Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back to School Sale

I'm having a back to school sale.  All my items will be 20% off.  Combine this with the 10% that TpT is offering and this adds up to big savings.  You can get to my store HERE.  The 10% OFF promo code is B1T1S. It is good August 1st-6th, 2011.  There are lots of sellers having sales this week.  You can check them all out at Effective Teaching Solutions

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Book Whisperer Chapter 7

In light of this very rough week, I've done one thing that provides relief from the "real" world.  At least for a bit.  I've read.  Mindless dribble at times but that is what I've needed this week.  A good easy read, that didn't require a lot of thinking and that had a happy ending.  I also finished The Book Whisperer.  An easy read because it's so inspiring.

The one thing that stuck out to me in this chapter was this line "I have been told many times, both to my face and through comments on my blog, that I am not preparing my students for the "real world" by letting them read whatever they want" p166.  This rang so true to me.  We (my EA's and I) have throughout the years not been supported (at times) in our radical views on reading instruction.  Does a child need to know the whole alphabet in order to learn how to read?  If a child is not "getting" certain letters do you drill, drill, drill until they do?  I have had older children come to me being unable to read even level one books (and hating it) and having not mastered the alphabet yet (I'm talking grade 3 or 4).  Each year on their IEP is "knows 15 letters working on the rest",  then the following year "knows 17 letters working on the rest" etc. you get the picture. They would be in high school before they knew the whole alphabet.  Do we start teaching them how to read then?  In the 8 weeks of reading instruction in my class these children often jump to level 4 or above and are actually asking to choose books and to read to me.  Unfortunately I only have these students for a short time  after surgery but they return to their home schools. I know the endless drills are not working.  Does that mean that I don't work on the alphabet or phonics? No, but I work on them in the context of activities and books and real time practice.   We read, read, and read more of the sight words we have practiced in real books.
Each of my students have the opportunity to choose a book they want to read and then read it to me everyday (they then take it home and read it to parents).  This takes up a huge amount of my time and I've often wondered if I should stop and just have the children take the book home or maybe even pick the book for them and send it home to save on time.  I now realize that I can't do that.  That the time they spend reading in my class has an impact on their reading levels and their motivation.   I know that the children argue about who comes to read to me first.  I hope this means I'm doing something right.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Back to School Sale

TpT is having a back to school sale on Aug 1 to 6th.  Look out for their first newletter on Aug 1 for the details.   Many sellers are joining in with their own additional sales which means big savings for you. Up to 30%  Watch out for more details in the next couple of days.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

TPT Item of the month

School Box Treasures has a perment Linky Party in which TpT sellers post one featured item. It may be a sale item, newly added item, or a seasonal item.  If you are a TpT seller head over to add your link.  If you are not a seller, head over to find some great items.

Truth Me George!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

S'more Reading

Junior over at Adaptations 4 Kidsz adapted my s'more sight word game.  Head on over to his blog see how they did it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New life

This was the post I was going to make the other day.  I had taken these pictures the day my friend died and I had planned to post them the day I found out about her death.  So instead I'm dedicating these pictures to her.  I know they would have brought her great joy.  Her love of all animals was evident in her houseful of pets and her frequent trips to the humane society.  She loved to garden and her favourite colour was green.

Over the past week I had been watching a pair of sparrows who decided to make a nest in the little cedar tree in front of my deck.  Everyday I would peek in on them and I watched as the eggs hatched into tiny birds.  I would sit on my deck and listen to the tiny birds cheep as their parents brought them food.  On Thursday I heard a cheeping that just wouldn't stop from a different tree.  On looking closer I realized that one of the baby birds had left the nest and was perched on a limb of this tree unsure of what to do next.  After several visits from mom he left the tree and flew over to the grass.  With a last chirp and a little pose for my camera, he flew away to start his own life.

As I think about my friend, I will always be reminded about the little sparrow that left the nest and took flight that day to begin his new life just as she left her body and took flight to be with the Lord and begin her new life. 

Namaste, my dear friend you will be missed very much.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sad news

This morning I found out that one of our staff drowned in a swimming pool last night.  I  don't know the details but yesterday was the hottest on record here.  All staff recieved a phone call informing us this morning.  I am completely devistated.   I worked very closely with her for seven years.   I have spent the day making phone calls to other staff and trying to make sense of this tragedy.   How do you cope when something like this happens to such a close knit group?  Because we are still on summer break we don't see everyone everyday like we would during the school year. I don't think the full reality will hit until we return to school.  If you could keep this family in your prayers, I would appreciate it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I survived linky party

Karla over at Life in Special Education is having an "I survived" linky party. 

I thought I would share two stories from when I used to supply teach many moons ago (about 20).  Hopefully they will bring a smile to someones face, or a least get you to take sympathy on the supply teachers in your building.

1.  It was a Friday afternoon in a portable, I think about grade 5.  It was 2 minutes until the bell rang and the children were getting ready to go home.   I had the supply teacher handbook and portable key (which I took out of my pocket) and put them in a pile on the desk as I needed to return them to the office when the children were gone.  I went to the door of the portable to say goodbye to the children as they filed out of the door.  When the last child had gone I returned to the desk to grab all my things to discover that the key was gone.  That was fun to explain to the office on a Friday afternoon.  Honest, the kids took it.

2.  I once had an assignment in a French school (I don't speak French) which was apparently fine because they were going on a class trip to the skating rink.   Not fun trying to keep track of children you don't know in a public place.   I had no idea which kids were mine or not and didn't understand a thing they said.

but I survived..........I'm so glad I don't supply any more.

Do you have a good story?  Head over to Life in Special Education to link up.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Christmas in July Sale Today

Can you hear it? There is a faint, "Ho, ho, ho..." off in the distance. That's because Christmas is coming! Christmas in July! Have I got a sale going on for you in my TPT store...

I am offering 20% off of my ENTIRE store!
And its not just me! Check out my sale first, and then check out the other over 30 sales happening today only - you're sure to find something you'll love. Click any button below to visit a participating sale!

I told you it was going to be big and worthy of the title, "Christmas In July!" Happy shopping and Merry Christmas (in July)!
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