Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wisdom for Wednesday-Bitter

Welcome to this week's:



There are many things in this world that can make us bitter.  One that really comes to mind for me is betrayal.  Jesus himself was faced with betrayal.  It is something that can be painful when we are betrayed and hurt by someone we care about.  When this happens, we can become upset and bitter.  As a believer, the response that we have when we are disappointed is more important than what they did to us.  When you are hurt, refuse to be bitter and follow the example of Jesus and forgive them.  We can't control what other people will do, but we can control how we will respond to it.

Have a great day!




Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Quick Catch-Up Post

Well, as you can probably tell since I have been MIA, I am back-to-school! Last week flew by without me even realizing it was my turn to blog. Good thing my bloggy partner is pretty easy going. :-)

Things have definitely been different this year in my role as the Title I teacher. I have found myself bouncing around helping with Kindergarten (bless you, K teachers!!), lunch duty, recess duties, moving computers in the library, and trying to squeeze in time to prep some things I plan to use this year. The crazy schedule makes me want to start pulling kids ASAP so maybe I can settle into more of a routine!


This is my tiny office where I start my day in the K-2 building. I'm not spending much time in there yet, but I will soon. I stay at this building until 1:00 and then drive about 20 miles to the 3-6 building.

Here's some pics of that office (much bigger):


The blue wall now has the beginnings of a "Grammar Wall" which I'm pretty excited about. I'll have to share pictures later.

Look at all those books!


And finally, our back-to-school pictures. I wasn't ready when they left, so we had to do them separately this year. My daughter is a junior. And my son is a SENIOR! Oh...and this is year nine for me. :-)


Hope you have an amazing week! After school today, I'm off to coach our FIRST volleyball game of the year. :-)


Friday, August 18, 2017

The Reading Strategies Book Study - Goal 13

Hi there! I can't believe we are at the end of our book study. I have so enjoyed learning from others as I dug into this book. If you have yet to purchase The Reading Strategies Book (affiliate link), I highly recommend it. I'm excited to give some of my new favorite strategies a try this year with my students. 

Today we are taking a look at Goal 13 - Improving Writing about Reading.

If you're just getting started with the book, don't worry. You can catch up by visiting these posts:



This goal is something that I haven't really been concerned about teaching younger students, and Serravallo agrees as she explains, "It's the rare first-grade student for whom writing about reading will be the most important goal at any point in the year." 

I would add to that few second-graders as well. I spent three years teaching 1st grade and four years teaching 2nd grade. Most of our reading time was spent on strengthening decoding skills, fluency, and comprehension.

Here's a few of my favorite strategies:

13.2 Quick Stops Using Symbols

This strategy teaches using symbols to remind the reader of their thoughts. It is the idea of a "stop and jot" to lessen the interruption in reading engagement. Then when the student wants to revisit their thinking, they can look at the symbol to remind them of their thoughts. Love this anchor chart:


13.7 What's Worth Keeping?

I picked this strategy because several of the strategies use sticky notes (I love sticky notes...I mean I really wanted to pick the strategy titled Buying Stock in Sticky Notes 13.4 just because of the name! Ha!), and I can see how it would be important for students to evaluate when a sticky note is worth keeping.  Here's some thoughts about sticky notes worth keeping:

It helps me understand my book.
It connects to my goal.
It will help me talk to my teacher about my reading.
I will use it to springboard conversation.
I intend to use it to write a longer entry about my reading.

13.18 Reacting, Responding

I just love this...from the Teaching Tip section: The point of this lesson is not to kill the aesthetic experience of reading with an assignment. Instead, it's an invitation to children to use writing as a tool to hold on to their most powerful feelings in response to something they've read.

Yep! I mean...this is how I study the Bible. As I'm reading, I stop and jot notes about what the Lord is speaking to me about concerning specific verses. There is just something about writing things down that more permanently imprints them on our minds and hearts. 

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I want to hear from you! Tell me about your favorites either in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Don't forget to check out the other blog posts below for more thoughts and ideas!

This concludes our weekly book study. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Wishing you a wonderful and blessed school year as you head back (if you haven't already)!







Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wisdom for Wednesday-Words that we Speak

Welcome to this week's:




I thought this quote was a great one for beginning a new year of school.  Words have great power to either bless or wound.  When you speak out of frustration or carelessly you can damage others as well as yourself.  God's instructions to us on communicating is this:  Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  A quick prayer asking God to help you before you speak can help turn our words that could be damaging into something that is a blessing.

  As this school year starts, I want to remember that every word that I say can bless or damage and I want to make sure that I am always blessing each one of my students that I come into contact with every day.  

Have a great day!



Friday, August 11, 2017

The Reading Strategies Book Study - Goals 11 & 12

Happy Friday! 

I'm glad you're back for this week's installment of The Reading Strategies Book (affiliate link) summer book study. We are taking a closer look at Goals 11 and 12 this week. I can't believe we will wrap this up next week! 

If you've missed the previous posts, check them out here:



Oh, vocabulary! Serravallo says, "...research actually suggests that most word learning occurs unconsciously and through normal reading, writing, speaking and listening." She goes on to suggest that teachers can best support vocabulary goals by allowing children to read a lot, encouraging students to notice new words, teaching strategies for figuring out the meaning of words, and encouraging them to use those words when they write and speak.

I especially appreciated the emphasis on encouraging students to use new words. I think it is so important in developing new vocabulary that will "stick."

11.2 Say It Out Loud

This is a strategy that is so simple, but it is so important. As teachers, we should encourage students to try to say unfamiliar words out loud. Often times, when they attempt the word, they realize it is a word that have already heard or said.

11.22 Reading Up a Ladder

I love the visual on this one, so I wanted to share it with you. It probably explains it better (and more simply) than I can anyway. :-)

P.S. One of my absolute favorite parts of this book is the visuals!

11.23 Be Alert for Word Choice

This strategy has three simple steps: Find or figure out the word. Think about the context. Ask yourself, "What's the feeling, mood, or connotation of the word, based on how it's used?"

The visual adds to this by suggesting that readers are to look closely for strong words and consider why the author chose that specific word.




This goal was something I hadn't really considered as part of my reading instruction, but now I can see just how important it can be. It focuses on Supporting Students' Conversations through strategies that support speaking, listening, and deepening comprehension.

Serravallo gives a HUGE list of conversational skills that students need to practice (page 325-326). Many of the skills are things I have tried to teach my 1st and 2nd graders over the years, and I'm very excited about doing this more intentionally and purposefully.

12.2 Listen and Respond

Yes! We have had many of these conversations in the primary classroom. It is so difficult for them to listen well and respond with thoughts that are connected! This one had another great graphic:


12.8 Super STARter Jots

This one definitely caught my eye because of the question, "What jots are conversation worthy?" It challenges students to consider what makes a great conversation. My favorite tip...something original, unique! I don't know how many times my second graders had their hand up to share, only to have them repeat what someone else said OR say, "What so-and-so said." I think this strategy would lessen those moments. I hope.

12.10 Sentence Starter Sticks

A little teacher prep work...make some conversation sticks Have students use a sentence starter stick and make sure they connect their thought with what the person before them said.

Here's a few ideas that are given:
In addition...
On the other hand...
I agree with you because...
I disagree because...
I'd like to add on to what ___________ said...
This might not be right, but maybe...
Why do you think...?
What do you think about...?

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I want to hear from you! Tell me about your favorites either in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Don't forget to check out the other blog posts below for more thoughts and ideas!







Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wisdom for Wednesday - An Old Favorite

Good morning! 

I've seen the posts...so many of you are already back to school and I feel for you! I know I will be in that same exhausted, frazzled state in just a couple of weeks. That's why I have to share one of my absolute favorite bits of "wisdom" today (originally posted in August of 2014, and probably a few times since).




Can I get an amen?

I know this quote goes with many others I have posted about priorities, embracing the day, and keeping things in perspective, but that is because it is one of my biggest personal challenges.

I can't help it! 

When I see a quote that reminds me not to be overwhelmed with the here and now, it speaks to me every. single. time.
(By the way, where did that period in the middle of a sentence thing start? It must be a bloggy thing because I have found myself wanting to do it lately, and it must be from reading blogs. I've resisted until now because it is not grammatically correct and I am a perfectionist, you know...)

This is a perfect reminder for me as I begin this school year. I love the way it is worded. The word refuse implies that I have a choice (and I do). I also like the word swamped...so fitting for how I feel much of the time.

I wonder...

In order to refuse to be swamped...could it mean that I might have to say "no" more often? 

And as for those things that I don't have an option to say "no" to, could it be that I can choose not to be swamped by them?

I think if I keep my focus on the Lord where it should be, the answer to both questions is yes. 

What about you?

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Me again here in the present...praying for you all as you head back to school. 

May you lean on The One who can give you the energy and strength to make it through this busy time. 

May you NOT be swamped with the cares of this life--and instead focus on the eternal.

May you have a blessed school year! 


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Goals 9 and 10 - The Reading Strategies Book Study

This week has been cRaZy. Seriously.

Monday - Pretty laid back. I continued to work on updating our TPT store (if you hadn't noticed, we are doing a major overhaul...trying to make it more convenient to get both our popular games in one download by skill).

Tuesday - Went to the school. I know, I know. I don't report back until August 21st. What am I thinking? Well, at the end of the year I moved all of my stuff from my classroom into the library (my new office is just off the library), and I felt guilty for anyone trying to clean and/or work around my stuff. My few hours there were not too productive. Too many people in the building. Now I remember why I usually set my classroom up in July!

Wednesday - Went at 6:30 a.m. to try and avoid people (not because I don't like my people, you know what I mean :-)) and got some more done. The problem is I'm cleaning out the office first and there is A LOT of stuff to clean out.

Thursday - Went and bought furniture! I cannot even explain my excitement except to tell you that in 21 years of marriage, we have always just had hand-me-downs. I also did a TON of staining for my laundry room closet doors (the last DIY project I'm trying to get done before returning to work) and enrolled my daughter (junior) and my son (SENIOR - WHAT?!?! When did that happen?).

Friday - Family day! We're surprising the kids with a little fun before we head back to school. :-)

Okay, now that you know way too much about my week, let's jump into the book study!


If you've missed the previous ones, check them out here:

Don't have the book yet? Grab it here: The Reading Strategies Book (affiliate link). This is definitely one of those teaching books you will use! 


"Readers of nonfiction have to decide and remember what is important in the texts they read if they are going to learn anything from them." ~Harvey and Goudvis

9.7 Click and Clunk

I'm telling you. I love the catchy phrases within a lot of the strategies of this book. Kids love catchy phrases and so do I! This strategy teaches that after reading each sentence, the reader should think about whether they got it ("click!") or it's confusing ("clunk"). If it is a "clunk," go back and reread. 

9.15 Using Analogies

I chose this one because my 2nd graders really enjoyed spotting analogies (once I taught them what they were) and discussing why the author would choose to compare the two items. They actually got pretty good at it! I'm looking forward to doing more with analogies as I work with upper elementary this year. 



"Instruction needs to be more than about identifying the {text} features; rather we need to help students use these features to get more information from a text." (pg. 271) YES!

10.2 Cover Up Then Zoom In

I think littles especially would enjoy this one, although it is suggested for all levels. Here's how it works:

Take a sticky note and cover an image on a page. Read and think about the text. Then, uncover the image and 'zoom in' on it and ask, "What new information am I getting from this image?"

I can just imagine my little readers enjoying the picture much more because of the anticipation of waiting to see it! ;-)

10.10 Why a Visual?

Okay, this is just one of those obvious things that I hadn't thought about purposely teaching. Insert embarrassed emoji here. I mean, students always tend to want to skip over visuals (especially charts and graphs). I draw attention to them as we read and ask questions about it, but teaching this strategy with this wording...
STOP and THINK. 
What information am I learning? 
Why is this information important?

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I want to hear from you! Tell me about your favorites either in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Don't forget to check out the other blog posts below for more thoughts and ideas!







Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wisdom for Wednesday-Open Book Test

Welcome to this week's:


It is so true that we will at go through things throughout our lives and will be tested.  But it is like an open book test, all the answers are found in the book.  No matter what we may be facing, God has already provided all the answers for us in his word.  Life isn't always an easy thing, there will be challenges that we face often.  We need to choose to lean on God and realize that even during those times we can still have joy.  

Have a great day!

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