Friday, May 29, 2015

Help Prevent the Summer Slide! FREE Summer Reading Contracts and Logs

I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict for another edition of Freebie Friday to share a resource I created in hopes to help prevent a slide in my RtI students' reading progress over the summer.  If you're looking to send a little something home with your students, this freebie may be for you.  Color and black and white versions of child and an adult contracts have been created, along with reading logs, so students and parents can work together to help the reading continue throughout the summer.  

Don't forget to link up your freebie over at Teaching Blog Addict!
Happy last Friday in May! 

***Disclaimer: This is NOT a reading log, but a Reading Contract. Now that I have read a handful of professional books and tons of research on reading logs, I no longer use them with my students. Mistakes help us learn. (May 2016)  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: A Menu of Formative Assessment Strategies

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo for another edition of Wordless Wednesday to share useful formative assessment resources.  Check them out if you're interested.  Thanks again for hosting, Miss DeCarbo. :)
For the full menu with a better view, click HERE!
Click the image for a great article 
with practical ideas for the classroom!
Thank you to Paula Kim Studio and Emily Education for the background and arrow clip art.  Don't forget to link up with Sugar and Spice!
Happy Wednesday! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Talk Thursday: Going Places

I'm linking up with the marvelous Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars for Book Talk Thursday.  Since Monday, our school has been hosting the Scholastic Book Fair.  This is the 3rd time this year the book fair has made an appearance and I LOVE IT!  I made sure to make my way down to the fair, especially since it was "Buy One, Get One Free".  My favorite kind of sale. ;) 
I purchased a few Pete the Cat books along with some others my preschool-aged kiddos at home would enjoy.  I already own many of the books on these shelves, since I'm a book addict and can't help myself when it comes to acquiring them.  Anyway, after walking up and down the aisles, I spotted it!  A new favorite called Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds.  Ever read it? 
It's such an adorable story and can be a fitting message for recent graduates out there in the world.  The message being individuality, creativity and thinking outside of the proverbial box will take you far in life. :)

Students participate in a "Going Places" contest.  They are all given the same pre-made kit.  The students' job is to create a vehicle to participate in the "Going Places" contest.  Rafael, who loved to follow directions, followed the exact steps to create a go-cart.  
 Maya, on the other hand, used the same kit, but decided to create something different, since there were no specifications that the vehicle had to be a go-cart.  After Rafael sees Maya's creation, they decide to work together with their kits to create something even better.  Read to find out where creativity can lead you!    
I happened to see a review of the book on FableVision that summed it up nicely: "Going Places, published by Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum Booksserves as a call to evolve our educational system from one that too often relies on prepackaged content and one-dimensional assessments to one that encourages critical thinking and creativity."  

Thank you to 3AM Teacher for the colorful background clip art.  Happy Reading and don't forget to link up with Andrea for Book Talk Thursday to share a book of your own! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Jackpot for Common Core Resources!

Ever used DePaul University's Common Core Resources site?  I consider it the jackpot of Common Core resources.  If you are in need of lesson plans, ideas and/or materials for vocabulary, poetry, assessment, genres and more to raise the rigor in your classroom, check out this site.  Guides and graphic organizers to support PARCC are also included.  

Below are a few images of the links provided for teachers.  If you click on any image in this post, you will be brought to the site.  Once you're there, each click of your mouse brings you to even more links.  You will find paired fiction and nonfiction articles, as well as anchor chart examples that can be created with your students.  Carve out a little time in your day to sit back and peruse!  


Hope you find this information helpful.  If you know of any other Common Core resources for teachers, please share in the comments below. :)  


Monday, May 11, 2015

iEngage and the Power of Social Media

iEngage was a success!  Many people from surrounding districts attended D100's iEngage EdTech Conference to learn more about educational technology.  I had the opportunity to present with Michelle from BigTime Literacy on the five powers of social media.  If you're interested in viewing our presentation, click on the first image below.

Our keynote speakers were not only absolutely amazing and an inspiration, but very humorous as well.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear John Antonetti and Kevin Honeycutt speak at a conference, don't miss it! 
John Antonetti
John Antonetti shared with the attendees a task rubric for designing student work.  He mentioned the need to increase rigor to support the Common Core and how educators can better service students by getting them across "The Rigor Divide" shown on the rubric below.  He then stated, "Engagement without cognition is kids having fun but not achieving anything."  
Antonetti first displayed the SAMR Model from top to bottom, then flipped it to appear left to right as a way of comparing the rubric to the SAMR Model.  We need to get over to "The Rigor Divide" side of the rubric by modifying and redefining lessons which will prepare students for the future.  Make sense?  

In regards to Kevin Honeycutt, one of my favorite things he stated was, "I'm smart, but my network is brilliant."  This means, get connected everyone!  Share your stories and what you know with the world.  Honeycutt's statement just reinforced what Michelle and I were trying to express in our presentation.  Together we can achieve more. :) 
Kevin Honeycutt
I was unable to hear Carl Hooker present, since I was helping out with the poster sessions during his presentation, but everyone discussed how fabulous he was as well.  He had a great turnout, too!  
Thanks for the picture, Leah, via your Twitter account! :)
Hooker even wrote a post titled "iEngage: An Inspiring Event Every Educator Should Experience", if you're interested in reading it.

Happy Monday!  

Friday, May 8, 2015

iEngage EdTech Conference, Here I Come!

Well the time has finally arrived.  The 2-day iEngage EdTech Conference starts today.  I'm honored to have been part of the iLead Team in charge of creating, organizing and implementing this amazing event.  
iLead Team
Since last summer, we have been preparing for this one-of-a-kind  gathering to share our district's story on how teachers and students have been utilizing 1:1 technology within the classroom, as well as outside of the classroom walls.  

The iEngage will host some amazing keynote guest speakers, including John Antonetti, Carl Hooker and Kevin Honeycutt!
Administrators will be participating in panel discussions, while teachers, students and even parents will be presenting hands-on workshops and poster sessions for attendees.  Presenters will share how learning has been enhanced and revolutionized with the support of technology.
 I am thrilled to be presenting at the conference alongside my favorite Social Media buddy, Michelle from BigTime Literacy.  We will be sharing our story of how Social Media has helped transform our teaching and collaboration with others.

One of my favorite aspects of using the various Social Media outlets is the opportunity to connect with phenomenal educators all around the globe and even some just around the corner from you.  I first met Michelle in the virtual world of blogs.  One of our iCoaches sent out a list of bloggers to all staff, which is how I came to learn of Michelle's presence in my district.  A Blogging PD hosted by her was being offered back in July 2014 and the rest is history.  We are now presenting together at iEngage, as well as the Illinois Reading Council Conference in October of 2015! :)  

So, have you ever been "tagged" via Social Media?  Being tagged by virtual friends is another fun way to connect with educators.  Sometimes you get the opportunity to peek into another's life outside of the classroom.  It's nice knowing teachers have lives when they leave school for the day, even though students may not believe it.  Often times, I am still doing things related to school during my personal hours, but not always.  Of course, when I was tagged yesterday on Instagram for #widn, I was indeed doing something school related.  

{Let me interject for a moment: the first time I was tagged with the hashtag #widn, I had absolutely no idea what was happening.  I was enlightened by some more experienced IG friends that it stood for "What I'm Doing Now".   I've come along way with hashtags, but  if you still want to know more about them, check out BigTime Literacy's hashtags post.} ;)

Back to the tag!  I happened to be working on our iEngage presentation.  In response to the tag, I posted the picture below.    
Within a short amount of time, I received a response from Lauren, a.k.a. "@missk720", one of my IG colleagues I have never met, but have shared contact with via Instagram.  She is a 5th grade teacher in Illinois using 1:1 iPads with her students.  
Because of my personal learning network (PLN), I may get to meet Lauren at the conference.  She's an IG colleague that can be more than just a virtual acquaintance.  I love connecting with educators.  I look forward to seeing where all of this connecting will lead me.

Happy Friday!

UPDATE: I was able to meet Lauren (@missk720) at iEngage!


Friday, May 1, 2015

May Currently: Word Work, Wish Lists and Touchtronic Letters, Oh MY!

Happy May!  I loved waking up this morning feeling rising temperatures, seeing a bright sunny sky and hearing little birds happily singing.  Ahhh, just the way I like it.  What a beautiful welcome to the month.  It's also a great day to link up with the fabulous Farely over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for another edition of Currently.  Thanks for hosting! 
Listening: I take pleasure in listening to my students work collaboratively with one another while participating in word work activities.  They have come a long way since the beginning of the year.  I'm so impressed with their progress.  We've had fun reviewing blends and sight words this past week.  The kids love playing Pop for Blends to practice beginning blends.  I found the plate idea for word work on Pinterest. (You're the best, Pinterest!) :)
Loving: I love Teachers Pay Teachers.  My collection of goodies to support my Guided Reading groups sure has grown over the past few years, thanks to TpT.  I delight in creating TpT products for my students and sharing them with teachers, but when I don't have the time to create, I definitely support my fellow TpT sellers by spending, spending, spending.  I'm grateful for you, TpT sellers! Anyway, I've been trying to organize my baskets this week, and have come to the realization...I need more baskets and shelves!  (I haven't shown you my other shelves, since I'm still trying to organize those.)
Thinking: I can't believe it's time for the F&P Spring Benchmark Assessment already.  Our fantastic Literacy Coach, Courtney, prepared a testing schedule, as well as organized the F&P assessment boxes to pass out to the classroom teachers.  Starting next week, I will be joining Courtney and (my former blogging partner) Nancy, in assisting the teachers with the testing of 500+ students.  Benchmark testing, here we come! :)
Wanting: Ever heard of Junior Learning Touchtronic Letters?  I hope to acquire those for my little friends!  I'm seeing posts blowing up all over Social Media this past week.  I'm learning from teacher bloggers and Instagram friends how wonderful and engaging they are for students.  I think I am going to have to add those to my Amazon cart! 
Needing: (I'm needing Touchtronic Letters, but I'll pick a different one.) I'm needing to become a super hero.  Is that possible?  If I were a super hero, I'd be able to accomplish my want-to-do list in a fraction of the time it would take the average person.  I usually finish my to-do list filled with household chores in a timely manner, while my want-to-do list sits on the back burner (scorching itself).  One thing I want to do is read...uninterrupted ...for more than ten minutes per sitting.  I have many titles of professional books I desire to read.  I've purchased (and loved reading) Beyond Leveled Books and Teaching for Deep Comprehension.  

But recently?  My "wish list" of professional books has grown...very quickly.  Nonetheless, my time to sit down and read them is almost nonexistent.  
The reasons my time is almost nonexistent are ones I wouldn't change for the world.  I get to teach adorable kiddos all day and then get to come home to very sweet twin super heroes, as you probably already know if you follow my blog.  There doesn't seem to be room enough for one more super hero in our household right now.  I guess I'll put my decision to become a super hero on the back burner, too.  :)
Summer Yes, Hopes and Dreams: I certainly am looking forward to summer!  My YES is learning from professionals at the Literacy Retreat 2015 in June, and of course, experiencing TpT 2015 Conference in Vegas in July for the first time!!  I can't wait to meet some of my Social Media friends there!
My HOPE is to do lots of vacationing with my family in many various places around the states.  My DREAM is to read books uninterrupted for more than 10 minutes per sitting, as I mentioned above. ;)

Thanks to Kimberly Geswein for the fonts and to Farley for hosting another Currently!


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