Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

Ralph Waldo Emerson

OK, here is one such opportunity... the "Blood Moon", a complete lunar eclipse,  happens this coming week on April 15. This lunar event will be the first in a series of four- called a tetrad. They will occur throughout this year and next in six month intervals. NASA confirms that the tetrad has only happened three times in the last 500 years!  

You can check out the blood moon in the overnight hours from at about 2 am Eastern time. It should  last about 3 hours. 
Have your camera ready to snap pictures of this must-see rare cosmic event!

If you sleep through it, plans on having coverage of head here for more information

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

i just wanna....

I just wanna.....

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Success For All

"One of the things that’s most characteristic of Success for All is that we try not to leave very much to chance. We have a sort of a term within the organization which is “relentlessness” as being the goal of the organization. And relentlessness means that you don’t just give it your best shot and hope for the best. You’re constantly trying new things, different  things and sticking at it until you’ve succeeded with every child or with every school and with every circumstance. And that’s down to the level of minute-by-minute in the classroom. We want every minute of the school day used for productive activities that we know from research to be the most effective things we can provide."

Robert Slavin co-founder of Success For All

Gosh, I respect this attitude! From what I hear, Success For All is now used in 1,300 schools in 47 states and rated one of the most effective reform models according to a meta-analysis of school improvement programs.
Do you teach at a Success For All School? I know some of my Maryland and  Jersey friends do.  Jill and I would love to hear from you! 
Please email me:

Thanks so much!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

I've always been a lover of books.
From poetry to fantasy and from teacher books to cookbooks, I love and appreciate it all.
Books can be life changing.  I can remember the first book that caused a major shift in my thinking. I was a young teacher living on my own, dealing with the end of a relationship, the death of my father and the suicide attempt of someone close to me.  I was a mess. Getting myself through each day was a trial.  It was at that time that I read Peck's The Road Less Traveled for the first time. It awakened my soul and it altered the way I viewed myself and my life. Life changing. I still have that same copy of that book and will go back to it time and time again.

A friend of mine gave me another potentially life changing book to read on Friday. She put it in my hands with the words, "Put all else aside this weekend and just read this." 
My kids were at a retreat this weekend so it worked out that I could actually do that guilt free.
It was 60 degrees and sunny so I  took my bike and my book and headed to the river. I found a spot at the river bank and sat and read and wept. 
I turned page after page of power filled words that made me feel everything from intense sadness to immense gratitude. 

Are you ready for an awakening? Then you must read Jeannie Allen's Restless.

"May this be the place where your restless soul meets God, and where no life or minute or breath ever feels small again."

So, put everything else aside and read, Restless
It will wake you from your slumber.
It will move you.

Have you read it already? I would love to do a video study of this one.
Anyone else in?   Email me:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Groundhog's Day and Division

Groundhog's Day always seems to sneak up on me. We are super busy this time of year. The midyear assessments are in and the realization of how far we still need to get in half a year is sinking in. It is pedal to the metal-full steam ahead; so who has time to stop and acknowledge Groundhog's Day??  It is tempting to ignore it all together but third graders are still kids and they still get into these little holidays.  So here I am trying to  work it into what we are currently learning about.

Here are two books I have used as read alouds before.  They contain good tier two vocabulary words and are great to use to review the use of organizational patterns like cause-effect and sequencing flow maps. 

I've also worked the groundhog into math.  We've introduced divsion recently.  Students are learning how the four operations are related and connected.  We made this bridge map to organize this new knowledge.

Now I'm always on the lookout for activities for my third graders to use during the "By Myself" or "Partner Practice " guided math times. 
Here is a math activity centered around groundhogs and division.
Here students are exploring the idea that division is really repeated subtraction.  Students cut out the little groundhogs and place groups of them into a certain number of burrows. 

They show the repeated subtraction and then relate it to division by writing the division equation.

Let me know if you are interested in this one.  I'll send it your way.

Here's to hoping the groundhog doesn't see his shadow.  I am ready for spring!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday's Words for the Week

We left at the crack of dawn on Saturday to go to the mountains (my happy place)
for some skiing.
The mountains were beautiful all covered in snow.


What a masterpiece HE has made.