Thursday, June 26, 2014

Reading in the Wild: Planning Reading Workshop {Part 2}

Here's hoping you joined in the chapter 1 fun last week.  If not, definitely click HERE to check out what it was all about and explore all the other bloggers that are participating/hosting the book study along with me.  You definitely won't be sorry!!

There is a tiny little 4-page chunk at the end of the chapter all about developing a reading workshop in your classroom to support wild readers in your classroom as well as every thing else that comes in to play as modern day teachers that we are.

I'm going to be honest here, I do not have a reader's workshop in my classroom.  It has been attempted more than once over my 9 (soon to be 10-year) career and really got off the ground back when I started using the Daily 5 (I adapted it to Daily 3) and CAFE my last year at my old school.  Then, I transferred schools and had to readjust to different scheduling, requirements, and the environment.  So, I'm looking forward to reading what everyone else comes up with on their blogs this week for sure!

See...what you have here are some oooooooooold pictures from my 2009-2010 classroom when I first decided to try Daily 3 and CAFE.

It worked so well for me that year and I tried so so very hard to follow what the 2 Sisters set forth in their plan.  But I still didn't embrace it fully because I didn't completely like all parts of it.  I don't know if it was the management or if it was the particular lessons.  I do remember not liking how I had to slowly but surely roll out the modeling of certain behaviors and what not.  That might be the BIGGEST part of me stopping it.

So, now that I've seen how well the ideas in The Book Whisperer work for me and my kids in the past AND starting the process of reading Reading in the Wild, I can see how I have to find a way for it to work for me and the students.  I'm willing to try it again and revamp it when necessary because of how independent reading will be the front runner.  But...and this is a big will be insanely tricky with the first year of Common Core being rolled out and so many changes in the benchmark assessments this year.  To be honest again, I'm not sure how it's going to work out or if it will work out.
Two things you should really know from this short section:
  • "What matters most is that our daily work in the classroom values best practices and doesn't become bogged down with a log of must-dos and tired activities that crowd out authentic learning opportunities for our students." (p. 40)
  • "It is our implementation and management of it.  Are we creating a place where reading a lot, writing a lot, and thinking a lot happen in our classrooms?" (p. 41)
Once you grasp the above, start working on what you want your workshop to have (just like a wish list).  Use the rule of thirds to divide it up amongst whole group, independent practice, and independent reading.  I plan to use the two sample schedules (one of those is below) in order to try and figure out what will hopefully become a successful workshop for my students and I.

Do you use reader's workshop in your classroom?  I'd love to hear your tips and tricks as well as things to avoid.  

Link up below if you have your own blog and if you don't, definitely leave comments and we'll start up a discussion!  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Reading in the Wild: Dedicate Time to Reading {Chapter 1}

Oh how I love Donalyn Miller and her insight into how to better help my students learn how to become independent readers.  I read The Book Whisperer about 4 years ago and quickly implemented it in my classroom the following school year.  I was amazed at how much my students enjoyed reading and talking about their reading.  But only about a small handful of those students still read on their own and come chat in the hallway with me about their recent favorite reads.

So, thankfully, Reading in the Wild is going to save the day!  Sure, I've only read the first chapter, but I already feel much better about reaching those corners I couldn't reach before.  In this book, Donalyn starts to address how to make sure students read in the "wild" or outside of the classroom away from their teacher and classroom environment.

I have to admit...this is my first ever book study on the little ol' bloggy here, so I'm completely sure how I'm going to do this.  But I'd love to share the bits I loved the most and plan on implementing fully in my classroom.  And I would LOVE it if anyone who has or hasn't read the book for our study to chime in and share how you have already used the ideas from Chapter 1 in your classroom or how you plan on directly implementing it.  The more ideas the better!  Don't forget, there are quite a few other bloggers participating, so click on over using the Link-Up below.  Let's do this together!

Check out the quote below that started off the first section...isn't that just the truth?! Oh and expect a ton more quotes, since they truly are snippets of the information you need!

Whenever I'm having trouble figuring out where to start eloquently writing about my thoughts here on the bloggy, I turn to one of these...

Were you that kid?!  I totally was and would have loved to read all day if given the chance.  "Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Reading" helps you figure how to help your students begin thinking this way.

"Research indicates that time spent reading correlates positively with students' performance on standardized reading tests." (pg. 8)  I can see myself pulling this out if and when an administrator or someone else asks me why I am using instructional time to talk to kids about books I'm reading or giving students time to choose books from our library.  

So, Donalyn talks about edge times a lot in this chapter. Oh you know?....those moments when wild readers find a few seconds, minutes, or chunk of time to read a book whether it be during commercial breaks (I do this all the time!) or waiting for your friend to get off the airplane and head out to the curb where you are picking her up.  Those!  Wild readers don't think twice about this, but those who aren't wild tend to think they HAVE to read during those 25-30 minutes teachers always seem to require or ask of students.  

In that case...give students blank copies of this "My Reading Inventory" provided in the Appendix of the book.  Students soon see when they read and how often.  This will help you and the students to figure out how to carve out more time.  Voila!  I have to admit, the appendices are my favorite parts of Donalyn's books because I get to put them right into practice.

Fake Reading

This was my favorite part of Chapter 1!  I don't know about you, but fake reading is one of the number one issues I find blocking students from becoming wild readers in my classroom (I work in an urban at-risk area).  No one at home really models reading for students and they only tell their kids to read when a teacher assigns those lovely reading logs.  

Fake reading and reading avoidance are honestly the reason why I fell out of using everything I successfully implemented in my room for 2 years this past year.  I didn't know how to get past what I can now call fake reading (thanks Donalyn!).  

The first day of school in our classroom library is a chaotic moment, but everyone is very enthusiastic about going through the shelves, baskets, and finding their newest discovery in the pages of a book. But soon after, I disocver those fake readers that I haven't known how to help in the past.

I hope you love the observation ideas and form Donalyn provided as much as I do!  I can't wait to get back in my classroom to start observing students I notice exhibiting the signs of fake reading and reading avoidance:
  • finishes few books or finishes books too quickly (this is #1 in my classroom)
  • abandons books often (definitely #2)
  • conducts personal errands during reading time 
  • fidgets or talks a lot
  • rarely has a book to read
  • acts like a wild reader
So, observe these students (you'll have to read Chapter 1 to really get a grasp at how Donalyn recommends to do this) and then use your notes to confer with those students independently.  

Once you can pin down the habits of these fake readers and you chat with them, jump in and recommend books for them, continue modeling reading behaviors, help them become part of the reading community.  Donalyn's story from her classroom revolving around Nathan will truly help you get a grasp of how to handle it in your own room.  As I was reading, it was super easy for me to visualize the exact students from the past couple years who I could have helped by using this form and her tips.  

When I first read The Book Whisperer, I signed my students up for Goodreads accounts.  It really helped us all communicate about books we were reading.  Several of my students used it regularly and a few even continued using after they moved on to 6th grade.  But it has died off now and I don't see any of them on it anymore.  But with technology picking up, Donalyn explains how she uses Edmodo to have her kids keep up with their reading community.  Score!!  I am definitely going to try this as we do have iPads on our campus and a couple iMacs in our classroom.  Definitely check out the last part of Chapter 1 to read more.  

Another suggestion she gives is using Status of the Class, especially at the beginning of the year and when you return from long breaks.  Here's a look at the form she uses and provides in the Appendix.  

I hope I've piqued your curiosity to buy and read Reading in the Wild and/or to become a part of our book study.  Feel free to ask questions and jump in the conversation here on my blog below in the comments.  Or, click on the Linky below to check out all the other hosts' blogs.  The more the merrier!!

See you back here for part 2 of chapter 1 on June 26th!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Reading in the Wild {Book Study Schedule}

I've been on summer break for almost a month now...or maybe it has been a month.  Meh.  I don't know!  There's something about not being in the classroom every day that sort of makes it hard to remember one day to another.

What I'd like to say is, I've made a huge dent in my book stack...but I've only read 2 books and just finished an audio book today.  It's insane how summer break seems to be busier than the school year. Thank goodness for this book study!  Now I know I'll have a reason to keep up with everyone.  I am hosting the book chat for Chapter 3 on July 10th along with Lessons with Laughter.  

Scroll down to find out more about our schedule.

We have some AMAZING bloggers and non-bloggers joining us over the next 7 weeks, and I cannot wait! Check out the hosts for each of the chapters/sections and make sure to follow them, so you don't miss anything. :) If your a blogger, awesome! Join us each week by linking up your posts/ideas. If you're not a blogger, that's great, too! You can read/follow and comment. We want to hear your advice, thoughts, and ideas for the classroom, too. The more teachers we have joining, the more amazing out classrooms will be this fall! 

Chapter 1: Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read (June 19th)
Chapter 1: Creating a Workshop Schedule (June 26th) *This is a SUPER short section (only 4 pages), but a great chance to share/showcase your workshop schedule and sneek a peek at classrooms all over the world!*

Chapter 2: Wild Readers Self-Select Reading Material (July 3rd)

Chapter 2: Curating a Classroom Library (July 10th)

Chapter 3: Wild Readers Share Books and Reading with Others & Conferring: What's the Point? (July 17th)

Chapter 4: Wild Readers Have Reading Plans (July 24th)

Chapter 5: Wild Readers Show Reading Preference (July 31st)

Aren't you excited, friends?!?! It's going to be a great few weeks! I'll see you back here on Thursday morning. Oh happy day! :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Meet Me

I'm linking up with The Teaching Tribune for a fun little get-to-know-me a little more post today...nothing like better late than never huh?!  

Okay...I promise I'm not all super girly, but I couldn't fit everything in the "I do" box. Basically...I'm a guy's girl but with a touch of girliness at the same time.  This is what happens when you grow up with 2 brothers and only boy cousins.  My only girl cousins were something like 10-15 years older than me!  I tend to form a rapport with my boy students year-to-year because they understand my sense of humor way more than my girls...that is until they start noticing my painted nails and fancy clothes.  Ha!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fabletics Seconde Outfit Review {June 2014}

I can't help but come back here on to my blog and post about the love affair I continue to have with Fabletics.  HERE is last month's (and my first outfit) post showing the lovely Failli set.

A couple days before the first of the month, Fabletics posted some sneak peeks of new outfits/collections over on Twitter. Once I saw the camo leggings, I was hooked...and I don't even like camo!!

My outfit for the month of June had 3 pieces...Lima Capri in black camo, Aventura tank in black, and the Sevan bra in pink grapefruit.


VIP Price for all 3 pieces - $59.95

It is super sleek looking and yet fashionable.  I couldn't resist the black on black with the peach/coral colored bra top underneath, so I actually grabbed the exact look shown in my boutique instead of playing with the colors.  

Here's what is super special about the capris:
  • Maximum compression/support - I fully agree with this!  I felt contained yet I was able to comfortably move and stretch in my yoga practice this morning.  
  • Four-way stretch for comfort and movement - The material wasn't pulling at the seams, so this is a definite truth
  • Mid-rise
  • Smooth chafe-resistant design
  • Convenient Hidden pocket (in the front)
  • Moisture-Release for dryness - I also fully agree!  It definitely got warm in class today, but unlike other capris I own, I didn't feel stifled.  They were perfect!
Would it be weird to just wear these to every single workout I do?!  Okay, I'm kidding, but I am a HUGE fan of their capris now.  I've never owned a pair that felt so soft, comfortable, stretchy, yet compressing (is that even a word) at the same time.  When I walked in to my gym (or just stood in front of my mirror before leaving the house) I honestly felt like I was stylin'!  I don't leave the house on a daily basis without making sure what I'm wearing is doing nothing but flattering me and making me feel good.  Sometimes, my off-brand athletic clothes don't make me feel like that and I HATE it.  But this...this outfit made me feel like a rock star!  Did I mention how in love I am yet?  I mean come on! When you catch several people turning to look and doing double takes to look at your capris, that must mean they stand out.  That totally happened in the yoga studio today.

My tank was just as great too:
  • Relaxed fit
  • Length is below hips (but slightly longer in back) - perfect for hitting right above the spot to make it flattering on pear-shaped gals like myself
  • Curved Hem for a slimming effect - so very true!!
  • Easy, breezy racerback style
  • Soft viscose blend
  • Sexy dropped arm hole - I hate it when tanks are cutting into or close to my underarms because it is so constricting and my sweat gets all over the place, so I loved the feel of the arm holes!
I feel like I will always say this about Fabletics items, but this tank was super duper soft!  It was that perfect thickness to give coverage yet allowed breathing room when it got warmer so it certainly didn't add to the heat at all!  I loved the way it moved with me as we did side stretches...the relaxed fit was perfect for yoga.  I really do want one in every color now!

I mentioned the Sevan bra in my first outfit post, but it came with this outfit as well:
  • Soft, seamless, chafe-resistant design
  • Heavier-weight fabric to support and cover
  • Four-way stretch for comfort and movement
  • Super neat strap design!
I would recommend this sports bra for light exercise like yoga or pilates.  Not only is it very comfortable, but it supported me well through all the bending over and moving side to side.  The strap design is unique and I love how stylish it is.  The color of the pink grapefruit is akin to my favorite spring/summer color of coral or peach too.  I can't wait to try out some of their other sport bra styles!

If you'd like to check out the Fabletics site for yourself to see what kind of stylish and comfortable outfits they can put together for you, you'll notice you can either join as a VIP or buy items at their regular prices.  I myself am a VIP and was reeled in right away by the awesome deal they have for newbies!  It is not one of those annoying monthly subscriptions either because their product is beyond worth it in so many ways.
  • Complete 2-3 piece outfits starting at $49.95 and up to 40% off retail
  • 20% off items individually (in case you don't want to buy the full outfits or in addition to your monthly outfit)
  • Free shipping on orders over $49.95 
  • Reward points towards free outfits when you refer friends and review your pieces
  • Super easy returns and exchanges (I can attest to this as I had to exchange for a smaller size with my first was painless and very easy)
  • Personalized picks according to your Fit Quiz (types of workouts, body style, wants, needs, etc.)
If you don't want to buy anything at the start of a new month, all you have to do is pass by the 5th. They send out reminders via email, Facebook, and Twitter.  I myself put a reminder in my iPhone calendar just in case.  You can earn your reward points by passing on the love of Fabletics, so I'd love for you to try it out for your first outfit at $29.95 by clicking my referral link.  And please share what you get, because I'd love to know!  So what are you waiting for?!

All items were paid for by myself and not provided by the company.  The opinions expressed here are my own and totally and utterly true.  I am in love!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Currently June

It's been awhile since I was able to sit and enjoy one of Farley's Currently posts.  I am a week into my summer break...have had one school-related nightmare and have been hitting the gym every day!  So, here's to a celebratory Currently!


I've had a fascination with learning about WWII since learning about Pearl Harbor when I was in 6th grade.  From there, I began to find the Holocaust interesting (and I mean that in a way that means I despise this happened)...reading quite a few memoirs, historical fiction, and more ever since.  So, when I found out The History Channel was showing a new 3-part mini-series, I had to record it!  My hubby and I are watching Part 2 and both of us have learned a lot we didn't even know more so.  As we sit here, my hubby is calling out the names of all the planes (he is a fan).  For example, I had no idea America only had 100,000 troops around the time we HAD to become part of WWI.  We found out why Hitler had his icky little mustache too...when he was in the trenches of WWI, he wasn't able to seal his gas mask when gas was thrown in.  So, he chopped the sides of it off with a knife right there in the trenches.  Seeing how Hitler rose to power, as well as other fascist leaders, is giving me the willies.  I highly recommend you watch this mini-series too!


Oh summer break how I love thee!  Let me count the ways.  I printed out the gym schedules for the 3 that I go to (gotta love the multi-gym pass I have with LA Fitness) and figured out how to fit in as much yoga, Zumba, and now Pilates as possible.  It feels great!  I have only read 13 books so far and normally I would have read double that by now.  This is because I would come home after work and just plop down on the couch to watch mindless TV in order not to stew over and think about the day's events or next day's events as much as possible.  


I am retaking 2 parts of my National Boards this year as I only missed certifying by 6 teeny tiny points. I already submitted my Entry 3 portfolio for scoring, now all I need to do is take the Science section of my Assessment Center exercises.  I've made notecards of several Accomplished Teaching Standards and the Unifying Concepts in order to pull them for evidence during my written exam...but I haven't studied!  Thank goodness I am meeting with a fellow candidate friend to study tomorrow.  Procrastination at its finest!!


My Assessment Center exam is on Thursday morning 8:30 am.  So, as soon as I have that day behind me...technically, that half an summer break is golden!!


There seems to be a running theme here!...and that is summer break.  After Thursday morning is gone and behind me, I would love this summer break to go by at the speed of molasses.  

Summer Bucket List

I have so many books on my to-read list since I am behind, this also includes some professional reads I've been excited to read for the last month or so.  If you'd like to see what books I have on my list, HERE is a blog post I just put up the other day.  Also, I am going to be hosting part of The Brownbag Teacher's book talk in a couple weeks for Reading in the Wild.

For the first time since we basically moved to Arizona (9 years ago), my hubby is getting paid-vacation time from his new job!  So, we are heading back home to San Diego to enjoy a week in cooler weather. We can't wait!

Like I said, I need as much time to regroup, refresh, replenish, and get up the strength again to conquer this upcoming school year.  See all the above for how I plan to do that.  :-)

Link up with Farley and a ton of other teachers to share your Currently.  Thanks for visiting!