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”!

 photo blogsignature2_zps48698912.png

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?

 photo blogsignature2_zps48698912.png

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Morning Meetings: The Most Underrated Way to Build Classroom Community

Last June, I asked my students to complete a brief reflection on their school year and to evaluate the job I had done as their teacher. The questions consisted of things like, “How well does your teacher know you?” and “Were you able to learn about your interests?” In the blank space at the bottom of the page, students could indicate what they’d enjoyed most during the year. Overwhelmingly (and much to my surprise), the majority of students mentioned our morning meeting as their absolute favorite thing about 4th grade. I was stunned. It’s true that we’d had a fantastic year together, but I'd never considered how integral our daily meeting was to this success. What began as a simple morning routine of greeting each other, sharing the little (or not so little) moments in our lives, and having an actual dialogue with each other ended up having a huge impact on their ability to develop friendships, relate to others, solve problems, and to be risk-takers in their learning. My students were inquisitive, funny, caring, and thoughtful. Our classroom was indeed special, and at the end of the year I was heartbroken to say goodbye to this group of young people. I am quite certain that our morning meetings contributed to their academic and social-emotional development in ways far beyond anything else we did.

Now, as I begin another school year (this time with younger students), my goal remains clear: I want my students to talk to each other, listen, feel empathy, push themselves to see from another perspective, develop the language to express themselves, and feel safe in our classroom community. Our morning routine won't accomplish these things by itself, but it is an excellent starting point. I’ve seen what it can do, and I believe in it. I look forward to the day when this group reflects on how much they’ve learned and grown.   

You can learn more about morning meetings and the responsive classroom here:

 photo blogsignature2_zps48698912.png