Thursday, April 10, 2014

Classroom "Booknic"

Have you ever been inspired by ideas that have nothing to do with the classroom, turning them into something completely classroom friendly?  I'm sure it happens with so many fabulous ideas on the web.  A few years ago, I was inspired by a pin that I now cannot find for the life of me.  The idea?  Hosting a "Booknic", celebrating two of my favorite things, books and food in a picnic format!  I am not sure the idea was originally intended for classroom use, but as soon as I saw it, my wheels started spinning.  After a year or two, I finally put my thoughts in motion.  After celebrating daily with different activities for March Is Reading Month, I decided to host a "Booknic" for my kiddos to be our final celebration of the month!  I sent home notes asking for food donations and had enough parents volunteer to cover all of the food.  I added a little picnic fun with table cloths and a few ant elements.  Put it all together and you get the celebration we had below.  It was so much fun to celebrate books with food that matched! 

On the top right, we have the If You Give a Moose a Muffin table.  Each student got two mini muffins and, of course, listened to the story.  The next table was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and cookies for all.  The banana and strawberries on a stick represented The Cat In The Hat.  And lastly, a personal favorite from my childhood, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom represented by the tree.  The bottom two food crafts were not originally my ideas.  I found them online!

This is a close up of one table with the napkins, napkin holder, picnic plates, and though you cannot see it, a giant ant also sat on each table!
As I said, this is how we celebrated at the end of the month.  We did other smaller activities each day of the month.  It was so much fun!  What do you do to celebrate March Is Reading Month with your kids?


Monday, April 7, 2014

Teaching Writing

Teachers are constantly reflecting and altering their teaching to better reach and teach their students.  One of the best ways, or the BEST way, I have found to learn new methods to reach my students is by reading and following blogs!  Another tried and true way to reflect and learn new tips and tricks is through professional reading.  I have more books stacked on my nightstand, both for professional reading and personal enjoyment, then I care to admit.  Teachers want to learn and do their best, but there is not always the time.  So I often see books I must read, but have to find the time.  This week, I am finding the time!  Enter spring break!

After my first year of teaching, I felt that I was not the most effective writing teacher.  So during the summer, I read a book to help me really learn how to teach my littles to write.  It helped for the next two years I spent in first grade.  In fact, writing moved from the bottom of my list up to my new favorite subject to teach.  Then, I was laid off and called back to teach second grade.  Now that I have nearly completed my second year in second grade, I feel I have lost my writing mojo for multiple reasons.  Time is limited and it seems writing is always the first subject in my room to go.  Along with lack of time, we purchased a new reading series at my school this year, Wonders.  While I like the series, it is quite cumbersome and takes up A LOT of time during language arts.  Most of the writing students are asked to do is related to a text.  Necessary?  Absolutely.  What I want my students' to write about all the time?  Not really.

I miss having Writer's Workshop in my classroom.  I miss allowing my students' to write and tell stories or small moments.  Allowing students time to write, I believe makes them better readers, as well as better writers when it comes to writing across the content areas.  Because I am on spring break this week, I am diving into a professional book, No More "I'm Done!" Fostering Independent Writers in the Primary Grades, that I believe will be one of my new favorites.  Have you read it?  Do you have any thoughts on the book?  Do you have any tips on how to better fit writing in?  Do you use a basal and feel you have the perfect balance?  Leave me a comment below and let me know!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Can I?

Hello all.  I have spent my time since my last post being an avid blog reader and stalker, as per usual.  I am obsessed with TPT and feel like I may have more purchases than anyone ever.  It has taken me this long, but I finally feel like it is time to give this blogging thing another try.  The question is can I do all that is required to be a good blogger?  Not only that, but does anyone care what I have to say?  I see all the great friends people make via blogging, and I have to say, I'm jealous.  I want to be a part of this great world!  I think it is time to give it another try.  Can I?