Friday, October 17, 2014

New Tech!

I don't know if I say this enough but I love, love, love the district I work for - especially when they bring me new technology!

Not only did I receive a cabinet full of iPads (stay tuned for that post next week) but I also received a 60 inch TV to use in the classroom to mirror my iPad!

I was so excited when they rolled this bad boy in. Sixty beautiful inches of screen and endless possibilities! (Hello, movie time!) 

I'm kind of disappointed that I'm losing so much of my dry erase board (that's all I have!) But I'm thinking (er, hoping) that the TV compensates for the loss.

Stay tuned for pictures of when it's actually installed!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

TMI But Oh Well...

So I have been absent from the blogosphere over the last week or so because I've been inundated by sickness, ailment, and a whole battery of unwanted stress.

I was admitted to the ER last Wednesday by my primary doctor because he wanted to "rule out appendicitis". Several blood and urine tests later - along with several medications given in the ER and four prescriptions to take with me - they still couldn't identify why I was admitted with the severe pains. But the medications they had given me were providing some relief, so they sent me home on bed rest for the rest of the week.

So the weekend came and I was feeling well enough to attend my aunt's surprise birthday party in Redlands with my family. Low and behold, my cousin (who was hosting the event) failed to mention his kids were sick with the stomach flu the day before and still had one sick the day of the party - and let the kids mingle with us adults. Fast forward to Sunday evening where I am draped around my toilet, hugging it like a pillow as I purge myself of everything I had eaten earlier that evening. Thanks, cuz.

Monday and Tuesday were spent either in bed or throwing up in the toilet - from both ends. It was HORRIBLE. I had a fever of 101 degrees and all the vomiting and dancing bowels had me dehydrated. I wasn't eating anything. Not very fun.

I went into work today (against my better judgment) only because I didn't want to miss my pre-observation conference prior to school starting today. Aren't I a great employee? Tonight, I am feeling only minimally better than I had been all day today…at least well enough to get this tale down onto my blog. 

I will be back to regular posts as soon as I can manage, friends. Stick with me!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Halloween Haul!

I love Halloween! I love Halloween Giveaways even better. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs - one of my FAVORITE designers - is giving away some Halloween goodies on Facebook.

She's giving away some major Halloween goodies - a $150 value! Although I never win anything (ever), I decided to enter her giveaway. You can too by checking out the giveaway details on her Facebook page here. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Writers' Workshop - Where Do I Begin?

One of the many new programs that my district is implementing this year is Writers' Workshop and Lucy Calkins' units of study for writing.

While I was excited to jump in and (attempt to) try this program with my students, I wasn't sure where to begin…even with the three days of professional development that I had to attend. How does one even start this program? Let alone launch it with a group of students who aren't at grade level and have had few independent writing opportunities?

I started with the thought that I had to get myself - and the kiddos - organized. This meant putting together folders that they'd be working out of for the rest of the semester.

I started buying products from Teachers Pay Teachers left and right in order to supplement the unit materials and to help organize my students' writing folders that we threw together (literally!) I've found a few resources that have really helped my students get organized.

The first is The Wise Owl's Launching Writers Workshop - Set Up and Routines product. This was a great help when my staff and I were assembling our students' writing folders prior to our launch. She had a lot of folder inserts that we ended up using - including a monthly "word list" of commonly used words for each given month.

I also purchased Luv 2 Teach K's Writing Workshop - Individual Writing Office Folder. This also had multiple pages that I used for inserts into the students' folders - including pages for digraphs and blends.

We have yet to get into the unit of study and the "official" lesson plans…but I have launched our workshop and the kids have really enjoyed the time they get to write. At this point, we let them pick their first writing topic (after doing some group brainstorming) and they've been busy completing a first draft.

I have some kiddos who STRUGGLE with writing independently and we've been letting these guys use sentence frames to start out. My next BIG task is tackling how to adapt Lucy's lessons to best fit the needs of my particular group of students…especially those who struggle with producing independent writing samples. Challenge accepted!

Do you use writers' workshop? How do you best adapt the formal curriculum to fit the needs of non-independent writers?