Thursday, July 12, 2012


I love ya if your are, but I totally understand if you're not! 
It's been FOREVER since we last chatted!  I went back and looked. 
My last post was June 22!  Even I was shocked to see it was so long ago.    

So, let's catch up!
Be warned, below is a combo of school stuff and personal stuff.

Summer School - Oh my!  What can I say?  It is so disheartening to see children headed into sixth grade (middle school!) reading on second and third grade levels.  That is the reality for the seven friends I am working with this summer.  Here's what I know.  Miracles don't happen!  I can't raise them two reading levels in five weeks, as has been suggested by administrators.  Umm, can we all look up the term realistic?  As in, let's be realistic!  Nope, no miracles like that are going to happen.  But, I know what does work.  I know what my friends need and can do.

My friends need explicit, one-on-one direct instruction and practice.  These friends need to be explicitly taught a skill and see it modeled repeatedly.  They need someone to work with them in small groups of 2-3 students or, better yet one-on-one.  They need to practice, practice, and practice some more. They need constant cheer leading, encouragement, and a triple scoop of "I believe in you! You can do this!"  They need to be showered with praise when they do get it, and then they need to revisit it and practice it some more until that skill becomes internalized. 

This is not easy work.  For them, this is very hard work. This is time consuming work.  This is the mountain my seven little friends are climbing this summer.  And, I see progress.  It is slow, but it is happening.  Will I meet the expectation of raising them two reading levels in our short five weeks together?  No.  I can't even say probably not.  It's a no.  But!  I do see them more encouraged, asking questions, and showing me small successes along the way.  I see them understanding how certain strategies help them as readers, and I see them trying to apply those strategies.  I see that I've been able to ease some frustration and build some confidence.  I see a willingness to try. For these friends, who for so long have not seen themselves as "good" at reading or seen themselves as readers at all, this is huge.  I'm proud of my summer friends.

So Tired!  The last month of school was really tough.  In addition to major changes in my building, which include my assignment change for September, I was just dog tired!  I'm not talking your run of the mill tired.  Tired as in I would come home from school, take a nap, wake up to eat dinner, then go to bed.  In the morning, I would get up for school and feel great for about the first two hours, but then I would be extremely tired the entire rest of the day.  At least one of my weekend days was spent napping on and off all day.  When school was out at the end of June, I literally fell on my couch and didn't really move for three days.

I started to realize that something was wrong beyond just being tired.  To make a long story short (I know, too late for that!) it turns out I was severely anemic with very low vitamin levels.  My iron was so low I ended up in the hospital twice for iron infusions and then had to go for a whole bunch of testing to see why I was so anemic.  Turns out everything is fine, I just have a malabsorption issue.  So, now I am on a crazy vitamin regimen and a new diet.  Can I tell you I feel a million times better!  I know that was a big part of my blog break.  I just didn't have the energy or enthusiasm for anything, and that is so not like me!  I honestly didn't know how bad I was feeling until I started to feel better.  The funny thing is I have a bunch of things I want to blog about now whereas before, when I wasn't feeling myself, I really couldn't think of a thing.  I couldn't think period!  Never take your health for granted!

Professional Reading - I knew I was sick when I was too tired to even read! ;-)  I have a stack of professional books I wanted to get to over the summer, and I've just now picked up the first one.  Currently, I'm reading Small Group Reading Instruction: Differentiated Teaching Models for Intermediate Readers, Grades 3-8 by Beverly B. Tyner and Sharon E. Green. 

I actually posted about this book when I got it back in February.  So far, I really like what I'm reading.  I think it will be helpful with my new role as an in-class support teacher.  I'll give you a full report when I finish. 

Staples - Oh my! It seems a lot of teachers are just catching wind of the new policy at Staples. The post I wrote about it, Staples, Why Have You Forsaken Me? , has gotten a lot of comments recently. The comments are interesting. Overwhelmingly, you seem to be no happier with it than I am. While I am sad I won't have a homeroom next year, it works out with regards to Staples. As a push-in teacher, I don't need to supply a class. Let's hope that by the time I do have my own homeroom again Staples has amended their policy.

E-Mails   I had a couple of requests to answer some questions via email.  I put up a link for my blog email.  However, I've been a total slacker about it.  I've gotten a few emails, and I promise to get to them within the next week.  So, if you emailed me, I promise I am not ignoring you!  I really appreciate that you took the time to write to me, and I will get back to you all shortly.  I will say though, every time I look at my blog emails, I can't help but sing (out loud and badly) the mail song from Blues Clues!  I have no idea why, but it pops in my head every time! :-)

Summer!!  Still haven't gotten to the beach yet.  BUT, tomorrow it is going to be 90 degrees, hot and humid.  I am taking my Small Group Reading Instruction book and hitting the sand!  I've already got some grapes in the freezer.  Try it! Frozen grapes while sitting on a hot beach is a nice treat.

Be back soon!  Promise!


  1. Glad you are back and feeling better! I also get so frustrated with the administrators and politicians that expect us, as teachers, to raise student achievement levels 2-3 grade levels within a few months. I have found having students read aloud- first practicing helps. A great resource is Tim Razinski. He has a lot of great things on his website.

    Teaching Special Kids

  2. oh you poor thing! I'm so glad you are feeling better now!! Take care and enjoy your summer! :)

  3. So glad you are feeling better now and they figured out what was going on! I'm excited to see what kinds of new ideas you have in your new job!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  4. Glad you are feeling better and glad you are back!

  5. Hey There!

    I was wondering if you could help me out! I am having a discussion about your TOP 5 favorite books for middle schoolers! Come join me!

    Mrs. Crouse @ {6th Grade} All-Stars

  6. Just found your blog and love it! You have so many great ideas. I just started one of my own- check it out if you can :)

  7. I love your VOICES posts! I'm your newest follower!

    Coffee, Kids and Compulsive Lists

  8. Happy Blogiversary!! One of my professional goals this year is to implement Adventures in Language. I'm excited for the new school year.