Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dear Blog,

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Dear Blog,

It’s been nice getting to know you better this month. Our beginning was a little sketchy, but after spending time with you every day, I feel like I really know you. I’ve become a little less shy and timid, so being myself around you is easier. You don’t judge me, no matter what I say. Your acceptance of me has encouraged me to try things I never would have before.

 You’re so easy to talk to. We’ve laughed, wondered, thought, and just been quiet together. Even after you hear what I have to say, your comments are thoughtful, helpful, and kind.

I would like to thank you for introducing me to a whole new group of people. Without your help, I never would have encountered these new acquaintances. Many of them I had admired from afar, and you put me into the same room with them. For that, I will always be grateful.

My husband has become a little jealous of our time together. I’m sorry, but, for now, we will just meet on Tuesdays. I will miss you and your friends on those blogless days, but I will look forward to our time together. What new wonders will we discover? Who will we meet along the way? How will we be inspired? Our friendship is one that will never end now.  You have become a part of who I am.

 

Until next time,

Kris

For the Love of Kindergarten Part III

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After visiting with one of my favorite newbie K teachers, I found myself wondering why I had agreed to teach a lesson on a certain core standard. The standard reads something like “use familiar words in a different way”. The example it gives is of the word duck (animal) and duck (get out of the way). After mulling this lesson over as I drove, before I slept, while I was eating lunch…you know the drill, I felt I needed a trip to our library. I racked my brain for books that might help, and finally ended up in the nonfiction stacks by the Language Arts section. I saw a book that inspired me. I went to work.

Walking into Mr. B’s class at exactly 12:00 pm, I was excited about the lesson. The cute little K students were awaiting my arrival at the carpet.

After introducing the lesson, I asked them what the word pink meant. One student said, “Bright and pretty!”

“Exactly! Now is pink an animal?”

“No!” they exclaimed in unison.

We visited a bit more until someone yelled out it was a color; a familiar word.

Then I introduced “tickled pink”. No one seemed to know what that was (a different way to use pink), so I read a short story about a mom who was tickled pink that her children brought her breakfast in bed on her birthday. So, I asked again, “What do you think tickled pink means?”

“All dressed in pink?” the “bright and pretty” student volunteered. I love the way they think! More hints…”Happy!” a little boy proudly interjected.

Now it was time for partner work, which had presented a problem for Mr. B’s class in the past. I had Mr. B join me in a chair and I explained that he and I would model what I was going to ask them to do next.

“Hmmm, how do we decide who goes first? Mr. B, would you like to go first, or would you like me to go first?”

“I think I’d like you to go first,” Mr. B said politely.

“I’d be happy to,” I replied.

I asked the students how that went. How long did it take? Wasn’t that an easy way to decide who went first?

Mr. B and I took turns saying, “I was tickled pink when…”. I wanted students to practice using tickled pink in their talking and to come up with possible topics for their journal writing at the same time. I was amazed when it was their turn to work with a partner that I heard them politely asking each other if they would like to go first!

At last,  after watching me write in my journal, the students were sent to their tables to write in their journals about being tickled pink. As always, I am in wonder at how much they have grown since the last time I worked with them. Their writing stamina befits a much older student. Their journal page was filled with words, pictures, labels, and speech bubbles. Their excitement was contagious.

::Right Now::

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::Thank you Terje Äkke (@terjeakke) for your inspiration for this post.

Right now:

::relaxing with my husband

::remembering our date night last night

::enjoying the newly installed lights on my patio

::feeling proud of the freshly painted patio door

::looking forward to a tech training I”ll be attending this summer

::feeling full after munching on a delicious pizza

::glancing at the book at my elbow I’ll soon be diving into

::savoring time when nothing else is scheduled

::enjoying trying something new

::learning to be patient

::wondering what tomorrow will bring

 

 

 

 

Fundraiser Nacho Lady

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Glove on my hand

Chips in their slot

Ladle is ready

Cheese is now hot.

 

Most ordered pizza

With something to drink

I stood in the corner

Stirring the cheese.

 

Listening carefully

To see if I’m needed

To bring up some nachos

So someone could eat them.

 

My time is up.

They told me to go.

They won’t be requiring

My help anymore.

 

Next year I’ll sign up

To serve pizza or drinks

Standing in the corner

With this cheese really stinks.

 

 

 

 

Slicer Sentiments Part Two

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Just today, I learned something new…

 6. Commenting. I have been happily commenting on posts from wordpress and blogspot. I went back to a post for a second time yesterday and noticed my comment was absent. I checked with a fellow slicer whose posts I have been commenting on regularly to see if she had been receiving my comments. She had not. I was unaware (since I’m over 40 and apparently a digital illiterate) that I needed to sign in to blogger. Comments from “unknowns” are not posted. That means that all those posts on blogspot that I have commented on throughout the month have received nothing from me, including wonderful posts written by a classroom of students.

 I sincerely apologize. I promise I am not a slacker. I sincerely hope that the waves of embarrassment and regret soon subside. Until then, I’ll comment with abandon.

Slicing Sentiments

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I am a new slicer. I’ve observed from the sidelines for a couple of years, but didn’t join in the fun until this year, when I convinced a few people to join me (finally)!

 I’ve learned much about myself and about writing.

 1.         Audience. Reading comments on my writing made all the difference. After all, we write for an audience. As adults, we sometimes don’t have much of one for our musings. What fun it is to read how we inspired someone, made someone laugh, or kindled the response of a kindred spirit.

 2.         I can do it. Much was made about writing topics for 31 days. With the exception of a couple of days, that really wasn’t a problem. There are two keys:  ordinary is writing fodder. What a valuable lesson to pass on to our students. The chronic writer’s block could be wiped out if we instilled this idea into the brains of our students. The second key:  wait for it. Some days, I didn’t have a blog until the evening, when something caught my eye or my attention. Those were often my most fun posts. Don’t be afraid to patiently listen for the inspiration for your writing.

 3.         Learn from others. Reading and commenting on the writing of others opened a gift of inspiration. “I hadn’t thought of writing about that!” often came forth from my lips as I read the posts. Other writers inspire us.

 4.         Reread, rewrite. I’ve looked back with pride on the now 26 posts I have composed. In rereading them, I found ways I could improve them, tweak them, or change them. I think this is one of the strategies I find most missing in our student writing time. The act of going back, rereading, and making it better is a valuable use of our writer’s workshop. There is something that takes place when we leave a piece for a bit, then return, taste of it again, and add a little bit more salt.

 5.         A calling.  In this experiment with blogging, I’ve found a new purpose. I plan to begin a new blog. I hope to connect with others, discuss, and share as I pen my thoughts about scriptures and my relationship with God.

 The Slice of Life challenge has been empowering. A door has been opened that I kept closed because of fear of the unknown. I can’t wait to explore what’s inside.

Lesson in Spelling

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When students are ready to edit their papers, spelling seems to be a problem area. Circling misspelled words and writing the correct spelling above doesn’t promote the independence we would like to nurture in our students. What do we do?

Maybe we should remind them that because they are avid readers, their brains have seen thousands of correctly spelled words. When they read through their writing and come to a misspelled word, their brains should tell them that it doesn’t look right. That is their signal to check it out.

 Once the word is circled, then they can use what we have taught them about how our language works, they can use the word wall, or they can use digital or other resources to help them.

 I actually taught this lesson to a fourth grade class. I believe it teaches students to think about what they have written. It’s a little like teaching our readers to stop when what they are reading doesn’t make sense. And isn’t this how adult writers notice misspelled words? We read along and we come to a word that “doesn’t look right”. That’s when we pay attention and check it out.