Monday, February 11, 2013

Shared Writing

Like I've mentioned before, I always struggle with teaching writing.  I need as many ideas as I can get and let me just say this one is a gem!  Such a great idea for a station during a literacy block or reading rotations.

It's called Shared Writing

Here are just a few ideas but the possibilities are endless! 

Within this classroom I subbed in the students had Shared Writing as a rotation during their literacy block.  The group of students assigned to that station all sat around a table and picked one of the topics available and wrote a story that related to the topic.  Students can go back through the book and read other classmates' stories and add their own as well.  I loved the idea of students sharing their writing.  Often times students are anxious to share their writing but due to time constraints it is something that is easily skipped.  It's important to allow kids to share their work, taking ownership and showing pride is a great way to develop an inspired and passionate writer.

Can't wait to try this one in my own classroom!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Blog Inspiration

Tonight I want to share with you one of my favorite blogs,

The Worldly Adventures of Caelen Bensen

It's written by one of my best friends and it's just a blog full of her stories and experiences in life.  She has taught abroad for the past 2 years and is full of amazing stories.  It helps that she is just an amazing writer (she just got published in a local newspaper and has other writing gigs coming proud of her!).  I had been talking with her a couple weeks ago about how I have so many ideas about what I want in my classroom and was of course sharing with her some of the hilarious kids I come across while subbing and she suggested and encouraged me to start a blog.  So I listened to her (it also helped that I needed to start one for a Master's class) AND she was so right.  It's actually very liberating to just jot down my ideas and share my experiences with those that are interested.

This girl is my inspiration and my soul sister.  I guarantee you she will be a famous writer someday.  Currently, she's teaching in the Dominican Republic and as of today it's 45 days till I get to visit her there! I'm so excited!

I, of course, have a ton of teaching blogs I love (I mean who doesn't when they use Pinterest) but I really wanted to share this one because it's one I truly enjoy and am inspired from.  Have a great week all!


A Motivational Idea

Hello world,

Today I'm subbing in one of my favorite classrooms. I get to be a 5th grade teacher (ahh I know sometimes scary) and I get to play with iPads all day! This teacher is a part of a grant that allows every one of his students to have their own iPad. I've subbed here before last year and it's part of what motivated me to start getting my Masters in Information Technology or how I like to call it "Classroom Technology" since a lot of people don't get the whole info tech meaning. This teacher has so many amazing ideas for behavior ideas and motivation. Today I'm going to log one of his motivational ideas. I could go on and on about how he uses iPads but I think ill save that for another time.

As I walked into the classroom I immediately saw this colorful wall with some really cool top dawg (sorry had to throw in a UW thing!) kind of names on it. When I asked the students what it meant they told me its what their teacher uses to encourage the kids to work on improving anything possible.

How it works is the kids all start out at the bottom. Every time they improve something they get a star on their name card. When the reach 10 stars they move up to the next level. I have yet to find out what happens when they get to the top but depending on the kids and the teacher you could do whatever you want. (I'm currently writing this while the kids are in music/P.E., so maybe ill find out by the end of the day)

I really like the idea of the kids being motivated to improve. Not just behavior wise but academic wise. So many motivational systems are for behavior these days that I feel like the importance of wanting to be better in school and take responsibility for your learning gets lost. I definitely think this is an idea that I could/will utilize in my future classroom!!


P.S.- I just downloaded the blogger app for my phone and just wrote this whole post via iPhone (kinda cool!) so I apologize if things look weird, ill adjust things later.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Favorite Part of Me is....

Happy Monday
(well as happy as they can be),

I have a lot of catching up to do on the ideas I've been gathering for the past yearish, so pardon me if the ideas seem random.

I believe I mentioned before that I just finished a long-term sub job for a 3rd grade class and let me just say I miss those kids, staff, school and even community.  The school was in a small rural community (very farmish), the school was small and had about 400 kids K-8, and there was this delicious lunch spot that I frequented when I was too lazy to bring a lunch.  Words can't even begin to describe how amazing the staff was there.  Great ideas flowing through the hallways and smiling faces every corner you turned.  This idea I'm going to "store" into my save files on this blog is such a cute one.

The idea behind this writing activity is that the students choose a part of their body they love (could easily tie this lesson into a science lesson) and write about why they love it.  Some of the body parts these first graders wrote about and why they loved them were so cute!

My Favorite Part of Me......

Teaching writing is always a struggle for me.  I search and search for great, fun ideas that actually inspire kids to write.  So many kids struggle to find a passion to write and writing is often overlooked when teaching.  I want ideas that are not only fun for the kids but fun for me to teach.  The fact that I got a kick out of their final pieces I can only imagine what the process was like inside the classroom.  I love that this teacher also took pictures of the kids showing what their favorite part of them is :-) 

Can't wait to try this out with my future class!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hello World!

Hello world,

Being a substitute teacher, I come across hundreds of ideas for my own classroom and experience hilarious stories and heart strings being pulled by the little (and big) ones of elementary school students.  My idea for this blog is to use it as a toolbox/journal of things I come across and stories I want to share.  I've been inspired by many of my friends who are teaching abroad or starting their first year as a teacher who have created a blog to keep in contact.  My friends and family constantly remark about how they love my hilarious Facebook status about my students and want to know more. it is! I'm also constantly taking photos and thinking "OH that'd be great to do in my own classroom or OH I would change it this way" so for my own purposes I want to talk and journal about what I hope for when I finally get my own classroom.  THEN hopefully, I can turn this into a blog about my own classroom.
A Little Bit About ME
  • I graduated from Western Oregon University (Go WOLVES!) in 2011.
  • I'm working on my Master's at WOU in Information Technology (essentially using technology in the classroom) currently.
  • I've been a substitute teacher for about a year and half.  I just recently finished a long-term position for a 3rd grade classroom.  They were amazing little angels!
  • My favorite place on Earth is my cabin in Montana.
  • I love Pinterest! (Soooo many ideas!)
  • I have a love for food, but I'm not that good of a cook, yet!
  • Another random love I have....fake cheese! Mmm Nachos!
  • I have the coolest teacher name, I mean who wouldn't want Miss Smart as their teacher?
I hope you enjoy my experiences and ideas!