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How I Spent My Winter Vacation Linky Party!

          Clutter-Free Classroom is hosting a How I Spent My Winter Vacation Linky Party!  How fun!  I spent my winter vacation blog hopping while drinking my favorite drink- cappuccino , visiting with family and friends, and shopping!  It has been a great vacation, just way toooooo short!  Visit the Clutter-Free Classroom blog to see how others spent their vacation!

Clutter-Free Classroom

New Year Linky Party

2011 has flown by so fast for me with the New Year right upon us!  So much to reflect on from this past year that has been wonderful.  I have many things to be thankful for:  wonderful, supportive husband and 2 great and intelligent sons are just the beginning.  My family's good health and a job I have a passion for are a couple more!  Tammy from Live Love Laugh Kindergarten is hosting a linky party for everyone to share their goals or resolutions for this coming New Year.  Here are some of my goals:
Professional Goals:
1.  Always keep searching for ways to reach my struggling readers
2.  Be on the look out for new, interesting books to share with my students
3.  Keep it fun and engaging!

Blogging Goals:
1.  Interact with other blogs
2.  Learn from what other bloggers are doing

Visit Live Love Laugh Kindergarten to see what others are posting!

Live Love Laugh

Tabletop Twitter

          I learned about this great activity at a workshop with Robert Probst.  It is a great way for students to interact with each other in writing.  All students get to participate at the same time and it gives them a chance to voice their thoughts to each other.  On top of that, it is a quiet activity and who couldn't use a quiet activity that gets everyone participating?  I took a short passage from our book club book, The 39 Clues, and glued it to a large piece of bulletin board paper.  The selection you choose is key to getting the most interaction from your students.  The selection should be something that evokes emotion or thinking from your students so they will be motivated to write down their thoughts about it.  Set a timer and there is no talking: only moving around to read what each other writes and responding back to each other.  The teacher gets to jump in and write comments or opinions too!  I had a small group so I had 2 Tabletop Twitters going at the same time.  Students could move back and forth between the two Twitters and tweet away!

Tabletop Twitter

Tabletop Twitter

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Improving fluency with Fluency Intervention Binders!  Students work to read in phrases in fun and engaging activities.  Click here to see the binders!

Professional Book For How To Help Struggling Readers

This has been one of the best professional books that I have found for teaching my readers who struggle.  Lots of wonderful ideas for teachers!

Christmas Eve Traditions

Does your family have a Christmas Eve tradition?  For my family, we get together with my parents and siblings, eat my dad's chili (yum!) and play games together.  Good times spent together!

It's Christmas, David!

It's Christmas, David!

I haven't gotten to read this book yet, but who can resist a No David book?  I love the No David books and will be putting this one on my classroom wish list! 

A Nice Surprise

I received a nice surprise from Mary at Sharing Kindergarten!  The Liebster Blog Award for new bloggers in the blogging world.  That was a great surprise!

  The rules are to copy and paste the Liebster award onto your blog.  Thank the giver and provide a link back to them.  Reveal your top 5 picks and comment on their blog to let them know you selected them.
I have passed this award on to 5 other great blogs:

Thank you so much Mary for passing this on to me!!

It's Party Time!

What a fun day we had today!  It was finally time for our reading party and the kids were definitely excited.  One station the kids went to was a Minute To Win It type game:  Marshmallows Through Christmas Wreaths.  It was a marshmallow blizzard as they tried to see how many they could throw though their wreath in one minute!  Our principal came in to watch and wondered if he could be behind the wreaths with an open mouth.  But since the marshmallows were recycled off the floor each time, he decided against that idea! 
Another stop was making edible sleighs.  The kids used graham crackers, icing, candy canes, and licorice to make their sleigh and then of course it was time to gobble them up!

Coffee with Karen

          A few teacher friends- Mandy N., Tricia F., and Martha S.- and myself had the pleasure of meeting with Instructechs consultant, Karen Loman, for coffee last night.  What a good time we had!  We were all getting to share with each other and gain Karen's insight on guided reading and spelling.  It is rare that teachers get time to get together to share with one another and we enjoyed this so much.  It was decided by the classroom teachers with Karen's help to take the step to not do weekly spelling tests any more.  Rather, they will be checking to see if the words have transferred to the students' actual writing pieces.  What about at your school:  do you give weekly spelling tests or has your school done away with this?
          Books and talking about literacy...  Two things that I have a passion for in life.  Which makes my job as an elementary reading specialist the perfect job for me!  My passion leads me to use best practices in teaching students to read and love books.  It just makes my day to have a student come by to talk to me about a book they are excited about.  The other half of my passion is talking to other educators about ideas they use and are excited to share.  We can learn so much from one another.  I hope you enjoy my ideas and thoughts about literacy!
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