Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Fall Kindergarten samples October 12, 2008

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Writing with Kindergarteners

Filed under: school,writing — bestbookihavenotread @ 12:07 pm
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I think this bulletin board shows a great example of writing with kindergartners. They have each drawn a picture and then dictated (I am assuming the dictation part) a sentence about their picture. They have glued the words in the sentence separately which is a great way to teach spacing between words. A friend of mine told me that is a Reading Recovery strategy (which is a program that I am unfortunately pretty ignorant). Look at the student samples below. 


Holy Cow-What a nice surprise! September 28, 2008

Filed under: blogs,books,kidlitosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:19 pm
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Thanks Mary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading!
I’ve been tagged from their blog after they receiving a nod from Charlotte’s Library blog.

Here are the rules for I heart your blog:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!  


Seven Other Blogs that I think have not been mentioned so far are:

Jen Robinson’s Book Page-She sends out a great free newsletter. Her reviews are very detailed and she also provides information about other “going-ons” in the  world.

Two Writing Teachers-great lessons, great photos and documents, great advice-very inspiring! While very different, I enjoy posts by both members of the team-Stacey and Ruth

The Reading Zone-I like reading what is going on in her classroom, and like that you can be passionate about literacy and science!

A Patchwork of Books-a wonderful blog-read her reviews and click on the links to purchase them through Amazon.

My Breakfast Platter-a sixth grade teacher’s perspective

A Wrung Sponge– I like her combination of poetry, haiku, and children book reviews. I think it’s a great example of how a mentor text (in this case the Haiku form) can be used to craft your language.

The Miss Rumphius Effect– literature, teaching, poetry-it’s got it all


Now this one isn’t a blog, but if you haven’t checked it out, you are missing out on some great teaching resources! Beth Newingham’s website


Beautiful New Picture Book for reading aloud:The Little Yellow Leaf September 22, 2008

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger is a beautiful book! This picture book not only explores why leaves fall from trees with wonderful poetic words. I love all the illustrations, but I especially love the one of the trees from the overhead view. I think I will use this book to illustrate Units of Study personal narrative lesson on true and exact details lesson. It would be a great mentor text for not just that lesson, but many others. It would have been so fast for the author to say something boring and short like, “The leaves all fell except one,” but then we wouldn’t have gotten this great new picture book. 

A must for adding to your 2008 school year collection.


Teachers are the best scavengers (in a good way!) September 4, 2008

Filed under: school,writing — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:03 am
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I think most of my really successful ideas/lessons are hybrids of lessons/ideas that other people have used both successfully and unsuccessfully. That does make me a scavenger. When is scavenging not“reinventing the wheel” but walking the fine line of plagiarism? Can an idea be copyrighted? As I tried to ask my sleeping husband, he mumbled, “no”, but… If I (or anyone) read your lesson and it gives me an idea to use it or to tweak into my own personalized version, what about that? Most teachers that I work with like to share ideas, lessons, and we learn from each other in that way, but…? Obviously I like to share, or why blog? I will try to always mention what resource or person a lesson or idea came from if I have that information. How does that sound for a disclaimer?


Writing Inservice continued

 Early Release Meeting 

The goal of this early release meeting is to determine the *** Classroom teachers’ definition of writing at the elementary level and to identify strengths and weaknesses within the Reading Streets program. My role as Curriculum Coordinator will help to provide support for staff in this area over the Early Release meetings this year. Specifically, I focused our discussion on writing-our own and the students.   


1.     pick up snack and water

2.    select journal, folder, and pen (pretty new things along with snacks are good for starting teachers off feeling happy!)

3.    staff divided in cross-grade level tables (check chart for table assignment)

4.    small group definition of writing (large group share)

5.    strengths and weaknesses of current writing program (large group share)

6.    My Life in Seven Stories-If you could choose only 7 stories that define/reflect who you are and your life, what would a list of those stories be?

7.    Write one of your stories

8.    Discuss 6 + 1 Traits and how we will revisit our own stories to focus on one of the traits or a revision strategy each session

9.    Voluntary interest groups sign-ups for different book studies (Daily Five and Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Primary Writing)

10.                       Door Prizes


Book Study groups:

Units of Study for Primary Writing by Lucy Calkins

Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades

by “the Sisters”  

great resource and very readable-like having a conversation with a friend. They also have a free and subscription website.


First Inservice Under my Belt September 3, 2008

Ahh! Five o’clock and home from my first in-service for the elementary school. Blue Moon in an iced glass, bare feet, and fresh shirt. So glad to have the first one done. Our focus for the year is writing instruction based on staff feedback from last year as part of their continuous improvement plan.  The next post is what I sent them ahead of time (although I was up at 3 in the morning trying to decide if I should scrap it and start over again). If they want …, maybe I should just give them… I can do that really well!” , then up again at 4:30 a.m.  counter arguing the 3 a.m. argument)

On a similar, yet completely different note, If you have never seen Beth Newingham’s website in Michigan, you should check it out. She has recently had a baby and is job sharing (how many of us are jealous that her district is smart enough to know a good thing when they have it). She has amazing and useful photos and ideas. Reading and writing workshop mini lessons are great. She also does a star student and mystery reader program that I used a version of last year with great success!