Today is a big day.  A first.  My daughter’s first sleepover.  Well, sleepover with someone not in our family.  Here are the questions she asked me last night before falling asleep.
What if her brother bothers me?
What if the cat won’t sit on my lap?
Can I get the cat if we’re watching a movie?
Will we be at her mom’s house or dad’s house?
When will I have to go to bed?
What if she doesn’t have any toothpaste?
What if I can’t sleep?
What if I am scared?
Can I call you even if it’s midnight?
What will I do if there’s no nightlight and I have to go to the bathroom?
What if she doesn’t want to play with me?

What if they ask me to stay another day?
What if it rains?
What if it snows?
What if they want to go swimming?


Slice of Life #1

Every morning is the same.  Out of bed and into the kitchen with my dog close by, her sleepy ears down, nails tap-tapping on the wood floors and curious looks thrown my way.  She still remembers my ambitious years, when I’d sleep in my running clothes and head straight outdoors from bed.

I put the kettle on, sit on the stool, scratch her ears and apologize.  The little yellow kettle sounds, I make coffee and we go back to the bed.

I drink my cup propped by pillows, the dog warming my feet. I close my eyes and think before the rest of the house wakes up.

Sometimes I can’t wait to go to bed just so I can get up and do it again.


A New Year’s Goals

Welcome back to school everyone! Happy September! This is the week when we teachers are in meetings, setting goals for the school year, and scrambling to get our heads back in the game.


I want to set myself some goals for this year, too:
1. Incorporate student responses to text in a well coordinated, effective manner using technology. Usually I dig deep into the reading and discussing with students and the writing gets a little slighted.
2. Try out new engagement techniques. I just got this new book by Persida Himmele: Total Participation Techniques
3. Read more about PALS (Peer assisted Learning Strategies)
4. Start small.
5. Use digital tools to motivate and shake-up my literacy groups.
6. Become a google educator.
7. Blog it.

What are your goals?  Any thoughts or ideas about my list?

Check out this great Blog

Since I’m pretty new to blogging, I don’t really know if this is something people do, but I just read the best post by Kathy Cassidy and wanted to write my own blog post urging you to read it!  Her blog, Primary Preoccupation, is over on my blogroll.  Kathy teaches first grade in Moose Jaw, SK, Canada.  She does AMAZING things with her first graders and writes/tweets/youtubes/pinterests it all down for us to learn from!

Her latest post is just perfect for this blog-of-mine.  In her post Technology in the Classroom-embrace the bumpy ride, she encourages us all to start slow! What an amazing idea!  Don’t think of technology as an add-on, think of it as a transformative tool that will let your students do and learn in new ways!

Thanks Kathy, for your words of wisdom!

What Happened to Wiki Week?

I got a little sidetracked!  Remember that back in February I was going to post all about Wikis?  Refresh your memory here: Wiki Week.

Let’s get going!

What’s a Wiki?:  

A wiki is a website where anyone can edit anything anytime they want.  Wikipedia ringing any bells?

Now, this topic has been covered a lot of times by people a lot smarter than I am, so if you read this and can’t make heads or tails of it, see this website:  TeachersFirst.  I think their layout is great!  But, maybe some of you are too tired from a day of teaching to click on a link…Read on!

Useability Score: 2

How can I use them personally?

Any time you want to collaborate, think wiki!  Use them with your extended family, use them instead of a staff meeting (this is my dream), use them to write a book with a friend!

How can I use them in my K-6 classroom?

First and foremost, teach them how Wikipedia works!  We all know wikipedia is one of the first thing that pops up when students do research on the internet.  Show them how it works, have them edit a page, teach them how COLLABORATION is implemented in the real world.

Book reports, class field trips, study notes, creating a text…pretty much any time you want students to share knowledge and collaborate.

More Resources?

If you like to get in and play, go to Wikispaces or PBWorks.  In fact, I recommend doing this over all else.  It’s best to try it out, make some mistakes, play some more, figure it out.  It’s really sticky learning, I promise.  If you run into any problems, do a websearch!  Wikis have been around a while and have been used in a bunch of classrooms, so there’s lots of info out there!


Digital Text & the CCSS

Have you explored the National Writing Project Digital Is website?  It’s INCREDIBLE!!!

I haven’t even scratched the surface on this resource, but I can tell you, I want to dig in.  Everything on there is so amazing!

Here’s something I read on there today.  My professor of digital literacy directed my attention this-a-way.

Digital Text and the Common Core Standards

Joe Wood created this document, highlighting several anchor standards and their application in K, 4, 8, and 12.

I’m curious if/how elementary teachers are applying these standards?  Has anyone read Because Digital Writing Matters?  Is it relevant in the elementary setting?


NCTE position statement

I don’t follow NCTE too much, being an elementary teacher the IRA seems to always fit my needs a bit better, but they came out with a “definition of 21st century literacy” in 2008 that I just read.  As you can see, I’m a bit of a Johnny-come-lately to this digital literacy stuff.

I’m particularly in love with this new literacy demand:

Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought

I tend to think of High School English as reading a novel and analyzing/evaluating it.  I know I’m painting high school English teachers with a dull, broad stroke and that they have innovated their teaching practices to reflect the new demands of digital literacy and connected reading and writing.  I just don’t get in their classrooms like I do elementary classes, so I don’t have first hand knowledge.  It seems amazing to me, though, that now students  need to read and “pose and solve problems collaboratively”.  I can’t help imagine the possibilities of these classes with all the new technology!

What do you think about this?  Is it missing anything?  Does it have anything in it that surprises you?  It was revised in 2013.  What did they change?