groups of 4 students each in each class. Not everyone will be pulled in a small group each week-it just depends on their needs. I used the below level leveled reader which has the same vocabulary that is in our weekly story. It’s also to build background knowledge. The title was “Rip Current Rescue”. I read it aloud to them while they followed along. We only got to page 8 out of about 20!!! Why do them make such a loooooong leveled reader if we only are supposed to use them on Mondays and Fridays??? I won’t be using them on Fridays, just Mondays. Anyway-we made predictions, inferred, discussed vocabulary. Then they had to go and partner read the rest of the book (the 2nd group will partner read tomorrow). It went VERY WELL!!!!!!!!!!! I even had one of my reluctant readers ask if he could take it home and finish it because he liked it!!!!!!!!! YEA!!!!!! He ended up finishing it at snack this afternoon!!! πŸ™‚


Check back tomorrow to see if it goes just as well! πŸ™‚

Unit 3 study guides

For those of you Scott Foresman Reading Street followers who have been looking for the study guides for unit 3-Newsflash! I am a procrastinator, and I just finished them and uploaded them this afternoon! πŸ™‚ Sorry so late! I uploaded them in pdf and word-so you can change them to suit your needs! Β They are on the pages at the top of my blog.

Have a great week!

Ready for a good read?

If you are like me and try to read kids’ books (and like them!) then you MUST read The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt!! I read it because someone had recommended it, and I was not disappointed. It’s a mixture of humor (I love Holling’s sense of humor-he is the main character), crazy happenings at a middle school in the late 60’s, and some deep issues like war, grief, and just life in general. Holling will keep you laughing (and sometimes out loud)!

So make that trip to Books-a-Million or get it on your kindle or nook or ipad or……. Β πŸ™‚ I give this one 5 stars!! Big golden ones!

I’m sooooo glad I teach

so that I don’t have to PAINT for a living!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I decided (today) to paint my bathroom. Disclaimer here-I’ve had the paint for over a year. Yeah, I’m sort of definitely a procratinator!! Then I couldn’t even find a paint stick so I just used one of those over the door wreath hangers!!! The plastic kind-it worked pretty well. πŸ™‚

I had already painted 1 wall brown about 2 years ago as an accent wall, but then decided I wanted the other 3 walls to be a “smoky blue”. A little darker than I planned for-or at least it is according to my hubby-he said he can’t see in there anymore! LOL! I still love it!

There might actually be 1 more thing that I hate worse than painting (and cleaning): BEING SHORT!!!! So I had my own pity party about 1/2 way through this project today. It was sort of a sighing, laughing, cussing, almost tears kind of a party!!

And I don’t know how I finished the part above the shower-I think I blocked all of that out of my memory!! πŸ™‚

So here are before and after pictures of of my 9:30-6:15 didn’t watch the Alabama/Auburn game project!

Β This is the “brown” wall that has been painted for 2 years.

Β OK-toilet shot!

Β Door leading to bedroom

Β Infamous shower

Β Sink area

Β Voila!

Β D.O.N.E. Except for hanging things back on the wall! πŸ™‚

Have you accomplished any projects over your Thanksgiving break?


Oh, how I’m thankful

Today is one of my MOST favorite days of the year-well, besides ALL of the days in June and July!! πŸ™‚

These are the things that I’m thankful for (not in any particular order)-

1. My family that reminds me that I have people who love me and care for me

2. My friends which includes my best friend, my neighbors, and everyone else including my blogosphere friends

3. My 6 dogs who I adore

4. My job as a teacher which allows me to to have a lot of time off Β touch many people’s lives

5. The time that I do have off that allows me to relax, breathe, and read

6. The ability to read and really get lost in another world

7. The fact that I am able to live in the country with nature and peace

8. The fact that my youngest child is 17 which means I have a quiet house A LOT-AND I don’t have to do everything for them (I know that’s selfish, but WHEW….)

9. A God that has provided me with a life I am content with

10. A laptop that connects me with fantastic teachers and ideas since teaching is my passion

11. A cell phone that I can use to text my 17 year old daughter and tell her to please get out of bed when I don’t feel like walking to that end of the house (like I am doing right now, and I just heard her door open :))

12. The fact that I still don’t have a top on my front porch, a carport, a sunroom, or a cover on my deck…this means that I still have dreams for my life that I can look forward to one day

13. A husband who works harder than anyone I know and I STILL love and am in love with after 14 years (most of the time :))

14. Many, many, many other things that make my world complete (yes, eating is one of them!)

So, on this Thanksgiving day I will give thanks for EVERYTHING my life has become!

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! What are you thankful for?????

Heavenly, just heavenly

If you like butter finger candy bars, you will LOVE this recipe! Thanks to pinterest, a day off from school, and the lack of desire to really DO anything I actually made some butter finger blondies that I had pinned a looooong time ago on my pinterest boards. πŸ™‚

Here is the picture of the result of all of my hard work today!

Β Yum yum……yum yum yum!!

Here’s the link to my pinterest board where you can find this delish recipe to try it out yourself!

Taylor (my daughter) and I also made buffalo chicken dip, but it actually tastes better than it looks so we will spare you a picture of it!

Now I guess I need to get busy on my online classes that I am way behind on!

Gold at the end of the rainbow

Yes, I have finally found the gold at the end of the rainbow! And I am even going to provide you the road to this gold. See below.

As the saying goes in “Lilly’s Plastic Purple Purse”: ” All I can say is, WOW!” πŸ™‚

Just thought you might need something to keep you busy through the Thanksgiving Holidays! Have a great one! πŸ™‚

Read and Write 180-Day 70

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Why do I have to wait a whole year to see Breaking Dawn Part 2????????????????????????? We just got back from seeing Breaking Dawn Part 1, and it was just as super cool-love it- wanna see more as I thought it would be!!!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚ As I’m writing this post I’m also watching Twilight-AGAIN! πŸ™‚

Today Mr. Brady and I tried something different. I gave all of my tests and his tests and he did the same. We didn’t swap classes as we usually do. Then we went to lunch, and afterwards I took ALL 48 to my room so we could finish watching Old Yeller from a couple of weeks ago-we had already read the story. Even after 5 tests, PE, lunch, and the rest of the movie we still had a couple of hours left!!! So we played heads up 7 up (they LOVE this). Then we STILL had time left so they got to color (yes, color) a Thanksgiving picture-they really got into this! πŸ™‚ Then we went outside for about 45 minutes til the end of the day.

Oh yeah, my homeroom had an ice cream party this morning because we raised the most money in the Leukemia fundraiser in October. YUM! πŸ™‚

Look at that!Β 


AND we are OFFICIALLY out for Thanksgiving holidays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 9 days of bliss! πŸ™‚

Read and Write 180-Day 69

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Reading test today: 45 kids-1 A, 2 Bs, 15 Cs…Can you figure out the rest?????

We even did a scavenger hunt review game (again) before the test where I reworded the test questions and had them find the part in the story that…..

Guess that didn’t help either. One of my students finished their test in 6 minutes. I am not lying. Made a 53. Maybe we need to S.L.O.W. down and R.E.A.D. the questions and T.H.I.N.K. about our choices. πŸ™‚

Anyway-I talked to another teacher in our district about this test on this particular story, and she said her kids grades took a nosedive with this one, too. So I feel MUCH better. Well, not really.

My kids just are not used to thinking at a higher level-they are used to the tests in this reading series being modified for them so they can pass and make good grades. I don’t want to modify the tests for them to pass. I want to modify their thinking. So we’re going to keep plugging away with what we are doing, but I’m going to add small group instruction to the mix. (Hopefully) πŸ™‚

I’m thinking about moving the reading test to Fridays so that I can get in 4 full days of instruction with it. I’m also thinking of dropping spelling and part of my english and replacing it with authentic writing (which they are not really getting a lot of right now).

OK-gotta go and catch up with my 2 online classes. Already helped my daughter with her outline for her research paper. (FUN) Talk to you tomorrow! Frrriiiiddddaaaayyyyyy! πŸ™‚