Parent-Teacher Conferences

We had Parent-Teacher Conferences this week and they went well.  But the most amazing part?  99% of my parents told me that their children have never enjoyed reading as much as they are this year!  How awesome is that?  One parent even asked me to talk to her daughter, because she is refusing to do her homework.  Instead, she is reading Twilight.  Her mom didn’t know what to do, because she wants her to read but she also has to do her homework. Haha!  I did speak to her daughter today, and I think we straightened her out.  But how awesome is that?!

Parent Visitation

This upcoming week is Parent Visitation. I’ve been looking at my plans and I’m not really sure what lessons I will be doing. I’m not nervous- I enjoy having parents stop by. However, I do like to do something semi-interesting and something that keeps the students interested. Parents coming and going will be disruptive, no matter what, and I want to make sure that there is little opportunity for the students to be distracted.

Parents can come in from 9-10:15 on Wednesday and Thursday, so that is during Reading Workshop and part of Writing Workshop. Right now we are reading Tuck Everlasting and working on our NaNoWriMo novels. In reading, we are on a writing about reading unit, working our way towards writing reader’s responses. Most likely I will just stick with the plans I have down, but any suggestions out there in the blogosphere?

How do you handle parent visitation?

Back to School Night

I am exhausted tonight. It has been a very long week! Wednesday was Back to School Night, and I have felt like a zombie ever since. It is stressful and exhausting preparing for the 45 minutes when 25 pairs of adult eyes will be staring at you, scrutinizing your every word (and your outfit!), and never cracking a smile.

I lucked out this year! My parents were very relaxed and even laughed a few times during my slide show. I feel pretty confident moving forward this year. Luckily, no one seemed turned off by my reading workshop ideals and my goal of every child reading something they enjoy, and not necessarily something I assign. I also ended up with a bunch of donations to the classroom library, which makes me very happy!! Oh, and nothing beats being able to turn to the monarchs in my classroom when I run out of information during my presentation. The parents are all fascinated by the monarch butterflies and I can talk about them forever! It was a great way to end the night.

Today my students finished up their symbolic monarchs for Journey North’s Symbolic Migration (

First Daughter*Extreme American Makeover by Mitale Perkins

I read this quick read over the holiday weekend. Now, I am a political junkie so I was a little prejudiced when I picked this book up. I have also been reading Sparrow’s Blog after stumbling on it a few weeks ago. Definitely check it out if you get a chance- great info on the possible first kids on there!

So, what if your dad was running for President of the United States of America? And what if you were not the typical blue-eyed, blonde-haired, all-American girl next door? How would your life change? Sparrow/Sammy/Sameera attempts to explain to her dad’s constituents just that! The campaign wants to change her into a giggly, silly girl. Some of her dad’s handlers believe they have a better idea of the typical US teen than an actual teen does. Sparrow sets out to prove them wrong while hopefully not disrupting the life she has planned for the summer.

First, the few negative things I picked up while reading the book. I felt like some parts of the book went by too quickly, with very little explanation. I can’t think of any specific examples right now, but two or three times I would go “huh? how did we get here?”. I doubt many younger readers would feel the same way, but it threw me off a few times. Also, I wanted more blog entries! I guess will have to appease me for now.

Now, on to the positives! I absolutely love the voice that the book is written in. It feels like you really are reading the thoughts and blog of a teen girl. And not one of those giggling, hair-flipping, ditzy ones so often portrayed in the media. Sparrow is a thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate young girl. She is realistic and that’s why I loved her. She also struggles with issues all teens struggle with. Her parents are over-protective (ok, her dad is running for President, so they have a good reason), she isn’t sure what she believes when it comes to religion, and she doesn’t know who to include as friends on her private blog. All of these issues come together to make Sparrow a well-rounded and realistic character. Her voice and tone also sounds like just a kid. Not like an adult writing as a kid. (No Wilder here! 😉 ).

I really enjoyed this book. I was sad that it ended before Sparrow moved into the White House. However, I am excited to see that a sequel will be released. I am already looking forward to it!