Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The One Where I Love Me My Edcamp #slice2013


Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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October is Connected Educator month and in my new position as Coordinator of Instructional Technology I have been thinking a lot about how to encourage, inspire and empower teachers to embrace a growth mindset when it comes to integrating technology but also when it comes to teaching and learning in today's world in general. The world is so very different today for my six-year-old than it was when I was six and teaching and learning is evolving as well.

I strongly believe that teachers need to adopt a growth mindset when it comes to developing professionally. They need to continually look closely and honestly at their practice in order to see how to make adjustments and to strive to be better in the future. One of my favorite ideas that we have been talking about lately in my department is thinking about past practice versus best practice.


Over the weekend, I attended my 4th unconference experience. I've now been to two Edcamp Chicagos, one PLAYDATE (in Chicago), and nErDcamp Battle Creek...and all just in 2013! Every experience has been completely amazing and energizing. I've been excited to go every time. I've had wonderful conversations and have made new connections with colleagues near and far while at the same strengthening connections I already did have. I've left every time full of energy and brimming with new ideas, conversations to continue, and a longing to do it all over again. 

Edcamps are like the Disney World of professional development for teachers. They are magical. They really are. I know not everyone is as in love with Disney World as I am, but I love me my Disney World. And I love me my Edcamps.

Edcamps are an amazing way to connect with others in real life but since many people are on Twitter, the conversations can extend further than that day. Twitter is an awesome way to stay connected. As I visit schools in my district and talk to teachers, lots of teachers are also talking about Pinterest as a great way to get ideas.

What are your favorite ways for staying connected? Do you have any apps or websites/tools that help you keep all of your digital learning organizes? I'm always looking for ways to be more efficient or organized, so please share!

I'd also love to hear about your Edcamp or unconference experience. Did you love it? Would you go again? Are you intrigued? And if you have an Edcamp in your near future, have you thought about convincing a friend or two or three to go with you? Edcamps are so wonderful and I think if every Edcamp believer could bring along a friend or five (why not five?) that we could turn lots of educators on to just how brilliant professional development can be when done Edcamp-fabulous.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/28/13

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover the next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Announcements:

Carnivores Giveaway Winner
A copy of Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds and a Jamba Juice gift card goes to:
Danielle Smith from There's a Book!
Congratulations, Danielle! To read Danielle's thoughts about Carnivores as well as my own and others and to add yours visit my original review here.

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Jen Says: Last week was a weird week. I did finish listening to Seraphina and really enjoyed it. I started listening to Cuckoo's Calling which I think I'm going to keep listening to. It's good so far but not amazing just yet. I am still reading Wish and didn't get to my Archie comics. I ended up coming being sick for most of the week so that interrupted all the reading I was hoping to do. I have been reading StandOut which is fascinating and has really caused me to think about my strengths and how I can really make the most of them. 

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on the pictures above to read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: I'm going to keep listening to Cuckoo's Calling for now but may switch to another book if I'm not jiving with it. I plan to finish Wish so I can review it later this week and also plan to finish StandOut. I need to get back to There Are No Children Here and also hopefully get to my Archie comic. I'll also be rereading parts of Reading in the Wild so I can review it for the book tour coming up. It's almost here! Sooooooooo excited! I also grabbed Jabba the Puppet from the book fair last week and I'm super excited to read it, too.

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to hear about these books. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Halloween Hustle

Title: Halloween Hustle 
Author: Charlotte Gunnufson 
Illustrator: Kevan J. Atteberry 
Publisher: Two Lions 
Publication Date: September, 2013 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: In the dark, a funky beat. / Something white with bony feet. / Skeleton dancing up the street, / Doing the Halloween Hustle. Skeleton is dancing his way to a Halloween party but as he grooves across town, he keeps stumbling, tumbling, and falling apart! Can Skeleton stay in one piece long enough to make it to the party? 
What I Think: It's hard not to enjoy this dancing skeleton. He's got such a cheery demeanor and a can't-stop-me attitude. Visit Charlotte's website to watch the video and get the catchy Halloween Hustle song in your head. It's a fun book and perfect for reading on Halloween. As a mentor text, this book is full of all sorts of literary devices that you can pull out and use as models. It's also a good book if you are practicing making predictions.
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 1  
Read Alone: Grades Pre-K - 3 
Read With: Which Witch is Which? by Judi Barrett 
Snatch of Text:
"Bony thumbs and fingers snap.
Bony heels and toes tip-tap.
Knees knock-knock and elbows flap,
Doing the Halloween Hustle." 
Reading Strategies to Practice: Visualizing, Making Predictions  
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Descriptive, Onomatopoeia, Rhyme, Rhythm, Alliteration  
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when something didn't go your way, or something went wrong. What did you do to get through it and move on? 
Topics Covered: Determination, Friendship 
I *heart* It:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Let's Celebrate! 10/26/13

It's time to CELEBRATE This Week with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.  Every week Ruth invites us to share our celebrations from the week and link up at her blog. What a fun way to reflect on everything there is to be thankful for. 

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This week I'm celebrating a few things!

*throws confetti*

  1. I'm feeling better! Wednesday afternoon as I was working in my office, I started sneezing and then I kept sneezing more and more and I just knew it was a you're-about-to-be-sick kind of sneezing. It wasn't good. I stayed home and slept most of the day Thursday and Friday and have been taking this amazing stuff called Umcka and I'm feeling better. I'm still not 100% but it made such a huge difference to actually stay home and rest instead of trying to work my way through it. It's no fun being sick so I'm happy to say I'm feeling better.
  2. Today, I was at Edcamp Chicago in Wood Dale, Illinois. I absolutely love the whole Edcamp model and if you haven't been to one, keep an eye out for one near you or one you can travel to, because it's an amazing, energizing and empowering experience.
    And if you have been one, I would love to hear your thoughts and if you agree with me so share in the comments, please. I think having Edcamp in October was awesome because it was the perfect time to connect with passionate educators. 
  3. Edcamp is an awesome experience but what really makes that experience are the people. I love connecting with people via Twitter and her on the blog but meeting those connections in real life (or IRL, as I loooooove to say) is awesome. It feels like getting to hang out with college friends and friends who really know me. That's pretty awesome.
What are you celebrating this week? Please share!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Common Core Grammar ToolKit


Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy. Every Wednesday, 
I'll review non-fiction picture book. (It may not always be a picture book.) 
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other non-fiction books are shared this week!

Title: The Common Core Grammar Toolkit  
Author: Sean Ruday 
Publisher: Routledge 
Publication Date: January, 2013 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Professional  
GoodReads Summary: Teaching grammar for the Common Core can be easy! This comprehensive guide helps you show students how grammar rules are simply tools that will help them become better writers and enjoy the writing process. Get step-by-step recommendations for teaching each of the grammar tools, plus classroom snapshots that show you the tools in action, and an appendix of handy, use-now reproducibles.
What I Think: Yes, this book has the word "grammar" in the title but no, this book is not about copying over ten sentences and correctly inserting commas. This book is about using mentor texts as models to study and imitate and carry over into writing for students in grades 3 to 5 with a focus on the language standards in the Common Core Standards for those grade levels. Sean offers practical ideas and real-teaching examples of how to integrate mentor texts into looking closely at writing. Below are just some of the mentor texts Sean highlights in The Common Core Grammar Toolkit but you can definitely use books from your own classroom library and have students find examples of different grammatical concepts. Sean does reference Jeff Anderson's book, Mechanically Inclined, which I recommend as the place to start when it comes to mentor texts and writing.
 
I *heart* It: