Foster Parenting

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Slice of Life Tuesday...Kindergarten Teachers Who Rock

Thanks to Stacey and Ruth for hosting Slice of Life Tuesday.  You can go to their blog and read more Slice of Life posts.

Five years ago, the Enid Paskes Bloome Kindergarten Teacher Award was established in honor of Enid Bloome, the mother of Dr. David Bloome.  Enid was a kindergarten teacher for over 30 years and wrote two books, Dogs Don't Belong on Beds, and The Water We Drink.  Children's literature was an integral part of her curriculum.  Wonderful teachers from central Ohio have been honored and one of the best parts of the award ceremony was listening to David's father, Sel, talk about his beloved wife.

Sel was a tall man with a booming voice.  I can still picture him standing in the Martha King Center at OSU in his black pants, charcoal gray shirt, and suspenders.  Each year when we met to honor the recipient of the Bloome Award, he would tell us about his wife and her love of literature and children.  His eyes would well up with tears while he told us stories of Enid.  Listening to him talk, even though it was just for a brief time, was my favorite part of the ceremony.  He loved meeting the kindergarten teachers and was so appreciative of the work they did.  We were all saddened when Sel passed away this summer.  The award became known as the Enid and Selwyn Bloome Kindergarten Teacher Award.

On Saturday, I had the honor of introducing the 2012 recipients of the award, Lynn Seguin and Jill Kelly.  I am fortunate to work with both of these ladies who teach our neediest kindergarten students in our KLIP progrram (Kindergarten Literacy Intervention Program).  Here is an excerpt of the nomination letter:

Their rooms beckon children to come in and read.  Lamps light their rooms, cozy curtains hang in the windows, plants sit on shelves, and kid sized chairs and tables invite children in.  Books are prominent in their rooms.  Colorful baskets line the shelves where students can easily access them.  Picture labels help students quickly find the books they want.  When asked to draw a picture and write what they loved about KLIP, many of the children drew the classroom library.  Children’s literature is used to build a strong learning community among the students. They read stories to learn more about themselves and each other.  Books are used to build vocabulary and a common language in their classroom.  Charts hang around the room for shared reading and independent reading during the day.  It is here that children learn to love words and discover that words have power.

Sel would have loved these ladies.  Their love of children and literacy is evident the minute you meet them.  I know that I would feel very lucky if my children were in their classrooms.  (Although Jill was probably still a teenager when my children were in kindergarten).  Lynn and Jill received a gift certificate to our local independent children's bookstore, Cover to Cover.  I made them promise to take me shopping with them.  I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon...lunch, shopping for books, and hanging out with a couple of my favorite people.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this meme.  You can go to their blog Teach Mentor Texts to read more about what others are reading.

This week has been a light reading week for me.  I finished Keeper by KathiAppelt.  Loved it!

I was excited to get Bonnie Pyron's newest book The Dogs of Winter at the CAWP Fall Writing Conference.  My class loved A Dog's Way Home last year.

My professional read for this week is Visible Learning for Teachers:  Maximizing Impact on Learning by John Hattie.  One of my colleagues from my teacher inquiry group had rave reviews for it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Slice of Life Tuesday...Finding Happiness in Every Day

Thanks to Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers for hosting Slice of Life.  You can read other slices at their website.

This year I have made a commitment to focus on finding the joy in each and every day.  I'm one of those people who tends to take on more than I should (although most of it sounds fun when I say "yes" to something new) and then before I know it, I'm overwhelmed.  After one especially crazy weekend, I decided that no matter how stressed or behind in my school work I was, I was going to look for and focus on the good in my day.  It's put a much more positive spin on my life.  So, what has been bringing me happiness?  It's the everyday simple things where I find the most satisfaction.

The following Monday, after my crazy weekend, I received a text from my husband that said, "READ ANNIE'S BLOG."  I was actually on my way out the door to go to class, so I dropped my book bag (full of school work that I probably wasn't going to do) and logged on to Annie's blog.  (For those of you who don't know, Annie is our 17 year-old daughter who is currently in Turkey for the school year as a foreign exchange student).  The tears came on quickly and I immediately sent the above text to my friend Kathy.  Annie's words were the ultimate gift any parent could ever receive.

My family definitely makes me happy.  My husband and I have 3 kids who have grown up into wonderful young adults. In addition, since we've begun hosting foreign exchange students, our family has expanded to include Sana from India, Adrianna from  Spain, Fiona from Germany, and Duygu from Turkey.  (And I can't leave out Jonathan, Annie's boyfriend, who is a pretty neat kid himself.)

I LOVE fall!  Taking walks and listening to the leaves crunch under my feet is the best.  The solitude brings peace to my soul.

Baking is my therapy.  I got home early from class last night and decided to make a new cookie recipe just for fun.  I'm thinking that this baking therapy is not really good for my Weight Watchers journey.  :)

There are so many other things that bring me friends, my CAWP colleagues, my blogging buddies, friends  at school, Tuesday morning breakfast at Bob Evans with Joyce and Kathy, beginning my doctoral journey, losing myself in a good book, writing, gardening, playing FB Scrabble, and last but not least, my kids at school.  Every day brings something new with the 29 fourth graders in my life. Yes, my days are hectic and crazy, but all in all, hanging out with curious, eager learners is a pretty good way to spend the day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this meme.  You can go to their blog Teach Mentor Texts to read more about what others are reading.

I have taken a break from blogging and it feels good to be back at it.  I've changed blogging platforms, so hopefully people will find me again.  

I've read a lot of great books...both professional and for my fourth graders.  My husband and I took a trip this past weekend which included some drive time.  That meant lots of time to read!

I was so happy when I received Franki Sibberson's new book in the mail.  I have so much respect for her and always love reading her work, be it one of her books, her blog, or her articles in Choice Literacy.  This book came at the perfect time when I was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities that come with school (interims, data teams, beginning of the year assessments, etc).  Reading The Joy of Planning gave me the needed reminder that it's ok to slow down and use what I know about my students to plan instruction.  I'll review Franki's book in further detail later this week.

The other professional book I read this past week was in preparation for the Children's Literature Across the Curriculum class I am taking.  Steve Moline's book I See What You Mean focuses on the importance of visual literacy, strategies for teaching students how and when to use them strategically, and how to assess their use.  It's a user friendly book with a lot of good information.  A second edition has been published which now includes information about online resources.

I read Kate Messner's Eye of the Storm in one day!  I can't wait to share it with my students.  I stayed up way past my bedtime so that I could finish reading it.  My class Skyped with Kate to talk about Capture the Flag.  I know that they will love her new book.

New books for the classroom: