Sunday, August 17, 2008

Our Family...complete

Last week we adopted a new dog. Her name is Lucy, she is rescued from God only knows where, she is a year, and she is ever so sweet. We feel complete now that we are a two dog family.

Writing From Another Perspective

Scott's Perspective:

"Oh, I know what this message is!"

"Um, Scott, this is Sarah, I am the one leaving our child's elementary school where she has just begun her first day of Kindergarten. She is so beautiful (sniff)babe, you should have seen her! She was sitting at her table, pencil in hand, and writing her name. (sob)I peered at her one last time. She is so confident, everything we wanted her to be and more. I think we can be very proud of her (sniff, sniff,)"

"I knew she would cry! She always holds it together but when it comes down to it, she sent her baby off to school today!" Scott says to his fellow worker.

Jen's Perspective:

"Hey, how's it going?" asks Jen.

"Not great! (wailing sobs) (sniff, sniff)

"Oh Sarah, I wondered, she's okay, she'll do fine!" Jen reassures me.

"I know but you should have seen her, (sob) she was so confident, and so mad at me for being at her new school. She doesn't need me any more! (sob, wail, sniff)" Sarah weeps into the phone.

"Where are you sitting? I need to get my mind off all of this! I'll call you back when I get to the coliseum!"

I sent my baby child off to school on Thursday. She did wonderfully, the bus ride was awesome, and Mrs. Hilger is very kind. Kindergarten has been a culmination of parenting to me, when I looked at her confidence, her stride, her independence...I knew we had done enough. She is ready, now I must find it within my heart to be ready as well.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Choosing 5...

If you could choose five books to have in your classroom library that you could use for both writer's and reader's workshop what would they be? These books encompass what you teach throughout the year, you can pull them from the shelf and your know exactly what you will teach. What would your five books be?
Here are my five:

1. Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes: I know I have said it before, "I love this book!" It's perfect for teaching small moments, dialogue, repetition, point of view, I could go on and on and on... In reading, this book is excellent for making connections, character development, protagonists, antagonists, heroes, repetition, making inferences, again, on and on and on... This book really is phenomenal when creating community. When we had a bully this year we simply reflected about how Chrysanthemum felt, and how Victoria and the gang only treated her this way because they didn't love themselves. We connected with Chrysanthemum!

2. Apples by Gail Gibbons: If you want to teach All About books, this is the book for you. Gail has such a wonderful way of turning nonfiction books into very interesting materials. You always learn something new when you pick up one of her books.

3. All the Places to Love by Patricia Maclachlan: Connections, imagery, writing a story using poetic words. Inferencing, repetition, using illustrations to make your reader fall in love with your story. Besides all that... it is a beautiful book!

4. Skippyjonjones: Okay, so it is a far cry from making connections, and sometimes it is hard to read and follow as a reader... by golly, this is a fun read! There is nothing like opening a new Skippyjonjones books and reading it aloud to your students. They make me giggle for goodness sake! My students love the language that Mrs. Jones uses with her kittens. They love the songs the chimichangos sing. We absolutely love using our "best Mexican accent." These books teach us that reading is fun! You can open a book, get lost, and have a blast!!!1

5. Charlotte's Web: I loved it in the third grade and I love it now as a teacher. I don't teach a lot in writing from this classic. I teach a lot of things from it in reading. We really connect as a class when we read this classic. We cry at the end, even the boys. We discuss their friendship, how even though they were very different they learned to get over their differences and enjoy each other for their strengths. Plus, E.B. White is phenomenal! His language usage is so beautiful when it rolls off the tongue. The kids can't believe that Charlotte dies, they just can't believe she's gone.

My five mainstays in my classroom. This week I have been putting books back on shelves, and organizing my books. Debbie Miller set up a nook in her basement when she retired from teaching so that she could be among her books. I was so glad to be back with my friends (my books) when I pulled them from the boxes. I held each one, put it in its basket, now we wait for our human friends to come and read.