Sunday, January 5, 2014

Organizational Tip

         How do you keep track of what your students are reading, especially at home. I used to have my students log in their nightly reading in their homework book. Of course sometimes they would forget.Or I wouldn't be able to check. They always had their assignment books so I couldn't even collect them and take them home. This year I changed the way they keep track of their reading which has mad a huge difference. Each week the students begin a new reading log. Most days I give it a quick check to see that it has been collected. Then, once a week, students write me a quick note on what they are reading. This way I can collect 28 logs and easily review them during lunch, assemblies, or at home. Students then file the completed pages in a binder which we keep in the classroom. Students, parents, and I have quick and easy access to what the student has been reading at home to date.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Snowy Evening

Today's weather perfectly matches my favorite book. When looking at Kelly Hines' 20 day blogging challenge, Day one's assignment is to talk about a favorite book. The back corner of my mind spent the better part of 24 hours considering one book after another. I thought of Little Women - my first favorite book. The quintessential tale of a strong woman, my first experience real or otherwise with someone who shared my name, and the first book I stayed up all night to read (in third grade.) My first favorite series was Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. I thought of my favorite read alouds On My Honor and House on Hackman's Hill. But nothing seemed to fit. Nothing that is until tonight.

After a long day starting with a 5:45 am spin class I returned home at 9:00pm.It had started snowing about 6:00 and a few inches at least had already fallen. My husband had swept the driveway a couple times but, it was now time for shoveling.  I had a quick snack and then set about clearing the driveway and the deck. It was so peaceful. There were no cars, no people, just the occasional sound of the shovel scraping asphalt. The snow fell silently glistening with the twinkle of Christmas lights buried under snow.

Then I had it, my favorite book to share and/or teach. Okay, technically it is a poem, but a dear friend had given me the book one year as a special gift. The absolute perfect book is Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Long a favorite of mine Frost captures for me so eloquently the beauty of a snowfall - a big snowfall. The kind of snowfall we are getting tonight.

So at 11:30 pm, after shoveling twice, I messaged a friend to join me for a walk on a snowy evening. Save for a few shovelers and snowplows, we saw no one else. Yet the Christmas lights still up kept us company. Our boots crunched on the snow unable to tell if we were on sidewalks or grassy lawns. After a few miles, I dropped her off at her house and continued home. My footsteps from when I started out nearly covered up as the last line of Frost's poem whispered in my ears...And miles to go before I sleep.

In school I read this to the students (ideally on a snowy day.) There are also some good videos with wonderful pictures on YouTube. Or, you could scan your students' art and create your own video. Afterwards the students draw pictures with white pencils on black paper of a snowy evening. They then write their own poems of a snowy day or evening.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - 2014!

Another new year has arrived. And with it comes my resolutions. This year is no different. I have the usual - lose weight, get more fit, get more organized, declutter etc. Part of my resolutions (aka goals) are to specifically blog/write more often, track my workouts and nutrition, and return to my photo a day challenge. Of course, I also want to spend more time knitting, reading, and start a new garden. Does anyone know where I can get some more time?

Part of my blogging/writing goal has been spurred by Kelly Hines. Kelly is an amazing educator I met through Discovery Education. I sure do miss being part of the DEN. She has started a 20 day Blogging Challenge. So, I plan to use at least some of her challenges in my blog this month.

My very dear friend Susan Holden gave me a wonderful gift - a calendar. Now of course I already
have a school calendar, a bulletin board at home calendar, a desk calendar, and my Google calendar. But this calendar is different. It is to track my fitness goals and accomplishments. The year already has its first entry.My Winter Series Cham-Pain run. I feel so fortunate to have such good running/fitness friends. Often I get discouraged and feel too slow and not enough to really participate. But these friends, and Dan my husband as well, are always supportive and encouraging. Thanks guys!!

If you like to run, or you hate to run, but you want to get better, consider joining the Bucks County Roadrunners Winter Series. It is a series of Sunday morning runs in Tyler Park at 9:30 in the morning. Yes, it is usually cold ( And sometime wet, snowy, or flooded!!) And yes, it is early on a Sunday morning. But, the camaraderie and fellowship is well worth it. can always join us afterwards at Jake's for pancakes!