Thursday, July 23, 2015

Teaching With Intention Chapter 7

Well, here we go again! It's that time 
of the week when I am late to the party. Sadly I HATE being late! I cringe, I sweat, I rush to not be late! But somehow - in this blog world- I am late to the link up every week. MAYBE that will change soon when the kids leave for college and we are just two people in the house again. Come on! Let me dream! 

OK Chapter 7! Why can't I be Debbie Miller? She is so smart! This is a short and powerful chapter. I kinda wanted it to go on a little more. I sat down in my comfy chair on the deck, had my feet up enjoying the BEAUTIFUL cool evening and then the chapter ended. The thoughts were going through my mind though! 

I love Debbie's simple definitions of summative and formative assessments. I know them but love how she put them - that's what I want to tell the student teachers, the parents, and anyone that might ask. :-) You know sooo many people ask about them! The quote from Erma Bombeck is perfect also! How sad will it be when people don't know who Erma Bomback is?? :-( 

OK here we go:
Conferring- I love this part of the job. BUT it doesn't happen often enough. I love doing this during writing. I truly gives an insight into how the kids are thinking. BUT I need to do it more and in all subjects! (YEAR GOAL!)
Listening in- I have my notebook! It's ready! It's blank! I have had it for years and haven't used it yet! It has The LIttle Prince on it. My sweet niece gave it to me! <3 I'm using it this year! I am going to really listen in and record what they say. Why is it that every time I start to do this the phone rings or the intercom goes off or someone is at the door? We really need to not have so many interruptions. 
Observing - This is going in my book too! I need to write it down as it's happening. I have looked out at those faces and thought - "They are not with me." I have changed course. I knew in that moment why they weren't with me- but by the end of the day - I forgot! Too many things needing to be done and I can't remember it all. So that notebook may only last me till October! lol
Examining Student WorK Samples - I love walking around and examining them as they are working, conferring and listening in. It's so great to help and change those misconceptions right there as they are happening. Then I always find one at the end of the day as I go through them again that I think "How did I miss this?!?!?!" I thought I was looking at every one's. I thought they were doing great. OH - then it's the next day to get them back to change their thinking. Does this happen to any one else? Am I the only one?
Charting Student Thinking - Those anchor charts are getting ramped up this year. I am making sure we are doing tons and recording that thinking! 
Reflecting, sharing and teaching- I'm MAKING the time! I'm going to concentrate on the students and my teaching. NOT ALL THE MEETINGS!!! 

So assessment time is MUCH better with ESGI though! I BIG PUFFY HEART ESGI! I don't know how I lived without it. I had heard about it and did a little investigation but not enough. Then I WON a year of it! LIFE CHANGING!!! I couldn't go without it now! I don't like all the assessments we have to do but we have to do them. I want to keep working on being present in their life and letting them lead the ways. I want to make sure that I pay attention and not get too caught up in the every day stuff of teaching. 

It's those next steps that are so important after all this assessing! How can we make sure their thinking is on track? How can we make sure they are moving further? How can we make sure they are "getting it"? Sooo much to do and only 180 days to get it all done! 

Well, one more week of this book club! I'm going to miss it. I can't wait to read the next chapter! See you next week! I"m sure I'll be late, but I'll be here! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Currently July!

One of these days I will make it on the first of the month! lol Not my All Star that's for sure! 

I love LISTENING to the quiet in the neighborhood from my back patio! It is one of my favorite places in of the house! We got some great new adriondack chairs and a fire pit this summer. :-) The new dining table is coming soon to match too! Can't wait! I will cry when we have to put it all away MONTHS from now! 

I do LOVE school! I just LOVE not having a set schedule in the morning! I have gotten better at getting up for school over the years - two kids and working 25 years will do that to a person! lol But oh- to just get up whenever (the kids take care of themselves now!), work out (if I feel like it), eat breakfast on the porch, read the newspaper, read facebook. It's just such a relaxing way to start the day! 

I'm THINKING I need to stay home and get some stuff done on that list! haha That is the fun of summer though- spontaneous trips and visits! I'll get to grocery shopping hopefully tomorrow- or we won't have anything to eat over the 4th! I will get to all of it. I hope! I'm still trying to figure out how some of you major bloggers do all the things you blog about, blog, teach, have a house and have a life! I can't seem to get it all done! 

Yes I do LOVE school. I LOVE being a teacher! I do LOVE summer though! I wish it would be longer! Might be because I will be sending my oldest off for her LAST (how?) year of college and my baby to his FIRST (how?) year of college 20 hours away!! Sending me happy vibes please! 

I really NEED a year of  nothing else- just reading! I go to BJ's and Sam's and write down more titles. I get the monthly email from Goodreads and iBooks. I write down more titles. Then I read blogs and write down educational book titles! Never enough hours in the day! Now I NEED to go to bed and read! 

Well, I don't know about this ALL STAR thing. I had trouble thinking what I was an all star at. I do like lesson planning and thinking what and how to get those students learning. So that's what I picked. Not totally sure of that one, but there it is! 

August- take your time! 

Teaching With Intention Chapter 5 Swimming With Sharks!

Oh this just gets better and better! I want Debbie Miller to come to my school classroom! I want to see her in action! I want to analyze every lesson now! Those questions on page 69! OMG!! Thought provoking! I want to make sure the kids are more engaged and participating in their learning! I love the quote from Frank Smith says, "We can only learn from activities that are interesting and comprehensible to use; in other words, activities that are satisfying."  I remember reading Frank Smith in college! :) I knew I had a great foundation in education! 
The whole computer file folder idea is great! I know I will be making one of those before I go back to school. Yes I'm with you @kindersmorgie - it will be laminated!  I also think that is a great way to start the kids thinking about their thinking. That is a perfect first lesson. I need to add more research into the class also. We do some, but not enough. I believe there will be many more schema charts also! Oh the wheels they are a turning! The kids will be DOING so much more this year! I will sit back and let them do the work! I will sit back and let them do the work! I will sit back and let them do the work! I need to go back to that early quote from Katy in chapter 3 - those voices in her head - "do this, do that! Slow down!" I will slow down and let them learn! I will slow down and let them learn! I will slow down and let them learn! 

 This is so much fun with this book! I do not want it to end! I really wish we were doing this one at school! Looking forward to Lesson Design next week! 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Chapter 4 - Teaching With Intention

Chapter 4! Debbie Miller is making me think this summer! It's a good thing! I am really enjoying all this reflection about my teaching. What fun to be able to sit on the porch, listen to the soft rain, know dinner is in the oven and I still have the time and energy to blog! :) Happy summer! 

Classroom Culture is HUGE! So is School wide Culture! That may be another chapter or book! lol

So her big three things:
 1) Putting my own Thinking on Display  
2) Encouraging and scaffolding student thinking and
3) Intentional Use of Language 
These can be some tough ones! Hopefully I will be honest with myself - and you! 
Well, I think I agree with Greg at The Kindergarten Smorgasboard when he said about putting thinking on display not just at reading time! This is where we have all heard it for years and we all know the benefit of it. We need to move beyond it though. We need to show them how we are thinking all day long! That will be hard! That will take some NEW thinking on our part! Well, my part- can't speak for all of you! I need to make sure this is deliberate and thought out. I also think this helps with building that classroom culture. Talking to each other is IMPORTANT! Talking about things is important. Letting them know you are interested in stuff and interested in the same stuff as them, what better way to showcase thinking! 

BEING PRESENT! WOW! This one hits home! :( Not all the time, but sometimes. Probably more than I care to think.) There is always SO MUCH to do. I know I have caught myself thinking - oh, if they are working quietly on that and they are doing fine, I'll just try to get this one little thing done. But then I miss what they are doing. I miss the opportunity to talk with them - and see how they are thinking. I ususally catch myself and stop myself. Sometimes a sweetie will stop me too! Then I make sure I am present and remind myself that the other stuff can wait! I need to let that small stuff go! So this is my goal this year. Let it go! Let it go! Let it go! (You sang it, you know you did!) I want to let that OTHER stuff go! I want to not worry about what meeting I have or if I turned in some form or if I need to get something out of the cupboard. I want to be and stay PRESENT! This is what got the highlighted star in my book. Literally! I love the quote on page 51 - "It was as if I was so busy doing the stuff of teaching that I didn't have time to be thoughtful and reflective." WOW! So true! Thank you Debbie for being so honest! It helps us be honest too. I think I need a sign that has her line from page 52 - "I have to be actively engaged in what's happening now, at this precise moment." I may need it to be a poster, a bulletin board, a bill board on my way to work!
I'm going to be working on this thinking outloud stuff alot! I think I need to practice over the summer. The hubs and kids will be fine with that won't they? lol

Well, this is another big one. Do I do this enough? Do I help them get where I want them to be? I love figuring out their misconceptions as we are discussing things and working through stuff. Shouldn't that be the reminder that HEY we need to do this all the time? But we get caught up in that schedule and that curriculum and that lesson plan. There are many times I wish I could ditch the lesson plans and just teach what I know we need to teach. I think this might help stay in the moment. Would it? I don't know.
I do use Whole Brain Teaching - and I'm continuing to learn more and more about it. I do believe that this is HUGE for them to work on thinking.I  can tell when I "forget" or "don't take the time" to do something with a gesture or Teach/Okay. They don't have it. They don't remember it the next day, sometimes they don't remember it from the morning. This is so helpful! I need/want to do more and more with this - and include more thinking in this.
I loved Debbie's examples of Teacher Talk - How HELPFUL! This is a great reminder of what and how we should be doing it.
Oh and the PIAGET quote!!! Happy Happy HEART!!! Page 58 -
"Each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely. (1983)"
I love "Something To Try" on pg 59. This is/will be eye opening. I'm hoping in an ok way! I also think this will help in planning for next year and some room placement ideas.

I love the notebook idea! I can see all of us running out when the Back To School Sales start and looking for that perfect notebook to write down all those gems that the students will be thinking! This will be cool!
I hope I am encouraging their thinking. I give them time. I know when one child is trying to think, sometimes it's the other kids that are impatient and raising their hand to answer. I tell them to hold those thoughts. Their friend needs time to think. It's ok for us to wait.I want the child to not feel rushed. I want them to think.
I tell them they are "college bound". I tell them that they need to be thinkers to get there.
Oh that word BECAUSE! I love that they think that is the reason. Why? BECAUSE. That's it. Just because. Nope sorry - you need to tell me more.
The idea of a Thinker Wall from Greg is awesome! How great would that be?!? I'm thinking even hanging their quotes around the room. I have so many of the Teacher Quotes around, but it needs to be their QUOTES! I'm thinking this would be great! Maybe I need to buy two notebooks....

Can't wait to go swimming with the sharks next week! See you then! 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Chapter 3 Teaching With Intention

OK OK - I'm late this week! I don't know what happened - well, yes I do- LIFE! I needed to take my 88 year old mother food shopping, visit the in-laws with my kids cause DD got home from study abroad and wanted to see them, and I HAD to go buy new adriondack chairs for the patio! They are very comfortable as I sit here and type! ;-) 
You will all forgive me won't you?!?!?
And the worst part is - I read the chapter early and LOVED IT!!! It is what I am thinking the most about this summer- ENVIRONMENT!!! I felt just like Katy did this year! I wanted to start all over with the arrangement and organization mid year! I tried here and there but it's busy and hard! And can be expensive! You know that right? I have 2 kids going to college this year!   
I  want to get better at this this year! I want to start with a clean slate in that room. It's a great room. I just need to make it mine. I have lived in it for a year and I think I know some more about it and that will help! 

  • Meeting area - this is super important for us! It needs to be around the smart board. I need to move the computer to the other side of the room for this. Not a hard fix, but I think know it will make a difference. Why did I have to keep walking across the room to bring something up on the computer?? 
  • Small Group Table - I have this! :) I have the write on circles. I have a alphabet strips on it. It's ready. That was pretty good this year. The teacher who retired from the room left a low bookcase that housed all the guided reading goodies. Well, most of them. ;-) This was fairly handy. This year I want to do more guided math, so it's going to need to house some more!  What I need to do is to come to the conclussion that I don't have the room like I did in my other classroom to display all the pretty apples, sayings and chotskies that I have gotten over the years. :( Well, I will need to find a new home for those. They bring a smile to my face when I think of the little ones that have given them to me over the years. I'm moving this to the back of the room, I think. That way I will look at the entire room ahead of me while I'm working with a small group. 
  • Library - Yes, this needs some work too. I wasn't happy with where it was or how it was set up. Again - needed to live in this space. I also inheriated some more low shelves that I was using, but I need more(?) or better organization of it. I have my books all seperated and grouped! That is done! Now to make it accessiable to the kids and me! I love the idea of having the whole classroom be a library. I want to figure out where and how to put all the baskets of books so they look orderly and are easily assecciable to the students. 
  • Student display place/Anchor chart display - more organized and better use of the bulletin boards this year. They are in some weird areas of the room and I need to think how it is best to use them. And what to do with that chalk board!!! I want to use it for the kids, I want to get rid of it, I want to cover it?!?!? Still thinking! 

This I am happy with! I divide the tables into 4 parts using colored duct tape. That helps show them where their space is. I have a can for each student. It was a baby formula can that I saved from my babies and covered in the same color as the tape. Inside it has their pencil, scissors, highlighter, expo marker and sliding pencil box ( yes, same color as the table!) that holds their crayons. I like this because they can take it with them if they move around the room to work. They also have a chair pocket - you guessed it! - in the same color as the table. That keeps their poetry folder, writing folder and their TIDE folder. The TIDE folder is their take home folder. Totally Important Daily Essentials. We are the Crimson Tide! I think I will add a white board in there this year also. I have kept those seperate before but think it would be ok to be in there. I have given out index card cases before that hold alphabet, number and sight word cards. They tend to get squished in the chair pocket. I think I might try pencil pouches this year. Think I can find them in 6 different colors?!?! :)  Although, I have toyed with the idea of getting rid of the tables, I'm thinking of moving them to the sides of the room for centers. We'll see how it goes.

The coat closets in the room definatley bother me. They are just the rolling cabinets with doors and hooks inside. They take up a lot of room but they need a place to put their coats. So what is a person to do!

I feel like I answered these together! SORRY!

My goal this year is to really go through things and purge what I don't want, need or like. You know we keep stuff just because. If I haven't used it - it's going. If it's old and outdated - it's going! If it's not complete - it's going. You all some stuff that isn't completed don't you? You just put it in the drawer to keep it cause you ARE going to finish it one day!

I really like Debbie's ideas in this chapter! I want to do the self eval with my teaching buddies. That should be fun! I hope what I value comes through. I hope there is evidence of what we are learning about . I hope they can figure out about the kids too. This is important. We get so caught up in the crazy school stuff, I agree with Katy - there are those voices in my head - Do this. Do that! Slow down and do what's right. I need to keep reminding myself to slow down and no sweat the small school stuff.

 I would LOVE for Anne Goudvis and Debbie Miller to come to my room/school  and help us with room arrangement! Wouldn't that be awesome?!?!?!  I really like the idea for an area to swap furniture  - especially in August when we go back to school and all start rearranging. I'm thinking of suggesting it at school this year. I know I have a piece or two that I would like to get rid of and I'm sure that someone else could use it or want it. I also like the idea of making a wish list for parents. Oh and how COOL would that be to get $125 from the principal to spend on the classroom!

Well, there are my thoughts. More questions than answers as usual! That's the best part though - so thought provoking! This is a great book!! I'm so happy to be part of this book club! Let's keep it going! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Teaching With Intention Chapter 2

Chapter 2 is THOUGHT PROVOKING!!!!!!!  I am loving this book! I want to read the whole thing tonight! But I don't want to get too far ahead of the discussion! But I want to read it! OMG! This is a hard chapter cause it makes you think! It's good to think! This is the stuff that we should be thinking about! But are we? I hope so! I am trying my hardest! I know we all are! OK - I will stop using exclamation points. Hopefully. ;-)

I <3 Debbie's (yes, I'm going to use her first name like I know her!) list of beliefs on page 17. I highlighted them. I agree with them. As I said yesterday, my classroom environment is a work in progress since I moved. It was organized for the students and I am hoping authentic. Our influence - OH MY GOODNESS! THIS IS HUGE! Am I perfect? NO!!!!! Do I regroup and apologize if I need to? YES! There are some days that are better than others. We are human. I want to do even more workshop format teaching. I am hoping to implement math that way in the fall. That is the hope plan for the summer. I was sooo happy when Debbie said it took her a year to define her beliefs. We need to remember that! It doesn't happen over night. It shouldn't happen over night. I got to thinking about my philosophy. Remember when they asked that in college? Like we would have known then. We had NO idea! But they asked us and we were suppose to answer. I wonder if I can find mine and see what it said. I wonder what would be the same and what would be different??? I <3 how honest Debbie is! She bared her soul on page 18 "Whenever I found instances when my belief and practices were at odds (and there were more than you might think!), I had to make  tough decisions. Would I change the statement or the practice? More often than not it was the practice that was out of synch.I discovered that even though I'd say I beleived in something, I'd find myself doing things, and asking kids to do things, that had my scratching my head." WOW! This was very powerful to me! THANK YOU FOR BEING SO HONEST! I know I fall into a rut sometimes. I did it that way in the past and it's easier to just do it again now. It's just easier and quicker. Life is busy! School is busy. But.... if we always do what we always did, we'll always get what we always got - so said Henry Ford. I need to close the door at the end of the day! I need to take that time to write and self reflect. I need to make sure I am being the best I can be for my students. I sooo wish this was a book we were reading together at school. How powerful that would be! I may offer it up at school and see if anyone else wants to take that journey with me.  I <3 Debbie's wishes too! I WILL JOURNAL THIS YEAR! I WILL NOT LET IT GET AWAY FROM ME! I REALLY HOPE I CAN DO IT! 

I want my classroom to be everything it can be! I want it to be a safe, happy, literate, mathematical place where children want to learn and grow. I want it to be student centered! I want it neat and organized. OK that's probably for me but why not! I will be working on this over the summer. I like thinking about the end and working backward. I think we get so caught up in the new beginning, we tend to forget where we want to end. 

I want to do the best I can by the students I teach! That is my belief! And I'm hoping to expand on that over the course of the year as I journal about my beliefs and practices. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Teaching With Intention

I am so excited about doing this book study! I think I have felt this way for a long time but Debbie Milller has (as usual!) done a much better job of putting it into words!  I am sorry I am a little late getting to chapter 1 - my "baby" graduated high school last Wednesday! OMG - how did that happen??? I was just snuggling and giggling with him yesterday! And then it was the end of school - there has to be a better way?? WHY OH WHY do we have to put EVERYTHING away to just come back in a few weeks and put it back out???? It is crazy! I am NOT counting how few weeks we have between though! I'm living and having fun this summer!

On to the book club...

I just finished my first year in this classroom. I know I did NOT have it arranged the way I wanted to  have it. I was doing pretty good unpacking and then I couldn't go in for 2 weeks because there were mice in the school - my room was one place :(  -  and they needed me to stay out. So by the time I got back in, it was time to set up. I wasn't real happy with how it turned out. I think I have a better idea for this year. Hopefully!

As all have been saying - I  want it to look nice with student work every where. I want them ENGAGED in THEIR learning! I want them to be able to use supplies correctly and neatly. I want comfort. I want talking about topics. I want laughter. I want homey feelings. I want caring amongst the students. I want colorful. I want that "perfect" classroom. I want the students to feel safe. I want them to be responsible for themselves. I want them to be respectful of the room, the adults and each other. I want anyone who enters to feel like they are walking into a wonderful learning environment.

We are all learning! We are working together, seperately,on the rug, at tables, with materials, with technology, with books, with pencils, with whatever we need! I want them to be more independent and take more control of their learning. This is what I want to work more on this year. I want to be more of a facilitator than a teacher. This happens, but not as much as it should. I really think I could go with no tables or desks like @kindergartensmorgesboard. Just really need to think this through and be ready in the fall. And discuss it with the principal.

Well, I just told you that I want to work on being more of a facilitator this year. I also want to work on finishing organizing this "new" classroom. I want to go through my stuff and make sure that it is where it makes the most sense, all like items together. And if I haven't touched it in 2 years - it is GOING OUT!!! Why have stuff if you or the kids aren't using it! I know I packed it up and moved it. I know I should have thrown some more stuff out before I moved but.... baby steps people! Baby steps! I think this will help with not bogging us down with "stuff" and make sure that we are working together.

I believe I have a happy, fun filled classroom. I think it looks and feels inviting and colorful. I think I  work at creating a caring and loving atmosphere for the students. We have different places we can go to work on things in the room. Want to make sure that we preserve those and add to it this year. I know the students and I work hard at creating a community feel within the classroom.

Well, I am sure that I have not thought of everything I would like in my ideal classroom. But this is a start! Thank you for reading this little blog post! #teachingwithintention