Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book a Day Update

I'm on my way to 150 books y'all! A book a day! Sometimes 5 and 6 books a day! I have completed review of my first 28 books! And if you're interested- check them out HERE.

In doing this challenge- I also found an AMAZING book! If you liked Hunger Games- you've gotta read this! I could not put it down! I was laughing out loud in some places and gasping in others! My husband was laughing at me one night at 10:00pm as I plowed through the last three chapters- "Shouldn't you be in bed?" HA! Yes- I was way past my bedtime, but I had to finish it!

OK.... I have to stop blogging and get back to reading! Cheers y'all! What are you waiting for? Start your Book a Day pile for the Summer- remember books from your classroom library to start! Then new books! Don't wait until the summer- just start now! Take some home in your teacher bag tonight! 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book A Day Template FREEBIE

So I went right home and got started. I wanted to keep track of my reading and the new books I'm finding so I made a file to assist me in the process.  It might be a document I could even use with students as they keep track of books read and what they thought about them.

If you want your own file- you can get it at my TpT site!

Enjoy! And what are you waiting for? Seriously- get reading! You'll be glad you did!

Book a Day Challenge

Hey y'all! I am currently sitting at the public library. I should be doing a PowerPoint for coaches in DC Public Schools, but instead I am fixin' to start my Book a Day challenge from Donalyn Miller.
I am currently reading her 2nd book Reading in the Wild. And on every page, I am reminded of how much I want to be like her and how many books there are out there that I have not read! Hearing Deanna Jump speak recently also reminded me- that I am not reading enough children's books. I realize too, that the way to be more like "them" is to read! It's that simple!

So here I sit at the library (and in procrastination of my real work) I am going to check out 30 books (I can do that because my card has a code on it that says I'm a TEACHER!) and start my Book a Day Challenge. You may be asking- what's with the book a day thing she keeps saying?  Donalyn started this. It is a way of encouraging teachers to read more- and specifically to read books that they own in their classroom library. You know- those books you bought that were on sale? There's no time to read them- but you bought them! Donalyn encourages teachers to take home one book for every day of their summer vacation and to read a book a day.  It's harder of course with chapter books, but can be quickly compensated by reading three or four picture books in a day.

Here is my first stack...

I've set a goal- there are 139 until August 31st. And I want to read 150 books before that date! I'm going to make a spreadsheet and I'm going to keep track of my books! Hopefully finding a few new favorites along the way. Perhaps even some that are worth blogging about?  I'm going to try and remember to use the hashtag #Bookaday Challenge (PS- I am way early on this- Donalyn hasn't even mentioned her 2014 challenge yet) But I'm the kind of girl that needs to get a jump start sometimes and this is one of those times! 

Why don't you join me? You could start now too. Or you could start a stack that you want to take home for the summer?  Come on!!! Do it!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mystery Monday

So y'all have heard of Mystery Walkers right? While lined up to leave the classroom and walk in the hallway. A teacher picks a Mystery Walker- (one student) before leaving the room, but that student's identity is not revealed until they get back to the classroom (or wherever they are going if your class can't wait long).  Kids love it! I of course make announcements as to whether or not my Mystery Walker is doing a good job- or I say things like "If Katie is my Mystery Walker she's doing it right."  Even BIG kids love it! (3-5 kiddos) Of course big kids have to be the one to pick the Mystery Walker and watch them like a hawk down the hall to announce if they were walking "right" or not!

I used a Marble Jar in my classroom and we worked as a class to fill the jar with marbles. If the Mystery Walker did their job in the hallway- I would announce who they were- and if they earned any marbles. When they came back to the classroom and put a marble (or sometimes more if I thought they had done a really good job) in the jar.

Now I just randomly picked kids, but I've since seen that teacher put names on sticks, or even on colored disks. Whatever works for you.  This pic is from What Happens in First Grade's blog.

So what do we know about this as teachers? If it works- make it work for MORE THINGS! So I created Mystery Piece of Paper. You know you have to keep your custodians loving you- and when you teach elementary school, especially K-2, there's always a bunch of "junk" on the floor at the end of the day and custodians really get grumpy about that sort of thing!  So- I pick a random piece of paper- and then my students crawl around like human vacuum cleaners- whoever picks UP the Mystery Piece of Paper puts a marble in the jar- and typically because it was already the end of the day- went home with a piece of candy!  It's amazing what kids will do for a Jolly Rancher! :)

Wait- it was still working- they were still loving this Mystery Thing which is why when a teacher told me about her Mystery Reader idea last week-  I knew it would also work!

Sometimes (especially at this time of year) kids are a little squirmy during Independent Reading. So, before that station or that time of day begins, the teacher picks a Mystery Reader (again- mystery- you don't tell WHO it is until the end of reading time). Did they read right?  Yes? Then boom- marble in the jar. Did they not? Too bad- so sad! No marble for you!

What other Mystery ideas to you have?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Currently April

So once again, I am amazed that it is time for Currently again, and sadly there have been very few Blog posts (if any) since my last Currently post, but I have a real excuse this time! I moved across the country- yep- you heard me! I am back living in the GREAT STATE of TEXAS!  Many cherished memories of DC, but Texas is HOME! We have two homes, Michigan (our childhood home) and Texas (our adult life home).  So I'm a little late with Currently, because we just got Internet (and cable, and phones, and electricity) hooked up a few days ago!

So... let's get to it! Thanks Farley for this new Currently.

Listening: Ft. Hood is our post. Ft. Hood is where Jeff works. Ft. Hood is the post we moved back to from DC! And a few days after our arrival- there is another shooting. I say another, because there was a terrorist shooting in 2009 at Ft. Hood when we lived here before.  It is horrible! It is horrible that my husband can't go to work and be safe and in fact is just as at risk on his Army post than when deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. There is no excuse. This is not a gun rights issue. It's not a mental health debate and it's not a concealed weapons conversation.  It's just sad and I am sick of people who have personal agendas weighing in on the situation.  Prayers for the families, prayers for the community, and prayers for the soldiers who won't talk about how very much this bothers them.

Loving: If there were awards among Army Wives for the fastest unpack- I think I would get it! It does help that we have moved back into a house we have lived in before- but I had this bad boy unpacked in less than a week. There is not a single box remaining in my house. The garage is another story, but that's Jeff's gig.  I've even taken all of the boxes to the recycling drop off center. If feels good, but now there is nothing to stop me from doing all the other work that is waiting for me. See NEEDING below.

Thinking: There are of course little things still on the list of "to-dos", but I don't want to do them. I went through such a period of industrial work- 6AM-11PM days of unpacking and now I think I'm being lazy.  It's such an odd feeling for me, but it's not the end of the world.

Wanting: So most of you know, Jeff and I have a boat. That boat has a slip at a marina, but has been parked in front of our house (the neighbors LOVE us) since we arrived in the state because it has been too stinking windy to launch it! Every day we check the forecast, and every day we say, maybe tomorrow! Sorry neighbors. And sorry for us, if it's not in the water, we can't be on it, which means we can't be at the sandbar, and I really WANT to be at the sandbar.

Needing: SO much I need to do. BOO! Again, see above, I'm in a lazy mode! Monday- on Monday I'll start being a hard worker again!

Hours and Last Day: I used to love the hours of my school day when I was a teacher.  I was there early- and still out in time to run some errands before dinner time! Or go participate in Happy Hour with my friends.  Once school lets out for the summer, I start my BUSY season! So... no rush summer. I'm going to enjoy my April and May, thanks!