Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!


Hello teacher friends! Happy New Year to you! 
Tis' the season to think about goals and resolutions...
and one that always comes to mind is FITNESS.
I tend to be a "go-go" personality and have a hard time sitting still so I get a lot of random (usually kinder-related) "exercise."  One of my personal goals this year (Ok... Let's be honest... EVERY YEAR) is to commit to an actual exercise/workout program. 
However... This year I'm even more committed to improve my classroom "Kinder-Fitness" program.  As most of you know, I teach at a small private school... therefore I have the privilege of serving as my own "gym" teacher.  I gotta be honest... gym class is NOT "my thing."  I do an O.K. job of keeping my kinders actively engaged in fun, physical activities every week but I'm ALWAYS looking for more engaging resources for my kiddos.
Two of my VERY FAV teacher bloggers, Dee Wills and Kathleen Pedersen,
have passed on a great resource for me... AND YOU... to check out! 
(Be sure to check out their blogs by clicking on their names above. 
These gals seriously ROCK!  They make me a better teacher with every post they share!)
Take a moment to check out
I'm positive you will LOVE it as much as I did!
Did I mention you can use it for FREE?  Yippee! 
It's a great "indoor" recess option, in addition to being a good P.E. resource!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Great October Resource!

Looking for some GREAT October resources for your classroom?   Well, I have a GREAT one for you!   The GOOOOOOD kind.... the "print and little prep" kind!  Take a look at one of my FAVs for this month!

Simply click on the pics to check it out!   

Here are the Common Core Standards that are addressed during this 4 week poetry set: 

Here is how it works.  Each week there is a new poem with new activities to do each day. Once you have finished with the poem, it can go right into your literacy stations (pocket chart and/or poetry).

Thank you Dee-Dee, my wonderfully talented kindergarten colleague, for sharing your creativity and hard-work with the rest of us "Kinder-Teachers!"     You are a blessing!

New Perspectives... New Posts!

Hello Friends!   Have you ever had good intentions to start something new?  You know... you envision it as this great idea that you WANT to do so badly that you "sugar-coat" it in your mind so that it seems like this easily, do-able and exciting addition to your schedule.   BUT..... THEN.... "LIFE HAPPENS" and you realize.... WOW!  This is NOT working.   Hee!   I have to just giggle at myself!  Ok, I'll admit... I'm a dreamer!  I am SO the type of person who wakes up in the middle of the night saying "Hey!  I've got this awesome new idea! I gotta try this.... TOMORROW!"  Yes... I'm a "plate-filler".... and I tend to pile my own "plate" (schedule) chock-full 24/7.  It's a blessing....and a curse! Ugh!  

SO... to get to the point... (Yes!  I actually have one!)... When I began my BLOG this summer I had envisioned these wonderful and lively DAILY posts filled with treasures of information to share.   Then when school started, I realized.... I just can't keep up with it.  So... I do what all good "perfectionists" do... I re-pressed it!  Hee!   Ok... so now, as you know, it's October and I've made peace with the fact that my initial dream/plan of daily, frothingly-rich posts is NOT happenin'!  I've now set a more realistic goal of posting weekly, or simply as often as I successfully can.  So I'm hitting the "re-start" button....and movin' ahead!   Woot!  Woot!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Document camera on your wishlist?? I've got the magic answer to your dreams!

Have you secretly dreamed of having your own "Elmo" or other "Doc Cam" in your classroom?  Let me guess.. you've seen the multi-hundred dollar price tags of the "Elmos"... or worse yet the $1800 price tag of the "SMART Doc Cam."   Not possible on your school or personal budget? worries!  I have the answer for you!!!

Meet "HUE"...
Hue HD Webcam and Box
This little guy is the answer to all of your doc cam needs!
He simply plugs into your computer and operates just like an expensive document camera!  He takes pictures, he records, he projects things onto your "Smart" board (or other interactive board), he can zoom in and out, he can SKYPE, and he can record sound!  He's super flexible and re-positionable too! (For MAC or PC!)
This little guy does it all!
And did I mention they come in PINK!  (And many other colors too!)

The BEST part is.... He is only


It's one of the best kept "techie" secrets out there!

Are you excited or what?!!  The possibilities for making your content come alive are now limitless!   How about recording a video snippet everyday of those tadpoles in your science center...then combining the snippets to create a mini-movie of the life cycle of a frog?!  Or using "HUE" to record student reading behaviors and creating developmental portfolios for your kiddos?   How about using "Skype" to communicate with "pen pal" classes around your district, state, or world?!  Or... simply use this little man to project a regular book up on your interactive whiteboard screen for the whole class to view! 

(Check out the above picture-link to gain more info!) 

Be sure to post a comment on my BLOG if you liked this "techie" tip! 
I always love feedback! 
It lets me know what resources my followers are most interested in!

Gotta give a "shout out" to Lori Elliott
from SDE for sharing this incredible find with me! 

My First BLOG Award!

I just received my very first blog award! Actually... was blessed to be "double nominated!" Thank you to Cindy over at Hop n' Dots Teaching and Angela at Hippo Hooray for Second Grade for nominating me for "The Versatile Blogger" award.  I'm honored!  : )  So now I need to tell you seven random facts about myself and then tell you about some great blogs that I found.

Seven random facts about me:
1. My favorite dinner is a grilled cheese sandwich and a chocolate shake.  (I know... healthy, right?!)
2. I have been married for 18 years... and we dated 6 years prior to that.  (Yep!  Married my high school sweetheart!)
3. I have twins that JUST turned eleven two days ago.  (Twins that are 'tweeners!)
4. My youngest child is 7... and was a twin too...but Colton's twin is waiting for us in Heaven.  :)
5. I teach at a private, Christian school.
6. I used to be a Reading Recovery Teacher and an Early Literacy Coach/Consultant.
7. I recently won a $25,000 grant for my classroom from Pepsi!  Woo-Hoo!  Talk about feeling like I hit the jackpot! :)

There are sooo many out there...but here are some of the awesome Blogs I found and would like to nominate for the BLOG award!  (Check them out):
1. K is for Kinderrific
2. Modern Kindergarten
3. Heather's Heart
4. The Groovy Teacher

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Newbie Blogger Hop!

Janice at Grade Three is the Place for Me is hosting a Newbie Blogger Blog Hop to help
all of us new to the blogging world link up with each other.

First, post the following 5 things about yourself. 

1. what state are you in
2. your current teaching position
3. your teaching experience
4. when you started blogging
5. share a blogging tip/blogging resource

Then, head back to Grade Three is the Place for Me and link up using your post.

Here are the 5 things about me...
1. I teach in Indiana.
2. I teach Kindergarten... and also "LEAP" (Literacy
Enrichment and Achievement Program for kinder-aged kiddos!)
3. I am starting my 15th year of teaching : ) 
Eight years in public school as a kindergarten teacher, Reading Recovery teacher,
Literacy Specialist and Literacy Coordinator/Consultant....
and starting 7th year in Private School Education.
4. I started my own blog in June 2012....but am well experienced in BLOG stalking! Hee! 
5. I love sharing creative resources with other teachers!  I know my favorite BLOGS to follow are the ones that I can get tips/ideas from that I can use in the classroom the next day!  One of my favorite professional development instructors is Lori Elliot!  Check out her site at to find an unlimited number of educational and techy resource links! 

Now it's your turn! Join the fun!! I can't wait to meet you!!!

Oh... on the "personal" side... I had a glorious day with my newly "tween" twins!  It was their birthday, and we spent a wonderful, fun-filled day in Chicago!  I managed to sneak in two early morning professional development classes at the SDE conference before the rest of my family got up and got ready!  (Lazy bones! Hee!)  Then... we had a nice lunch together, walked down Michigan Ave. to the INCREDIBLE Chicago Museum of Art!   (My family and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE art!!! You will find out more about how I teach the "master" artists in my kinder-classroom soon!)  Then... after a stroll back, we opened gifts and then headed for the super yummy Cheesecake Factory!   Wow!  How can eleven years fly by so quickly???

Monday, July 23, 2012

Here's a Cool Tool for Ya!

Hello everyone!  Still here in Chicago enjoying the SDE Midwest Conference on Differentiated Instruction... and lovin' every minute of it!   The National "I Teach 1st!" Conference is going on here at the same time.  So... this is one fun place to be!  Everyone is so kind, warm and creative!  It's great!  Well... as the title of my BLOG suggests, my goal is to use this BLOG to share great resources.   So here is my tip of the day!  It's called "TAGXEDO."   This awesome website allows you to create awesome images (like the one below) in one minute or less! 
Don't ya' love it?  Think of how many ways you could use this!!!  Create a cool poster for your back to school board, print up T-shirts, make notecards, print and frame this for your kiddos' Christmas gifts... the possibilities are endless!  And the best part...... it's FREE!  You can adjust the colors, pick your own shape, save it, print it, post it in your blog or an email, etc! 

Simply follow these steps!
2. Click on the "CREATE" tab at top right.
3. Click on the "LOAD" button on left side of page.
4. Type a file name in the "WEBPAGE" box.
5. Type the names or words you want in the "Enter Text" box.
6. Pick your color, shapes, etc.
7. Save, print, tweet or post! 

It's that simple!  Do ya' like it?  Will you use this?  
Send me a comment and let me know! 
I have dozens of new, cool tips to post in the upcoming days!  Keep the comments coming to help direct me to what types of resources you like and don't like!  Feel free to "pin" the ideas you love!

I'd gotta go!  My darling hubby is on his way here with my kiddos.  Tomorrow we are going to celebrate my twins' birthday here is Chicago!  I have to finish up decorating the hotel room with balloons and streamers before they arrive!   Can't believe my "twinn-ers" will be "tween-ers" tomorrow!  Time flies!
I am so blessed! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Power Up!

Guess where I am today???   CHICAGO!  Yep, the "Windy City!"  I'm attending the "POWER UP!: Connecting Technology to Today's Learners" Conference hosted my SDE.  Gotta' say SDE (Staff Development for Educators) knows how to host a conference.  I went to the "I Teach K" national conference in Vegas last summer...and it was WONDERFUL!  I SOO wanted to go back this summer...but my next-door-teacher (who teaches 1st grade) was super excited to try some new things and had heard how much I loved the "I Teach K" conference and wanted to go to the "I Teach 1st" conference.  Soooo... I decided to go with her to Chicago because SDE was holding the "Power Up Tech" and "National Differentiated Instruction Conference" at the same time and location as the "I Teach 1st" Conference.  Whew!  ANY-WHO.... Here I am!  I had some GREAT sessions today! 

I just HAVE to share one of my highlights with ya'll!  :)   Lori Elliott.   My goodness, this super-cute southern gal is awesome.  You know, the kind of person that even though you just met her....she's like one of your best girlfriends..... who's REALLY smart!  Hee!  So here are a few "Have-To-Dos" for ya...

1. Check out the AWESOME resources that Lori shared with me today by visiting her site at   I mean it... if you are looking for some awesome new "techie" resources, websites, etc. .... you gotta check this out!!!

2. Consider grabbing one of her AWESOME...and oh so readable books. (Totally written in down-to-earth teacher talk!  Best techie books out there for teachers!!!)  This is what they (including Lori!) look like:
Books by Lori

3. Start saving your pennies TODAY...because I TOTALLY want to see you in Vegas at the "I Teach K" Conference in Vegas next year!!!  IT ROCKS!!!  (Plus... you'll get to meet Lori!  Hee!)

Better wrap this up!  Have a blessed weekend! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Super Cute Classroom Seating Idea!

Thanks to Ali, my wonderful sis-in-law and fellow kinder-teacher, I have a super cute idea to share with you for classroom seating!  Do you have an instructional reading table in your room??  Check out this creative and functional idea.  LOVE. IT.   

----> CRATE SEATING...with style!


Moving Right Along... Book Study Chapter 8

Hello Friends!  :)  Slowly, but surely I'm squeezing the minutes out of my busy summer "mommy" days to complete my book study of Katie Wood Ray's In Pictures and In Words.  I'm enjoying every page...and learning a lot!  I'm really beginning to develop a new "eye" (as Katie would say!) for how to more effectively teach my kinder-kiddos the art of compostition... in a way that addresses ALL of my students.  Teaching, using Katie's new perspective, will now be right on level for my "illustrating-writers"... and those who are actually prepared to write in words  AT THE SAME TIME!  If you are interested in learning how to teach using this parallel method.... check out this book!!!  

With that being said... I  have something else to add. (Moment of honesty here!)  As much as I'm loving the book and checking out all my FAV fellow kinder-teachers' comments and thoughts on the book via our on-line blogging book study....I will admit that the book study isn't my favorite topic to blog about.  I'm finding that the majority of my comments are very similiar to all the other kinder-peeps I'm book-blogging with.  I'm feeling a bit like I may be spinning my wheels with repeat comments.  While the book study is GREAT... I gotta admit, in regard to blogging, it's overwhelming my creative juices!  :)  Ya'll probably know that I just started my blog a few weeks ago... and am just getting my feet wet.  I'm so anxious to share so many other fun and creative thoughts and ideas...that I'm going to follow my gut here!  I will continue to share a few thoughts in my postings on the final chapters of the book study, but instead of re-stating the best ideas from each chapter... Starting with my next post, I am going to just post links to my other bookstudy blogging buds who already hit the nail on the head.   Thus... using achieving both of my goals!  YAY for flexibility and changing what needs to be changed mid-stream!   I know ya' get it...cause you are all teachers too, right!  Gotta love ya all!

Chapter 8 asks us to think about the precision and details we use in our writing and illustrations.  Follow this link over to one of the best of the best in the kinder-business....Kathleen's blog at "Growing Kinders" for thoughts and comments of our new chapter!!  Don't forget to visit Mrs. Will's blog too!  These gals are super smarties!!!  (Check out their TPT products too!  LOVE. THEM.  Sooo addicted to TPT:Teachers Pay Teachers!!!)  


Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Study: In Pictures and In Words (Section Two - Chapter 7)

Section Two of In Pictures and In Words

The second half of this wonderful book introduces 50 illustration techniques (with detailed explanations and lesson plans) and guides you how to teach children these illustrating techniques with purposeful intention, while SIMULTANEOUSLY helping students understand what it means to write well!

All the information you will need to teach illustrating and writing as a parallel composing process are in the second half of this beautiful book!

DeeDee Wills (Top “Kinder-Blogger” in the world!... OK… at least in my heart!) does a fantastic job highlighting this chapter.  Pop on over to her blog by following this link…

 Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

Sorry for the Interruption!

Sorry for the lag in posting lately!  :)  After my last post, we were "hit" (literally) my a string of 90+ mph wind storms that put me out of commission for a while.  We lost power....and therefore access to water... for a week!  Ugh!  One lesson learned... you do NOT want to live in the country...with NO POWER... and therefore NO water pump for your water-well... therefore the inability to flush a toilet for a week!  WOO-WEE! Top that with 105+ degree temps. and loss of internet... and you have a rough week.   My kiddos thought we were re-living the stone ages!  Hee!  But we survived... and let me tell you, we are more appreciative and thankful for what we have.   I'm not one to sit I spent my dark evenings in my basement (it was much cooler down there!) wearing a headlamp (I know you are picturing this in your head...and YES... I looked ridiculous!), pricing and sorting kids clothes for a garage sale.  Hey, I figured I might as well be productive!  And let me say... the day after our power was restored, we had a hum-dinger of a garage sale!  I hit four digits of profit on the first day...and doubled that by Sunday!  Gotta love it!

So... Now that I'm done with that slight detour...On with the show!  I'm working on my next post already.  I'll be sharing my comments on Chapter 7 of Katie Wood Ray's Book, In Pictures and In Words.  If you are a kinder-teacher who does "writer's workshop" in your's a MUST-READ!  :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My "Book Study" Blogging Comments

My Book Study Blogging Comments: 
In Pictures and In Words by Katie Wood Ray

Chapter 1: Why Illustration Study Matters to the Development of Young Writers

As Katie (the author) was setting the stage for the book, she described how one of her students, named Clay, felt about his work in his new illustration focused Writer’s Workshop.  I quote.. “Clay truly seemed to relish thinking about ways he could engage and inform his readers as he made books about topics he knew a lot about.”

This quote really hit home with me…because that is exactly how I feel as a teacher who LOVES my job….and that’s how I want my student’s to feel about their “work.”  I think about my class, planning, and how to best teach my kinder-kiddos pretty much 24/7…not because I “have to”…but because I LOVe it!  It’s a challenge and a joy for me to problem solve on challenging kiddos and plan fun, crazy-fun lesson activities.  My goal is to pass that “love of learning” on to my students.  I want every child in my class to feel like Katie’s “Clay.”

Another point that I really valued in this chapter was how Katie appreciates the value of “developmentally  appropriate” practices.   “Teaching into illustrations” (allowing students who are not ready to begin WRITING instruction to learn the same skills through the study of the illustrations) fits perfectly with this.  I agree with the point that “play is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation as well as for promoting language, cognition, and social competence.” (pg 10)   Teaching “into” illustrations can be done in ways that are so fun, engaging and playful…that students truly enjoy the learning process.  I know that I always strive to construct my lessons plans and activities around this key point.  If you don’t know me well enough yet, you will soon learn through by BLOG that I’m BIG into incorporating technology into my lessons.  I am excited to begin brainstorming how to integrate technology into “teaching into illustrations.”

Chapter “Love It” Quote! – Pg. 16 – “The forward-looking nature of teaching into illustrations asks teachers  to understand that the world these children live in—and will ultimately grow to be effective communicators in – is a world where the definition of text will be greatly expanded: what it means to compose a text will go far beyond composition with words only.”

n       So why would we teach a text only approach then?  Let’s think about 21st century skills!
n       We need 21st century literacy skills!  It’s not just about “written” words in books anymore!

Chapter 2: Building Stamina for Writing by Supporting Children’s Work as Illustrators

Katie further supports “Teaching INTO illustrations” in this chapter with this quote from Tom Newkirk, “…A more accepting and supportive attitude toward drawing can keep some reluctant writers engaged with literacy, connected to the visual models they love.”

Woo-Hoo!  I TOTALLY agree!  It’s all about “scaffolding.” {Reading Recovery terminology} <-- gotta love ya’, Marie Clay!! (Can u tell I used to be a Reading Recovery teacher?!)

It’s our job as teachers to our kinders to become writers by moving from “nothing to something” as Katie would say!  Each child is different.  When they come to us, some may already be prepared to write in words…but others may only be ready to start with pictures.  Let’s look at each child where they come in…and “scaffold” and support them where they are…and up to the next step!

Another great Chapter 2 point: “The CURRICULUM OF TIME!”
·         students must be taught how to sit down in chairs, stay there for a long time, and make some work for themselves that leads to writing!  (pg 21)
·         students have to learn how to make “something out of nothing”
·         AND… come back the next day and do it again!
·         We must teach our kiddos to be both “the boat AND the wind”  <-- I’m thinking we need a visual here Peeps!  -- This means kids need to both show up (be the “boat”) and move themselves forward! (be the wind!)

Katie goes on to point out that “Worksheet Teachers” are training kids to do work that is laid out for them…and they are NOT required to THINK or use higher level skills.  While these worksheet tasks may hold some value…they do NOT teach kids how to move themselves forward in school work…OR…in LIFE!)

Note that research shows that most of the jobs of the future will be project geared jobs… and for to be successful…children will been both the stamina to work on something for a long period of time, return to it day after day, and also to figure out how to move themselves forward!  <-- Bigger picture, Peeps!

SIDE NOTE!!!  I worked intensely on intentionally teaching stamina last year in my Reader’s Workshop.  It takes TIME… and PATIENCE!!!  But the results are OH SO WORTH IT!  Back breaking work in Aug, Sept. Oct…makes life in Jan, - June a walk in the clouds!  Teach self-regulation NOW… and watch your kiddos SKYROCKET second semester!    

Katie stresses how “Picture Writing Books” invite stamina – Gotta love OFFICE DEPOT and their sweet, sweet binding skills!  (Getcha’ a STAR teacher card!!!))   Those picture/writing books are the SINGLE BEST, MOST IMPORTANT material/tool I have ever purchased for my students!!!!  (And I mean…if I was stuck on a desert island kind of good!)

“Love it” Quote for Chapter 3:
“Children can’t live on purpose if they aren’t ever allowed to follow their purposes.”  

That quote is just another reason I love “PBL” projects (Project Based Learning)!  (More about PBL in future posts!) I LOVE activities that foster self-regulation! That’s the KEY to life people!  Yes, we need to teach our kids these “skills”…but we more importantly need to teach our kiddos to think for themselves, move themselves forward, and create their own futures!  KWR (Katie Wood Ray) is a genius!!!) 

Chapter 3: Writing and Illustrating as Parallel Composing Processes

I think I hear music… you know…like the voices of an angelic choir singing, every time I read the title to Chapter Three… WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING AS PARALLEL COMPOSING PROCESSES.

And as that angelic melody floats in the recesses of my mind…the hipster-teacher voice inside my brain (the one that uses trendy phrases in a voice that is much younger than my chronological age) says something like, “WHA? Did someone just figure out how to teach kiddos a required skill…. However, do it in a way in which you are actually teaching a widely “generaliz-able,” essential learning strategy…that can be shared with students so that when mastered, they can apply it to parallel learning processes in the classroom…and WAIT, WHAT?... That strategy can actually be applied in other areas of their REAL life as they grow up into adulthood to ensure a successful life!?!   Woo-Wee!  I gotta get me some of that! 

Ok. Ok.  So maybe ya’ all weren’t quite that excited…and I’m sure my “Reading Recovery Teacher” roots are showing on that comment…but the truth is, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE when I find a way to connect the learning process of one area…as a parallel to a different process.  If we, as teachers, can understand how all of these learning processes are connected…we can learn to teach these skills in smarter, more efficient ways…that yield in much better student retention and success…all the while making our jobs much less complex.  And in the time crunched, high-expectation, test-pressured day that we live in…we ALL need to learn how to teach SMARTER…and plan Efficiently!

 It is SOOO true that “what’s important to understand…is how the process of illustrating is just like the process of writing, and how forward-thinking teachers can support children’s growth as writers by simultaneously nurturing the process of illustrating.” (pg. 40)

Seriously, we all know as Kinder-Teachers that we ALWAYS have those kids who come in and do not possess all of the necessary skills to start “writing.”  Even after the first month or so of foundation building, there are those little kiddos that just seem to lag behind the curve.  They hold us back from “moving ahead” with more complex writing skills instruction…or perhaps we move ahead with text writing instruction, secretly knowing that our lessons will be sailing above their heads.   IF we teach INTO illustrations…we can be successfully teaching for both processes, text composing and illustration composing, at the SAME time!   It’s “differentiated instruction” in a whole group lesson!

Chapter “LOVE IT” Quote:  
“Creating a climate of fearlessness about both writing and illustrating in the workshop is key to children growing as meaning-makers.  Children need to know that if they can imagine it, they can try it… and trying it is what will be celebrated! Pg. 50

My Class Motto:  Kindergarten is for learning!  Are we perfect?  NO!  We are just trying…and trying to do our best!

n       Aren’t the bullets on pages 50 and 53 THE answers to the common core standard on “why are illustrations important in a story?”  Woot-Woot!  Gotta say… that was one of the questions that I received “weaker” student responses on this past year!  BING!

Another Quote I LOVE…  “He’s not an expert at all the techniques he’s trying – expertise will come with experience…”   He is trying!  He is being the wind in his own sails!! 

Chapter Four:  Teaching an Essential Habit of Mind: Reading like Writers in the Context of Illustration Study

Points I appreciated from this chapter…
-          pg. 57 – By teaching students to look at illustrations with “insiders’ eyes”, you can teach them the exact same habit of mind writers engage in as they read.
-          BTW.. “Game knows Game”… isn’t that why we all love TPT so much?!

“Once students learn to read as writers, then every act of reading has the potential to deepen their understanding of the craft of writing too.”  Pg. 61

“Teaching students this habit of mind also fosters independence in them as they can be learning about writing whether their teachers are there or not.”  <-- Isn’t this our goal! 

“ The teaching context is deliberately designed so that children see themselves as being the same kinds of people as the authors and illustrators of the picture books that surround them in their classroom.”

Feel Good Point!   Pg. 62  “The teacher’s role is to ensure the literacy club exists and that every child is in it.”    In my classroom, we almost always do “Author’s Chair” daily!  We ARE real writers and illustrators!!  The kiddos get to enjoy the spotlight!

n       As teachers we need to help them think about WHY illustrators/writers do certain things…because purposefulness should be our goal!  (pg 64)
n       Everything they see and consider becomes a possibility for future books they make,  (pg 65)

Chapter Five: Learning Qualities of Good Writing from Illustration Techniques

Major Chapter Points:
  1. Understanding the Quality of Tone in Writing: Using careful word choices, deliberate sentence structures, and well-timed paragraph breaks, writers can strike a tone in a text that is humorous, somber, etc…
  2. Understanding the Quality of Tone in Illustrating: using color choice, shapes, line size, etc, focus, clarity, etc.

Chapter “LOVE IT“ Quote – pg. 72 – Learning and development are most likely to occur when new experiences build on what a child already knows and is able to do and when those learning experiences also entail the child stretching a reasonable amount in acquiring new skill, abilities or knowledge. (NAEYC).

!! Build on what a child already knows and is able to do!!

KWR: “By simply changing the way I think and talk about the decisions of illustrators in picture books, I now see enormous potential for helping children come to own so many important understandings about the craft of writing, but to know them first in the context of illustrations.”

Chapter Six: Planning and Implementing a Unit of Study in Illustrations
Check this out!!  I love this quote: “If a curriculum is truly learning-centered, then that curriculum is based on inquiry and the search for questions that matter to us, whether we are adults or children.  The function of curriculum is to support us in the inquiry process of searching for questions and ways of looking at those questions.  Without inquiry, a sense of purpose and meaning in learning is lost and our natural inquisitiveness as learners is deadened.”  Kathy Short and Carolyn Burke, Creating Curriculum: Teachers and Students as a Community of Learners
* Gotta love “learning-centered!”  -- Anyone out there do any great “PBL” (Project Based Learning Projects that focus on inquiry based, learning-centered activities!  I’d LOVE to chat about them!)
Pg 79 – Love the explanation of the difference between a “unit” and a “unit of study”…
·         In a pre-planned unit, students are recipients of curriculum
·         In a “unit of study,” students are active co-creators of curriculum.
J  A “Study” has to have “study” in it!

The Predictable Framework for study in the Writer’s Workshop:
1.  GATHER a stack of texts that are good examples of what I want to study.
2. Make sure students know what it is we’re studying and that I EXPECT them to write under the influence of this study.
3. IMMERSE ourselves in reading and talking about the gathered texts and what we notice about how they’re written.
4. STUDY some of them closely until we’ve become articulate (and can chart) about how people write this kind of text.
5. WRITE (both teacher and students) something that could go in the stack of texts we’ve been studying and be articulate about how our writing fits in the stack.
**The teaching practices, in different studies across the year, should be familiar and predicable.  This is essential!  They understand the process and take ownership.
“LOVE IT” PAGES:  “Utilizing the Framework for Illustration Study”  Pages 80 – 87
The section is explicit enough to help you get started with illustration studies in your classroom!

Inspired to JOIN US now?  Simply click on the picture link to learn how to join us!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lookin' for a way to improve your Writer's Workshop! I've found it! I've found it!

As “Kinder-Teachers” we’ve all been there, right?? Working on our lesson plans for our Writer’s Workshop, as we find ourselves a bit troubled.  We’re planning a whole group lesson on the next “common core” related writing skill when we get that little heavy feeling in our “gut.”  You know…the feeling that sends messages to your “teacher heart” (and mind) that what you are planning is going to end up leaving some of your slower-learning kinders wondering what just passed “over their heads.” 

Well… I have some GREAT news for ya!  Yep!  I’ve found a way to teach ALL of your kinders rock solid skills…in a way that will be appropriate for learners of all levels!  (Give me a “Woot! Woot!)

Okay… Okay… It wasn’t actually ME who so brilliantly found the answer to our instructional dilemma… It was one of my FAV-O-RITE blogging buddies… Mrs. DeeDee Wills!   Okay… Okay… It wasn’t exactly DeeDee who did the research, but I’m giving her the credit here because this beautiful blogger is the gal who initiated a WONDERFUL on-line, blogging BOOK STUDY!  Deedee has invited me…and YOU.. to join kinder-teachers around the world in a summer study on Katie Wood Ray’s incredible book, In Pictures and In Words. 
               Join us!  Won’t you??

Click on the picture above to follow the link to DeeDee’s blog. Instructions for joining the book study can be found there! 

Kindergarten Connections!

Well.. I am humbled as I am being warmly welcomed into the blogging community! I'm so excited to get rolling! As you may be able to tell from my blog title, one of the main goals of my blog will be to share GREAT resources with other kinder-teachers (PK, K, 1st, etc.). I'd like to begin meeting that goal by sharing some of my favorite kinder-teacher blog sites with you! I TRULY find blogging to be an incredible BLESSING to me, as an educator. I teach in a private school with only one class per grade level, and I find myself yearning to brainstorm and share ideas with teachers who are in the same "trenches" I am! Blogging makes this possible. :) It is so refreshing to have an unlimited wealth of resources at your literal fingertips! Please realize there are hundreds of amazing and talented teachers out there... and I can't list them all... So I will begin with a few of my FAVs! And MOST importantly... if you are visiting my blog and YOU have a great resource site, post it for us all to visit...because it's all about CONNECTIONS!

Can Do Kinders

Heather's heart

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's official! I'm a "Blogger!"

Yep! After a year and a half of 'blog stalking'.... I have officially joined the ranks of the educator blogging brigade! I'm excited to get this new adventure under way. Bear with may be a bit slow in the beginning. But if you know me, you know I always have BIG plans and BIG dreams! (I only struggle with finding the "BIG" time to accomplish it all! Hee!) So...come along! Join me on my blogging adventures of the kindergarten kind! :)