Monday, December 9, 2013

Why Dusting Off This Blog Was a Good Idea

Each time I consider where I'm going to find time to blog; something happens that gifts me more time to write.  Unfortunately, today it means staying with this Li'l guy because he's fighting off a flu thing.

Engrossed in Polar Express.  The question of the day, "Is Santa real?"
Fortunately, we think he's on the up and up (which we thought yesterday), so this has gifted me some time to sit and blog.  A side note:  Hang in there young parents!  There comes a point where the children stay home sick, but you can move around the house.  (Which for me is happy and a little sad.)  In our house it happened when the boys turned 5ish.  

If you've read our story, you know that the three teachers on this blog consider ourselves the "Original PLN".  :)  We have shared books, ideas, questions, struggles with each other, both in our personal and professional lives. I'm loving that I can see what is on my PLN's mind through our blog, since we don't always have time to chat face to face.  I was reading this post by Annie at the end of last week:

 http://simplylearningtogether.blogspot.com/2013/12/book-of-month-nerdlution-day-3.html

I remember the excitement of sharing the read alouds that Annie refers to in this post, and engaging in rich, meaningful discussions.  This year, as I work through a class with strengths and challenges, Annie's post was a reminder that I needed to revisit some things that I know are effective when teaching reading.  So I immediately went to the office and borrowed this book from our conference room.
If you don't own this book or have access to a copy; you should. That is all.  :)
As I scanned the book this weekend again, I am excited to try two new ideas out. 
 
First of all and implemented immediately, more time for the read aloud.  As we implement new reading materials this year, I am to do a read aloud for approximately 10 minutes a day to model our strategies being taught. Clearly, I have more time to be true to what is being asked of me, and engage the students in rich literature.  I immediately went to the school library and pulled out books for this week to read during my 'free read aloud' time in the afternoon.  My only agenda during this time is to engage the students in conversation.  I will have an outline for each piece of literature to keep a discussion moving forward, but if we end up discussing something else meaningful, that will be awesome as well.  I'll share great titles and reflections on conversations as they come up.  

Secondly, I was inspired to try a project over winter break.  Chapter 7 of this book focuses on opening a Reading Lounge.  With my class of strengths and challenges, they demand authentic learning.  The Reading Lounge could be a perfect place to model reading and talk about books authentically.  I'll be thinking about this and outlining some ideas over the next couple of weeks that I think would work in my classroom.  If you have a Reading Lounge in your room or school, I would love to hear about it!  As it takes shape, I'll share the progress.  

So dusting off this blog was a good idea.  It has given me the inspiration I needed to keep going and do what is best for kids!  Thanks Annie for sharing your post.  Once again, I'm stretched and challenged as a teacher.
 

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