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This past spring, for my children’s and young adult literature class we were asked to do an author study on a favorite author of our choice and create a presentation and teacher friendly handout for the class. My group chose to research Jane Yolen, the wonderful, award winning author of over 300 books! As part of our project we read close to 20 books each and came to the conclusion that Jane Yolen is incredibly diverse in her writing and is immensely passionate about what she does. She wanted to be a writer since she was a little girl and has certainly obtained (possibly even surpassed!) her goal. She encourages students to write every day and most importantly to never give up!

Hello all!

Summer is in full swing and my summer is off to a great start at my internship for my Masters Degree in Teacher of Reading. I am part of the Compass Program in conjunction with Lesley University and the Cambridge Public Schools. Summer Compass is a six-week academic program that extends and reinforces information that the students have learned during the school year. As part of my internship I am a reading specialist for the school. I work as part of a third/fourth grade classroom team teaching lessons in reading, writing, and word study and I also tutor struggling students in one-on-one tutoring sessions.

So far I am loving what I do! Being back in the classroom is amazing. I look forward to a successful summer and am still looking for a job for the fall. I have my fingers crossed that one will come my way soon! Hope you are enjoying your summer and keeping cool!

Oh, hey everyone!

It’s official. I’m starting the process of job searching.

Last week was my spring break and instead of going somewhere warm or even somewhere cold I stayed right here and worked on my…. RESUME. How exciting, I know! I actually liked working on my resume. It helped me see how far I’ve come on paper over the past couple of years. And let me tell you- I’m pretty qualified. Very qualified. I would even go as far as to say EXCEEDINGLY qualified. 🙂

Over the next couple of months I will be sending out applications to any schools that are hiring. I’d love a classroom teacher position in grades 1-3 (the little ones are my favorite). I’ll also be attending a few job fairs and a bonanza about the hiring and application process. I’m looking forward to what is to come and hope I will be hired! I’m ready to get my own classroom again– to take my past experiences and all I’ve learned and start teaching!! Wish me luck!

Volunteering

This semester I’ve decided to up my responsibilities and volunteer 3 mornings a week in a 1st grade classroom at a local elementary school. So far I’ve been volunteering for about a month and it’s been a really great for me to get involved helping students in my community. Since I already have experience with my own classroom it’s a little strange not to be the one “in charge”, but I’m just taking it as another learning opportunity. Mrs. G, The teacher that I am working with has been dedicated to teaching children for over 15 years so I feel that this is the perfect way to spend my mornings while I am in graduate school. I am getting the most out of seeing how her classroom works- her classroom management strategies as well as her curriculum frameworks.

I work in the classroom during the students’ language arts period. I like the way that Mrs. G has set up expectations with the students so right when they come through the door at 8:00 they know what is expected of them.

Typical Morning:

  • 8:00 Welcome to School!
  • 8:00-8:15 Finish any old work in LA folder
  • 8:30 Morning Meeting
  • 8:45-9:45 Language Arts (This could consist of a number of different lessons or activities that the teacher has decided on for the period). When students are done with an assignment and don’t have anything else to do they know that they are supposed to be completing DEAR (Drop Everything And Read).

The classroom has a nice balance of new lessons, predictable activites (such as comprehension assignments and “build-a-sentence”) and Mrs. G teaches through thematic units, which something I have never seen in action before but am very interesting in learning more about. So far, this experience has been very helpful for me as a teacher, and also as a graduate student. I am excited to continue with this opportunity and look forward to the new ideas I will learn.

The Relatives Came

For my first post, I thought I’d write about one of my favorite children’s books The Relatives Came. This is such a touching story about a big family coming together one summer for a family reunion. The illustrations are wonderful and the author uses perfect descriptions so that you feel as if you are right there with all the relatives- hugging and laughing and hugging some more.

I’m including a lesson plan I created for this book. It was an assignment for a class I took last semester and I know I will be using this in my own classroom someday (hopefully soon!).

The Relatives Came- A Reading Comprehension Lesson

Purpose: In this lesson students will learn how to make connections to improve reading comprehension. Students will make text-to-self connections

Objectives:

  1. Students will activate prior knowledge about families.
  2. Students will make text-to-self connections to the story.

Materials:

  • Book: The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
  • Visual Aid Poster: Text-to-Self
  • Pencils
  • Sticky notes (2 different colors)
  • Chart paper
  • Making connections worksheet: “It reminds me of…”
  • Stock paper (one for each student)

Procedure:

Activating Activity

    • To begin the lesson start a discussion with the students about what the word relative means.
        • Who are the people in your family?
        • What does relative mean? extended family?
        • Do you have special names for your grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents?
        • Why do relatives gather together?

Core Procedures

    • Introduce the book The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. Explain that this is a book about relatives coming together for a summer visit.
    • Explain that while you read you are going to make text-to-self connections. A text-to-self connection is made when something in the story reminds you of something in your life.
    • At the beginning of the story, model for the students. Make a text-to-self connection and share it with the class: “Class, this family is waiting for their relatives to visit. This reminds me of when my family took a car trip one summer all the way to Indiana to visit my cousins. It was so fun and I was so excited! I have just made a text-to-self connection here.”
    • After modeling for the students, continue to read the book. Stop every few pages and allow some students to tell the class the text-to-self connections they are making. Make sure every student gets at least one turn to give a connection.

Some questions you may ask:

      • What does this story remind you of?
      • Can you relate to any of the characters in the story?
      • Did anything that happened in this story remind you of something that happened in your own life?
    • After reading the book, students should return to their tables. Pass out the making connections worksheet to each student, sticky notes (2 of one color and 2 of another), and have everyone take out a pencil.
    • Tell the students you are going to read through the story one more time. This time when you read the story the students should make two text-to-self connections and write them down.
    • Students will write them down on sticky notes, so they can share with the class. On one color sticky note they should write what happened in the story and on the other sticky note they should write “It reminds me of…” and then write about something that has happened in their own life.
    • After you have finished reading the story through a second time and the students are all finished, students may share with the class what they wrote and then come up to the front of the room and post their sticky notes on chart paper.

Closing Activity

    • To close the lesson, students should pick one of their connections (“It reminds me of…”) to draw. Students can share their pictures with a partner, with their table, or of there is enough time with the whole class.
    • Drawing can be done on card stock paper and then a bulletin board will be posted in the class of the cover of the book, quotes from the book, and then all the students pictures of their connections to the book.

Assessment:

The teacher should assess the students by looking at the sticky notes and the text-to-self connections each child has made.

  • Did students participate in the pre-reading discussion?
  • Did students participate and make connections during the 1st read-aloud?
  • Do the students sticky notes show that they made connections to the story?

Modifications:

Students who are English language learners should be encouraged to make connections to their family and their traditions.

Some students may need extra help writing their ideas on their sticky notes. Allow for time after the 2nd reading to walk around the room and assist students if they need help scribing or with ideas.

Extensions:

Students can use their own memories to begin a graphic organizer for their own story. (In the middle box write the connection. In the outer boxes write in supporting details.)

Students can do a Readers’ Theatre: Students can write and perform a play on the book, acting out the different sides of the story (relatives visiting, or relatives being visited).

Hello world!

Hello, hello! I’m Miss B.

Welcome to my new blog!! Here’s a little bit about me before we get started:

Teaching is a profession I have always been passionate about. My early play experience was centered around a pretend classroom with my sister as the pupil. I “graded” papers, “read” stories and recited my ABC’s. Now, 20 or so years later, I still want to be a teacher. I want to be a teacher because teaching makes me happy. I love getting to know the students, watching them grow throughout the year, and helping them get excited about learning. Kids are smart. Kids are funny. Kids are awesome.

After graduating with a minor in education (and a dual teaching certificate in elementary and special ed.) from a small liberal arts college in Upstate NY, I taught first grade for 3 years in a small private school. The kids were fabulous, but what I was really looking for was a public school teaching experience. I am the product of a terrific public school in New York and I believe and support public school education. When I decided to look for a position in a public school I found there was one problem– a big one: I didn’t have my Masters. What to do? Get my Masters in Education! I finished up another year at the school, applied to graduate school programs and now, half a year later I am halfway done with my Masters Degree as a Reading Specialist!

I couldn’t be happier with the choice I made. Through the courses I have taken towards my Masters I feel like I have become a better educator, reflecting on the past teaching I have done and thinking about what I will do differently in my next classroom. I’m excited and challenged by teaching and am prepared to be the very best teacher I can be. I would like to have a positive impact on the lives of the children I teach and make a student’s first years of school a model for their future. I hope to give my students the skills that will help them empower themselves academically, socially, and emotionally. I want to teach my students how to make good choices with regard to value and experiences. I hope to motivate my students to want to discover new information, be excited about learning, and to keep asking questions. And most importantly: to read, read, read!!

“The more that you read,

the more things you will know.

The more you learn,

the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss