My Reading Life

Monday, February 25, 2013 No comments
World Read Aloud Day Blogger Challenge, Week 3
My reading life. Here it is in a snapshot. This is my guy, almost 2 (almost 2 years ago,) browsing books at the local used bookstore. He loves books and that is what I want for every child. My favorite time of day is reading aloud to my son and my first graders, and you know what? even to other teachers. I love sharing books and I'm proud of it!


Join me in this challenge! Share a pic of your reading life! Visit www.litworld.org and join us for World Read Aloud Day on March 6th!

BOB Books, Yes or No?

Friday, February 22, 2013 2 comments
A friend sent me a message telling me how her 4 year old son LOVES reading BOB books. I told her that was awesome!!!  She told me she would send some my way for T. I, of course, said SURE! We would gladly take them for when he gets to that place in reading. Then it happened....

"Oh" (voice filled with sadness and concern) "T isn't reading yet?" 

No, T is not reading Shakespeare, Junie B, or even the beloved Dr. Seuss. He can sound out cvc words, read environmental print, read his name, and knows all of his letters and most sounds. So, yes, T is reading....just not BOB books.
I am not growing a phonics reader. I am growing a reader and right now, my reader LOVES to listens to stories, "read" them by himself, and make up his own stories. My reader wants to talk about characters and act out parts he loves and find words he knows in the books he loves. He devours books! He loves story time! He loves his books!
No, I am not anti-BOB. In fact, I'm a fab. I use them in my classroom and have for years. But I have taught Kindergarten and 1st grade. My son just turned 4. FoUr! 

No, we are not doing sight word flashcards either. We are not doing sound card drills. We are not writing our ABC's on lined paper 3 times a week. We are not and are not planning on it. 

We are reading and we are playing. 

YES, we are reading to him everyday. We are reading with him. We are listening to him read and tell us his stories. We are talking about what we read. We are increasing his vocabulary, love of literature, awareness of rhyme and rhythm, and so on and so on.

Not right or wrong, just who we and what we want for our little reader, yes, READER!


Now and Then (WRAD)

Thursday, February 21, 2013 No comments
World Read Aloud Day is right around the corner on March 6th! My class is super excited about sharing this day with our book buddies! We are also super excited about our very first SKYPE author visit! Woo hoo!

As part of the WRAD blog challenge, we are given a task each week. I am a week behind (that sounds about right) so here goes!


1. I think everyone in the world should read...
When I was 10: preteen magazines....Was it Tiger Beat or BOP? 
Now: The One and Only Ivan by Applegate. Yes, I love it that much. 
2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be...
When I was 10: my 5th grade teacher, loved him! 
Now: my sister, I miss her and her silly voices. 
3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is...
When I was 10: Don't remember.....I think I am getting old!
Now: Elephant and Piggie! I am a PRO!
4. The genre that takes up the most room on my bookshelf is...
When I was 10: absolute fiction, chapter book mysteries, girl clubs, etc.
Now: professional development....or at least it seems....
5. The last book I wish I’d written or inspired me to write my own story is...
When I was 10: I don't remember the name of the book, but it was about the future. After Mr. Goodwin red it, we wrote about what our future would be like. 
Now: I really wish I had written I Want My Hat Back by Klassen. It is me. Seriously. 

Join the fun! Visit LitWorld and share the love of reading! 

grilling IS happiness

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 No comments
As some of you know, we added a porch onto the back of la casa last year. We were ready to grill, eat dinner under the stars, etc.  LAST YEAR. Do we have furniture on said patio? No, no we do not. I have not found the right set. We have looked high and low with no luck. I'm serious. Sears is ready to change all that! They are launching Spring 2013 with one bang of a sale! 

The warm months will be here before you know it. Along with them comes BBQs and backyard fun! Sears believes outdoor living is a lifestyle, not just a seasonal must-have. Your search and MY SEARCH for a new patio set ends here! Check out their new lighted furniture! Here is the one we are considering!! Beautiful right?
Extend your outdoor activities from day to night with the Halley collection of patio furniture from La-Z-Boy and Bella Luna collection of patio furniture from Agio-- both exclusive to @Sears. The outdoor fun doesn’t end there, Sears is also debuting the latest Kenmore Elite Grill for Summer 2013. (N's dream come true!) This beauty boasts three burners, 692 sq. inches of cooking space and a warming rack. From casual to sophisticated, Sears can match your outdoor d├ęcor to your personality and price point. Head to Sears and get ready to unplug, unwind & enjoy summertime! I'll meet you there!



Follow Sears on Twitter @Sears even better... #grillingishappiness!


This is a sponsored post. I am a Sears blogger, though all opinions are my own.


all things BABY

My best friend is having her baby TODAY! That's right, Baby Sofia will be arrive today-March 20th and I can't wait to meet her! It wasn't too long ago that her mommy called me and said, "BABIES ARE EXPENSIVE!" She is right! Thank goodness for sales like this one from @Sears! I picked up a few things and you might want to as well! 
A mantra for parents: Making the best nest starts with giving your wallet a rest. Save money guys! Bedding, carriers, clothes, stuff for feeding....all on sale! The list goes on and one! Come check out this sale and if by chance you forget something on your wish list, make note and let grandma and grandpa know! 

T may not be a baby, but this sale even includes clothes for him AND booster seats! Happy wallet=happy mommy!



This is a sponsored post. I am a Sears blogger, though all opinions are my own.

Looking Back...FREE Guided Reading Books

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 No comments
This week's challenge on TCB is to share a post from the last year and reflect on it.

I have chosen one of my most popular posts, FREE Guided Reading Books A-E.

Why this one? It has been one of my most popular posts which is quite telling to me. I think so many people (moms, dads, teachers, homeschoolers, etc) are in need of free resources to help their early readers become more proficient. 

In another life, I will create free, leveled books for parents and teachers to print with no strings attached!

Want to join the fun! Click on the super cute Trash Can Blogger button right over here--> 


Presidents Day and My Preschooler

Monday, February 18, 2013 No comments
My kid, newly 4, is a nutball. I'm serious. He is super political. That's right, political. In a family full of independents and republicans, he is President Obama's number one fan. HE LOVES HIM! It is super sweet and we love his passion. 

On our flight back from D.C., he asked the little boy in front of us who his favorite president is. The little boy said, "Oh, that's easy, Spiderman." T was shocked. "Um, Spiderman is a superhero not president. President Obama is my favorite president." 

When I say he is a fan, I mean FAN! He doesn't understand how A can love Lincoln so much or how Auntie P can love Reagan or how mommy can love Jefferson. He wants no part of it....NO PART! 

In an effort to monopolize on his presidential lovin', I'm going all out for Presidents Day! Here's what we have planned:

We are going to read this animated book about George Washington, thanks to our friends @Scholastic!
We are going to watch BrainpopJr's free US Symbols video!
We are going to read these goodies.....
borrowed this one from school!
bought this one in DC!
We are going to watch this Washington to Obama video. It is cool (maybe more for me than him) to see how many Presidents there have been and their years in office.

We might, and I say MIGHT even do something crafty. Don't hold me to it! How are you celebrating this 3 day? 

7 Rules of Life

Sunday, February 17, 2013 2 comments

I am a HUGE fan of the Daily 5 and CAFE books by Boushey and Moser, as well as their website, http://www.thedailycafe.com/. I was on there today and came across this from Carol Moehrle. Had to share!

Seven Rules of Life

by Carol Moehrle, RN, BSN

  1. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
  2. What others think of you is none of your business.
  3. Time heals almost everything. Give it time.
  4. Don't compare your life to others and don't judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  5. Stop thinking too much. It's alright not to know the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.
  6. No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.
  7. Smile. You don't own all the problems in the world.
I think I will post these near my desk at school. 

What are your rules for life? 

Educreations FREE app

Friday, February 15, 2013 No comments
My colleague A asked me if I had heard of this free app called Educreations. She showed me something she did with it for her small groups and I thought to myself, "wow that is cool but I have like 10,000 things to do, turn in, redo, and undo." So two, three, four days later, I picked up my "Note to Self" list and saw it there next to lucky number 7. In order to procrastinate doing the more important 1-6 on the list, I downloaded Educreations. 

I.am.so.glad.I.did. 

In fact, I am mad at myself for not doing it right after she told me about it. I am in love. This app has moved to the top of my FREE APPS FOR TEACHERS list. Ok, I really don't have such a list, but if I did, this would be number 1. and maybe even number 2. 

Check these out!
 T drawing grass and lakes. (age 4)
 A drawing and labeling an outdoor scene. Her voice is off so I could record off ipad. You can save and share them though! (age 7)
 Pic of me practicing facts with a friend. I wrote the problems, she read and solved them, then played it back. (age 6)
Click HERE to see this one in action! I teach parents how to add 2 digit numbers by decomposing. (age 29 for life!) This is a rough draft, but I think you get the idea. JACKPOT! 

Get used to seeing these on the site because I am in love with this virtual whiteboard that records and plays back my thinking, my son's thinking, and my students' thinking....for free on a computer or iPad!

BAM! Please let me know if you like it as much as I do!



Helllooooooo DC!

Saturday, February 9, 2013 No comments
You know how much I lOvE reading and you know how much I want every child to have access to books and stories. In fact, that was going to be my platform when I ran for Mrs. America. 

After becoming a champion for Shot@Life though, I learned that some children will never even have the opportunity to receive a book from wonderful organizations like LitWorld. Why? Because of 20 seconds, a child dies from a vaccine preventable disease. Every 20 seconds. It.is.shocking.
75% of unvaccinated children live in just 10 countries (developing countries, 3rd world countries.) Why? These children simply DO NOT have access to vaccines. How is this ok? 1 in 4 of these children will die from vaccine preventable diseases. These aren't rare diseases, they are ones I treated my 4 year old son for in just days-diarrhea and pneumonia. The other two biggies are measles and polio. Polio? Yes, the same disease my grandfather had 87 years ago. 

This may seem like a bunch of bad news, but it is not. Immunization is a global health care success. Lives are being saved everyday. We are making a difference and we are saving lives. We are showing families around the world we care. How? by sharing our words and experiences, having conversations with our representatives, hosting events, and donating $20. Twenty bucks vaccinates one child from the 4 biggies. 
So I'm in DC for the Shot@Life Summit ready to learn more and do more. I have 2 big goals for this experience: 1. become better versed for conversations with my state leaders. 2. gather ideas from my Champion friends. 

I'm here to GIVE. I'm giving my time, my experiences, and my latest TPT earnings! 

Want to know more? I knew you would! Click here or follow on Twitter #globalvax or Facebook! Already a supporter? What are your plans for this year?

Amelia Bedelia Rocks!

Saturday, February 2, 2013 No comments
We love an author visit. I'm serious-even T loves it! Thank goodness, we are conveniently (not really-we get lost every time and it takes about 35 minutes if we don't get lost!) located near the best little bookstore in the whole wide world....Little Shop of Stories in Decatur! 
Our latest author treat is Herman Parish! Mr. Parish is the current author of Amelia Bedelia! He shared with us how his aunt, Peggy Parish created Amelia Bedelia over 50 years ago and how an entire story can be based around a list. He updated us on the young Amelia Bedelia, too! 
Did you know there are early readers AND chapter books? That was news to me....and my wallet! Had to have them!
Listen to Mr. Parish chat with us!
If you ever have the opp to hear an author speak about their masterpiece-GO! It is powerful stuff! 

Now do you want some SUPER news? Our friends at Scholastic have SEVERAL Amelia Bedelia titles for only $1.00 right now! Head over there before they sell out! My son and my first graders LoVe her!!! 

Are you an Amelia Bedelia fan?

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