Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I have been BLOGGY TAGGED!

What a great start to my week...I have been bloggy tagged by two lovely ladies. Miss DeCarbo at Second Grade Sugar and Spice and Michelle at Teach 123 have both made me "it." If you haven't checked out their blogs yet, you should. They are awesomely fantabulous. **WARNING: this is a long (yet enjoyable) post.

Here are the rules of  BLOGGY TAG:

1.  Post the rules
2.  Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3.  Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people
 you tagged.
4.  Tag 12 people and link them in your post.
5.  Let them know that they have been tagged.

12 Fun Facts
1. I have three middle names. My dad really really wanted my name to be KERI-LYNNE but my mom said no way disagreed. Instead, they made Lynne a middle name...along with JEAN and LOUISE. I haven't ever met anyone with three middle names. I don't even fill out all of them on applications. There isn't enough room.
2. I started dating my husband when we were both 15. We've been together for 21 years. I feel old just typing that little tidbit.
3. I was in rhythmic gymnastics in grades 7-8. I was not coordinated at all and would frequently tangle the ribbon around my ankles.
4. I like doing the dishes. I find it kind of relaxing and like how it transforms my kitchen from eeeeeekkkk to ahhhhhhhh.
5. I have three kids. Beth is 16, Abbi is 13 and Logan is 9. I feel blessed to have such great kids and we have a very close relationship. My daughters ask me lots of questions and tell me lots of info (some of which I definitely probably don't need to know).
6. My nickname at work is KiKi because my initials are KK...I suppose it was easy to add a couple vowels in there to make a word.
7. I live in rural Ontario, Canada. The closest city is 40 km away...and has only 100 000 people in it. The biggest city I have ever been to is Toronto...and it's 2 000 km away.
8. I love to cook. I wish I had more time to explore and try out the recipes I keep pinning.
9. I have, what has been described as, a wicked sense of humour. I love to make people laugh...
10. I have been a bridesmaid six times. I feel honoured to have the opportunity to share in such meaningful, wonderful experiences. I've even been a bridesmaid for the same friend at two of her weddings!
11. I am envious of the artistic talent that so many bloggers have...they make such lovely (and gosh darn cute) activities to go with their units. I wish I could do something half as excellent. {sigh}
12. I can hit a ball VERY far in baseball. Like to the fence far. Which is lucky because I can't catch, throw or run the bases. Once (or ten times) I have got nailed in the kisser when trying to catch a fly ball...thinking that it would just kinda land in my glove...AWFUL player.

Responses to Second Grade Sugar and Spice
1. What is your favorite item in your classroom?
My SmartBoard. I love it so very much.
2. What was one thing you've learned since your first year of teaching?
Connect before you direct. I spend lots of time getting to know my students and letting them get to know me. There is still that line (we aren't friends) but I want them to know how much I care.
3. What is your favorite subject to teach?
Literacy. Although I also love to teach Math...
4. Do you have a pet peeve?
Yes. When kids say "Huh?" instead of "Pardon" or "I didn't hear you..."
5. When do you teach reading? Morning or Afternoon?
First thing every morning.
6. What is the first thing your students do when they arrive in the morning?
Have a healthy snack. Some of my students have been on the bus for over an hour and need something to snack on.
7. What is your favorite unit that you teach?
I don't teach the same unit each year, but one that I did teach last year and LOVED was fairy tales.
8. If you could have any piece of technology in your classroom, what would it be?
A document camera for the SmartBoard
9. Where were you born?
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
10. How often do you switch seats/desks in your classroom throughout the year?
Once every 5-6 weeks. However, I will move students around who aren't learning where they are sitting when necessary
11. Name an intervention program that you use in your school.
Good Readers' Club for those kid who read significantly under grade level
12. Describe a memorable moment you have had during your teaching career.  
During a District Review, I had two superintendents, three principals, two government people and the director of education in my classroom for twenty minutes. They were asking the kids questions about IR strategies etc..s.t.r.e.s.s.f.u.l!! They even went through Reading Response books and bins. 

Responses to Teach 123 
1.  Do you prefer chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla?
Either chocolate or vanilla...don't like strawberry
2.  Who is your favorite recording artist?
Pink or Queen or Elton John...but I love lots of different types of music so it depends on my mood...also love Adele
3.  What is your favorite cereal?
Honey Nut Cheerios with Puffed Wheat mixed in
4.  What color is your vehicle?
5.  Name 3 songs on your iPod.
Bad Romance (Lady Gaga), That Summer (Garth Brooks), Santa Monica (Theory of a Deadman)
6.  Do you prefer winter or summer?
Summer...even though it's soooo short
7.  Do you prefer mountain hideaway or beach house?
Hmmmm....mountain hideaway if it has a fireplace, comfy couch, big windows and lots of books
8.  Who is your favorite book character?
Alex Delaware from Jonathon Kellerman's books
9.  What is your favorite t.v. show?
Right now it's The Mentalist...although I also love Modern Family and Big Bang Theory
10. What are you really afraid of?
Mice and rats (shudder)
11. What is your favorite restaurant?
The Prospector (a local steak house)...they have a salad bar, unlimited buns/soup and the best steak in town
12. What is the best thing about teaching?
The kids and making some kind of a difference in their lives. Academic or emotional, doesn't matter which.

My Questions
1. What do you do to de-stress?
2. Describe your favourite dinner?
3. What do you do on Friday night?
4. Do you have any hobbies?
5. Why did you start blogging?
6. Would you rather teacher 20 eighth graders or 30 first graders?
7. How far do you live from where you grew up?
8. Would you ever teach a member of your family (eg child, nephew, niece). Why or why not?
9. Do you want to be a principal someday?
10. Do most people seem pleased or upset when you tell them that you are a teacher?
11. How long does it take you to get to work?
12. How much time a week do you spend planning, preparing etc (other than the time spent at school)?

I have TAGGED...

Caitlin from Ms. Preppy

Tracey at Our Cool School

And now, I am d.o.n.e!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Finding the Main Idea using Emotional Literacy Read Alouds

Our board does learning pathways. As a class, with input from the kids, we are expected to write a reading goal and establish success criteria. Since coming back from the holidays, our class has been learning how to find the main idea in the text and to use supporting evidence to prove their idea. It has been a pretty smooth learning goal, the kids are engaged and excited to learn.
Our overall theme has been accepting people for who they are...a pretty big idea for seven and eight year olds! As a baseline, I used the picture book "The Crayon Box that Talked" to see if they understood the underlying theme. Some did, many did not. 

After the baseline was completed, we talked about the story and read a poem inspired by the book. I downloaded the poems and writing paper from The Bubbly Blonde's tpt store for free (click on link to go straight there)! Thank you so much to Alisha. If you haven't checked out her blog, you should.

Our next read aloud was "Crazy Hair Day" by Barney Saltzberg. It was very difficult to find this book (even Chapters didn't have it). Plan B: I used Barney Saltzberg's website and played the clip of him reading his book! Talk about engaging. I love to find books that author's read and play them for the class. This story is about a little animal who mistakenly wears crazy hair day on picture day. It is a heartwarming, fun read that shows kids the value of making everyone feel good about themselves. After listening to the story, we talked about the main idea, recorded it on chart paper and did a craftivity. Kids used as many different lines (ie dashed, curvy, spiral, straight...) as they could think of to decorate a picture of a face without hair of its own. Click the picture to check out this fantastic resource...

We also listened to the song "Crazy Hair Day," which is fun and entertaining! Click on the picture below to go to the art activity that I used with the kids...they absolutely LOVED it. Another suggestion that I liked was using paper plates for the faces and stapling/gluing noodles, wrapping paper, ribbon etc on for the hair.

 Of course, Todd Parr is an excellent author/illustrator when learning about differences and what better book than "It's Okay to be Different." He has videos that go with his books, which I am looking for.

We started by brainstorming ideas of what this could be about (making connections to the books we have already read). I made a web on the SmartBoard so that I could check off the ideas that turned out to be accurate. After reading, the kids completed an activity where they filled in a four block GO chart with the sentence "Everyone is Different and That's OKAY." They had to use one idea from their life, one from another book and one from the world. The final box was their chance to express their feelings.
If you're not sure what this is, here is a picture. Click on it to go to the awesome blog "Fabulous in Fourth."
For my class, I filled in the centre and wrote a title in each of the supporting squares.

We will be reading this story on Monday. I love Max Lucado.

Any suggestions about how to tie this unit up?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An EXCITING Milestone

This is just a short post to say "THANK YOU" to the followers of my blog. I can't believe that I am almost at 100 super-awesome, wonderfully-fantastic followers. Yahoo!!!! Honestly, I don't feel worthy...but am very happy and uber appreciative. In fact, I check my blog constantly to see if I've made it to 100 yet. Each day it gets closer and closer and closer...last night I watched my blog follower section instead of American Idol. It's kinda like toast, though. You know what I mean-it doesn't pop til your not lookin'
I am going to brag  inform everyone at work that I have almost reached triple digits in the blogsphere. Crossing my fingers that there is a substantial amount of envy appreciation.
I have reports this weekend but will return with some updates of our "MAIN IDEA" and "EVIDENCE" learning goal. It's pretty exciting stuff.

Nothing shows appreciation and merriment like a smurf doing jumping jacks!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tardy to the Party...A Day in My (Running) Shoes

Here's hoping that it isn't too too late to link up to Miss Klohn's fantabulous linky party. I have really enjoyed reading everyone's daily routine. I can't believe how EARLY many of you start your day...I have stopped whining when I get up at 6:30  6:45. I've also noticed that my little "annoying" (according to hubby) habit of hitting the alarm clock is shared by lots of blogging buds.


          ~First thwack of the snooze button

           ~Second thwack of the snooze button

          ~Finally drag my tired butt out of bed and head downstairs to make coffee

6:45     COFFEE
           ~Make coffee...which takes at least five times longer than it should since I fumble around in my      befuddled state...remember to turn it on so that it is ready when I get out of the shower...(I have forgotten and been very pouty disappointed)

           ~Honestly, very relaxing and the favourite part of my morning

           ~A double double full of joy and love, enjoyed in front of "Canada AM" for ten whole minutes!

7:15     GET KIDS UP (for second time, first is before I go in shower)
...make lunches....get dressed...do hair and make-up (sorta lol)...tell kids to hurry up

7:45      OUT THE DOOR
            ~Off we go...two of my kids go to the same school as I work at...which is great (usually)

8:05      AT SCHOOL
            ~Last minute prep for day ahead...deep breathing...

  1. Literacy Block
  2. Recess
  3. Math Workshop
  4. Lunch
  5. Writers' Workshop
  6. Science/Phys Ed
          ~Last minute stuff at school

3:10    HOME
          ~Head home with two cranky kids




9:00     BEG KIDS TO GO TO BED...NOW!!

10:30    BEDTIME
             ~After doing lots of pinning and blog stalking of course

This is a typical day. Although, many days seem to be spent running to doctor's appts, the movies, the mall, friends' houses, hmmmmm...basically being a chauffeur for my two teens. I also like to watch a little tv to unwind (depending on the line-up). Mondays, so far, are my fave.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Yes, it's true. Sadly, my laptop has a nasty, yucky virus. I can't even turn it on. Luckily, my husband is uber techy and can (hopefully) fix it BUT it's going to take a while and I am rapidly slowly going c.r.a.z.y. Like rearranging my cupboards, closets and drawers c.r.a.z.y
Therefore, what an awesome surprise to receive the Liebster Award from Delena at Learn with Me in Grade Three. Thanks so much...honestly, it was a a wonderful surprise and helped to cheer up my glumness about my laptop.
I have nominated these blogs for the Liebster Award. The criteria is that they have less than 200 followers.

A photo journey of a mother, teacher and enthusiast.

Loads of great ideas from a primary perspective.

An up and coming blogster. Kim teaches grade one and has FANTASTIC ideas/resources.

The past week at school was insane busy. Four straight days of -45 Celsius (-49 Farenheit) meant indoor recesses and stir crazy kids/adults. Luckily, I have a SmartBoard in my classroom because it makes Daily Physical Activity simple, simple, simple. We purchased a kid friendly exercise DVD called "Smart Fitness Workout" and it is the bomb diggedy. Truly. The kids LOVE it. It was well worth the twenty dollars that it cost!

I just throw this onto the SmartBoard and away we go. The routines range from five to ten minutes long. Most are energy boosters and a couple are cool-down-yoga type routines.
Another recentish discovery is the "Chair Hip Hop" series from Learn 360. This is a 25 minute compilation of different hip hop moves that the kids can follow along and do from the comfort of their chairs. It is really neat to see twenty kids doing the "windmill" together. Love it. Learn 360 requires a subscription (I think) that our school board has bought and we can access. It includes thousands of videos that are directly related to our Ontario curriculum.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dr Martin Luther King Jr

In Canada, we don't celebrate the MLK federal holiday. However, I am doing activities with my class about Dr King and his impact.
First, we watched a video on LEARN 360 (an online media site that our board is subscribed to). Then we talked about the message and main idea of the video; perseverance and equality. The kids were captivated. The next day, I read them this book:

and then grouped them into three and had them complete a WAS, HAD, WANTED graphic organizer. After lots of talking and sharing, the kids will now be completing a reflection based on everything we've learned. I made a powerpoint which I will share when we've finished.
I am pretty excited about how much my kids are enjoying and learning from this little unit.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I really like these CURRENTLY linky parties. I love reading about everyone else and what they are doing and it gives me time to reflect. OLW took me awhile. I started to think about the goals I have in mind for myself, my family, and my job...it made me realize that I need to start taking the time to really appreciate what I already have and all the wonderful things about my life. Personally, I need to stop the "but..." You know-sentences like "Thank you so much for _____ but ______" Or, even worse, "I like ____ but...." I am going to start ending my sentences BEFORE the "but" and APPRECIATE what I am thankful for. Or at least try to.
I am linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade...so fun!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Back to School...Thank Goshness for Pinterest and Blogs!

So, today was my first day back after the holidays. Last night, I couldn't sleep...which made for a grumpy tired Keri this morning. Two coffees and a looooong shower helped to revive my spirits and I felt pretty close to normal by the time I got to school. The kids, surprisingly, were very subdued/quiet/sleepy. Perhaps there will even be tears tomorrow; hopefully not mine.
I took the advice of many bloggers and decided to slowly transition the kids into the normal school routine. In Reading Workshop, we are starting our unit on MAIN IDEA & supporting evidence. I also wanted to incorporate the holidays into our work this week...so I read the story "Whistle for Willie" by Jack Ezra Keats. It is the story of a little boy who desperately wants to be able to whistle. Throughout the book, Willie practices and practices until he achieves his "goal" of whistling.

I highly recommend this book if you are working on perseverance as a theme. We then talked about the main idea and how we know this is the main idea (evidence). Tomorrow we will make a GO chart.
The second task that I introduced was the 2012 Resolutions Flip Book from the fantastic blog Views from Room 205. Mrs. Lamb has created a great activity that incorporates goals into the digits of 2012. My kids LOVED it. 

Thank you so much to Mrs Lamb for a truly enjoyable, engaging activity that suited all the learners in my class.

Well, back to planning, planning and more planning. Unless, of course, I have a little nap instead!