Life. Literacy. Learn. Lead.

Life. Literacy. Learn. Lead.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

CELEBRATE- It's All About That Joy, 'Bout That Joy! 7/4/15

Ruth Ayers invites us to participate in a Celebrate Link-Up on Saturdays. Click here to see what others are celebrating and maybe join in yourself, too! 
                            Discover. Play. Build.


So much to celebrate this 4th of July! First I'm happy to be back blogging. As the school year was winding down, I was finding it very difficult to stay connected to my technology! But, I'm happy to be here today. 

Second, I celebrate Twitter and being able to follow everyone at #BBlit15, #tcrwp, and #iste2015 this week. What a great week to connect with so many audiences that, without tech, wouldn't be possible. 

Third, I celebrate getting my boys signed up for the public library summer reading program this week. They have a basket of "new" books to read piled high. I'm equally as thrilled as I picked up Sharon Draper's "Out of my Mind" and I can't begin to explain how much I love this book. I knew it was amazing when I found a powerful and profound thought and I was only on page 8! 
"Thoughts need words. Words need a voice." 

This book makes you appreciate the "simple" task of writing and speaking that we *may* take for granted. However, the main character, Melody, struggles to do both. I just can't wait to finish this amazing book. 

Next, I celebrate exercise and the consistent opportunity summer vacation provides to do so!!

Last, I celebrate the amazing freedoms we have in the USA to do all of the above. I think of the books I've read, the people I've connected with, the reports on the news, and the stories I've yet to hear. All of these things have shaped my beliefs and my perspective to carefully balance what I'm lucky to experience with the harsh reality that still exists for some. I pray the harshness lessens and the opportunities flow for all those we share this place and time with on Earth. 

Wishing those who are celebrating the 4th of July with me a safe and JOYful time with friends and family. 

Cheers!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

CELEBRATE: It's All About That Joy, 'Bout That Joy- 5/9/15

Ruth Ayers invites us to participate in a Celebrate Link-Up on Saturdays. Click here to see what others are celebrating and maybe join in yourself, too! 
                            Discover. Play. Build.


A Taste of Summer

Last night we experienced spontaneity. There's nothing better than coming home from a long week of work and having the opportunity to...

connect. 
laugh.
be included.
catch up.
relax.
splash.

Our neighbors opened their pool the night before and cranked their heater in hopes they could use the pool Friday night. It was a generous invitation to invite several families over and we were thankful to be included. 

Sounds heavenly, right? Well, the scene right before this picture went a little like this:

Neighbors invite.
No dinner yet.
Hurry! Eat!
Dinner stopped.
Where are the boys' swim trunks?
Frantic.
Clothes flying.
Bins disheveled.
Looking.
Rooms in disarray.
Upstairs.
Downstairs.
Garage.
Towels?
Run across the street.
Sit.
Relax.
Ahhh.
Home.
Oh no...

Facing my frantic search of summer gear at 9pm?
#Priceless 

The kids laughed, splashed, and soaked in their taste of summer. As for the grown-ups, we did almost the same from the sidelines. I feel so lucky to live on this street with these neighbors. I'm happy and thankful for spontaneous invites like this. 

So today I awake still celebrating our taste of summer and spontaneity. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#SOL15 4/28/15 Ed Collab Gathering Notes

I find that the more PD I receive and seek out, the pickier I become! I've had some amazing PD opportunities lately through Teachers College, Twitter, and just recently this weekend's Educator Collaborative Gathering. I will share a little bit of my "take-away," however it will just be a small portion of the AMAZING PD that went on this weekend. I strongly encourage anyone who hasn't participated to go and check it out here. Too many folks to mention but Chris Lehman, Kristin Ziemke, Chad Everett, Katharine Hale completely inspired me and the list goes on! I'm so thankful for this type of PD--right at my fingertips and in the comfort of my PJ's at home.

The first session provided two workshops that I simultaneously wanted to participate in, so I chose one and then went back later to catch the second. The first workshop I chose was on Culturally Responsive Literacy Practices with Dana Stachowiak, Jeanette Alarcon, and Silvia Bettez.  They helped us stop to remember that some parts of culture are visible (food, crafts, clothes, etc.) while others are invisible (values, beliefs, feelings, perspectives, assumptions, etc.) We have to adjust our teaching based on cultures and values of the students in front of us. Later, while watching Kristin and Chad's workshop on Finding Empathy and Humanity Through Books and Beyond, they discussed the concept of using windows and mirrors. Windows represent our view of others while mirrors refer to how we view ourselves. My favorite part of their session was what Kristin mentioned in relation to the texts we have in our classrooms. She said that the "titles we bring into our classrooms tell a story" and I wonder what story we are presenting to our students? Does each child have access to text that represents their story? Do characters in the story remind them of their family? Culture? Are characters and events in stories perpetuating stereotypes?

Another great topic these two sessions discussed was how we can't confuse race/ethnicity with culture. Dana, Jeanette and Silvia did a fine job reminding us that being "culturally responsive" educators does NOT mean we expose our students to just holidays and celebrations from various cultures. These fine ladies also shared a wonderful chart that helped us see the progression from old school teaching, to multi-cultural teaching, to culturally responsive teaching.

In Kristin and Chad's workshop that I viewed later, they did an awesome job detailing the importance of building identity in students. They introduced identity webs, poetry, and other neat ideas such as "blog on a wall" to help students see themselves in their learning. 

I had so many take-aways from these workshops and they were free!! I hope you get a moment to check one (or more!!) of them out. 

I could go on and on, but I'm on my way out the door to finish up scoring ELA exams at our middle school :-)


Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

CELEBRATE: It's All About That Joy, 'Bout That Joy- 4/18/15

Ruth Ayers invites us to participate in a Celebrate Link-Up on Saturdays. Click here to see what others are celebrating and maybe join in yourself, too! 
                            Discover. Play. Build.


Today I celebrate tricks of the trade. While on a recent trip to NYC, I stumbled across a really neat tool to help with our multi-sensory instruction. I just love all the possibilities it brings!

if you drag that stylus across the holes, it pulls up one little magnetic ball at a time. Once you make your letter, number, shape, picture, etc. you will see it appear. Then, you can push the magnets down with your finger for extra multi-sensory reinforcement. I used it this week with a super cute kindergartener who is struggling to recall letter formations and letter names. My heart breaks for her because she works so hard. When we meet at
team meetings for her we brainstorm and always look for the next strategy. So, who knows...maybe this will help her! 

I'd love to buy these different variations as well:

    


I guess sometimes it is the small things in life that we celebrate because they can make big a difference.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#SOL15 New to Testing, But Cookies Help

Testing Testing Testing

Well, our NYS testing has begun. 

3 days of ELA
3 days of Math
2 days of Science
Field testing
Scoring
Make-ups
District K-2 testing
Ahhhhhh!

For the last 14 years I've been nestled all snug in my first and second grade classroom world. Now with my new position, I'm finding out all I ever needed to know about testing AND THEN SOME! Calgon take me away!

I'm happy to report day 1 went smooth. It is kind of ridiculous to say this out loud, but I knew today was off to a great start because the first four songs I heard on the radio were my favorites. First up was P!nk, then Sam Hunt's new song, The Script and Sara Bareilles' Brave. What an anthem to belt out on test day. Just an absolutely great drive into work. 

We were organized and ready this morning so we got started right away. We sorted, counted, organized, delivered, waited, and counted some more. After testing, the most amazing thing happened. A parent delivered a MASSIVE amount of chocolate chip walnut cookies to school. Now, these aren't just any cookies...they were DoubleTree cookies. Anyone know what I'm talking about? If you do, then you know the amount of deliciousness can't even be described in words. Crunchy outside, warm and appropriately soft in the middle. None of that too soft, mushy center stuff. It was cooked-all-way, warm, yet gooey inside...perfection. The "back" story is that every time I'm
headed to NYC, I stay at the same DoubleTree. I must admit, it is mostly due to those cookies (and really good rates). So, not only were the cookies amazing, but the whole entire concept of these cookies showing up on the first test day--- when I've never even seen such a delivery as a "DoubleTree" hotel cookie delivery---was just AH-mazing.   

I just hope tomorrow is a nice little repeat of today. But, tomorrow has a lot to live up to.  

Every time I think about complaining of all this testing, I think of these poor kiddos stuck in hours and hours of testing. And, let's be real, I'm thinking about those cookies. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 31

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              

What Good Days Are Made Of



Good days are made of s-l-o-w to start mornings. This morning my boys played together and I sipped coffee from my new Today Show mug. There were puzzles, games, and cute conversations.


Good days are made of staying at home. I love to do little random things around the house. Maybe it is organizing a cupboard, catching up on cleaning, or reading through slices.


Good days are made of making breakfast. Every morning is so rushed. On days off (like this week being on spring break), I get to make the kids breakfast, cut their fruit, and hang at the breakfast bar chatting away with them.


Good days are made of sitting in the cuddle chair. I love when I get to sit in our chair-and-a-half and our 80 lb Labroodle hops up there like he's a lapdog. Add a 3 year old and then a 6 year and the chair becomes smaller by the minute.


Good days are made of spontaneous fun. Today my best friend came over with her two girls. We laughed, played, had pizza night, and baked cupcakes. She lives in Virginia and we never get to have afternoons/nights like these.


Good days are made of homemade happy hours. Slice up some cheese, pour some wine, and throw on some good music. Of course the company is most important.


Good days are made of great read alouds. Doesn't matter if it is my kids at home or at school, there's nothing like a moment with good reads such as Beautiful Oops, Elephant and Piggie, Press Here, Hop on Pop, One Smile, My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother, and The Night Tree. 


Good days are made of risk-tasking. I love trying something new. Sure, it can be unsettling, but the satisfaction of meeting a challenge head-on really ranks as one of my favorites! Slicing during this month has been that for me.


Good days are made of simplicity. I love the quiet days, the nothing-out-of-the-ordinary days, and the no frills sort of days. I'm actually quite happy with these kind of days because it means my family is together another day with nothing "eventful" to stress us out. I pause to thank God for these sort of days often.


Good days are made of richness.
rich in health
rich in happiness
rich in humor
rich in kindness
rich in love


Wishing all my fellow slicers who I've come to know through slices and comments, good days that are made of these and whatever YOU consider to be your top-choices.


I hope to see you all on Tuesdays. Thanks for making my first experience a great one.

Monday, March 30, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 30

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              
Small Moments

Today I walked among young and old
Today I brushed shoulders with culture.
Today I feasted upon works of art and talent.
Today I found unique opportunities.
Today I witnessed families holding hands.
Today I lost myself in children's books.
Today I savored Cabernet and layered homemade ricotta on crostini.
Today I caught up with my friend.
Today I looked at space uniquely.
Today I marveled at creativity.
Today I was thankful for diversity.
Today I witnessed our big, bold world sharing a common experience.

To think I found this all at Chelsea Market. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 29

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              

Well it's the day after the Saturday Reunion at Teachers College and I write this from my hotel, in bed at 7:30am on my phone. So, I will have to elaborate later :-) I may follow Fran's lead and do just a little summary of the experience with intentions of elaborating in the next few days. However, my summary I mean one little word:-)

OLW for each part of yesterday.

Hotel- anticipation
Cab ride- excitement
Patricia Polacco- heartfelt (not a dry eye in the room)
Shanna Schwartz- pacing (something I can always work on)
Kylene Beers- incredible
Lucy Calkins- generous
Kylene Beers (closing keynote)- hopeful
Walking 70+ blocks "home"- ouch
Dinner (rinkside at Rockefellar)- relaxing
Radio City Music Hall show-mesmerizing
Hotel-restful

Today-repeat the fun

Phew!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 28

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              
**got into NYC late Friday night. I am slicing from my home so I hope the pictures come through!

Exciting day ahead!! Momentarily I'll be leaving the hotel room to head to Columbia for The Saturday Reinion, but I find myself away from home and missing my boys. So here's my little homesick slice (even though they are all fine with Daddy rock in' out "boy's weekend."


This is my proud kindgartener who just finished his first book (I have a couple he did at age 3 but this counts as the first in his eyes). He's sensitive, loyal, polite, caring, wise, motivated, and likes to create/make. He is the "I-support-a-good-cause" kind of kid. He helps others, sets a good example and love to read. He is crafty, happy, and all mine :-)




 This is my three year old who can charm mostly anyone with that smile and his sweet and loving ways. He's huggable, cuddly, sweet, charming, feisty, full of it, hard working, passionate and persistent. He loves to tell me how much he loves me and has to sit on my lap. He is willing to take a stand, lead-not follow, and share his ideas with you. He loves music, movies, electronis, coloring, and crafting. He is happy, witty, and all mine :-)


Here is my Owen. He's loyal, soft, cuddly, and honestly...perfect.






My hubby. He is the reason I can do what I do. He helps me think, plan, and do just about everything. A true partner and collaborator.

Lucky me.




Friday, March 27, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 27

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              
Today I find myself a bit frustrated with slicing.  I'm not feeling confident in my writing and I feel as though I lack style. I wonder if it is just the timing in this challenge or the fact that I just wrote 26 days in a row? I don't know, but blogging/writing is new to me as of January. It is a new committment and just like everything else, I have to practice to get better. 

My co-worker and friend happens to be reading aloud Pollyanna to her class and she reminded me today of the "Be Glad" game. I am not one for pessimism or glass half empty thinking so here's my attempt to change my thinking for today and BE GLAD that...

* I've stuck with slicing all month (so far)
* I've jumped outside my comfort zone
* my family loves me no matter what my writing style is ;)
* there are so many inspirational writers in the SOL community
* I had two positive coaching moments today!
* my two boys are so joyful, loving, and sweet 
* my family is healthy
* my hubby is an awesome Dad
* I'm blessed to have my parents and see them everyday 

And the finale...
*be glad that this slice is over (just kidding)!

Here's to a better "slicing" day tomorrow. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 26

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              
Shoes

I just love 'em. 
    Fancy ones, 
                                       plain ones, 
                           tall ones
                   cl-icky heeled ones, 
                                                                     flat ones, 
                                                                               accessorized ones, new ones
old ones

I just love shoes. They make the day fun, enjoyable, and sometimes {wink}comfortable.

Last year, our fancy-shmancy librarian at school retired. My two co-workers and I had regularly received "hand-me-down" shoes that were anything but hand me downs


More like a hand-me-up-some-trendy-foot fun. 
Lucky for us, we wear her size. 

You have to envision us receiving these deliveries with the excitement that is most closely related to Christmas morning. She had name brands, Italian leather, incredible color options, and variety. Whenever she would share, we'd wear a smile for days. 

This year she emailed me in the Fall to say that retirement felt like a good time to downsize her shoe collection by about half. She was going to send in a special delivery for my two co-workers and I. She had two bags separated for each of us. She had labeled, organized, and thoughtfully sorted. She knew both of us and our style so she carefully re-homed them where she felt most appropriate. It was really fun to see what she carefully chose for Karen and what she had selected for me. How neat to see what someone would choose for based on their perspective of you. 

As I choose my shoes each day for school, I can't help but think of her generosity. I love that we get to carry a little piece of her each time we clunk up and down the hallways at school reminiscent of the days when we were small and wearing our mother's heels (only this time they fit). 

Yes, we received shoes in the literal sense, but we've truly received so much more than what meets the eye. These are more than just pairs of shoes. Her memories "walk" the halls with us each day even after retirement. 


*One of our reading teachers is currently using "Whisper, Skim, and Scan" as a pre-reading strategy. So I used it to re-read my slice to see what words POP and then I tried them in a poem. It kind of reminds me of "black-out" poetry that a few slicers shared in the beginning of the month. 

Shoes
Sharing and smiling 
The thoughtful sorting 
Carefully re-homed
Carrying little pieces 
Walking the halls
Long after retirement
More than just shoes
 My loot from just one delivery :)



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 25

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              

I'm in a New York state of mind and I will apologize now. Most of my slices from today through Monday will probably be about NYC as I'm super excited to head there this weekend for the Saturday Reunion at Teachers College. 


I can't wait...
- for the bumpy cab ride to Manhattan
- for the warm chocolate chip cookie at the front desk as we check-in
- for the walk around our familiar block of midtown
- for the trendy sights
- for The Saturday Reunion

I'm anxious to see...
- the familiar coffee shop next door
- the Saturday morning cab ride up Riverside Dr. 
- the corner drop off at Teachers College at Riverside Church
- Lucy
- Patricia Polacco's keynote



Ready for...
- learning
- being inspired
- Sunday morning Mass at St. Patrick's
- the Spring Rockette's show at Radio City
- the awe of being Whole Foods
- the beauty of corner markets
- the Walk to SoHo
- Italian treats at Ferrara's bakery
- new shoe purchases!

Loving...
- the anticipation of the trip; the build up
- the opportunity for girl's weekend with my friend
- the idea of quaint dinners and shopping
- the return to Eataly
- idea of not having a plan, just a direction





Although I love all the familiar stops like...
- Broadway 
- a ride through Central Park
- dinner at Risottos
- the Today Show
- Central Park
- the walk down Columbus Ave.
- taking Fifth Ave as far as we can
- dinner at Croton Reservoir and Tavern 
-Bryant Park

I'm hoping to squeeze in new stops like...
- Chelsea Market
- the High Line
- meeting up with fellow slicers at the Kitchenette (happy I saw this on Fran's page) 





Ahhhh....New York. I just can't wait.

Monday, March 23, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 24

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              
"Hi Marcie,


My name is Colleen Clark and I’m the editor of Reading Today. It’s nice to “meet” you! I loved your answer to our question on Facebook about advice you’d give to a new teacher, and I’d like to include it on the next In Your Words page of the magazine. Do you have a headshot you can send me?


Please let me know as soon as you get a chance. Thanks!

Colleen Patrice Clark


Managing Editor, Reading Today | International Literacy Association
800 Barksdale Road | Newark, DE 19711"






To say this message caught me off guard is an understatement. I guess I had forgotten that I had even thrown my "two cents" into a Facebook discussion question from the ILA. How many times have we all responded to questions on Facebook? I typically only respond to legit organizations and I had vaguely remembered responding to something from ILA, but I couldn't recall any details. 

Upon opening this email, several things ran through my mind.


What did I say?


                      
Was it the advice about three positive calls home? (Always my #1 go-to.)


Headshot? Do I even have one?


                                                                   Is this spam?



I responded back to see if this was a scam. She responded within the hour and I received confirmation that it was indeed the real deal. So I did what any teacher would do when you are looking for answers. I went straight to the school secretary. 

"Do we have a photo that is has just a headshot of me?" Our secretary looked at me kind of looked at me funny. "Like a school picture or my ID badge photo?" I figured I should elaborate a bit. I went on to explain (in a whisper voice) and she responded in a not-so-whisper voice. "Marcie! That's really awesome! You have to bring it in when you get it," she proclaimed loudly. "Shhhh!" I told her. She was beyond excited about the possibility of my comment being featured in the Reading Today magazine and electronically sent my photo to me. So why was I whispering? I actually don't know why?! Maybe because it felt kind of insignificant on the grand scale of life- I mean, it isn't like I wrote an article, submitted a story, or featured a new strategy. 

It was just a small piece of advice. 
Just a few words of wisdom. 

Words of wisdom that had been passed on to me over 15 years ago from my mentor teacher in my first student teaching placement:


Be sure to contact a family 2-3 times with positive news before you have to contact them with an academic or behavioral concern.

Reading this page of advice, I couldn't but say "Oh good one!" or "Yes, that's so true!" There's so much advice to give new teachers. Narrowing it down to just one piece of advice can be kind of tough. It makes me think about all the advice we once received at some point in our career. 

Those words from my mentor teacher from over 15 years ago have rung true each and every school year. Not only did she pass that advice on, but I've followed it every year and have always felt so good about taking time to call for positive pieces of our school day. I'm thankful she passed that and other tidbits of advice on to me. Words are powerful.

I also know...
Our words can stick. 
Our words can sting. 

Note to self:
Be positive.
Be kind.
Be encouraging.
Be realistic.
Be understanding.


How will your words linger one day?






#SOLSC15 Day 23

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              
Thanks to a co-worker, my son received his first desk this weekend. My friend has given us so much of his boys' items over the last several years: toys, clothes, shoes, coats, swim wear, and more. This desk is extra special because he made it by hand for his own sons. Now both of his sons have outgrown it and we are the lucky recipients.

Or should I say, this guy is...

It got me thinking back to my first desk. I had a fairly large bedroom, but the wall space was a bit tricky. So I ended up with a white corner desk and boy did I love it. For some reason I have a great memory of me sitting at my desk one time with the Cocktail soundtrack playing my cassette player. On the soundtrack was Kokomo from The Beach Boys. Back then, I would sit for hours in my bedroom with my tape player writing the lyrics down to song after song. I had awhile spiral notebook full of songs. Isn't it crazy we can just Google lyrics now? Type, type, type and click... seconds later we have the entire song right there. But, I think I still prefer my way. Listen. Stop  the cassette. Write. Play. Repeat.

Even though Michael was not listening to a cassette player at his desk, he certainly broke it in over this past weekend. There were many pictures made, even a card for his friend's birthday. It prompted my hubby and I to clean out our old desk on the third floor of our home. So, Michael scored some extra office supplies that my hubby and I were hoarding.

Yup. The day came where my little guy got his first desk. I hope he uses this space for magical fun for a long time, just like I did back then. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 22

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              
I've Started a Bad Habit

It all starts with a quick check of the time.

Then...click

Facebook

Twitter

Email

Sale?

Click

I should pin this outfit. Click

Pinterest

Pin

Pin

Pin

Back to email

"Oh the new slice email is out!" I think to myself.

Click

One slice, two slice, click...click...click

Oh great idea for school

Open notes

Type

Oh that reminds me

Back to email

Brain racing

4:15am

Ugh...I feel too awake

But then 4:30

Yawn

Yawn 4:45

Eyes close...zzzzz

5:35 alarm



I shouldn't have checked the time at 4am.

Maybe my phone shouldn't charge beside me each night.
Perhaps across the room is best?




Saturday, March 21, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 21

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              
This is also doubling as a celebration post!!
Ruth Ayers invites us to participate in a Celebrate Link-Up on Saturdays. Click here to see what others are celebrating and maybe join in yourself, too! 
                            Discover. Play. Build.  

Teachers United

Today I celebrate the amazing feeling of being united with fellow educators. I'll get the same in a week when I show up to Columbia University at Teachers College for the Saturday Reunion.

Thursday night, I spent time with some amazing co-workers. In New York State we have a big mess on our hands with our governor. Public education across our nation is being attacked and we aren't siting around any more.

It was so incredible to be in the midst of a sea of committed, passionate colleagues.

Some I knew...



 And some I didn't.

But at the end of the day, we know one thing is certain:

Friday, March 20, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day20

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              
(Inspired by  Leigh Anne's post from Wednesday)

Yesterday I modified this to describe my best friend since it was her birthday. Today I thought I'd use it to describe me :-)

i am passionate about....well... everything 
i keep handwritten cards, mementos, and notes to myself
i wish i could document everything about my boys because I love this time in my life 
i love jewelry, shoes, purses, bags, my dog, books, and music
i dance whenever given an opportunity-or I will create the opportunity if it is not there ;)
i sing along to P!nk, The Script, Kelly Clarkson, Imagine Dragons, OAR, Keith Urban...
i think I'm spending too much time on work this year, but feel so addicted
i really must confess that I love to watch Mob Wives 
i need to get back to scheduling date nights with my hubby
i should put my phone down more often (I'm working on this)
i can see through the messy lines of conflict
i like to host game nights and have people in my home
i make a great Common Core 'tini 
i always wanted to join a hockey team

Thursday, March 19, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 19

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              

(slightly modified from Leigh Anne's post yesterday to fit my description of my best friend)

My Best Friend...

is my opposite twin
keeps me grounded
wishes we had less miles in between us
loves my family as if it were her own
dances into my day when I need it most
sings my praises 
thinks simplicity is best
really knows my roots
needs to be spoiled 
should be on her way to NY in about 10 days!
can predict my actions, thoughts, and words
likes to keep it real (which makes me laugh)
makes herself at home (something only true friends can do)
always will have my story

(and I'm adding one)
gets me

Today I celebrate Jessica, her birthday, and our 30 years of friendship. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 18

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!



 My Love/Hate Relationship with Technology

On Monday, a brilliant idea popped into my head on the way back from Kindergarten. I don't even realize it, but I'm always thinking of ideas to support our teachers even when I think I'm focused on other things. 

Each day I teach for an hour in our Kindergarten intervention program. As I walked down the hallway on Monday to return to my classroom/office, it came to me.

This year our district adopted a phonological assessment at K and 1 to be administered in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. It is an area of our instruction that we've been working really hard at improving. We've spent some time professionally developing our staff, we've worked in a study group together, and we continue to meet as grade levels to work on Action Plans using data from our assessments. After our Winter scores came out, we were happy with the growth, but had not stacked up to well when compared to the other four elementary schools. Disheartening to say the least, but we didn't give up. Since then, we've kicked things up a notch and are tightening up our instruction. 

That's when the Movenote idea popped into my head. As literacy coach, I could use Movenote to send a demo lesson each week to our K and 1 teachers. Our district is in the process of piloting Fundations. Up until now, we've been using a combination of Words Their Way, F&P, Systematic Phonics and Making Words lessons. From now until the end of the year, we committed as a group to using the F&P Phonics Lessons. It is hard for some teachers to get into the mindset that this resource doesn't have to be so time intensive after all. We can work smarter, not harder. Before becoming literacy coach, I spent the last four years using it in my classroom and absolutely loved it. I've used the 1st and 2nd grade one and now this year I've gotten a chance to use the K one. Again, I love this resource.

So, in an effort to make things a little easier on the teachers, I decided I'd try to make a Movenote showing a sample lesson that supports one of our subsets on the phonological assessment. I set up an account and waited for an account verification email. Ten minutes later it arrived. I was a bit annoyed it was instantaneously in my inbox, but I carried on. (We are a society of instant rewards, aren't we? Yikes). Then, I videoed myself highlighting the lesson features and when I went to send it, it was gone. Frustrated I called upon my principal and Library Media Specialist to help. We couldn't figure it out over the phone so after misplacing my F&P book, I spent 20 minutes trying to regroup and look for my book.  I decided I'd have to video it all over. This time I couldn't get it to share or upload. After walking away, driving home, and trying it again I was able to make it happen. Finally I sent it out.  Phew!

Hoping this will be a helpful way to save our teachers time, model how to use a new resource, and support our efforts with improving our phonological instruction with the help of technology.

I love to take advantage of technology, but sometimes it requires a lot of patience. What I could of had done in 10 minutes on my iPhone video took me an hour to sort out.




                           

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

#SOLSC15 Day 17

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!


                                                              

Learning to Think Ahead

Last year I drove all over Rochester ON St. Patrick's Day to look for gold coins because my son came home from preschool the day before shouting "Leprechauns left us gold at preschool and I think they are coming to our house." Uh--what??? I'm all for fun and games, but preschool just upped the ante without any prior notice. So, after a long hunt around town for coins I finally found foil wrapped Easter egg chocolates from a specialty chocolate shop. I way overpaid and I had to sift through the bag carefully choosing only the golden eggs.

This year? Well, let's just say I'm prepared. I found golden wrapped chocolate coins in December and didn't even think twice about stocking up for the St. Patrick's Day holiday. At school kids are already talking about the excitement that ensues after leprechauns have been around messing up their house or rooms or even dying the toilet water green. That is a bit high maintenance for me. 

Now, I must admit, even with my Irish heritage, I didn't grow up with these traditions and I am not sure what to think about these leprechauns leaving gold coins around. But, hey, a little extra chocolate never hurts :) And...it is much more relaxing and fun this year now that I've learned to think ahead.