Where are you? (as said like a little 2-yr old girl) Here I am. (as said like the girl’s mother)

Today is a cold, May day.  I think what made it colder than usual was that I had to spend most of the day outside on a field trip.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this field trip.  It is my all time favorite.  It’s to this diary farm about an hour away.  The kids get to see the milking area and the processing plant.  Plus, at the end of the day there’s ice cream.  That ice cream and walking through the huge fridge are usually the highlights of this trip.  Today I was dreading it.  I almost chose not to get ice cream but then I came to my senses–hello, it’s ice cream!!

Now that I’m trying to spend some time reading, the cold and trip are catching up to me.  I thought I would be proactive to fight the fatigue I knew would set in by ordering a latte and bring some essential oils with me that are labeled “invigorating”.  Well, either they are taking a long time to get to work OR I’m pretty tired.  While reading I was falling asleep.  I closed eyes to blink and it turned into a long, sleep-like blink.  That’s when I came over here to do a little writing.

It has been a while since I did any non-school related writing.  I feel like I have been doing a lot of school related writing lately.  Writing lesson plans, emails, teacher reports for IEPs, report card comments…all of these do not give me the same satisfaction as writing some personal narratives or some expository texts.  School writing does not help to clear my mind like writing a blog post does.  So, the purpose of this evening’s post is not to be something mind blowing for my few readers.  The purpose of tonight’s post is to help me wake up so I can do a little more work before calling it a night.

I wonder how long these effects will kick in and last.  Here’s to finding out!

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The problem with research

Happy Sunday all!  Before you get on your high horse and remind me that I haven’t written anything in a few days I’m counting today as a win.  Why a win?  Because I’m actually writing something and a day of writing is better than a day of not writing, no matter how many days have passed.

Now onto explaining what I mean in today’s title.  Currently I am working on the reading section of my dissertation.  Chapter 2 for me consists of sections on visual perception, kindergarten readiness, readiness assessments, and emergent literacy.  One of the sub-sections under emergent literacy is reading achievement and that is section I’m stuck on right now.  Not that I do not have ideas about reading achievement, but they are my ideas.  There is an unspoken rule about dissertation writing: writers don’t have the authority to have  their own ideas until chapter 5.  This means I’m trying to find research articles explaining what reading achievement is, how it is measured, and why it is important.  If any of you out in reader land have thoughts or ideas of search terms, please let me know.  I would really like to be done with this section by the end of the month.  Thanks and talk with you later this week.

And as I wrote about earlier–let me know if you spot any grammar issues.

Two days in a row

It has been a while since I’ve written here and even longer since I’ve written two posts in two days.  I was just thinking through my day trying to come up with something to write about this evening.  There are many things I could write about such as why do kids keep asking adults the same question after they’ve been given an answer they don’t like?  It is the early version of seeking a second medical option?  Another thought was what lessons are our children learning when we have to have a school holiday party 2-days before the actual party because we share a PTA with another school and they’re doing their party on Friday?  I think I’ll write about those things later because tonight I’m going to write about writing.

One of my favorite subjects to teach is writing.  I don’t know if I do a great job at it but I do think my students’ writing improves greatly from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  Okay, so a little reality check.  My students are in kindergarten.  Many of them start the year barely able to write their name and all the letters of the alphabet.  It would be hoped, and expected, that my students would be able to write more than just their name and the letters.  I am a bit of a black sheep in my grade-level when it comes to writing instruction and I blame myself for that.  Most of my other colleagues have students do fill in the sentence type of writing, or some prompt based writing lesson.  That is a system that works for them and they are happy with the results they are getting.  That is fine with me.  I, on the other hand, teach writing in a workshop style, similar to Calkins and Routman recommend.  So I have genre themes that last for about a month.  In that month I teach about the genre and the students write in that genre.  Currently we are working on song writing.  Actually it is more accurate to call it song parody writing.  We listen to a song, many times, on YouTube (I would share the song but I am currently trying to get an article about this writing published. I’ll add the link once my article has been picked up).  Once the students have a good grasp of the music structure of the song, we start having a little fun with the words.  Using music that students already know also helps free up their brain to focus on some skills, such as leaving space between words and -ing endings.  As a class they have been working on their own parodies for about 2 weeks and it amazes me the number of students who are not picking up on the pattern of the song–or are not interested in going back and checking their work.  This development is shocking to the reading specialist and I today.  We spent a good week working up to having the students write their own songs by working on leaving space between words and -ing ending.  These are the two things that are being left out of the samples we saw.  So here’s kind of a question to the larger (although not terribly huge) audience of this blog about how to help students slow down and understand the importance of going back and looking over your writing before publishing?

Now it is my turn to look over what I’ve written (I did a very poor job) before I press publish–I’m starting to type words with closed eyes.

It has been recommended…

It’s Wednesday which usually means I have time to run away for a few hours and do some reading/writing/working on my dissertation (HEY MOM! like the parallel structure there?!). If you haven’t noticed already, my grammar leaves a lot to be desired. I think my writing has good voice but I’m sure there are many people who read this and go “Oh my! This girl has a higher degree?”. See, like that punctuation right there. Without looking it up, I’m not even sure that’s right. It looks right-ish and sounds right-ish but I’m betting a Junior High student would be able to tell me if my punctuation is correct.

So where am I going with this entry? Good question. Like a doctor who has recommended a daily health regimen for a patient, it has been recommended that I make sure I have a daily writing regimen.

Currently I am in the process of doing a lot of reading for my dissertation therefore I am not doing a lot of writing. Because of this, my writing skills suffer (especially the grammar skills). This is where the blog, again, is the solution to this problem. By writing something here, in a more regular fashion, I am leaving myself open for comments. It is my hope that when some of you are reading this, you find some of my grammar mistakes and offer suggestions on how to fix them. I might take your suggests and revise posts or I might comment back asking for further explanation. Just beware, if you comment, you might be asked to help proof my writing.

I think that will do it for tonight. I have a limited amount of time and I should probably get some real work done before I can’t think straight.

Happy Grammar Hunting!

I don’t know which is worst?

I’m not sure which I would have rather done a Coach to 5k New Year Resolution or the writing one.  Here’s why…when one makes a fitness goal it is not uncommon at the onset to experience some discomfort as muscles that have not been used in a long time find their new purpose (sometimes unwillingly).  And to add an extra layer of fun, because it is winter you are likely to get sick.  And then you feel gross.  And one day you decide that your bed is calling to you louder than the gym and you answer.  Once the illness is over, you try going back to the gym but it is without the excitement you had for it just a week ago because of the forced break you took due to illness.

With a writing goal you might also feel some discomfort at the onset because you are trying to get the words that are floating in your head down in someway that will make sense to others.  You are also trying to think of topics that will be interesting to these others who might come across your writing.  And then, because it is winter, you get sick.  And the call from your bed (or coach in front of the TV) is louder than the call from your computer and you answer.  That describes me the end of last week.  2-3 days of just vegging on the coach trying to feel like a person again.  The only real thoughts I had were I need to make sure I drink but if I drink too much I’ll have to get up and go to the bathroom–I don’t really have the energy for that.  I think I’ll go with dehydration.  I think the whole family is thankful I am better now.  But now, like the person in the paragraph above, I’m struggling to find that inner-drive to get back to work.  That I daily spend time to read and write and not waste it.

So as the title suggests, I don’t know which is worst.   I’m just glad to be back in normal health.  Also, I’m glad that while there was a slight dry spell on this blog it is my hope that the rains have returned and that the everything is starting to return to the lushness it was before the drought (or really that it would become more lush).

Happy Monday all!

2-Day Absence

I know I promised to write something here everyday but I think I would like to change that just a bit.  I will try to write something 6 days a week and probably take Sunday as a rest from posting.  So that’s my reason for not writing on Sunday (I won’t talk about the almost three hour nap my kids and I had that afternoon).  Yesterday was an early evening for me as I felt under the weather which equaled going to bed when I put the kids to bed and no post.  Being a sick mother of two young children is no fun but add to that the fact that I also teach 5 and 6 years old–I really need my energy.  The good news–I’m writing tonight and hope to not have another break in posts until Sunday. That’s all for today.

Before I forgot-Congrats to The Ohio State!  National Champs.  O-H-….

How Technology Brought my Family Closer Today

I don’t mean emotionally closer but instead I mean closer, as in feeling in close physical proximity to each other.  I live on the Eastern half of the county and most of my extended family lives in the Midwest and Northern Plains states.  Today was a very big day for one of my cousins as his Alma Mater was in a big football championship game (if they won it was going to be their fourth in a row–they did win).  Somehow my cousin was able to get tickets for the game.  At around 10:00 this morning I received the first text from him sharing that he was at the game, wearing yellow, and to be on the look out for him starting at noon (central time) on ESPN-2. This was followed by a stream of messages from my mother, sister, other cousin, aunt, and uncle.  I do not have cable so I did not watch the game but I know most of the family did as they sent messages back and forth about how they felt the ref made a bad call or how amazing the winning catch and touchdown were.  In a way these messages were our way of leaning over and talking into the ear of the person next to us at the game.  The main difference was my cousin was in Texas at the game and the rest of us were hundreds of miles away and in other time zones.  And yet I felt like we were all in the same room together trying to find my cousin on the TV while watching the game.

I hope NDSU makes it to next year’s championship game and I hope my cousin goes again so we can all experience the game together while being so far part!  Go Bison!