Sunday, March 18, 2018


As I finish up (yes, I'm in the last class) my Masters' coursework I find myself in "Action Research."

I also find myself in a bit of a panic. Research is difficult. It is time consuming. I must site resources in APA.

However, as I take one step at a time, I also find that this research is totally up my ally (except the works sited part). 

Here's the current plan, in the very earliest stage (I haven't even developed good questions yet!):
We are about to start a math unit on teen numbers--compose, decompose, really understand them. I wonder how technology and "fun" and engaging activities may increase learning.

Anyone with helpful advise as I being this?

Research to look at?

A classroom to work with me?

I'll be back soon with a contextual summary!

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Part of learning to read is learning to read sight words, or high frequency words. Quickly.

One of the ways that I help the kids is to know which words follow the rules that I teach (closed syllable, v-consonant-e) and which ones don't.

We call the rule followers "green" words, and every where they appear in the room I write them in green marker. And the words that do not follow the rules are "red" words, and they are written in red marker.

Steps I follow to teach new high frequency words:
1. Read 3 sentences that contain the new word (it is the only word that is the same in all three sentences).
2. Students listen and discover the new word.
3. We say the sounds of the word.
4. I write the word on the board as I say the sounds.
5. They LOVE this one, they decide if it is a green word or red word.
6. Post the word on the word wall and add to the deck of cards that we review.

Well, this week our words are: have, for.

I cannot remember the exact conversation that led up to my smart kindergartener, but I must have asked "why is have a red word?" (And I know it could be a green word, but for K, we are going with red.)

And she replied, "Because it is not following directions." (She did go on to explain the direction that was not followed.)

Oh sweet child. Yes, some words do not follow directions!
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Best Feeling

It's kind of the best feeling...

After writing some positive notes home, getting a message back that the student pretends to be the teacher every night and teaches what he learned that day at school.

To really know that I am loving my students. Some years it takes longer, and creeps up on me. But I am there. We have bonded as a family and no one better mess with any one of my students (past or present).

To present situations where the kids have to learn the material (after I have sneakily created the environment) and see them DO IT! I mean really, my heart swells with excitement.

Having conversations with parents and stop being nervous about talking, and realizing that we both want the best and that by working together we can do more than when we work alone.

To want to go to bed so that I can get up tomorrow and go back to the place I call my "day" home and be with my "little" family and do what we do best--learn together!
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Monday, October 2, 2017

The Only Person I Can Change is Me

Many, many years ago I learned that I can only change me and my behavior. It's been a tough lesson. Learned again and again. And again.

This group of kids is getting me to thinking a lot. Sometimes with my friends. Sometimes alone. Sometimes with smiles. Sometimes with tears.

About 1.5 weeks ago I hit the tipping point.

Everything had built up. I was feeling stressed about my situation. All my triggers were triggering.

And I cried. For me. For my students. For hours. During the school day. 

I was glad that I was around people who understand this job I do. That they were concerned about me. They wanted to make it better. And that they let me cry and cry.

I did not want to be alone.

Those tears released me. 

I no longer cry for me and my tough situation. I cry for the kids and the tough situations they face.

No more do I think, if only... Now I wonder how I can show love and kindness today.

Tonight I wondered, have I become insensitive? Callous? No longer crying?

Something truly happened that day. I feel stronger. Able to face storms with calm and more love and compassion.

So, I change me. My attitude. My expectations. My lessons.

I adapt to the situation I am in. There will be more tears, I am sure. But for now, I am just so happy to be working in my frontal lobe and not my brain stem or limbic system.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

As the Year Begins

Sure, I started 2 weeks ago. But I had a morning class of 10 kids and an afternoon class of 10 kids. And I thought it was rough (routines, procedures, school, standards). Ha!

Now I have 20 kids all day long. And we have all the same stuff, but it seems like more.

After school today I said to my teaching partner: I know I can do this, but I don't know how I'm going to do this. I know I can do this. But a big heavy weight on my shoulders.

This is an amazing group of talented and fun-loving little people.

I found myself in a situation--do it because I said to do it. We know I am not winning that one. Sigh.

20 kids with needs, like how to hold a pencil correctly, and one of me. Sigh.

But I will not dwell here tonight.

What went well today? Everyone had two recesses and lunch at school.

What can I improve upon tomorrow? Look into each set of eyes and respect who they are. Love them for who they are. Remember to look at behavior as communication. Label it. Offer alternatives. Practice breathing when we are calm, so that breathing when we are upset will become easier. 

That's enough.
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Saturday, September 2, 2017


The class I am currently taking is called "Assessment."

So far it's been knowledge building. But has gotten me to think...

**How can I add more questions/activities for formative assessments into my lessons?

**Why do the big company resources that I have to teach curriculum not have great questions in them? (For as much money as we spend on them, I would like to have one less thing to create from scratch, but have a starting point to jump from.)

I'm talking about during the lesson, to make sure that they are getting what I'm giving.

During independent/small group work time I feel good about the feedback I give, but the whole group time, this is definitely an area to improve.

So, my blogging friends--- 

How do you use formative assessments during your whole group lessons? I'd love some ideas/strategies/thoughts.

And, how about a picture from my room. I just love my room. It is a work in progress and I know what I want to do to improve, but still looking at options/furniture/space.

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Sunday, July 9, 2017


I'm a naturally curious person.

Some days my family answers my questions willingly, and some days they do not. They tolerate my curiosity, but when I get that look or frustrated sound, I know it is time to put my questions away.

How does your trumpet work?

What is 32 times 2 plus 18 plus 14?

Why did Wonder Woman do that?

What was the Pacific Ocean like? Who were you with? How cold was it?

I'm not trying to annoy anyone, just looking for answers to questions that pop into my head. I don't really remember my students asking many questions. (Let's hope it's because I'm too far away from school and I can't remember any more.) 

5 year olds should be asking LOTS of questions. 

What can I do to promote questions in my classroom?

How can I structure lessons so that kids are asking more questions?

How will I support the students in finding the answers to their questions?

It seems to me that the more questions I ask, the more questions I have...

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