Saturday, March 30, 2013

Eggs, Snails, and Buffet Lines....Oh My!

Ok, so I am s--n--e--a--k--ing in a day late but you will forgive me...right?  Many thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting this week's Five for Friday!

#1 Main Idea and Details:
We created a WBT action of extending our paws (hands) outward with a swift digging in the ground motion!  The kids just gobbled it up! And, wouldn't you know that the rest of the week, when it was time to summarize and find the main idea, I had 2 dozen silent gestures digging away!!!  LOVED that!
 Several years ago at one of the Reading Recovery Conferences in Columbus, I purchased a ton of these retelling bracelets.
  I always used them during guided reading, but this week, we used them everyday!  Each day, 4 new students got to pick a bracelet and that would be their task for the read aloud.  After reading a new story, each student would come up and address the group with a thinking stem starter and I would script onto a graphic organizer!  The kids had a blast and I discovered quickly that this comprehension skill was an easier one for my kiddos!
 I am encouraging myself to try more anchor charts 
(although my handwriting is YET to be desired!)

It was all about the EGGS this week!  So many wonderful contributions from teacher bloggers!  Some favorites were the Inferring Eggs and the Making Word Eggs!

 Sarah, the suspense was killing my kids today! They loved the inferring eggs! Thanks dear!
 Reagan, the kids adored your Phon-Egg Making Words activity!  Thanks so much!

Easter Bunny's Assistant Job Applications were a HUGE hit!
My kids were even so brilliant as to suggest putting up a privacy wall during completion of the application process since this is what they have seen in other venues such as local retail stores with private booths for completing applications! How cute is that! 

If you missed this freebie last week, no worries! Click here.

Our Easter Buffet line...I am working on more healthy snacks!

Finishing a Fantastic Week with some Fantastic Art!
I just bought "Swirl by Swirl" from Scholastic and thought it was a perfect lead-in to my April Art History studies.  It focuses on the "form and function" of swirls which took us right into our project titled, "Journey of a Snail".  
The photo pictured above right, is from Art Projects for kids. I printed it off so I could explain the steps to my littles.
 Black Sharpies on 8 1/2 by 11 white cardstock.
We started with drawing the stem and base of mushroom first.
 Then we added the 2 side mushrooms and snail and grass.

 We used crayon colors for the snail's body, and center circles for little shrooms.

 Then we added the watercolors for the sky and grass and mushrooms!

 Final Masterpieces!

Kathy has been such an inspiration to me this year! Be sure to check out her blog.  She adds new projects almost daily! 

My giveaway is running through Thursday, so if you haven't entered to win Peter's new book, please do!
Click here to enter.

Have a safe and FABULOUS Easter weekend my friends!
We all deserve it!
Love and Hugs,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Peter H. Johnston Giveaway

How many of my faithful friends and followers are familiar with Peter H. Johnston?
Peter Johnston
I first was introduced to Peter during a graduate course study where I attended a symposium with Peter as the keynote speaker.  WOW!  His lecture gave me goosebumps!  Totally worth the drive up to Michigan to hear him speak and feel the vitality that lingers in his every word.
Now, eleven years later, I am still his biggest fan!

"Peter's research and writing spring from his fascination with 

children's learning and, no less, teachers' teaching. Perversely, he 

believes that education is not simply about delivering 

information to children. He thinks it is more about building a 

just, caring society and that doing so will not detract from our 

more obviously pragmatic educational goals. In his acclaimed 

Stenhouse book, Choice Words, he uses his fascination with the 

relationship between language and learning to show how this 

works moment to moment in the classroom." 

Choice Words

Choice Words had me at HELLO!  In under 150 pages, Peter stresses how our language, as teachers, is the most vital instrument to lead our orchestra of learners to a symphony performance in our classrooms!
More recently, he has published and released the companion in the series called Opening Minds.  I highly recommend using both of these books as professional development resources for staff in-services OR for classroom teachers, at any grade level, who seek to better themselves by believing their words have Power. Even more so, our words should be CHOICE WORDS used strategically and delicately throughout each and every learning day!
Opening Minds
As President of the Toledo Area Council of The International Reading Association, I made sure to select Opening Minds as our focus study for the month of February.  Our membership agreed that Peter's message is STRONG and needs to be heard OVER the rhetoric of achievement testing, ongoing assessment and all things common core. 
Here are a few more of my favorites from Peter: 
Knowing Literacy

Running Records

Rti in Literacy: Responsive and Comprehensive

Reading to Learn: Lessons from Exemplary Fourth-Grade Classrooms
To celebrate my admiration and gratitude to a wonderful and brilliant man, I would like to raffle off a copy of Opening Minds to one of my lovely blog followers.
I would love for you to leave a comment and tell me how you are conceptualizing Peter's messages into your daily teachings.  Or, just tell me who has OPENED your MIND to something wonderful in the world of education!
Good Luck!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bunny Job Application freebie and a Peek at My Week!

This peek at my week is not Deedee style (insert sad face here) and that is due to a snow day last week moving things into this week. Instead of indulging in my fancy lesson plans, I am submersed in chaos! 3rd quarter grade cards go home in 4 days.  Which means, rummaging through STAR reports, DRA's, and weekly grades that have culminated into a minor headache for me....  Thank the lord we only have to this 4 times a year.  If it was 5, I would retire and take up golf with Chris! 
At the moment, I am drafting grade card comments. 
I make a separate sheet for comments that accompany the grade card.  These babies take me roughly 2 hours to write.  Grueling and I don't particularly rate it high on my "favorites" list, but I do believe it is a strong connection to the parents.  So needless to say, my weekend was stolen by the grade card caper.  If you are interested in the comments template I have created, shoot me an email and I will forward it to you!

This is our last week before spring break and its shortened with having Thursday as our last day. So for lesson plans, let me show you a few Eastery, Springy fab-finds that I am doing this week!  First up,

Brittany's Easter Compound Chop will be a huge hit with the kiddos!

The adorably fabulous Sarah Paul has this fantastic "Egg"-cellent Inferences pack-

 How lucky was I to win this yummy Marshmallow Bunny Fact Family Center from Kidsrcute!

Mrs. Leeby shared her awesome freebie, "Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket"

The very creative and talented ReaganTunstall has given a whole new meaning to the plastic egg!  I just bought 3 packs of eggs and can't wait to share this with the kids!  Word Work time will be EXTREMELY popular this week!  

And if you happen to be reading The Easter Bunny's Assistant,
The Easter Bunny's Assistant
the very eager Julie Marciniak (me) has created a little fab freebie just for you!
How would your kids like to apply for the Easter Bunny's Assistant position? 
Sounds like too much fun, don't you think?!
After all applications have been recorded "on file" yours truly will have a secret meeting with the big furry rabbit after school and decide who is a "good fit" for the job.  The winning applicant or applicants get to wear bunny ears and a special furry badge on Thursday!
If you are interested, click on the image below
and don't forget a little TPT feedback!

So that's the plans for the week!  Woo-Hoo!  
T-Minus 4 days and counting...
Spring Break, can't wait for you to take me away!!!

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