Monday, September 8, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/8

I'm linking up with Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to share my reading this past week.
It was only a three day school week for me last week.  So you would think that I would have been able to read a lot!  Nope!  I had to catch myself up on yard work and house work that I have neglected during the first few weeks back at school.

I did manage to finish two chapter books this week:

Sabotaged (The Missing, #3)
Sabotaged by Margaret Peterson Haddix (#3 in The Missing series)

Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus (Origami Yoda, #6)
Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus by Tom Angleberger (last book in the Origami Yoda series)

I also read the following picture books:

Fireflies! by Julie Brinkloe

The Popcorn Book
The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola

This week I plan to read the following chapter book:
The Graham Cracker Plot

What are you reading?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Celebrate! Sept. 6

Thanks to Ruth Ayres at DiscoverPlayBuild for this Saturday tradition.
I am back to celebrate a few things this week!

1. I have to start by celebrating the opening of college football and by beloved Buckeyes!  The game last Saturday against Navy was a nail-biter in the first half.  Thank goodness we figured things out the second half!  I do have to say that rooting against Navy somehow made me feel a little unpatriotic!  So I tried not to be too vocal against Navy!  Tonight we play Virginia Tech.  Go Bucks!

 2. I need to celebrate the ladies in this picture (plus one who was cut out)!  These ladies are training to be intermediate literacy coaches through Literacy Collaborative along with me.  This school year is a training year for us.  In the picture, we are participating in online learning with OSU.  I am grateful for what each of these wonderful ladies brings to the picture.

3.  Our community has started the "Let's Read 20" initiative.  The idea is parents will read for 20 minutes a day with their children starting at birth.  All the schools in the county and city are participating and working together on this.  This week, my district had a Battle of the Books with another district in the county.  Students were to bring in new or gently used books to be distributed to kids throughout the county.  My school collected over 1600 books!  The winning district will be announced at the football game tonight between the two schools.

4. I am celebrating the Popcorn Festival in our town and the Popcorn Parade.  Jacob was in the parade along with his fellow cub scouts.  I also have to celebrate all the greasy, fried food you can get at the festival! It's one of the few times of the year I allow myself to indulge in this type of food!  Bring on the fried veggies!

What are you celebrating?

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/1/14

I'm linking up with Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to share my reading this past week.

This week I only managed to finish one chapter book!  It has just been a busy, tiring, second week of school!

Athena the Wise (Goddess Girls, #5)
I finished Athena the Wise  by Joan Holub, which is the 5th book in the Goddess Girls series. 
My read alouds this week include the following:
Peppe the Lamplighter
Peppe the Lamplighter  by Elisa Bartone
A Day's Work
A Day's Work  by Eve Bunting
True Heart
True Heart by Marissa Moss
The Keeping Quilt
The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
Chicken Sunday
Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
I am currently reading two chapter books:
Sabotaged (The Missing #3)
Sabotaged  by Margaret Peterson Haddix (3rd in The Missing series)
Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus (Origami Yoda, #6)
Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus by Tom Angleberger
What are you reading?

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day of School

The first day of school.

Wow!  So exhausting!

Hard to sleep the night before.  I'm awake every few hours.  Too many thoughts running through my head:
Do I have everything ready?
Are extra materials handy for any possible new students?
Is there anything that needs to be copied?
Do I have enough planned for the day?
What if I oversleep?

At 4:30 my alarm pulls me out of my sleep.  I get ready and head to the gym.  During my workout I'm able to get focused and get some good thinking done.

Go home, get ready for school, kiss my son goodbye.  He doesn't start school for another week.

Make it to school and finish some last minute things.  Then finally, they arrive!  And it's a school supply frenzy!!

It's a great class with great personalities.  Morning goes smoothly.  When it's time to focus on reading in the afternoon I am feeling quite at ease.  I read The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires to the class.  We talk about the importance of persistence and not giving up when things get difficult.

And then I introduce my classroom library.  I talk about how it is organized and do a few unintentional book talks.  I have hands in the air from students wanting to know if they can read a book before I am even halfway done.  This.  This is what I love.  I love kids getting excited to read.  I love talking books with kids.

I have a feeling this class isn't going to disappoint me.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Slice of Life Day 14- March Madness

I love his time of year in college basketball. All the different tournaments going all, getting ready for the brackets. 

I've been watching as much of the Big 10 Tournament as I can. My Buckeyes have been giving me near heart attacks yesterday and today. Yesterday they squeaked past Purdue. Today they came back from an 18 point deficit in the second half to win by 4. This is exciting! And tomorrow we take on that team up North. 

It's amazing how much you can bad-mouth and cheer on a team all in one game. I can't imagine all the pressure those players feel while they are on the court. I know they say they can tune out a lot from the stands but I often wonder what some of those comments are that they do hear. I hope it's the positive stuff. 

Some people say that the negative inspires them to do better. I'm not sure if I am one of those people or not. When first thinking about it, I didn't think I was one of those people. But after some thought  I started thinking about times when that has been the case. Interesting. 

I wish my Buckeyes best of luck in the Big 10 Tournament. Hopefully I will be watching them on Sunday!  O-H!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Slice of Life Day 13- A Long Day

Today was a long day:
Wake up at 4:40 to go to gym to work out. 
6:15 Get home to get ready for school and get son ready for school. 
7:45 Drop son off at babysitter. 
8:00 Get to school. 
7:45 Get home from school. 

Yes, a long day at school with parent-teacher conferences. Since I am not in the classroom, I don't have much to prepare. We were running our book fair this week and I was stationed there for the night. 

I have to say, I loved working the book fair. I had such a good time talking books and recommending books to students and parents. Making new connections with students was certainly a highlight. As kids were bringing up books to purchase I found myself talking to them about their purchases and adding books to my TBR pile.  Those conversations can make an evening pass quickly. 

But now, this girl is tired and ready for bed. Night ya'll!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Slice of Life Day 12- Greg Tang Author Visit

My mom teaches in another school district and yesterday I spent part of the day at her school.  As part of Right to Read Week, they had author and mathematician Greg Tang speaking to the students and later to parents at their Parent Night.

I have to say, I am a fan of Greg Tang.  He makes math seem so easy for the students (and adults!).  What he was able to have them do after a short time was just amazing.  I was able to see him working with K/1st, 4th/5th, and the parents.  Unfortunately, I missed the 2nd/3rd session due to a meeting I had to be at in my district.

In the K/1st session Mr. Tang really focused on two things: knowing combinations to make 10 and when counting objects group them together rather than count individually.  He told the students that each night, for two minutes, they should practice making 10.  When counting, a lot of times we count individual objects that can result in slow counting, which is very inefficient.  Students should be grouping the objects together to skip count.  He referred to his website quite a bit, specifically his books, which you can find HERE.

In the 4th/5th presentation he really worked with decomposing numbers to solve problems.  Mr. Tang said that after 1st grade students shouldn't be using their fingers to solve facts.  He said we typically go straight to algorithms when solving problems with larger numbers but don't really think about the numbers.  For example, when multiplying by 5s, such as 5 x 88, we should multiply by 10 and then halve that number.  So, 10 x 88 = 880, half of 880 is 440, which is the product of 5 x 88.  Much simpler!  He showed the students the game Kakooma on his website, which I HIGHLY recommend playing!  Great game for students and adults!

Greg Tang's parent session really reviewed what he talked about with the students.

If your school is looking for an author who will integrate reading and math I would certainly look into have Greg Tang come visit!  Well worth the money!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Slice of Life Day 11- School Visits

My mom teaches 4th grade in another district in a town in a neighboring county. Today her school, as part of Right to Read Week, hosted author and mathematician Greg Tang. I went to her school to see Greg Tang. My district is looking into having him come next school year. 

It was great to see Greg Tang work with the students, teachers, and parents at their Parent Night. I will post more about him and what he shared tomorrow. 

One of my unexpected pleasures was just to see how things are managed in another school district. I have been to other elementary schools within my district, but it just doesn't compare to visiting an outside building.

I enjoyed seeing their schedule; how they prioritize different subjects. Seeing how the grade level works together with the little things such as classroom management gave me some different ideas. The different kind of work displayed in the hallway was fun to look at and read. 

I didn't really notice anything huge that I just had to take back to school to have the teachers start doing now.  It was the small things, the day-to-day things that got me thinking about changes I could implement. 

I think that we, the teachers, need to visit other schools from time-to-time just to observe and see new things. It was refreshing. It was even energizing. It was needed. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Slice of Life Day 10- Daylight Savings

I am not sure I understand the need for daylight savings. I'm sure there is a good reason out there. It seems I have heard at one time it was for the farmers.

All I know is that I like daylight savings less in the spring.

I lose an hour of sleep. And it seems as though the older I get, the longer it takes to recover. Getting up at 4:40 this morning to hit the gym was not fun. Sure, once I got there and started moving around I was fine. Moving out of bed, however, was a struggle.

As I looked around the school this afternoon, I saw more zombie-like teachers than normal. I heard a few teachers mention wanting to take a nap. So apparently it's not just me.

The only thing I do like about daylight savings is more daylight in the evening. I can go for an after-dinner run. Jacob can play outside longer.

I guess the longer evenings remind me that summer isn't too far off. That is something that puts a smile on my face.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Slice of Life- Sunday Mornings

Sunday mornings are me time. I tend to be an early riser. My family tends to sleep in.

I get to make my coffee, watch the news, read a book, catch up on Twitter and Facebook.

I have time to think about the week ahead and get my mind organized.

I do the grocery shopping for the week on Sundays so I am able to start my list without distractions.

I can check out my Pinterest exercise board and figure out what workouts I want to try this week.

All with silence around me.
This is my peaceful time.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Slice of Life Day 8- Celebrations

I'm joining Ruth Ayres in celebrating the week.  Hop on over to her blog and celebrate with her!
I am really beginning to love celebrations!  At first, for some reason, it was hard to look back at my week and find celebrations.  I think I was looking for those big moments.  I now know those little moments count too!  Here are my celebrations this week:

1.  I am celebrating getting myself out of bed at 4:40 a.m. Monday-Friday this week to go to the gym and get in over an hour of different workouts!  My goal for this month is to workout six days and take Sunday off for rest.  I did sleep in this morning but was still at the gym at 7 to get in my workout.

Ultimate Upper Body 30 Day Challenge

2. I am doing the Ultimate Upper Body 30 Day Challenge for the month of March and I haven't given up on it yet! I have already been able to improve what I can do in just a week.  That gives me encouragement to keep it up!

3.  Yesterday I received these books at school as part of my preparation for Literacy Collaborative training.  Next school year, starting in August, I will be trained to be an intermediate Literacy Collaborative coach.  I am SO excited for this training!  I have already used some of these books but I am excited to revisit them with a fresh eye.

4.  My husband was honored as coach of the year this week at the conference banquet.  He is the girls' varsity basketball coach at the high school where he teaches.  One of his players was also honored for making first team all conference.

5.  I am also going to celebrate the awesome weather we had in my part of Ohio yesterday.  50+ degrees and sunny!!  It was nice to see people out walking and running.  Kids were riding their bikes and playing outside.  Hopefully spring is right around the corner.

Have a wonderful weekend!  Hope you are able to celebrate the small moments!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Slice of Life Day 7- Data

Today's slice is going to be quick.  It is just one of those days where I am on the go with not much time to spare!

Today I was in a data meeting all day with other data teams from across the elementary buildings in our district.  Yes, I said data all day.  I know some people's eyes will start to glaze over at just the mention of data.  I am one of those weird people who enjoy looking at data and manipulating it.  However, by the end of the day my eyes were starting to glaze over as well.

I don't mind all-day data meetings as long as they are productive.  Today happened to be one of those days.  We started using AIMSweb to progress monitor our third grade students this year.  There has been a learning curve to it and I know not all teachers have bought into it, but more are coming on board.  When teachers are seeing their kiddos are regressing or flat-lining, there is no denying something may need to change with that student.  That's one of the things I like about data.  It doesn't lie to you or fluff anything.  Some really good conversations are starting to happen with these kiddos who are regressing or flat-lining.  I know it takes a lot more work and makes you think outside of the box as a teacher.  However, we came into this profession because of the students, not ourselves.

Our district has had a lot of changes in administration this year.  This is one of the changes the administration has made.  I think it is a welcome and much needed change.  Our district has been flat-lining and even regressing for too many years now.  It is past time for a change.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Slice of Life Day 6- Basketball Awards

My husband is the varsity girls' basketball coach at the high school where he teaches.  It also happens to be the high school from which he graduated.  This was his 5th season in that position.

Let me start by saying this was by far my favorite team to watch.  They had a very successful season because they were a TEAM.  They had a few girls who were very good, but nobody was trying to be an all-star.  They encouraged each other and supported each other.  The four seniors this year were great role models for the underclassmen.

Last night we attended the conference banquet.  The team won their division in the conference.  Nate had a player make First Team All Conference.  He also won Coach of the Year. (He says his team this year made him look good!) His girl who made First Team is actually an exchange student to the school this year.  What an all-around wonderful girl.  Her host family is going to have a hard time letting her go.  Her team is going to have a hard time letting her go.

I did learn a few things watching and observing these girls this year.
1. Never give up.  There were times when it looked like they may lose a game but they fought until the very last second and won.
2. Being a team takes work, it doesn't just happen.
3. When things are going well, you celebrate together.
4.  When things are going bad, you don't point fingers, you lift the team up.
5.  Always include everyone.  It doesn't matter how much time someone plays.  You are all a team and you all contribute in your own way.  Everyone has a role.

I think the things I learned from observing this team can be carried over into a professional school setting.  Too often in schools I don't see the teachers working together as they should.  I see pockets working very well together, but not necessarily the whole school.  So now I need to reflect to see what I can do to get my school to be more like a team.  If your school has been successful with this, what did you do?

I mentioned how those seniors were such great role models for the underclassmen.  That whole team is a role model for me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Slice of Life Day 5- Reevaluation

Today marks the beginning of Lent. Today is a time for me to reevaluate some things in my life. Are there some things  in my life I can do without or maybe some gaps I need to fill?

One thing I am giving up are those stupid games on my iPad that I sometimes can't seem to pull myself away from. They don't do anything other than take me away from more productive things I could be doing. I am going to fill that time instead with reading professional books and literature. My TBR professional reads pile keeps getting taller and I need a plan of attack.  This will be my first step in that plan.

I am also looking at my health today. Are there some things I'm consuming that I don't need?  Sometimes, after a hard day, I like to unwind with a glass of wine. I don't think I really need it. They are just empty calories and I can do something else to unwind. Maybe I could go for a quick walk if the weather is nice. Or maybe I could find a 15 minute workout to complete.

I don't like to change a lot for Lent. I want it to be manageable so I feel as if I can be successful.

If you celebrate Lent, what are you changing?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Slice of Life Day 4- New Directions

Around Christmas, my school district decided to change directions with literacy instruction in our six elementary buildings.  Currently, we really have nothing.  We have maps, but I think they are often ignored.  Starting next year, we will be going to Literacy Collaborative, start Reading Recovery, and some teachers will be trained in Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI).  We will have two literacy coaches per building: one primary, the other intermediate.  Right now we have an instructional coach in each building.  Currently I am one of those instructional coaches.

I am thrilled to be switching over to Literacy Collaborative!  Having classroom experience in 5th grade, I applied for one of the intermediate coaching positions and was offered one.  Our primary coaches started their training with the Ohio State University in January.  They are on a fast track so they can begin coaching next year.  The program requires you to go through a year of training before you can begin to coach teachers.

The intermediate coaches will begin their training next school-year. I just received my schedule and Wow!  I can't believe the amount of professional development I will receive!  I have four 5-day weeks of face-to-face PD starting in August and spread out until May.  Then there are 13 days of online PD.  When I interviewed for this position I was told 12 days of training.  This new schedule is a little bit different than what I was told.

At first, I was shocked at the difference.  I immediately thought of how much time away from my family this would entail and how much evening time would be consumed.  My husband is the varsity girls' basketball coach in the district where he teaches and I also thought of what juggling a family would be like during basketball season with all this training.  Thank goodness I have wonderful in-laws in town who will be more than happy to help.

While I can't wait for all this new learning, I am not looking forward to spending time away from my family.  I do hope that I am being a role model for my son on what being a professional entails: you can never know too much, look for opportunities to improve yourself, deal with stress in a positive manner, and learn how to balance family and work.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Slice of Life Day 3

The alarm goes off at 4:40 a.m.  Do I lay here in my cozy, warm flannel sheets?  Do I get up and go to the gym for a workout? A few minutes pass, I hear the cold wind.  Warm bed seems to be winning this morning.  I lay there for a few more minutes realizing I'm awake and probably won't be able to go back to sleep.  May as well get up and go workout.

Brave the cold as I walk to the gym.  Doesn't take long to get hot and sweaty.  An hour passes and I'm ready to go home.

I hate getting up in the morning to workout, but I love the feeling afterwards.  I feel very productive so early in the morning and that just sets my day off right.

Get my son up and off to school.  Get myself off to school.  I'm able to get a lot of things done today.  Preparation for a few meetings.  Submitting 2 professional development requests.  Researching some activities for volume in 5th grade.

Now I'm ready to continue my professional read for the month: Falling in Love with Close Reading by Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts.

I love these days that feel so productive.  Days when I can check things off my list.  These are days that relax me.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Slice of Life- Day 2

Yesterday, my family and I went to the Home and Garden Show in Columbus. I love this event! I would love it even more if I could afford most of the things I saw! 
The patios they had with the landscaping were just beautiful! I would have taken any of them. I also loved all the outdoor kitchens.  I must have one of those when we redo our patio sometime in the future. Below is a picture of some landscaping. 

My husband, Nate, has been wanting to get a new shed and there were several companies there with some sheds on display.  Nate enjoyed walking through the sheds envisioning where he could put everything and if there would be enough room to walk around when everything was in its place. 

Dr. Insecta was also there for the kids. Below is a picture of Jacob with him. And yes, those tarantulas are real. Jacob, my budding entomologist, was thrilled to get to hold one of those tarantulas later.  Better him than me!

And now as I look out the window it is snowing. After seeing all the green and bright flowers yesterday, I am even more ready for spring. Ready to get my fingers in the dirt and feel a warm breeze on my face. 

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Slice of Life- Day 1

One of my resolutions this year was to run 500 miles in 2014.  I joined the #500in2014 group on Twitter.  I even enlisted two friends to help keep me on track and focused during this journey. January went well.  I ran a little more than I needed to average for the month.  Then February hit.  I developed a stress fracture in my tibia.  Talk about disappointment.  6 weeks minimum of no running.  I was told I could bike and swim.  I'm not a swimmer so that was out.  I have biked, but because I was bummed about not being able to run, I didn't bike either.  I think I was in a little bit of a work-out depression.  Maybe I was just being stubborn because I couldn't do what I really wanted to be doing.

But today is a new month.  I have decided that I am going to get out of that rut.  I went to the gym this morning and biked for 35 minutes. 

I am also going to participate in the Ultimate Upper Body 30 Day Challenge.  I am not an upper body person.  In fact, I hate upper body workouts because I know I am weak in that area.  However, I did complete the first day of the challenge after biking this morning and I survived. 

So while February was not a good fitness month for me, I will not let March become a fitness flop.  I am going in like a lion and I intend to end like a lion!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Celebrate! 1/4/14

Thanks to Ruth Ayres at DiscoverPlayBuild for this Saturday tradition.

I am really beginning to enjoy looking back through the week at the different things to celebrate in my life!

1. Once again I made some New Year's resolutions which you can view here.  A few people commented how they use one little word as a resolution.  I really liked that idea and after much thought decided I would choose healthy as my word.  I feel this will still cover my original resolutions and then some.

2. I committed to be part of the #500in2014 group!  So far I have either hit the road, treadmill, or inside track 4 times this week!  My legs can feel it today!

3. I am on Day 10 of the plank-a-day challenge.  I am up to 1 minute of planks and I can feel it!  Looking forward to the day of rest in a few days!  By the end of the 30 days I should be able to plank for 5 minutes!  Yikes!

4. One of the things I love about break is having the time to read!  I feel as if I have been in a slump lately and being able to actually have time to read has helped.  I even had one of those nights where I couldn't put down a book and stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish it. I haven't had one of those nights in awhile!  Good thing it came over break so I didn't pay for it the next day!
5.  Even though my beloved Buckeyes lost in the Orange Bowl last night, I certainly can't complain about our 12-2 season.  It was a great season!

  Ohio State Buckeyes's photo.