Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Pre-Harvey Post

Hurricane Harvey is all over the news tonight. It makes my heart skip a beat or two thinking about the excessive rainfall and the flooding danger. Everything is going wonderfully at school and beyond. Why does Harvey have to come along and ruin it all? Who knows how long we will be out of school next week.  Who knows if I will have a house to live in after the projected 12-25 inches of rain falls. The calm before the storm feels like Ike and sounds like an Allison. I knew what I was getting into with Ike since I had some time in Houston. I had lived through Tropical Storm Francis and Hurricane Rita. I fled to San Antonio during Rita because I saw what a hurricane could do to a city in Katrina. Luckily, Rita turned toward the Texas and Louisiana border before landfall. I know where Sabine Pass is because of this. I don't think we will be as lucky this time. To me, this is an Ike moment combined with an Allison. I would take another Ike moment if it means that my house will not flood. I can live without electricity for a few days. I can't, however, survive flooding with 25 inches of rain. Between Ike and Allison, which was worse?  For me, Allison was more egregious. Allison seemed to never end. The rains were bruising my roof. The Doppler Radar showed a constant, menacing red. At 1:30 am, it wouldn't stop. I feel asleep at 3 am not knowing what to do. I was exhausted with fear. Finally, Allison subsided. I survived the storm with minimal damage. Not all residents of Houston could say the same. Some of my colleagues were heavily flooded and lost their houses. I felt fortunate compared to some people. This time? Who knows?

Come Wednesday of next week, will I be sitting here posting the after effects of the storm counting my blessings in a shelter or in my home?  Will my friends and colleagues fair as well or worse than me?  Will all of my students be safe along with their parents?  The first week of school has been crazy. We had an lunar eclipse the first day of school and now, to round out the week, we have an uninvited bully named Harvey. Will he be kind or unmercilessly relentless? I just have two words for Hurricane Harvey: HAVE MERCY!  SMH and hold my heart. We will see.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My New Team

My team met today for our first grade level meeting. Sometimes grade level meetings can be fun and informative. Others can be rather dreary and akin to extreme root canals. The former is what I experienced today. I am looking forward to working with this dynamic team. 2017-2018 will be a great year. Plus I found a fellow Twitter kindred spirit. The photo that I am posting comes from one of her tweets today. It will be an exhilarating year. You can Tweet that to the bank!

New TEKS for Language Arts Available on the TEA Website

The new ELAR and SLAR TEKS  have been published on the TEA Website.  The TEKS for ELAR K-8 and SLAR K-8 are available. I am going to start reading them tomorrow.  I have uploaded the PDF on my Drop Box account for download. It will a nice read. It may even be full of suspense. Will they or will they not include Figure 19 or will it be banished to Area 54? Read the document for your Close Encounters of  Language Arts Kind. I won't, however, quote the document for Goodreads though. No Reading Graffiti for me!

Monday, August 7, 2017

STAAR 2017 Tests Have Been Released!

I am so thrilled. The STAAR 2017 tests have been released. You can go to the Texas Education Agency Website or download them from my Drop Box account. I have grades 3-5 tests and answer keys uploaded in English and Spanish Reading, Writing, Math, and Science. I also have STAAR Reading and Writing in grade 7 uploaded.  I will be printing them and analyzing them pronto. More to come!  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Indelible Moments-Reading and Writing Institute

I made a Stupeflix Video about Indelible Moments that we experienced at the Reading and Writing Institute at Edgewood Elementary. I wanted to try to capture what we did. The idea for Indelible Moments is found in Gretchen Bernabei's Story of My Thinking. We wrote down memories that were triggered by using artifacts such as paper plates, wrapping paper, coffee filters, luggage tags, school paper, thank you cards, memo pink slips of missed phone calls, and other mementos. The writer then writes about memories that flood the brain. We had so much fun mining the memories. Enjoy!

Reading and Writing Institute at Edgewood

I conducted a Reading and Writing Institute at Edgewood this week. We started on Monday and finished on Wednesday. Teachers  from grades 3-5 attended. My colleagues from Edgewood also attended. We worked on understanding expository and narrative text structures from a Reading and Writing perspective.  We wrote about important stories in our lives and explored topics to develop in our writing. We used common objects to be utilized as artifacts to help us trigger memories. These Indelible Moments from Story of My Thinking by Gretchen Bernabei were fun to explore, write and share. We also learned several revision techniques including RADAR, Pitchforking, and Renaming.

We also learned more about the teaching of grammar in relevant and natural ways. We studied Jeff Anderson's work titled Mechanically Inclined and Everyday Editing. We used the sentence constructs from Dr. Joyce Armstrong Carol in Acts of Teaching, and Gretchen Bernabei's work from her book Grammar Keepers. We also study parts of speech using mentor sentences and the Invitations to Edit. In addition to that, we study nouns, verbs, and explored proofs and conversations to help  interiorize language from Grammar Keepers. Finally, we brought it all together in an Express Lane Edit.

Also we studied each other's sentences and kernel essays by sharing continuously with partners and in triads. We vacuumed the residue with the 3, 5, 7 brainstorm and top ten list. Then we studied sentences using Sparkling Sentences. We had some really wonderful peer writing to highlight and analyze. It was a fun filled 3 days of learning. I can't wait to do this again possibly next year!  I do, however, need to get some rest! I am bushed!

Indelible Moments

Sharing a Moment Using The Memory Kernel

Revising Using RADAR and Tracking the Movement of the Mind

Vacuuming the Residue

Sharing Collecting Signatures

From Three to Joining the Triads to Vacuum More of the Residue

Invitation to Collect and Celebrate-Mentor Sentence Share