Monday, April 18, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.

But first, a puppy picture:

Thanks.  :)

Now, the books:

In my class we are still reading:

The kids are loving it.  Second grade invited us to a birthday party to celebrate Beverly Clearly on Friday.  We listened to book talks, we ate cupcakes, we made bookmarks.  A perfect way to spend some time celebrating!

I love the library next to my school.  It has just about everything.  I always look at their new display, and they always have great reads featured.  I picked up some picture books to read this week for my class:



Some Old Favorites:





For Me:

I know I'm behind friends.  Let us not forget the studying and degree work that went on last year.  (Or Let's forget and read!)


My 11 year old grabbed this book from his teacher so I could read it.  My heart grew about 3 sizes when he did that.  Man, I love that kid.  


I tried a couple times last year to read this book, and just ran out of time.  Watch out this weekend!  Here I come! 


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Celebrate! I Don't Think We're in Kansas Anymore...

Friends, You can celebrate too!  Link up at  I thank Ruth for sharing her space with us. 

We got a puppy!  We got a puppy!  As I'm on my second cup of coffee this morning.  (Last night was a little rough.  We always say, "The puppy won't sleep in our bed."  And by 1 AM our resolve is gone and they are in bed with us.)

Let's have puppy overload pictures, shall we?

He's a rescue puppy of course, and he's a Cairn Terrier.  (Think Toto from the Wizard of Oz.)
There of course were a few shenanigans over where he was going to sleep last night, and his favorite hiding place is under the grill cover outside.  But overall, he's a good dog with a great personality.  We are totally smitten.  If you follow me on Instagram, I'm just sorry for all the puppy pictures.  Sort of.  :)

On the school front:  Oh the spring musical.  Man, am I so proud of these kiddos.  
We squished together all this hard work in just a few short weeks. I celebrate the teamwork of the teachers and students to make that happen!  I also celebrate music teachers.  Wow.  A renewed respect I have for the work that they do.  We are also in the middle of our spring celebrations!  (Auctions, Accreditation visits, Spring concerts.  And then there are like 21 days of school left.  Yikes!)
If you are looking for a good VBS, or a church musical; we loved "Down by the Creek Bank" by Dottie Rambo.  

I tried to link a little video here.  These were our K-4 friends.  I'm just so proud of them!  


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Just Clearing My Brain and a Few Favorites.


Link up at  We are so grateful for this community. 

It's early.  One eye opened informed me that 4:42 was too late to go back to sleep.  (But a wee to early for me.  30 more minutes please...)  This is resulting in a lot of different ideas to share, none of which are really connected.  

A Favorite Recipe.  

We are just trying to clean up dinner a bit in our house.  More veggies, less packaging.  It's a process people.  Last week, we ate this.  Now, Mr. and I loved it.  The Little guy?'s a process.  

The Car Playlist.

Man, I am spending a lot of time in the car with My People.  My 11 year old in all his swagger has started to make requests about the playlist in the car.  He suggested this one a few weeks ago.  We can't stop listening to it:

My New Read:


I've abandoned a couple of reads that I've started since spring break.  This one I'll see through to the end.  

A Few Other Thoughts:

  • There is a lot going on at school right now.  I need it to be about 8 days from now.  :)
  • Oh running, where art thou?  I've been writing and reading in the morning, but the night time exercise routine isn't working well.  
  • I'm impatiently waiting for this book to arrive:

Anyone else want to read it with me?

  • My family has some big news to share.  :)  I'm waiting for my Celebrate! post on Saturday to let the puppy out of the bag so to speak; to ensure all is finalized properly.  
What are you thinking about today?


Monday, April 11, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up

One of the things I've loved about my new teaching job is the flexibility.  (A whole blog post is coming in May about the "New job."  We'll just leave this here for now...)

So, this week, First Grade is reading:


An incoming first grader manages all the things that don't seem to be going her way.  That dog on the sidewalk?  A big sister?  A copycat?  A mama returning to work?  Sleeping in the room alone?  So many things to navigate when you are 6.  

As I started reading this book to my kids late last week, I was amazed and so happy at how well they connected to Ramona.  And as 6 and 7 year olds do, they immediately rushed to her defense of all things, "not fair."  Beverly Cleary knows how to write for kids.  She clearly understands kids and what they are carrying at each age.  It will be fun to read the rest of this book in the upcoming week.  

Tomorrow is Beverly Cleary's 100th Birthday!  Have you seen the Today Show interview?  I'll wait.  Go ahead and watch it.  

Friday, we will be celebrating her birthday with a birthday party in second grade!  All things Beverly Cleary.  


Saturday, April 9, 2016

We Celebrate Reading!

Friends, You can celebrate too!  Link up at  I thank Ruth for sharing her space with us. 

So, I woke up this morning just loving the people at my little school.  There is a lot to celebrate there, (and that post is coming...)  but I wanted to share 2 small ways we celebrate reading at our school.

Disclaimer:  I'm new here.  I didn't organize any of these joyful reading experiences.  I just got to participate.  

1.  February Reading Frenzy.

Our 4th grade teacher approached our staff and stated her 5th grade Language arts class wanted to challenge us as staff to see who could read the most minutes in February.  That was it.  No pizza.  No trophies.  No prizes.  Just reading.  Challenge accepted.  Just track your minutes, and we'll see how many we read.  

What I loved about this?  It was child-driven.  There were no bells and whistles.  We just read in February.  A lot.  And it was just assumed you would participate if you were a teacher.  Our teachers read.  

2.  Our Own Li'l Library.  

Now People.  I know it's not The Little Library.  However, a teacher took the time to create and paint and gather for this corner in our hallway.  She was inspired after taking a class based on Donalyn Miller's work.  Kids need book.  Kids take book.  Kids read book.  They can even write a review in the cover and return it if they wish.  

I celebrate the authenticity of reading in our school.   

A few small celebrations on this Saturday.  :)


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

SOL: Math Choice. A reflection.

Write. Share. Give.

Link up at  We are so grateful for this community. 

Friends, there has been much reflecting this year!  A new job, which I think I'll finally be ready to explain after I complete my first year.  

But today, I want to tell a math story.  

My co-blogger, Annie and I did some explaining about our work here.  It's been about two years that I've been considering math choice now.  

And then I started a new job.  

So choice time looks a bit different now. 

We are still working with Math Practice Standards and Stand focus by grade levels.  

We are still working through some whole group teaching points.  

Students still work through and demonstrate skills for me. 

I can confer and reteach on the spot.

And I think we are arriving at the pinnacle of choice.

So my giant analog demonstration clock is in my teacher chair.
Little Miss picks it up.  
"I want to learn how to tell time."

I look left.  
I look right.  
I get a whiteboard, some time flashcards, and pull up a seat next to Little Miss and the big clock.  

We had gone over some things in class.
But she wanted to know more.  

(A furtive whisper here):  I taught it to her.  Right there on the spot.  And she learned how to tell time without waiting for the lesson plan.  Because that is what she asked to work on during choice time that day.  

I want my students to be seeking out opportunities to learn.  
I'm thankful that I'm seeing glimpses of this.  


Monday, April 4, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up

One of the things I have carved out time for this year, is story time in addition to a Read Aloud time that focuses on a mentor text for teaching.  Each day, we take time to just read and enjoy text.  Here's what we have checked out this week:

Front Cover

Friends, Max the Brave was perfect for April Fools' Day.  

Max is a brave, fearless Mouse catcher.  

He just needs to know what a mouse is.  

So he goes off to find out.  

My Kids Loved this book.  As we work to develop our mindsets and flexibility, it has just the right amount of trickster in the story.  Especially for a class that has nearly mastered empathy and flexibility.  

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The Hug Machine has a hug for anyone!  Spiky or soft.  
After story time this week, everyone wanted to be a Hug Machine.  

Other Read Alouds we'll be enjoying during story time:

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Get to Know Your Neighbors.  :)

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Story time is where we have learned about being friends and showing empathy to all.

Other stories for the week:

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One of the favorite things about the library I'm using, is that it is a hub of the neighborhood.  Librarians know their patrons.  It is modern.  It invites children to come in and sit down.  


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Celebrate: My family of readers.

Friends, You can celebrate too!  Link up at  I thank Ruth for sharing her space with us. 

What I love about writing daily is it encourages that cycle.  Read More.  Write More.  See the stories everywhere.

This week, I'm reading:

Of all the things that appear to be going on in this book, I was fascinated by this quote:  "He huffed and puffed and snorted and left and I unpacked my books."  (page 25).

The Fiancee had packed up Her books and unpacked His sports trophies.

This was foreign to me.  You see, I celebrate today that I'm married to a reader, and we appear to be growing readers.  

When we bought our first house?  It was a mid-modern ranch with built in bookshelves.  Right there in the living room.  
Our second house?
Well, we had to immediately purchase and build more bookshelves.

Mr. goes to the library on his lunch break.  He asks for and receives books at gifts.  When we travel?  We always carry books with us.  (Last week, when we traveled at Easter; he sneaked books into my book bag.  I let him.)   
Date Night? 
Dinner and a bookstore.
My reprieve from teaching and parenting our kids?
He walks them through the library, so I can do that alone.

Some of our best conversation?
About what we are reading.

Our two sons?  We adore them.  

Last week, the oldest finally read:


I've been waiting two years for him to read this book!  It took friends and an awesome teaching staff that promotes reading for him to pick it up.  It was worth the wait.

The youngest?  Like He does, he went his own way.  I worried about him.  He was learning to read, but he didn't really Love reading.  Fast forward one year?  He'll read just about anything!  He's currently reading books like this:


"Mrs. LimbackMom!" "I'm really reading this book, not just looking at the pictures."

Yes you are my youngest.  Yes you are.  

It took that one quote from my current read to inspire this celebration.  

We don't have a lot of things down.
We are messy.
We are a "spicy people." (Thank you, Jen Hatmaker for that one.)
I still need to go to the grocery store.
We probably also watch too much t.v. and use tablets too much.
But we love.  And we are readers.