Monday, December 31, 2012

Thankful and Resolutions

As I look back on the last year, I have many things to be thankful for in my life; yet, of course, I am making resolutions too. I have been saving this post for New Year's Eve (today) in my posts. However, I am also linking up to several blogging celebrities. I knew someone would be having a linky party in conjunction with this concept. I found this one over at One Extra Degree

However, I am listing all my resolutions in one post.

1-Technology-I am thankful that I found Pinterest. It is a blessing because it provides me to challenge myself to do new things in many facets of my life (recipes, kid stuff, family stuff, and especially teaching stuff.) However, one goal is to "clean up" my Pinterest this summer. Another area of technology that I am looking forward and would like to do more is share my lessons through units, lesson plans and games.  I have soooooo many; I just need to get them all "electronic". This would be less paper too and that is not a bad thing.  This means that I would also have more things in my TpT store. I have soooooo many things, and I have taught a variety grade levels in my career that I could maybe truly "touch" and help other teachers and students.

2-Organization- I want to work on decluttering my home closets and my teaching filing cabinets at school. (The files are organized, but I need to declutter and work on the electronic part that I mentioned previously.) I also want to organize at home by meal planning. I want to provide my family with more clean, real food (less processed and less eating out). I have seen the benefits. I want to organize my schedule to involve more time with my family.

3-Professional Growth-My school system has a new teacher evaluation system. Part of the system is a professional portfolio. I have a portfolio that I have kept current throughout the years since my undergraduate degree, graduate degrees, endorsements, and all my professional development. I want to "show off" me as a teacher. (Not to brag) I want to be seen as a leader and mentor, as well as, help other teachers learn and grow. I want to help provide collaboration and meaningful teaching and learning. Although this pic represents a few teachers at our school and our heartfulness toward the tragedy in CT., I want us to continue to show our love and dedication for students.

4-Downtime-What is that? I am a wife, a teacher, and a mommy to three amazing kids. In my downtime, however, I would like to spend more time making memories and vacationing (at Disney, of course) with my family.

I want to have date nights with the love of my life.

Have more mommy/ daughter days with my beautiful girl because she is growing up way too fast.

 Of course, I want to blog more often and gain more followers on my blog by helping other teachers and students grow and learn. Lastly, I want to make some of my new found recipes from Pinterest finds, as well as, begin a small garden.

5-Fitness-I am beginning today exercising with my husband. He works out everyday. I don't. (YIKES!) I have taken the first step, acceptance. I have accepted that I need to exercise. Therefore, it is time for me to get acquainted with this equipment once again.
 I want to eat (and drink)  less sugar. (That means I have to get rid of all the stocking candy and sweet treats from the holidays.) I want to detox my body and maintain a clean eating regime. I want to extend this to less chemicals and "bad" things for my body and switch to a healthy alternative (detergents, soaps, deodorants, make up, and whatever else I encounter.) I have joined a challenge on FB named My Real Food Family/My Whole Food Life Challenge made possible by My Whole Food Life and My Real Food Family. So if you see any blog posts that deal with these issues, you will know why. I am excited!

I wish all of you a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Here is another pic of my kids (sorry, couldn't resist)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Non-Fiction-What is it?

My second grade Focus classes have been focusing on a unit, Pastabilities (learning about Italy). Throughout the unit, we have been able to use fiction and non-fiction. I decided to go "all out" with non-fiction (definitely Common Core).

First, we learned about what is non-fiction and the features of non-fiction. Here are the charts we made:

 We also learned the purpose of each feature. Students used a variety of non-fiction sources. They identified the features. We made these charts:

We spent several days text mapping too. The students really enjoyed this. Not only did the students identify text features, they used the text mapping to answer comprehension questions about food in Italy.

Stay tuned for Non-Fiction post 2
Be sure to check out my Non-Fiction Text Features Choice Board in my TpT store.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What is Visualizing?

What is Visualizing? Why is visualizing important?
  • Visualizing is creating mental images in our head before, during, and after reading. I explain it to my students as seeing a movie in your head as a part of reading.
  • Students may use their five senses (sensory images) to enhance reading. Therefore, reading "comes to life".
  • Reading becomes personal and memorable through visualizing.
During a recent lesson with some of fifth grade students, we reviewed visualizations and imagery. I read an excerpt from "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud". As I was reading the poem, the students were drawing their visualizations. Here is the excerpt:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Excerpt from “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth

Here are some pictures of my students drawings:


Here is a lesson I taught last year in regards to visualizations using the book, Two Bad Ants  by Chris Van Allsburg.