Slice of Life Tuesday: Lifelong Learning

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I love being called a lifelong learner! I am extremely honored to be in the company of Carl Anderson this week at the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers summer institute. I am half jealous/half living vicariously through my pals who are attending various reading and writing summer institutes this week. We all travel to the ends of the earth for one purpose: to learn. Fabulous!

I remember the first time I went to New York to take part in a summer reading workshop — my gracious cousin invited me to Teachers College. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed. My family made fun of me, saying, “It’s like you think you’re going to hang out with celebrities.” Well, yeah! Lucy Calkins, Kylene Beers, Lester Laminack, and all the other literary geniuses I met are celebrities!

Now each year, I look forward to my “vacation learning experience.” I guess I’m the literary “groupie.” I’m so happy that there are so many of you out there just like me.

Have a great time learning. And…share your notes!

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Now That School’s Out…

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Now that school is out for the summer I am working through my “to-do” list of items I left on the back burner. First, get away from home, to a quiet place, and read and write more. Yes!  Two days in a row now, I have read books for the #bookaday challenge. I heard about this through several friends on Twitter, and decided to take the plunge, into books! It’s been a wonderful “waste of time!” Lol

I planned next week, too. I will be at Butler University for the writing workshop with Carl Anderson! I cannot wait to be a learner again — and I’m jealous of all of you attending the TCRWP summer institutes! So this is my back-up plan. It’s a good one, yes?

Then I will drive south to visit my best friend. I haven’t seen her in soooo long! It will be fantastic to catch up.

Last, but not least, I must prepare for school again in August! It seems hard to believe that summer is flying by so fast. I hope to rest and get a little more sun before the new group of students enter Room 138.

Curriculum Tip Tuesday: It’s Time to Have Fun

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Schools everywhere are winding down the school year in May. It’s spring, and better weather is here. The sun is shining, jackets are thrown on the playground black top, and students and teachers are searching for ways to fill the long school days. The standardized testing windows concluded, but there is still more time to learn. What can schools do to keep up the school spirit in May and June?

Have fun!

This is the perfect time to do class projects you wanted to do all year, but were too busy. Students would love to read the books they want to read, practicing the skills and strategies they have learned over the course of the school year. Wouldn’t it be great to research something you have always wanted to know, but never had time to ask and find out? Students can do “I-Search” projects, smaller versions of the research paper, based on what they really wonder and question. Art projects can be more intricate — there’s more time for creating during the spring.  Another idea is to write letters of introduction to the kids in the lower grade levels. “Advice columns” can help students publish their writing authentically, and the younger students can practice fluent reading (of the columns) while finding out what they need to know about “survival” in the next grade. Math and science teachers can create games of skill and strategy and hold competitions, such as “Minute to Win It-“type games. There are so many ways to learn and grow in the spring!

Students should feel a sense of accomplishment, excitement, and wonder during the last few days of the school year.  Low-stress, engaging, and FUN activities can leave a student looking forward to summer, and maybe even hoping for school to start again soon!

 

 

Sharing: Have a Reading & Writing Sort of Summer!

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I am so excited to share that my friend and colleague has started a wonderful business! Check out http://www.ANovelTime.com, featured in the community section of the South Bend Tribune (our local newspaper)! Students will be able to read, write, discuss, and share work through an online curriculum starting this summer.

What an exciting venture!

See the news story at www.southbendtribune.com/community/sbt-granger-woman-launches-online-summer-program-20130324,0,5550467.story

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