Slice of Life #13

As my afternoon filed into the room after lunch, one of my students, R (random initial) approached me with an envelope in her hand.  

“This is from my mom.  She didn’t get to talk to you at conferences, so she wrote you a note,” she said as she handed over the envelope.  I thanked her as my mind raced, trying to think of what her mom could need to talk to me about.  As she made her way to her seat, I turned toward my desk and opened the card.

After I admired the card (gorgeous!), I opened it up and began to read the note.  By the end, I had tears in my eyes.  R began the year as one of my most reluctant readers and writers.  Her mother was writing to thank me- for helping her to discover the love of reading.  

I quickly put the card away, but I’ve already pulled it out to read again tonight.  It makes my heart burst. 🙂


Slice of Life #12

As I sat on the couch, watching my favorite Thursday night TV shows, I had a sudden craving for cookies. So during the next commercial break I made my way to the refrigerator.

Hmmm…..just a few mint Wegman’s Oreos in here, I thought as I searched shelves.  I wonder if we have any cookie mix in the pantry. 

Yes!  Oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie mix!  I grabbed the package, the necessary stick of butter, and a single egg.  Looking at the clock on the microwave, I saw that  had 8 minutes until The Office started.  Could I pop the cookies into the oven by then?  Of course I could!   

I quickly dumped the bag of cookie mix into my KitchenAid mixer while the frozen stick of butter softened in the microwave.  Once the butter was room temperature, it found its way into the mixing bowl, along with a box of raisins I found in the pantry.  While the mixer beat the mixture together, I found the cookie sheet and made sure the oven was preheated.

Three minutes until The Office.  

Once the cookies were mixed, I quickly began grabbing handfuls of the thick, sticky mixture.  Oh no, I forgot to take off my ring! Now I’ll have to clean it later, I scolded myself.  But I quickly laid out 16 balls of dough on the cookie sheet and threw the sheet into the oven.

One minute left!  I made it!  I set the oven timer for 10 minutes and made my way back to the couch.  Now, if only the cookies could finish during a commercial break….

New from Aimee Buckner!

Be sure to check out Aimee Buckner’s contribution to the Share a Story – Shape a Future blog tour.  It’s a great read!

Aimee is the author of one of my favorite writing workshop books, Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer’s Notebook. I use it everywhere during our first unit of study. I am especially excited because she is coming out with a new book, Notebook Connections: Strategies for the Reader’s Notebook. I can’t wait to get my hands on it! And if you check out Aimee’s post above, there is a link to a sneak peek of the book!

Day 4- Share a Story – Shape a Future Blog Tour

Today is Day 4 of the Share a Story – Shape a Future blog tour.  Today’s theme is  “A Visit to the Library” and is hosted by Eva Mitnick at Eva’s Book Addiction blog.


More Great Posts
Tiger’s Bookshelf: Shopping Mall Library (Thai Knowledge Park) – PaperTigers
Time Travel in a Thai Library: A Visit to Neilson Hays – PaperTigers


Share a Story-Shape a Future image created by Elizabeth Dulemba

Slice of Life #11

As I perused the rack of sunglasses at TJMaxx, I was shocked with what I found.  A gorgeous pair of Coach sunglasses……for $15!  I immediately snatched them up, thrilled with my find.  

TJMaxx is one of my favorite stores.  I have to do some digging, but I always find great deals there.  Today, I spent a few minutes exploring the shoe section, housewares, bathing suits, dresses, and women’s clothes.  I ended up leaving with a pair of Coach sunglasses, Lilly Pulitzer sunglasses, and a peacock Vera Bradley 3-ring binder for my new desk.  

Some days I spend 30 minutes digging through the racks at TJMaxx and come up empty-handed.  But today was a great shopping day!  I left the store, bag in hand, thrilled with my purchases.

21st Century Read-alouds

Earlier this year, I was presented with a dilemma.  I wanted to read  Diamond Willow  to my students before the Newbery announcement.  But because the story is told in diamond-shaped poems with bold words throughout, I knew my students would need to see the text in order to fully appreciate it.  I couldn’t afford to buy a class set this late in the year- how could I share this great read-aloud while not going broke?

Then it hit me.  This is the 21st century!  I realized I could share the novel by utilizing my classroom document camera! On January 15th, I posted this idea on my blog.

…the students can see the poems as I read them, just like if they had the book in their hands.  It’s the first time I will be combining technology and literacy this way, and I can’t wait to see how it goes!  Will the experience of reading the book on the board, via the camera, be the same as reading the book in your lap?  It should be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to find out!

I was a bit hesitant at first, as my normal read-aloud routine involves all eyes on me, the one with the novel.  I was afraid some of my students would be distracted by the document camera, the projector, or just the opportunity to stare at the book’s projection.  But as we began, all of my fears dissipated.  My students were enthralled!   They loved reading along with me and were mesmerized by the diamond-shaped poems with the embedded bold words.  Thanks to technology, I was able to share a read-aloud with my students that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to experience together. 
Both classes loved the novel.  I shared some of their reactions back in January:

“More books should do the bold words thing.  It’s so cool!  They tell you what the character is thinking deep down.”

“It must have been really hard to write a whole book using the right diamond shapes and making sure you had all the words for the bold parts.”

“This was my favorite book that we read all year.”

“This was an awesome book!  


Thanks to my document camera and a projector, I was able to share an amazing read-aloud with my students!

Slice of Life #10

As I cleaned my room, I scanned it quickly with my eyes. Anything that would stand out to a parent? I looked over the bulletin boards, made sure I had the chairs set up in the hallway, and the table set up for conferences.

The memoirs! I had forgotten to put them out! I paused for a second, trying to remember where I had put them. Oh, that’s right! I made my way over to my desk and grabbed the large, bound scrapbook. As I walked out to the hall, I flipped through the memoirs. My students did a great job! I was so proud of them and couldn’t wait for their parents to read their published memoirs, mounted on scrapbook paper, and bound in the class memoir book.

I glanced at the clock as I walked back into the room. Only 5 more minutes until my first conference!