Monday, November 30, 2009

Good Reading Strategies

Today was my first day back after the NCTE conference and my bout with the flu, so there was a great need to check in with everyone, find their status, and review our classroom expectations. I also needed to "talk" with my treasures to find out what's been going on in their lives. During read aloud, I began by asking questions about what they found out during my absence in the book FOUND by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I was surprised by their response.

"Mrs. Archer, we don't remember. Our guest teachers didn't read with expression, so we don't remember. And we didn't chart what we found out after every chapter." Plus, many left early to begin traveling to their holiday destinations. So, we talked a little about what should we do. We can't go on when we don't understand what's happening.

They decided we should go back and begin reading Ch.4, where all the confusion began. And that is what we did. This time, we made sure to jot our findings on our anchor chart(which I still need even though I have a smart board. But that is another topic for another day.)

As I drove home and reflected on the day, I'm going to use this "moment" as an opportunity to drive home the importance of rereading and how good readers use this strategy to help them remember what has been happening. I think I'll use my own practice. I've been reading the sequel Sent, but I've been out of it for two weeks, that I need to go back to beginning because I've forgotten so much. Our treasures identify with us when we use our own strategies and findings as teaching points during our workshops. Plus, I like the fact that I will be accountable to my treasures. I'll let you know how it goes. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Newbies at NCTE

Last May, I was all the rage about the upcoming NCTE conference. I read on twitter the excitement brewing, the keynote speaker, Julie Andrews, and knew this was the year. I willingly dragged my partner, Lisa, along and we made our reservations.
Fast forward a few months, and we were off. Thursday, began with a wonderful session on Word Play. I learned so many new ideas to implement with my students and other ideas that I need to think how and when to fit them in. It made me excited to think about words. Think about one word that: 1. feels good when you say it 2. sounds good when you say it. 3. it makes you feel happy. Have you thought about it? My word is marinating! I love that word. Not for the cooking aspect, but the learning aspect!

Next, we went to an Elementary Get-Together, where we got to sit with....Lester Laminack. He's coming to our school in January, so we got to talk, laugh, and ask some questions to make his visit special. He is hysterical!

Friday began my downward spiral. It was that day that I began to get sick and ended up in bed the rest of the conference and for two days after. But, the highlight for me was to talk informally with Donalyn Miller, from the Book Whisperer, The Sisters, from Daily Five, Aimee Buckner, Notebook Know-How, Debbie Miller, and more in one room. All my book BFF's together. They probably thought I was crazy going up and saying, "You don't know me, but I'm your book BFF. I use so much of you in my classroom." Lisa got some pictures to share later. I was so excited! No matter how bad I felt on Saturday and Sunday(I was laying flat in a hotel room all day Saturday)I enjoyed every minute of the conference. I'll see everyone next year!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


It has been sometime since my last post and I have not been on Twitter, either. There was a three-week lapse when home computer was not opened. Between family illnesses and my husband's travel schedule, new initiatives at school, and other district commitments, I have been in survival mode for the past month. Like all seasons, change is coming!! We are all healthy!! Traveling has slowed. My school have-to's are completed.

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” John Rohn

I'd like to share a "find" with you. A friend and I always share books, so during one of our conversations she told me about a book/video for fourth graders. It's from the American Girl series, Chrissa. The main character is the victim of mean girl bullying: physical, verbal, mental, and cyber-bullying. Chrissa goes through all the steps of trying to solve the issue on her own, while finding some new friends for support.

That night, I reserved a copy at the library. My daughter and I watched it that weekend while she was sick. Amazing! It shows how to stand up to a bully, whether you are the victim or going along with the bully. The character displays leadership, perseverance, empowerment, acceptance, and more. Chrissa even has a website with some games and strategies to learn.

I went to share this with our guidance counselor and a parent had already given her the video. I'd recommend it to any parent with a young daughter and teachers. I want my daughter to be strong, secure, and assure of herself. Young girls need to see and read about strong female characters in our media today. Check it out!