Thursday, July 31, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {7-31-14}

Welcome to Positive Thinking Thursday!
Holy cow, it's the last day of July!!  How did that happen???

Given that many of us will be heading back to school soon, I thought this week's positive thought was especially timely.
“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” ~Muhammad Ali
That's right...Don't spend so much time counting how many days you have left before returning to work that you forget to put some life in those days.  You'll thank yourself later!

Make today count!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Writer's Notebook Resource

I'm so excited that I FINALLY finished my newest product on TPT, just in time for the beginning of the school year when writing workshops are getting started.
In my writing workshop, my students keep a writer's notebook in which they store their works-in-progress writing and other important writing tools.  One of my favorite sections of the notebook is the Reference section.  This is the place where my writers go to when they have a question about some aspect of writing that we have learned in class but they may have (temporarily) forgotten.

Writer's Notebook Reference puts all of these resources into one booklet that can either be copied as a complete packet and placed in the notebook, or can have pages copied and added as needed.

Topics include:
Editing Marks
Paragraph Rules
Capitalization Rules
Confusing Words
Other Ways to Say "Said"
Use This, Not That to Improve Word Choice 
Great Grabbers for both Fiction and Informational Writing
Power of Three Tips
Editing vs. Revising
Revising Tips
Editing Checklist

Want to win a copy? Just pin my product and leave me the Pinterest link in the comment section below.  A winner will be chosen on Friday, August 2nd.  Good luck and thanks!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Peek at My Week {7/27/14}

Hi everyone!  Welcome to this week's A Peek at My Week, my weekly linky party where we can all share a glimpse into our upcoming week.
Before I begin, I want to thank everyone who has left a comment on my post from Friday to help me find an alternative to the dreaded reading log.  If you haven't had a chance to comment and would like to, you can visit my post here.  I love all of the ideas shared so far and am curious what other ideas are out there.

OK...on with this week's events.

Our exchange student, Cecile, returns to France on Tuesday.  {Big frown face}  It has been a wonderful three weeks that we have spent with her and we will miss her when she goes.
Since this week also begins the month of August, that means it is time for the Wisconsin State Fair!  Going to the fair is an annual tradition for our family.  Who can resist fried cheese curds and cream puffs galore? Not me!

Also this week, I will be working on putting together the details for a writing class I am teaching for my district on August 4th.  I'm going to try something new -- putting all the handouts on Livebinder.  This will not only save paper (you're welcome, Dan! :), but also ensure that the documents are available when anyone is looking for them.  Do you have any experience with using Livebinder?  I'd love your tips!

An InLinkz Link-up
One last thing....Beginning Monday, there is an AWESOME giveaway going on over at Mrs. Spangler in the Middle to celebrate her blogiversary.  Stop by and enter to win...often!
Thanks for stopping by & have a great week!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Reading Logs?

Hi everyone! I need your help.  

I am conflicted about my continued use of the weekly reading log.  (Actually, I've been conflicted for a long time.) Our 4th graders are required to read 20 minutes a night. In the past, I have given students a weekly form to record the title of their book and the number of pages read.  Then their parents sign the form and turn it in on Mondays, taking a new form for the upcoming week.

Problem...I KNOW that many of my students are not honest about the amount of reading they are doing at home and having their parents sign the form is reinforcing this lie.  (By 4th grade, many parents send their kids into another room to read and have no idea what is actually being completed so they are taking their child's word for it.)  Some kids are honest and turn in a blank form every Monday or simply don't turn one in at all. The 20 minutes of nightly reading is not getting done which is not helping my students become lifelong readers. I mean, wouldn't it be great if all of our students felt like this:
New sport
I need to find an alternative to the weekly reading log.  Something that will engage my students so they WANT to read every night and also hold them accountable.  We will be a 1:1 classroom next year, with every student having access to a Chromebook during the day and I was thinking something online might work.

Any ideas?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {7-24-14}

Here we are at Thursday again, which means that it's time for some more positive thinking with Positive Thinking Thursday!  Thanks for stopping by, I'm glad you're here!
I love this...
Life is Like a Camera
A great reminder of the power of perseverance!

As for some professional positive thinking, have you visited The Educator Collaborative Community yet? This is a new forum for educators to meet and share ideas on a wide range of topics.  We all know from blogging that we learn best from each other.  I have begun a group called Writing 3-5 to share ideas for writing and would love if you would join us!

Have a great day!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Let's Talk About Writing

Last week, Chris Lehman launched a new online forum for teachers to collaborate on topics they are passionate about.  The Educator Collaborative is a great place to participate in discussions, ask questions, and grow your personal learning network (PLN).  There are lots of groups with topics to please everyone!

I began a group called "Writing in Grades 3-5" with the purpose of sharing ideas and inspiration for growing our students as writers.  I would love it if you would join the conversation!  Click here for more information.

If you join, drop me a note in the comments to let me know.  I'm looking forward to learning from you!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Peek at My Week {7-20-14}

Hello friends! Thanks for stopping by A Peek at My Week, the place where we can all link up and share our plans for the upcoming week.  I hope you are having a wonderful summer!
This week, we are still on the move showing our exchange student, Cecile, the wonders of American life.  So far, we have visited the Milwaukee Art Museum, Festa Italiana, Bastille Days and Gurnee Mills (for shopping!).  This week, we will visit the Wisconsin Dells, Chicago, and Six Flags Great America.  I know that when Cecile goes home on July 29th, we will all need a nap!

In between all this sight seeing, I am trying to get some reading done. Back in June, I had all these great plans for all the books I wanted to read this summer.  Needless to say, time is not being my friend and even though I'm finding ways to sneak in reading (as Donalyn Miller points out in Reading in the Wild), there just don't seem to be enough minutes in the day to do what I want to do.

However, I am working my way through one book that I just love that I wanted to share with you. (I have nothing to gain here -- just sharing a good book. :)  Have you heard of Classroom Habitudes by Angela Maiers? I am learning so many great ways to build 21st century habits and attitudes with my students for next year. This is a great character ed book and includes awesome activities to help students become self-directed learners.

An InLinkz Link-up
Thanks again for stopping by!  Have a wonderful week!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {7-17-14}

It's Thursday, which means it's time for some positive thinking with Positive Thinking Thursday!  Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you're here!
This week, I am sharing one of my favorite quotes.  I always think of this quote when I am working on something with a deadline and it is dragging along. It seems to help me get things done.
It always seems impossible until it is done
Source -- Some beautiful artwork here!

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Peek at My Week {7-13-14}

It's Sunday which means it's time for this week's edition of A Peek at My Week, my weekly linky party where we can all share our plans for the upcoming week.  Even though it's summer, us teachers still have a lot going on, don't we?  I hope you'll join in!
Our exchange student from France, Cecile, arrived last Tuesday night.  She is just wonderful and I am so glad she is here! Last week, we took her to the Bastille Days celebration in Milwaukee to show her how Americans celebrate French independence. (She thought that was pretty cool.) This week, we will be going to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Festa Italiana, along with doing some shopping.
Cecile made quick friends!

This week will be week #2 of Teachers Write 2014.  This daily writing camp for teachers is a great way to explore new ideas in writing and to work on (or begin) your own writing.  I have learned so many great things already! If you'd like to check out what's going on or join in, you can click here. Remember, teachers who write make the best teachers of writing.  :)
Also this week, my baby is turning 15.

Whatever it is you are doing this week, I wish you a great one!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {7-10-14}

Hi everyone and welcome to Positive Thinking Thursday!  This is the place where we can all link up and share positive thoughts with each other.  Your post doesn't have to be anything major and your thought can be about anything.  I hope you will join us!
I have been learning a lot about using technology in the classroom.  This next school year, we will become a 1:1 classroom, with each student having access to a Chromebook.  Lots of opportunities await, but I think it's also important not to forget the good 'ol things that you and I grew up with.

Hence, this week's positive thought:
So. True.
It's so fun to see the difference in kids when they become unplugged. I'm not saying that computers and technology is bad, please don't misunderstand me, but I also think they remove some of the creativity and freedom that comes from free play.  (That's one of the reasons that when we have to have inside recess due to weather, I don't allow play on the computers...go find a board game, markers, or a deck of cards to play with.) It's all about balance...

Anyone feeling what I'm feeling?

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a positive day!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Slice of Life {7-08-14}

Hello friends!

I'm blogging over at my writing blog, Sweet Writing Life, today.  I hope you will visit me there!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Peek at My Week {7-07-14}

It's Sunday which means it's time for another edition of A Peek at My Week, my weekly linky party where we all share what we've got going on this week.  I love that this linky party is bringing together new friends and old ones.  There are so many new bloggers out there -- I encourage you to link up to help us find you!

Here we go...
This morning, my son Ryan will leave for his very first job.  He is going to be a camp counselor at a Boy Scout camp.  This means that he will live there and only come home one day a week -- eeekk!  When I told him to get a job for summer, I didn't mean that he had to move out.  Oh, a mother's heart....

On Monday, Teachers Write begins!  If you are wondering what this is and want to participate, you can visit this website or this one.  Last year, I was only an observer of this online writing camp, but this year I am looking forward to doing some writing.
On Tuesday, our exchange student from France arrives.  Cecile will be staying with us for three weeks.  My daughter Kara is very excited and is looking forward to showing Cecile American teenage life (whatever that means).
Cecile's first experience of American life will be to attend the DCI Drum Corp show at the local high school on Thursday night.  I've never been to a drum corp show, but I am looking forward to it!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Are You Ready for Teachers Write 2014?

Teachers who write make the best teachers of writing.  Are you a writing teacher?  (By that I mean "writing" as a verb, not an adjective.)

Yes?  Good for you!  YAY!

No?  It's not too late to start and here's a great opportunity....

  • Do you want to learn more about yourself as a writer?
  • Are you looking for a way to grow your writing?
  • Do you want to become a better writer but don't know how?
  • Want to work with some pretty famous authors who will help you reach those goals?
  • Are you (finally) ready to take that risk and give writing a try? (Seriously....this risk will be fun and I promise it won't hurt.)

Next Monday (July 7) begins one of the most amazing (FREE!) online PD experiences!  Teachers Write 2014 is an online writing camp that is run by author and teacher friend Kate Messner.  (You may know Kate from her Marty McGuire series, among other titles.)  This year's camp will run July 7 - August 15.
(This is the button from 2012)
Each day of the week, Kate and her guest authors will share mini-lessons, tips, tricks and advice to help you practice and improve your writing skill.  Daily participation is completely voluntary (skipping days due to busy schedules is perfectly OK). Even if you don't write along, it might be worthwhile to check in and pick up some advice along the way.

Why not check it out for yourself?  You can learn more and find the sign up link here.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {7-03-14}

WOW! How did it get to be July already?  Tomorrow may be the 4th of July, but today is Positive Thinking Thursday. Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you're here!
I was surfing around the internet and found this picture.  Given the holiday this week, I think it is perfect for this week's positive thought!  The heart of light in the background is amazing!
The lighting makes a "heart" behind the flag.  I love America.

An InLinkz Link-up
I wish you and your family a wonderful 4th!