Thursday, August 10, 2017

#pb10for10 Ten Books I Use to Promote Friendship and Kindness



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Thank you to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for this yearly celebration of picture books.  Join in to share and learn here.

I love to talk about friendship and kindness all the time with my first grade friends.  We return to it many times during the school year.  And some of these books I will read several times based on what we need.

So without further chatter, here are 10 books that can be used to promote Friendship and Kindness:

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Last year, I think I read this book no less than 3 times to my class.  I love it.

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This is another book that I love to read a couple of times a year.  I love to read and share and plant the idea that food can really bring people together.

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Sometimes a little magic is all you need to start a friendship.

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I love reading this book to remind kids that it can be the small acts of kindness that build a person up.



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Monday, August 7, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?




Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who links up.


I Love Back to School time.  I immediately immerse myself in the important work of reading lots of new picture books, so I can introduce new books to my new friends! 

Here's what I've been reading this week for picture books:

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Charming, with accessible text!  I loved all the stories in this book.  I hope the kids do too.

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I know this book was written for perhaps Newborns.  However, I'm loving the idea of reading it on the first day of school.

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Another great book as we set up our time to read and write!  

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I love this celebration of reading anywhere.  Donalyn Miller talks about edge reading.  I teach this to my First Graders.  You are "done"?  Try some edge reading.  We are waiting on a field trip?  Try some edge reading.  This book celebrates reading anywhere perfectly!  

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Ahem.  Excuse me!  There are picture books as companions to this series!?!?  What excites me about this book, is that it is a companion to The Land of Stories, which I'm currently reading.  Since I don't feel like this is an appropriate read aloud per say for First Graders, the picture books will be a great way to connect with what "I'm really reading."  That doesn't happen very often. 

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I love transition books.  For me, my favorite one is First Grade Stinks!  But this one is great for incoming second grade friends.  

Welcome to August Friends!  I'm feeling the excitement and anticipation this morning.  

Joy!
Kendra 

Monday, July 10, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who links up.


Hello Friends!  These past two weeks, I've been reading picture books.  Stacks of them actually.  Funny story:

Last week we are at the library, and we are using my son's library card to get our books.  As we continue our check out, his library card stops working on all the books.  As I approach the librarian, she scans his card and informs me he has exceeded the 50 book limit.  Whoops.  (And I may have felt book shamed?!? If that's a thing...)  Not to worry!  We just pulled out another card and carried on...

I'm always looking for books to add to the classroom library.  So I'll read stacks of them in the summer.  But today I want to start with a cook book:
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If you have-know-Love anyone with food allergies, I loved this book.  On the left of the page layout, there are tabs that let you know what allergens have been eradicated.  On the right of the page layout, it gives the recipe, and another label on allergens and what to consider.  What I loved about this?  I felt like I could cook for the family without losing my ever loving mind.  If you are a Multiple-food-allergy parent, or love-support-have food allergy people, you know what I'm talking about.  :)  My favorite find was the pumpkin seed pesto.  (Nut-free!)  Seriously, very user friendly.

Now to the business of the stack of picture books:

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As I read this book, 3 boys watched with concern in our living room.  So I just passed it around.  They all read it.  As much as I don't want to, I'm glad to have another picture book to pull out when I don't know what to say.  
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As we continue to strive for peace, this is a great book.  

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I want to meet Flannery O'Connor after reading this book.  (I know...not possible.)  But she might be my soul sister.  The author's note is my favorite part of this book.
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I read this right after reading ida, Always.  Whoops.  More concerned looks from the living room.  Comforting and peaceful, with accessible text for all.

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I learned I'm a Vision Dreamer and Nature Happy.  I mean, could you imagine how empowering for a student to see themselves in this book?

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So at the beginning of the year, I focus on books that have rhyme and rhythm.  They also have to be accessible and fun!  Josh Funk writes books such as these.  :)

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I'm always looking for books that encourage creating and refining.  Here is a great one!



Happy Reading!
Joy!
Kendra

Friday, July 7, 2017

#cyberpd Week 2

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This summer I'm participating fully in CyberPD!  There is a great hashtag on Twitter.  There is also a Google+ community.  Come join us!


I want you to know as I get into this book, I am working not to simply summarize what I'm reading.  I too,  am making connections and looking for deeper meaning and implications for my own classroom teaching.  So, if you are new to this blog, feel free to ask questions if I seem to have gone astray!   Let's work on deeper meaning together!

As I began chapter 5, I was struck by work I have done around Marie Clay and her studies.  When we begin with what they know, we can increase their curiosity and increase their engagement and motivation.  In Reading Recovery, teachers are trained to Roam around the Known for several teaching sessions.  This is careful observation in which teachers are watching for known literacy patterns and then use these as teaching points to guide us.  This was encouraging to me because as I started reading, I wondered if this read would be relevant for me as a First Grade teacher.  

I keep thinking about the why.  Why would I begin to put such an emphasis on questioning this way in my classroom?  Because I want to put that spotlight on thinking.  I want the thinking to be a part of the culture in my classroom, as well as making that thinking visible.  How great would it be if students could get to the point where we are not only talking about why they are thinking a certain way, but how they arrived there as well.  

There is a sense of fear, if you will, about this line of work.   Maybe not fear, but apprehension?  What if they go off course?  How do I keep myself from jumping in and "correcting" their thinking if it goes off course.  I loved these words:  Hold onto your purpose.  If you slow the purpose down, students Can put the pieces of a text together to see connections, relationships and interaction.  I'm blessed to work in an environment that allows for slowing down.  

As I think more about the How behind this work, I was pleased to be reminded of Turn and Talk, as well as Low Stakes Writing.  As I consider other reading I've done this summer, I am seeing I need to renew a place for Low Stakes Work.  This doesn't mean low accountability.  It means a safe place to share curiosity and thinking without the apprehension of doing it right.  

Where are you at as you work through this book?  

Joy!
Kendra





Sunday, July 2, 2017

#cyberPD Week One



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This summer I'm participating fully in CyberPD!  There is a great hashtag on Twitter.  There is also a Google+ community.  Come join us!


I love to "talk shop" when it comes to literacy.  It's not uncommon for me to ask about reading instruction and what you are excited about in your classrooms.  There is no other motivation for it than I love to hear what other Brilliant Educators are doing.  So this is a fair warning to my local friends...get ready, I'll probably want to talk your ear off about this book.  :)

What struck me right away in chapter one was the idea of focusing on the whole of the instruction rather than the pieces.  In my reading instruction currently, there are all kinds of pieces!  This idea that when we teach our pieces to students, we rob them of the experience of figuring it out them selves!  When I'm focusing on the whole, I'm aiming to help students develop problem solving skills over all, not to simply "get" a skill.

Yes!  Now without reading on, this is a shift in learning for me.  Knowing I need to learn more, I am wondering what a schedule would look like.  How am I instructing emerging readers to read from a problem solving standpoint, rather than "workshopping" through all my teaching pieces?

I loved moving on to chapter two, because a bit of this was laid out for me!  On page 24, the reading on shared interactive read aloud had me thinking about complex text and empowering students to tackle complex text on a daily basis.

As I considered the reading process in chapter 3 and balancing the science behind why I do what I do already (workshop with mini lessons) as well as the art of teaching, I can't wait to read more.

Can I really approach this time from a problem solving stand point?  I can't wait to see how this journey goes!

Joy!
Kendra


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SOL: Dear Li'l T: A Letter to Li'l Readers Everywhere.



Two Writing Teachers are hosting Slice of Life.  Join us!

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Dear Li'l T,

We've watched you grow up so much this year!  Your sense of humor amazes me.  You are bold and funny.  Sometimes it is at the right time.  Sometimes it's not.  (And then I have to hide my giggles for the sake of parenting...but only sometimes...)

I've been thinking about you as a reader a lot lately.  You are so good at it.  I want you to love it.  

I've been wondering about the day when I would see you linger in a stack of books deciding which one to read next.  I've tried not to push and prod.  But I just want to see you excited about books.  And for the longest time, you tolerated them at best.  

I would recommend.  I pleaded.  I begged.  I may have even told you-"You had to."  Ugh.  I'm sorry about that.  

And then Your Dad and I backed off.  As much as I wanted you to embrace all the reading all the time, I just waited.  

Dad still read to you.  We still took you to the library all the time.  You were able to read whatever you wanted.  There just wasn't "The One" for you.

We kept trying.  For 8 (almost 9) years we've been trying.

And this summer....I'm so happy I could squeal.  But I won't because cool Mamas don't do that.  :)
I think it's happening.  I think you might be falling in love with reading.

As I was watching again today, I've learned so much about how you are growing as a reader:

  • You can't go wrong with animal books.
  • The chapter books have to include adventure, but they can't be scary.
  • My heart may have melted when you started picking up cook books.  We'll keep working on that Mac n' Cheese recipe.  (And it may have spurred a rough draft about gender roles and books.  I'm not good at this style of writing, but will try it anyway!)  
  • You can Always pick up the picture books I grab for school.  Always.  
I've learned in these almost 9 years that this is a winding river for you that we will follow as long as you need us to.  

Yes, You can Read That.  

Joy!
Kendra



Monday, June 26, 2017

It's Monday! Here's What I'm Reading...


Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.


Dear Friends,  
It's been 6 months since I've written about my reading!  Thanks for being a supportive blogging community.  I've been thinking and tending to ideas around this little blog to help me process learning.  But that story is for another day.

Let's look at what is in my book stack this week.  The theme of the stack?  It's really about staying connected to my 12 year old.  He really is an avid reader, and this summer we have really gotten in a groove of recommending books back and forth.  (And he's even been reading some of my favorites!)  I'm hopeful that books will keep us connected as we enter teenageland.  13 doesn't scare me.  We have books.  :)

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Big A recommended this series, and both my Mr. and I can't put it down.  I know it's a couple years old.  If you love fairy tales, you may really enjoy this series!  Yes, we pre-ordered the next one already.  


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So after Big A had is Mama and his Auntie bugging him about this series.  He finished 3 and said, "That's not cool.  What happens next?"  After a little research, I learned there was a 4!  

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As I've picked this one up, I can't help but think of kids I want to hand this one to when I'm finished.  

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Who is doing #cyber pd?  See you there!


Joy!
Kendra


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Curious Classroom-Some Final Thoughts.



Two Writing Teachers are hosting Slice of Life.  Join us!

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Hi Friends.  :)

A confession.  I tend to linger in professional development books.  
I often feel like I'm "behind" because I'll read something and linger with it in my classroom for awhile.  
I want to see if the reading really impacts my classroom practice.
I know I'm not really behind.  
Anyone else ever feel this way?  

So I read this gem over vacation:

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A fantastic read!  I know I've said this several times, but I felt so encouraged and empowered as I was reading this!  You too can have a Curious Classroom!  

I blogged about the beginning and chapter two separately.  

A Little Request:  Could you click on "the beginning" link and consider helping me?  It's a piece about my own curiosity and state rocks.  :)  

Today, I'm thinking about the rest of the book and how it had so many authentic suggestions to incorporate and encourage curiosity in the classroom.

Here are 7 I'll be considering as I plan for next year:

1.  Run right to page 44 and check out the wonder board!  Mrs. Limback's First Grade will have one of those this year!  Stay tuned.  

2.  As I consider the start to my day, I'm a fan of soft starts.  I love the lingering in books, the chatting, time to get ready.  Let's go ahead and add some research and journal time on a topic of interest to the child as they arrive at school each day.  (See Chapter 4 for more on soft starts!)

3.  News.  (Chapter 5).  I'll admit, I tend to shy away from this, but am learning rapidly not to do that anymore.  I'll be gathering and organizing kid news sites and webcams to be accessible for students.  I'll use Symbaloo, because that is the tool I like.  :)

4.  See more about experts in chapter 6.  As I reflected on this, my kids were exposed to 7 experts last year, including:  fire fighters, police officers, actors/actresses, the organizer of a food pantry, a dog handler, a park conservationist, and experts at our zoo.  I'm looking to add a few more for this year.  

5.  It was great to be reminded of Genius Hour.  I'll be adding that to my schedule this year.  

6.  Mini Inquiries that connect to curriucular units.  So, I tried to do a more project based approach last year, but didn't feel like I completely hit that mark.  So this year, as I write a yearly plan, I intend to build up time to investigate the questions that students have on the topic.  

*Also a moment here.  I teach P.E. as part of my New-ish gig.  If you do, get right to page 148-149 and read about connecting inquiry and nonfiction writing.  Or find your P.E. teacher and collaborate a little.  :)

7.  Crisis.  Lean right into it.  Ugh.  We had to last year when two of our finest were shot and killed less than a mile from my school.  We had to talk about it.  We had to wonder about it.  We had to "do" about it.  It resulted in a forming relationship with our police department.  It built empathy and concern like I've never seen before.  There were tears from kids and grown ups along the way.    I pray we don't have to lean in like we did last year.  But this one I would say is the most important.  Get right in there friends.  Don't shy away from the hard stuff.  

I was left with these encouraging words from The Curious Classroom:

Let Your fears go.
Take some risks.
Have fun.  


This is a book I'll be hauling around a lot this fall as we settle in!  I hope you have a chance to read it!
Joy!
Kendra


Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Curious Classroom Day 2



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Chapter 2 focuses on Investigating Ourselves as Classmates.  

As I consider the tie-ins to Writer's Workshop here, I have already begun outlining what the first few days of school will look like during this time.  

On page 25, the explanation of Identity Maps is explained.  Examples are shared in the next few pages.  As kids write about themselves in the first days, this gives them not only a positive self identity, but an opportunity to develop a working list of writing topics.  

As I read about identity maps, I also considered Georgia Heard's idea of Heart Maps. As my students are writing in the early days of the school year, I want that positive self identity that comes with this work.  I also want them to see that they have a story to tell, and it belongs to them.  

In the idea of partner venns (pages 28-29) kids are working side by side on a chart paper.  They begin by working on ways to describe their own identity.  Then, they study each other's side of the venn diagram, looking for things that they have in common.  As the students find them, they put them in the center section of the venn.  

2 more strategies that struck me from reading chapter two:  Step in, Step out. (page 34)  Also, the Morning Greeting Ritual.  I reflected on this so much when I was reading!  
I use the Responsive Classroom's method of a Morning Meeting to begin each day.  (I'll be writing about this later...)  But what I envision when I consider my schedule, is a check-in ritual around Mid-Morning.  With singing and dancing and a "Lightning Share".   A Lightning Share is a quick trip around your classroom circle to just check in and see what is on the minds of the kids.  I always let them pass if they don't have anything to share at this time.  

I'll say it again.  This was such an empowering read for me!  Get this book!  :)
Joy!
Kendra

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Curious Classroom: Day One



Dear Friends,

For the past 9 days I have wandered around the Midwest.  From porch time in a little town in Nebraska, to hiking in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  It's been a fantastic way to start the summer.

While sitting on the porch in Nebraska, I had the chance to read this gem:  (Also a fantastic way to start the summer)

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Have you read it?  Just go do that now if you haven't.  It was confirming and encouraging and empowering.  After I read it, I left feeling like I could make some easy changes to what I'm doing to encourage more curiosity in my classroom.  I'll be writing more about that in the upcoming days.

But as I was hiking with my family through South Dakota, my 12 year old jumped onto an idea with me.  It was at Jewel Cave Monument, as we were hiking through the canyon that I had an idea.  And Friends, I could use your help.

Big A (the 12 year old) and I were fascinated by the geology of the state of South Dakota.  Which lead to me thinking about the geology in all the states.   Big A and I are wondering if we can collect state rocks from all 50 states.

I teach a unit on the United States, and incorporating some geology into this unit would be an opportunity to authentically model something that I'm curious and excited about.

Big A loves to collect and organize and synthesize information.  It could come in handy at school, but he's really just excited about the prospect of connecting with teachers and their state rocks.  :)  We've had great conversations about what this blog post should look like.

So, if you are willing to help us by sending rocks from your state and a fact or two, would you either DM me on Twitter?  Or you can leave an email in the comments, and I will get in touch with you.  We would be so thankful for the help.

There are no expectations on number/size of rocks.  Just something that we can share and study.  We are also excited to hear about your perspective and thoughts on the geology of your state.

Thanks Friends!
Joy!
Kendra







Tuesday, April 11, 2017

He is Always on Time.



Two Writing Teachers are hosting Slice of Life.  Join us!


A Bit of a Backstory...

The past 3 weeks have been hard.  Like, you are side swiped and knocked over.  You get up.  You get side swiped again.  You get up.  It happens again.  It begins to happen so much, you just start crazy laughing when it does.  You are clawing to hang onto every piece of positive you can in your being. 

(Lutheran Girl Looks Around...shhh...)  You might be getting frustrated with God.  Where are You?  Why is all this happening?

After lunch today, I'm standing with a friend in the office when the doorbell rings.  As we begin to visit with our guest, she asks us to heat up her lunch.  She's homeless you see, and a pizza hot pocket from the gas station down the way just really sounded good today.  I learned she didn't want that cold meat sandwich, her mom lives on the east side of town...

Without thinking twice, my friend and I lead her down the hallway to the microwave.  She looks around.  
"Did I bother a school?"  

There's a church over here, you came at just the right time so we could help you.  

"Oh yes.  God is Always on Time."

Stopped me right in my tracks.  

I'll say it again if you missed it, "God is Always on Time." 

I'll keep waiting.  I know when He shows up, it will be on Time.  

Joy!  (In the Time.)
Kendra


Thursday, April 6, 2017

#mustreadin2017: An Update



Oh Friends!  I'm so excited to check in an see what you've been reading!

I just giggled as I was looking at my Goodreads tonight to see how I was doing!   Let's get right to the update shall we?

Here is my January link.   It has my original 20 books.

Here we are in April.  So far I've read:

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I loved it when my sis texted me after she finished this last week.  Such an escape read!
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My 12 year old asked me to read it.  Pulled it off the shelf for me at the library.  Who can say no to that?

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If you are looking to be challenged in a faith walk-this is a book for you.  Wowza.

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I've always wanted to read this book, and found it on clearance one night at the book store.

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I just finished this tonight as part of a book club with a first year teacher and an administrator.

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If I got serious, I could finish this tonight...I'm so close!


So-I've read 5 books, and have nearly completed a 6th.
What cracks me up?  3 of these books weren't on my list.

I'm not great at sticking to the plan...  it should also be noted, these two were gifted to me after I started the challenge, so of course they are in the stack too:
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What's up next?
I don't know.  The stack of the original 20 is close by.  I keep picking them up and putting them down.  I can't decide!  Stay tuned...

Joy!
Kendra