Thursday, June 28, 2012

A little late, just a thought, and family fun!!!

A little late, just a thought, and family fun!!!

I know that I am a little late on our D5 book study but I’ve been really busy this week.  I’ve been working on a picture collage for my cousin’s wedding.  It is taking a bit longer that I expected though because I can only work on it at certain times during the daynamely nap time for little C.  She is into everything lately, my sweet “T2” little girl. I am finally finished though and can concentrate on other things!!  

my cousin's collage-hard to see though

I love these sections of the book because we are finally into the “how”  of what is the idea of D5. Rereading this has really lit a fire within me.  I am so excited to get back into the classroom and get started.  We are on chapter 3:  What's the Difference?  Key Materials, Concepts, and Routines for Launching the Daily Five. 
          I’ve only done one year of D5 but I know that there are a few of these key concepts and routines that are imperative to making D5 work and that I must revisit in order to make D5 work within my classroom.  I think one of the most important is the modeling of correct and incorrect ways to perform a D5 skill.  I started strong with this when we began read to self.  The kids did enjoy modeling and watching the others model, especially when they did the incorrect way.  My read-to-self section worked really nicely in my class.  We worked hard on modeling for read-to-someone and again, success!!  So much so, that I really didn’t focus too much on modeling when it came to word work or writing.  I mean, hey!  They were getting it with the other areas, why waste that valuable time!!!  Let me tell you, I did waste timeMY OWN!!!  Those were the areas that were least successful the entire year especially at the end of the year when they started getting antsy and tired of being at school.  This year I will make sure to follow the modeling procedure correctly. Another area was picking a just right book.  I didn’t give up the power of picking appropriate books completely to my children.  We went over the IPICK strategy.  I even did a partial shoe lesson (using my kids shoes and me trying them onI have small feet).  Unfortunately this was another area I didn’t follow to a T and sure enough it showed.  Later in the year, as students’ reading progressed there were always kids who wanted to read what higher readers were reading.  Someone always wanted a Diary book or Harry Potter and they weren’t ready for it.  So back to the anchor chart we went.  This brings me to the another concept the sisters mention in short intervals of repeated practice (or building stamina)stop as soon as you see a student who isn’t following what is written on the anchor chart. “If kids practice an off task behavior they are practicing the wrong way and therefore training their muscle memory incorrectly” pg.38.  That is what happened in my room with book choice (and other areas too I admit!).  Definitely going to be working on that!!  Somewhere on a fantastic blog, someone wrote about how they let kids “shop” for just right books from the class library for 30 minutes at the end of every Friday so they will have books for the next week in their book boxes.  I have searched but can’t find the person who does this.  If you read this and you are that person or know that person, please let me know.  I need to give you props and I need to go back and reread how you do this!!!  I’m sorry for not writing your name and blog name down.  (Like I said before, I’m new)
A few things I want to mention:  A true gathering place really is important.  It does set the tone for successful learning and the children know that they are expected at this time to be ready to share and to listen.  They know they will learn from their friends about what just happened in that rotation and maybe what they can expect when they get there.  Also, you need a signal for this.  When they hear it they know what is about to happen and they need to get their brain and body ready for it.  I use a simple outdoor wind chime.  It’s cheap and easy.  Right now the one I am using is a gift from a student.  It has a frog on it which matches my room theme.  I hang it from the chalkboard tray and use either my pencil or my finger to strike the chimes.  A WHOOOOLLLEEE LOT cheaper than some of the signals out there in teacher land.  Also there are tons of IPICK book marks on TPT.  I use these in their book boxes so they always have a mini anchor chart for picking a just right book!!!
And finallyOne thing that stood out within this chapter to me was about how crucial establishing routines, defining expectations, practicing behaviors, and building stamina is in order to make Daily 5 work in the classroom.  If you be patient and stick with these things D5 will work for you!

Self reflection-You know, it is funny what causes you to pause for self-reflection.  I don’t know about you, but self reflection is a huge part of my life.  A lesson learned the hard way but a valuable one none the less.  My principal called me last week and asked me to be part of an interviewing committee.  We have a couple of openings and she was ready to interview.  I started thinking about what I would want to ask if I were the principal.  I decided upon 3 questions; one about how they approached literacy instruction, one about classroom management, and one about the latest current educational technique they have learned about and applied in their classroom.  Pretty good questions I thought.  Then I get to the school and my P hands me a questions sheet.  I liked the questions on the survey.  Got me thinking about how I would answer them.  Questions like,  how do you approach math instructionyikesaren’t we all scared of math? students aren’t getting “it” you’ve retuaght but still no dice. Where do you go from there?  What does teamwork look like to you?   I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on most of these but the math one always throws me.  I am scared of math, I admit it!!  I can teach it and I think that I do an adequate job doing so.  But, I don’t want to be adequate.  The area I am really struggling with is fact fluency. I know that is my weak area and I need to work on it, but I need a math intervention in the biggest way.  My question to all of you is thislike it was asked in the interviewWhat is your approach to math instruction?  intertwined in that, How do you focus on specific areas and weakness in your students and what is an area of math instruction that you excell in teaching and how do you teach it?  And an area you need to grow in teaching?  I would love to hear from everyone. 

Now for the highlight of my week  every year my daughters and I go to a few concerts.  Everyone  gets to make choice and we all go.  I love listening to live music of just about any kind so Im always game!!  I go to lots of shows each year but some are specifically just for us girls!  This week was my choice and I knew they would love it COLDPLAY!!!  My oldest and I have seen them before but my younger didn’t want to go until after I’d already bought the tickets.  Tough lesson for her to learn.  So this year when I asked if she wanted to go she said yes right away.  We’ve been looking forward all summer to this and they did not dissapoint!  

IT WAS AWESOME!!!  Now, I am an old lady and I’ve been to hundreds of concertsthis one was one of the best.  They are so full of energy and have such a zeal for life!  They always are 100on!  Their show is so interactive, with hught bouncy balls and confettie cut outs but this year they really outdid theirselves.  They had these bracelet bands that lit up with the beat of the music.  They were called xlyo bands and it was just AMAZING!!!!  I am attaching pics and trying to attach a video so you can see what I mean.  I can't get the videos i took to attach here.  That's too bad because it is sooo cool to see them in action.  If you have a chance to see them you simply must.  It is such a fun night.  If you arent a fan, you will become one.  We had such a great night.  They are still talking about it today!)

xlyo bands off...

xylo bands on!!! How cool is this???
xylo bands in action

Here you can see the xylo bands and the confetti butterflies

look in the middle...see that platform?  That is Chris Martin!  In the middle of the crowd  in the middle section of the stadium.  They left the stage and went up to the middle section and into the crowd.  These guys are full of heart!

My favorite part of the coffee mug.  I'm enjoying my coffee as I type.  I had to take two shots so you could see the entire mug.  Now my favorite mug!!!

And to end it all, (literally) last night was the last night of cake class.  We learned to make the Wilton rosenot as easy as I thought it was going to be.  My icing was to stiff so my  roses didn’t have a smooth edge.  Needless to say, I was getting upset.  It ended up being ok and I am proud of my final creation but I am going to practice, practice, practice to improve on those flowers!!  ANDI think that I am going to sign up for the next class she is offering which is fondant.  Not sure yetWhat do ya think I should do?

I hope everyone has had a good week and is going to have an even better weekend!
Keep Coming Back
“you just want somebody listening to what you sayit doesn’t matter who you aaaarrrrreeeeee!!”

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