Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: A Moment of Reflection

My school is on break this week, so my Wordless Wednesday isn't completely work related. Since I've had a few days to slow down and reflect on the last few months, I realize how far I've come (literally), but also how far I have to go until I feel "at home" again. I've been back in the US for three months after living and working in Europe for a significant period of time.  But moments like this, away from the daily routines of work, I find myself thinking about Europe.

What do I miss? Mostly, I miss the slower, simpler lifestyle. I miss outdoor caf├ęs, an aperitivo after work, small neighborhoods bustling with people and life, walking through narrow, crooked alleyways on my way to the market, packing a back and hopping on a train to visit a new place on the weekend. I miss the friends I made there, now scattered throughout a variety countries. I miss learning another language, being uncomfortable, but becoming a stronger person for it. I miss the history and architecture, each building's charm and ancient details still (mostly) intact. I miss eating local foods--and lots of them--without talk of calories or consequences.

Now that I'm back in the US, I have a job at a school I love, and work with some extremely intelligent, kind, and supportive people. Many of my students have either lived abroad or have traveled quite a bit, so we have that in common. (I chose this school because of its international community.) I understand what they've experienced and where they're coming from, so it helps me build relationships with them and appreciate their varied perspectives.

Anyway, I'm sure everyone goes through this. Anyone who has moved understands these feelings of sadness and regret mixed with optimism and hope. I'm really lucky to be where I am today, but can't help but think about the many roads that led me here.

One of the cobblestone streets in my neighborhood in Rome

Our last night in Rome, walking home after dinner

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Scoop: October 12, 2014

I'm linking up with Teaching Trio again for The Sunday Scoop! Here's my scoop:

Today is a day of sunshine and food! I'm off to brunch in a few minutes, and later today I will be attempting this recipe for Biscoff White Chocolate Blondies from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Don't these look AMAZING?!

Don't forget to click on the link below to join the Sunday Scoop.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Sometimes, things just work. After weeks of instruction, practice, and more practice, your students finally GET IT. They work together, talk to each other, and and end up with better ideas as a result. Those moments are worth the wait.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


I love listening to Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert while I do just about anything at home. It’s probably not the most efficient way to get things done, but it does put me in a good mood after a long day at work!

My newest peanut butter & banana smoothie is such a great way to start the day. I blend 2 small bananas, 1 tbsp peanut butter, and 1 tbsp pure maple syrup with about ½ cup water or milk. I like to cut up the banana to freeze it overnight so the smoothie is very cold when I blend all of the ingredients. It is SO delicious! Actually, it tastes like ice cream!

In the very near future, I will be going to and from work in the dark. Bleh.

I really need to plan a trip. I have a week off this month, and nowhere to go! Not to mention, I haven’t finalized any of my winter holidays yet. Any ideas?

I’m really trying to shake off this cold. I blame it on the 75 munchkins I teach every week! I’m hoping to feel better after some rest this weekend.

Here’s your treat!
Have you tried interactive notebooks yet? I admit, I’m late to the party, and I just started using them last year, but I LOVED the results! I created one for/with my students, and it’s on sale through the weekend in my TpT store. Click on the picture below to check it out.

Be sure to stop by Oh Boy Fourth Grade for more “Currently”!

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tried It Tuesday: Reading Goal Bookmarks

Today I'm linking up with Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday!
I taught a lesson on setting reading goals, and it went really well, so I wanted to share it today!

First, we discussed how strong readers set goals for themselves and reflect on their learning. To keep it simple, I focused on two parts of goal-setting: What they can do to be a stronger reader, and how they will know if they've met their goal. I made sure to spend time providing examples of specific goals, and then they brainstormed their own ideas. Afterwards, I asked them to decide how they would know they'd met their goal. For example, if the goal is to choose a quiet place to sit without distraction, one way to know they've achieved this goal is if they kept their eyes in the book for the entire reading time, or if they didn't talk to anyone around them.

We also talked about how some goals are short term (maybe for the day), while other reading goals might take the entire week to achieve. (Since they're second graders, I encouraged them to choose goals they could achieve within the week.)
After brainstorming possible reading goals, I typed them up so that students could reference them throughout the year. I'm sure we'll be adding to these, but this is our first list.

Finally, as I dismissed students individually, they told me their reading goals and I gave them the bookmark to fill out before reading. It was quicker and easier than I expected! At the end of our reading time, we met back on the rug and shared successes. Many students had met their goals during that reading session, and others were excited to keep trying at home.

I haven't decided exactly what to do with the completed bookmarks yet. One idea is to add them to our reading notebooks as a reminder of goals throughout the year. Another idea is to post them on our "Show Your Thinking" chart for the week. Either way, I'm really happy with these bookmarks. Not to mention, when I conference with students during their reading time, it provides a great starting point for our discussion. 

Click on the picture below to download the docs I used for this lesson. :)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Scoop: September 28, 2014

Can you believe Sunday is here already?! It's time for another Sunday Scoop link-up with the Teaching Trio...

Even though I have some planning time on Monday mornings, I ALWAYS find things in the classroom that I wasn't able to finish the week before. So I'm trying to "complete" all of my planning on Sunday. I think I sleep better without worrying about a long to-do list on Monday mornings.

Apparently after spending a year living in Italy and eating (more than) my fair share of pasta and tiramisu, my dress pants have decided to shrink! Can you believe it?! So, instead of hoping I will fit into them again one day, I've decided to give my wardrobe a little update by finding some new pieces. I don't feel too guilty since I've been wearing the same six pairs of trousers for several years now. 

Have you read any of the Divergent series? I've really been getting into young adult science fiction these days. My fourth graders got me hooked, and it became a great way to build relationships with several of my (boy) students. Alex Rider books did WONDERS to generate interest and discussion for the few reluctant readers in my classroom. Now that I'm teaching second grade, I guess I'm just reading these books for my own pleasure. :) Do you have any recommendations?

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Sunday, September 21, 2014