Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm on a blog-updating roll.

So half the school year has passed since I began this blog. Woops. Life has its crazy twists and turns, and I don't even know where to begin. So much for using this blog to recall the amazing and fun lessons I did the first 3/4 of the school year!

Let me instead jump ahead to RIGHT now, March 28, and share my current obsessions:
1. Organizing. Like crazy. I've been labeling and sorting everything in my classroom. Nothing makes me happier than when everything has a place, and I am finally getting all my resources organized!

2. Donors Choose. So, I've been obsessed with Donors Choose since August when my first project for puzzles was funded. Since then my students have had all sorts of amazing learning experiences thanks to generous donors. Plus, even though my bank account is still taking a hit with all that I buy for my classroom, I have been able to be more picky about my own purchases since we have all kinds of cool stuff from Lakeshore and other great places via Donors Choose!

3. Designing my classroom for literacy. I cannot get enough of Debbie Diller's Spaces & Places. Oh my goodness! This book is filled with amazing photos of classrooms that are designed for developing students' love for learning and creating literacy-friendly environments. Every teacher needs a copy of this book!

Spaces & Places: Designing Classrooms for Literacy

4. Books! Certainly not a new obsession. I have a hard time walking by a bookstore lately without purchasing multiple books! I've been splurging a bit on books about literacy and reading...and also books for my students to read and for me to read to them.

Current favorites include:

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
A great book about how it's okay if our writing and drawings aren't perfect!

365 Penguins
Our latest favorite book: 365 Penguins! We just went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and we read this book the day after! You'd be amazed at the responses I got to: "What would you do if you had 365 penguins?" Responding to literature in kindergarten? You betcha!
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!
Any and all Pigeon books by Mo Willems! My students LOVE Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant and Piggie of course! Check out his many amazing books!! I linked to one for each character!

Pigeon has been our wonderful take home friend this year. He goes home in a backpack with a journal and a couple of his books for students to read at home with their parents. Everyone should get a Pigeon!
Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus - Plush Stuffed Animals (with Voice)

4. Critical Thinking. Lately I've really been focusing on how to engage my students' brains and thought processes beyond "simple" academic skills. We're doing a lot of problem solving, explaining our thoughts, and responding to each other's thoughts. I credit my amazing advisor for helping me think a lot about how to do this in a kindergarten classroom, and I am really happy with the results I'm seeing! One amazing resource for all of this: The K-Crew! I love the Buzz Book, After the Buzz, and What's the Problem?! They are all fun ways to engage students in shared writing and problem solving--and everything is ready to go!

Well, that's all for now. I'm hoping I'll be able to keep up blogging, especially since I get pretty much all my great ideas from other blogs (in other words, they're not my ideas...good teachers borrow!), so wish me luck, please!

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