Friday, July 30, 2010

Moving Time

Please change your bookmark and feeds for my site. I moved it to my new site: Bohemian Teacher.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

SOLC-Right Now

Feel free to leave your own slice at two writing teachers
Right Now...

Right now I am thankful my girls are healthy.

Right now I am anxiously awaiting the new 5th graders to walk through my classroom door.

Right now I wish I could hold my parents in my arms and say all is well.

Right now I am happy that my parents are always near by and we will get through this trial.

Right now my family is remembering the life of my cousin as the one year anniversary of her death approaches.

Right now I am trying to be courageous and allow my children to leave the state with their dad without me.

Right now my body is healed.

Right now my heart has mixed emotions of happy, sadness, love, and excitement.

Right now I hope to live my life as if right now may end tomorrow.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reading that Catches the Teaching Heart on Fire

My newest book to my collection of go to books for the classroom is Pyrotechnics on the Page: Playful Craft that Sparks Writing by Ralph Fletcher. I absolutely love Mr. Fletcher's writing. He has a way of writing that makes me feel as if we are sitting at Starbuck's talking about best practices in writing. He makes me laugh out loud and often time pause and think about what my classroom looks like and what changes I need to make in regards to writer's workshop.

The book arrived yesterday and I couldn't put it down. I read 1/2 of it in one sitting. A couple of things I noted that I want to remember.

1)A quote Mr. Fletcher mentions by Tom Newkirk in Holding On to Good Ideas in a Times of Bad Ones " an ongoing series of micro-experiments that extend and modify the repertoire of teachers. When we stop experimenting, we stop living as teachers" (2009, 21)

This resonates within me. I have always done what I call little experiments each year, but usually kept them secret from my grade level until about my 5th year teaching (currently on year 10). Little did I know that one of my experiments would lead to a change in our grade level writing.

2) "No writer or writing teacher can be satisfied with lackluster, formulaic sentences. If we aim to empower young writers, we must encourage them to explore the limitless possibilities and effects with words that are readily available to us all" (2010, 19) From Pyrotechnics

I will admit that once upon a time I taught prescriptive essay writing because it allowed majority of my students to be successful on the writing test for the state. I will admit that I hated every single week of it. I used the writer's notebook until January. From January to the end of February I taught the formula. Now that I have delved deeper into Calkins, Fletcher, Graves, and Keene I realize a formula is not needed in order to achieve success--teaching students how to be a good writer, exposing them to good writers, and studying genres of writing are what achieves success.

3) Allowing invention

I love that Mr. Fletcher has inventing words as a chapter all unto it's own. I have to say that I am a guilty of inventing such words, but I never thought about collecting them. Often times when I hear them or say them it is conversational. Being brave and moving beyond conversation and putting them into print is something that I would like to do as a writer this year.

As I get ready to sit down to continue my reading tonight, I feel as if it is Christmas and I am awaiting the presents from my family members. I am looking forward to the new "ah ha" moments I will have tonight with my dear friend, Ralph.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Click the link to summer slices on my family blog.

Planning Time

One month of summer left and I am getting excited to see the new faces that will arrive in my classroom in August!! I've begun to plan what the beginning of the school year will look like. My team partner and I have designed and finished our back to school night packet and presentation. So I can check that off the list of to do's.

Today I met with my co-teacher. We began a program three years that has had outstanding results. As we begin to look at the new faces and personalities we will see and what our peer learning reader's workshop will look like we became excited and our little conversation turned into a 2 1/2 hour brainstorming session.

Our district implemented The Comprehension Toolkit two years ago. Last year there was a marked difference in what my students knew that was different from years past. I am not sure where exactly to start. I love to hit the ground running with Andrew Clements' Frindle, but I want to make sure that the needs of my learners are met. What should I review and what should I elaborate on when the arrive in my room? For some students literacy workshop will not be new, but for others they will feel as if they are on another planet. It is an exciting time and I am trying to develop an inventory for the kids. I know what I want to hear from them. What is your experience as a reader? As a writer? What does the phrase making connections mean to you? What do you as a reader if you lose your way in a book?

I think for me July/August can be summed in one word. EXCITEMENT!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Reading

Before I begin reading for stretching myself as a teacher I indulge in an intense read-a-thon of fiction. Right now one of my favorites is Jodi Picoult's newest novel House Rules. This book is marvelous! I am always very skeptical when I hear about a novelist whose character has special needs because it never fails how they always use the cliches and it really irritates me. THIS BOOK IS NOT LIKE THAT!! The author did wonderful research. Her description of children and adults with disabilities was respectful and on target. It is great writing that makes me wish the words in my own writer's notebook could one day be read by others. But most of all it is a book that raises awareness done respectfully for families whose lives have been changed by autism. Thank you Ms. Picoult!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Finishing Up Poetry

My students are finishing up their poetry unit next week. I am so excited!! This is my favorite unit. Several of my students are going to attempt a creative writing contest through our local library. So we will spend the last 1/2 of the nine week preparing for this, writing an on-demand writing assessment, and then memoirs to the end of the year. I will be on haitus from now until August. I hope everyone has a wonderful summer and see you in August.