Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Look Inside My Teacher Bag

What a fun idea for a Linky Party! I love seeing other people's bags...I have a bit of a problem when it comes to purses and handbags. I own more than 30 (maybe 40) and even have framed my collection of antique purses and hung them on the wall in my bedroom! I. Love. Bags.

If you want to join in with this fun link party head on over to The Inspired Apple to check it out.

Here's my teacher bag. It's an old beach bag from Old Navy and I doubt it will be my bag all year. I switch purses at least every 4-5 days and teacher bags every few weeks. 

Here is my day planner...gotta write stuff down if I am going to remember it.

My assessment binder- made with clip art from Scrappin Doodles.

CASI- standardized assessment materials my board is using right now to create a baseline of data.

The Daily 5 and CAFE books because I am implementing them for the first time this year. They literally go every where with me these days so I can look over the different chapters.

A spiral notebook for planning. Right now it also contains my evaluations of the student teacher that is working with my class, and of course the ever present post-it note to-do list!!

Literacy Journals I need to read and mark (still haven't done)

Drama assessments I need to finish.

The random stuff-
- 2 pens (I bring home a different pen every night and then after a few 
weeks have no pens at school and need to empty my teacher bag of pens!)
- 2 mini-snack bars
- a broken necklace (it got caught on my classroom door and snapped last week)
- old receipts and paper
- 2 old staff passes (and 2 different hairstyles!)
- a yoga pass for a studio near my house
- bandaids

And look how that pile has grown....!

P.S. I found my Math planning binder on the coffee table after I had taken all these pictures...LOL. Even more full!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Passing Along the Love

A huge thanks and shout out the bloggers who have passed along the Versatile Blogger award to me! It is very much appreciated!

Please check out these wonderful blogs!!

Our Camp Read-a-lot! (I also follow Laura's other blog Delightful Daily 5 Cafe)

Now I am supposed to
1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog. (Check!)
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Nominate 15 other blogs that you've discovered.

Seven things about me...

1. I have just gone back to work after being on mat leave for the last 8 months and now my husband is staying home with our baby!

2. I was given a label maker for my birthday one year by my husband and I love it.

3. I have a puggle! 

4. I moved from teaching Grade 7 and 8 for the last 7 years down to 4 last year and am still adjusting.

5. Teaching math terrifies me everyday.

6. I love my kobo e-reader.

7. I collect antique purses.

Now to nominate 15 blogs....oh dear! I love sooooo many. I think I will direct everyone to my blogroll on the right hand side...I read all of these blogs everyday and have learned so much from them! Here are some of my absolute faves:

Dali's Moustache

Ashleigh's Education Journey

Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes

Create Teach Share

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Daily Five

...or as it is becoming known in my class, The Daily Three. How did I not do this sooner? This is revolutionizing my teaching and it's only been nine days!

So far we have been working at Read to Self only and our stamina has been built up to 10 minutes. We seem to have hit a small plateau, which is fine, but I am hoping that over the next few weeks we can build up more and more. We have also started Writer's Workshop in our class and have been adding ideas to our Writer's Notebook so that once we get to the point of been able to add Work on Writing to our Daily Three schedule we have ideas to write about a writing routines to draw from. The last part we will add in Word Work a few weeks down the road.

I have also introduced my students to the genre requirement that came about from my reading of The Book Whisperer this summer (see the sidebar for more posts on this great book!) and NOT ONE STUDENT complained about the idea of reading 40 books from a variety of genres. I think this is going to be a great year with my class! We have discussed the characteristics of Poetry, Realistic Fiction, Fantasy and Science Fiction and I really feel that just through our discussions of different genres I am already much closer with my students and know them better as individuals.

Last week I handed out my student's Literacy Journals. These are the notebooks they will use to write about their reading in, to demonstrate their knowledge of the reading strategies we will be covering in class. I have yet to decide how often I will have the students write in these journals and how often I will assessing them, instead choosing to let my class dictate my program. I do want to share our next Literacy Journal activity with you, however....

Through our mini-lessons before Read to Self my class and I have talked about choosing books and using the I PICK strategy outlined in The Daily Five. I have created these bookmarks/question sheets in order to assess my students' understanding of this strategy. I plan to have each student glue one of the strips into their Literacy Journals and answer each of their questions about the book they are currently reading. You could also laminate these and give them to the students to use as bookmarks so they have a constant reference of the strategy as well. Once I have collected their work I will be sure to post some examples so everyone can see how I used this in my class.

If you download these bookmarks/question sheets for use in your room please comment below with how you plan to use them so we can continue to pay the ideas forward!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reader's Notebook Cover

I think that the best I learned from The Book Whisperer this summer was the importance of celebrating reading and the readers in your class. I am in love with The Daily Five and my class has already built their stamina up to 10 minutes during Read to Self. I introduced the 40 book genre requirement today as part of my "voracious" reading mini lesson and not one single student said anything about 40 books being a lot to read!! NOT. ONE. In fact they looked like everything I was saying made sense and why wouldn't I expect them to read 40 books? A. Maze. Ing.

The next activity we are going to do is create a title page for our Reader's Notebooks. I have created this template for the students. I am going to have them write all the kinds of readers they are...for example:

I am a reader! I am a chapter book reader. I am a mystery reader. I am a blog reader. I am a Harry Potter reader. I am a magazine reader. I am a reader!!

Then they will fill in the box above their writing with some drawings of all the types of reader that they are, or it could be a collage, or any other kind of art they want! The basic idea is to create a cover page that celebrates each student as a reader! I am excited to get to Friday when I plan to do this activity and see all the ideas they come up with.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Three Days Down...187 More to Go!

Well, I am starting to feel like I actually have my feet under me and can take a moment to blog about my first week back at work. I am really enjoying my class, they are super cute and really eager to learn it seems. Implementing Read to Self as part of my Daily Three (adapted from Daily 5) is going fabulously! I even had a boy today ask if he could take his book home because in the past all he ever did was play video games but now he wants to read at home....aww, my little heart just about burst!

I have taken some pictures to show you what we have been up to in Grade 4 these past 3 days.


The three ways to read a book and our stamina count...already up to 5 minutes!

This is hanging above our carpet area. We brainstormed appropriate carpet behaviours and create the I chart outlined in The Daily 5 for the start of Read to Self.

Here is my behaviour clip chart in action. So far there haven't been any moves down the chart and I have been trying to really emphasize the good things students have been doing.

I like to allow my students to have input into the classroom rules so what we did what brainstorm what each rule might look like and sound like in our room. The students each had a marker and walked around in a gallery walk and added their own ideas to each poster. I asked that they try to write an idea on at least 4 of the 6  posters and if their idea was already on the poster then they could repeat it because it must be important. Tomorrow we are going to add some other ideas that I want on the charts that weren't added by students and then the charts will be laminated and kept in the room for the year!

This was my first math lesson of the year. In the top right of the picture you can see the data table we created my collecting the birthdays of the class. We then took that data and created a bar graph of our class' birthdays. The students reviewed important terms such as x-axis, y-axis, labels, titles, and scale. This will stay up for the rest of our data management unit so that the students can reference it as we work on other data management skills.

And...I already received my first drawing from a student which I promptly hung up by my favourite poster!

Tomorrow we are doing a pretty complicated art lesson that I am excited about and my student teacher is finally arriving! Plus, it's FRIDAY!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The First Day of School

I really want to write a nice long post about how great my first day was.

I really want to write about how I loved being around adults again.

I want to write about how I sobbed all the way through "Guess How Much I Love You" when I put my baby to bed last night.

I want to tell you all about my kids.

I want to share my success with my first Daily 5 lesson ever.

I want to tell you how much coffee I drank today. And the donut I ate.

I want to tell you about the number of times I stared at my baby's picture.

I want to write about my lack of ability to complete my day plan for tomorrow and my confusion as to where this skill has gone.

I want to tell you about the chaos of teaching at a school with 1375 students in K- 8 and 95% of those students are bussed. C.H.A.O.S.

I want to tell you about the beautiful smile on my baby's face when I came home from work today.

I want to tell you about how I wore high heels to work and took them off at lunch because I haven't worn high heels since before I got pregnant and my feet hurt.

I really want to tell you all about my day...

But what I want to do most of all is sleep.

Monday, September 5, 2011

11 hours...

That's it. That's all. 11 hours until I go back to work and my mat leave is over. I have thought all day about what I wanted to write in this post and it's just not there. I can't really clarify my own feelings so how can I write it all out here? I am excited to go back to work, to be teaching and to be out in society again. Yet, every time I look at my sweet baby's face, kiss her fat little cheeks, or hug her close I start to tear up at the thought of being away from her everyday.

How much will I miss? How fast it she going to learn new stuff and I won't be here to see it all? What if she misses me and is upset during the day? What if....

I'm not sure I can even keep writing. This much thinking about being away from my baby is just getting me more and more upset. I am hoping that tomorrow will be so busy I won't even have time to think about missing my baby. I have a big picture frame full of pictures of her so I will still be able to "see" her all day. I am also going to have a student-teacher in my room starting tomorrow (yes, the first day!) so that will also be occupying my time...not to mention the 24 students!

For right now I am going to head off and watch Bachelor Pad to numb my mind...

The End of Molasses Classes

Janine over at Faithful in First is planning a new book study/read along!

She has been sent a copy of Ron Clark's new book The End of Molasses Classes and wants to discuss this book with everyone...and so do I!! I was also asked to review this book and am in the process of reading through it. I am excited about the prospect of another read along and learning from my teaching blogger colleagues. If you are interested and want to join in head over to Janine's blog to check out the details. Don't worry...we won't be starting until mid-October so you will have tonnes of time to get the book, read the book AND you know, teach during the day too!!

See ya at the book study!!

My Top Ten!!

I read a lot of blogs. A LOT. And I remember what is it like starting out and just hoping that someone out there will follow you and be interested in what you have to say. So in that vein I am going to dedicate my Top 10 Blogs to some new (maybe just to me!) blogs that I have been loving recently. I also encourage everyone to check out my extensive blog roll where I have almost 100 teaching blogs that are a must read...whew, that's a lot of reading.

Top 10 TBA

I also want to thank those bloggers out there that rated me a Top guys are a 10 in my books as well!!

Create Teach Share

We nominated each other...LOL

My fellow Canadian!

And in no particular order here are my Top Ten Blogs


 Dali's Moustache

 Delightful Daily 5 CAFE

Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies


Reading Really Rocks

Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes

Being Teacher...ish


Go here to read all about the Top Ten award and nominate your own favourite bloggers today!!

The Book Whisperer Genre Tally

I have redone my genre tally sheet...again! I think this is the last time, especially since school starts on Tuesday. I realized as I went through my classroom library that I actually only had one book I could classify as science fiction and I didn't want to have an entire science fiction requirement when I couldn't really offer those books to my students. I am hoping to start building on my science fiction collection and hopefully have more to offer my students in the future. If you would like to take a look at my new genre tally sheet head on over here. 

The next step is decide when to introduce the genre requirement. I am going to concentrate on getting Read to Self (from The Daily 5) underway during the first week of school and then if all is going well I will start to add in a little about the genres as mini-lessons each day. I am also hoping to sprinkle in some the CAFE stuff as well. My student teacher sure is going to get an education is starting a new program based on professional reading as I attempt to implement my reading from all three resources this summer!!

For all you who joined in for the Book Whisperer read along this summer I am curious about how toy plan to introduce and integrate the genre requirement into your literacy program. Sooner? Later? Still undecided? Please share your thoughts!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Have you ever had a student teacher? Do you remember being a student teacher?

I just received an email for the university student who will be in my class this year as a student-teacher. He will be starting on the first day of the year and staying for....well, I don't really know how long! I am excited to have a student teacher in my classroom this year. I have hosted a student teacher before and enjoyed the experience but felt that I could do better next time...and here is next time!

For all of you out there who just graduated from teacher's college, or who have hosted a student teacher before I want to know what your best piece of advice is for this situation. What did you wish your associate teacher had done to help you get the most out of your practice teaching? What didn't you like? If you hosted a student-teacher what is your advice for me?

Bring on the suggestions!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Teaching Blog Expo 2011

I don't know about the rest of you but this summer has been one of the best teaching experiences ever! How can the summer be a teaching experience? Well, even though I have been home on mat leave since January this summer has provided me with the amazing opportunity to connect to other teacher bloggers and learn from all of their fabulous blogs and ideas. I have also had the opportunity to become an author at TBA and have loved every minute!

But the learning doesn't have to stop just because we are all back at school teaching the littles!! Oh no...Teaching Blog Expo is coming on September 17th. This is a great opportunity to learn from 7 different teaching blog experts, to gain more ideas for your classroom and teaching blog...not to mention connect with even more teacher bloggers and take home a fabulous goodie bag of treats!

Head on over to 
to check out all the details and to register today.

Hope to see you there!

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