Friday, September 7, 2012

Highlights of my Week

I had a super Friday with my class! I just wanted to share some highlights of my week:

My students had good behavior for the most of the week and lots of lost teeth (3) in one week! My students are loving Erica Boher's Lost Tooth Club. One of my students even asked me where the club meets lol she was pretty excited. We are now reading Junie. B. Jones, Toothless Wonder as our chapter book during snack time. 

My students are loving Pete the Cat of course so if it gets them excited it is a highlight for me! They are really liking the listening center and doing well even though this is the first week we've started them. We have practiced for 2 1/2 weeks and this Thursday actually started rotating a little. I did 2 centers yesterday and 3 today. Usually we do all 5 in one day but I wanted to ease them into it and they are doing really well. We have stamina for about 12 minutes and then I usually get interrupted. I know with continued practice they will do fine with centers though. They are a quiet group for the most part but really love my attention sometimes at any cost. 

I saw this in a friend's classroom and knew I had to get it! What a wonderful tools for students! My students now don't have to ask me what to do when they are done. They can just choose on the the options.

I love using these awesome frames from Lakeshore! It is so easy to slide work in and out and the brighten up the room too! I just wanted to show you how they looked with writing actually in them.

 Another thing I love using in my class this year are poetry notebooks and reading response journals. I used poetry notebooks last year but I just love how my kids are taking their time with it this year and really doing an awesome job with highlighting, reading, and crafting a bit. I haven't used reading response journals before but I really like using them with first grade. Right now we are doing a shared reading response together on the board and then they copy it into their response journal. Later in the year I will have them response on their own after we've discussed the book. This is from a nonfiction book we read about Big Cats and Pet Cats today. This student is showing the similarities between pet cats and big cats.

Finally I am super happy to announce there were no fits thrown on Friday! Which has now made me day. I have one student who has crying/screaming/dangerous fits almost every day sometimes more than once a day. Thursday of last week he didn't have a fit and got extra computer time as a reward and today he got a trip to the treasure box because he didn't have a fit today! It makes everything better when the class doesn't have to listen to one of his fits. P.S. I have made a calming box with a special spot. He throws the items around and once it is finally worn out of crying (15-30 mins) will use the tools. Any other suggestions for calming down would be wonderful!

Well friends have an awesome weekend! Hope you can reflect on the highlights of your week with a smile.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I need to stick to the positives this year so I'm letting you all know what I'm loving this Wednesday!

1. I'm loving that I've got my plans done and ready for next week! Common core is starting to become a little easier in my planning.

2. I'm loving the rain pouring outside and the yellow glow from the sun setting. It's beautiful to see right  now and I need to step back and enjoy small beauties.

3. I'm loving that it is a short week! Only 2 more days of school left!

4. I'm loving that I'm done with running reading records and STAR testing!

5. I'm loving that So You Think You Can Dance is on tonight! Anyone else a huge fan? Go Tiffany!

6. I'm loving how supportive my team has been this year and how much we share! It makes such a difference to have a great team!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to Choose A Good Book

Hey friends! Sorry I've been absent. My class is very needy this year and I've been staying late at work every night. I feel like I've been stretching myself thin and I haven't even blogged at all! Now I'm feeling a little sick and I'm taking the night off from the gym so I wanted to give you a guest post about choosing the good books. You can use this information for yourself and your students.

How to Choose the Right Book
There are thousands and thousands of books out there, with seemingly new ones coming out every day. Every politician, and person on television also seems to be writing a book as well. Not to mention all of the classic novels that are still popular to this day. There are even more options if you have an e-reader as there are many places to download eBooks for free or for nominal prices. So it can be difficult to actually find the one that you want. Luckily there are ways to narrow down your choices and find a book that will be enjoyable and suit your needs.

Follow Authors
Many people love to read books by the same author, even to the point of eagerly awaiting their next book. This is not always a solution for authors who write very few books, but for a lot it is. Generally an author that writes a lot of books will write in the same genre and style, so this would be a natural place to look.

The nice thing about websites that sell books is the review system. An easy way to find books that you may like is to go to Amazon. From there, you can look up books in the past that you have read, with that, it will show you other books that were purchased when this book was purchased. Basically, it shows similar relevant authors and books, which can be an easy way to find new books. Not only that, but the similar books will have reviews so you can see if it is something you would like.

Solicit Advice
It would be a good idea to ask around to friends and family if they have any recommendations. If someone knows you well enough they should know what type of books you enjoy reading. This can be very helpful, if they know a good book or author, they will jump at the chance to tell you. Not only this, but often they can lend you the book if they do own it themselves.

Top Books
Often at the local public libraries, there will be displays of popular books. Not only that, at times, the library will set up displays showing favorite books by library employees. This can be a godsend in finding a book that you will like. Once you find one you like, you could note which employee recommended it, and even ask them for more ideas. They certainly should be more than happy to help.

Read a Little
When you are looking at a book, if possible read the first chapter. This may not be necessary if you know the other. But if you are delving into a new author or genre of books, it is a good idea to look at the first few pages or ideally the whole chapter. You should have a good idea if you like the book or not.

It can be difficult choosing a new book as there are so many choices and opinions out there. Luckily there are a lot of resources to find the right book for you. When choosing a book to read, do not be afraid to look outside your normal interests in regards to authors or even genres. You may find something new that interests you.

Deborah Brock writes about literature, education & more at

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