Musings from a K-5th Reading Specialist. I encourage my students to think, speak, read, and write, with my support.
I parent two amazing young adult daughters with my husband of 28 years.

December 29, 2015

Cookiepalooza #SOL

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Two Writing Teachers

One of my favorite holiday traditions is baking cookies.  When my girls were little, we would spend all day Christmas Eve making a huge mess of the kitchen.  The cookies we baked (if they cooled in time!) would become gifts for the neighbors and dessert for my aunt and uncle's Christmas Eve party.

Last year we moved the cookie baking date back to December 23rd.  I prepared dough and a few of Lindsey's friends came over to help.  One new friend had a joyous time manning the pizelle maker, while others rolled chocolate crinkles, peanut blossoms and cut out sugar cookies.  

Cookiepalooza was established.

This year, both girls invited multiple friends.  We had veggies and dip (to balance out the cookies we planned on consuming) and Oberweis chocolate milk (for cookie dipping).  We also decided that it would be fun to have a graham cracker house building contest.  

The house was a noisy, flour-y mess.  Smiles, laughter and piano music (thank you, Jeff!) filled the air.  I burned calories (and just a few cookies) running up and down the stairs between our two ovens.

At the end of the night, everyone took some cookies and helped clean up.  The sweet smell of candies and frosting filled the air.  It was a great way to improve my spirits and get in the holiday mood.

December 1, 2015

"Can you read this? Pleeeeeease?" #SOL15

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Two Writing Teachers
My first reading group of the morning are four sweet, yet challenging, boys from one of our first grade classrooms.  It's taken nearly two months to develop a routine for them to get to my room, let alone work in our reading intervention program.  I'm happy to report that all of us (I'm the most likely to get distracted!) are following the routine pretty smoothly.

I use a lot of hand signals and facial expressions to get their attention and encourage them to quietly grab their bags and head down the hall to my room.  Usually one of their exuberant classmates announces my arrival when she sees me in the hallway.  Sure, it's fun to be "famous" (LOL) but I'm encouraging her to silently smile when we meet eyes.

Once the boys get to my room, the routine is to "warm up their reading brains" by reading a book.  I usually have to use some stickers as positive reinforcement (Book bag?  Sticker.  Reading?  Sticker.) but they are settling in pretty easily.

Today M brought a Hot Wheels book with him.   He was very excited to have this book from the library.  He asked if he and C could share my wide teacher chair to read.  The two of them sat and poured over the pictures, making quiet conversation about cars, drivers and sharks.  The other boys were reading their little books, finding success with more words than usual.

It was a sweet, happy reading moment. <Sigh>

When I asked them to grab a white board for word work (usually their favorite) activity, M looked up.  "Can you read this?"

"How about after we finish word work?"  I replied.

"Pleeeeeeease???" responded three of the four boys.  The fourth clasped his hands in front of himself and made puppy dog eyes.

How could I resist?  I read the book aloud to them, and they sat, enraptured by the story.  It made me smile to see them caught up in a story, even if it was about miniature cars being attacked by sharks.

M held up another book.   "How about this one?"  he asked.

"Let's read it tomorrow!"  I responded.

"OK - I'll leave it here.  Don't let anyone take it.  Promise?" M insisted.

Don't worry, M.  I plan on taking a few minutes of our time together each day to read to you.
It's important.  It's essential.  It's magical.

Scholastic Reader Level 1: Hot Wheels: Shark Attack
Image from Scholastic