Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yesterday I read that educators should challenge themselves to leave their comfort zones during the summer.  I couldn't think of any challenges I wanted to take on: I hike, I read, I volunteer my time helping in various capacities... then this morning there it was! A writing workshop online with Kate Messner, a real author in real time. is free.  I am out of my comfort zone, but very excited to participate!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer begins...

We ended school on Friday with an all school picnic so this week is dedicated to wrapping up paperwork, sorting, filing, tossing...  The year went way too fast but since I taught second and third this past year I will be able to keep some of my students for another year!  I don't usually have that opportunity.  These future third graders are already amazing writers, can't wait to see what they are capable of in the future.  Even though I spent the long weekend doing report cards and writing thank you notes, I did squeeze in my first summer reading:  Thornyhold by Mary Stewart.  I have read it several times already, but enjoy it for the descriptive writing and especially the use of herbs woven into the story.  Not my typical reading material but this one just stole my heart.  Happy summer!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What makes it all worthwhile...

Yesterday as I was getting ready for the next class, a third grade boy quietly came over and said, "I'm really going to miss you.  You are a good teacher."  A moment easily forgotten in the chaos of the day, but I will cherish it in my heart.  He was there every day in this topsy turvy year of challenges, and he approved.  What more could I hope for?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Poetry Immersion

I started getting ideas for a week of poetry writing immersion from a list online and have found wonderful ideas!  We will start with a study of list poems on Monday with poems from Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield and Spectacular Science by Lee Bennett Hopkins.  Then on Tuesday we will take a look at The Dark Emperor and Butterfly Eyes... by Joyce Sidman.  I found an article about her and discovered she was inspired by a poem by Wendell Berry:  To Know The Dark.  He is one of my favorite poets and authors so down the "rabbit hole" I went!  Wednesday we will look at The Great Frog Race by Kristine O'Connell George especially looking at the poem "Quiddling with Words".  Thursday...will be shape poems looking at Doodle Dandies by J. Patrick Lewis and other fun books.  Then Friday we will look at the poetry of Douglas Florian specifically Insectlopedia.  That's what I love about the Internet, I can pull this all together and get wonderful ideas that I would have never had on my own.

To Know The Dark
by Wendell Berry

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

Happy first day of May!  Today we talked more about Gail Gibbons and I read her book Caves and Caverns aloud to my class.  Many of them have been to Cave of the Mounds, an amazing place near Blue Mound, Wisconsin.  As I described going through the narrow paths in the cave one of my third grade girls asked, "Are you claustrophobic?" which started a whole new direction for our conversation.  We also took a look at Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, Seymour Simon, and Jim Arnosky's work and compared how differently they share information.  Definitely a big fan of Jim Arnosky too.