Saturday, August 20, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things!

After spending the better part of today revamping the look of my blog, I figured I should post something to make my time worth while! Yesterday I received my alumni magazine from JMU. I usually flip through it causally and then toss it, but the cover story for this issue immediately caught my eye. It read "Resucing Young Readers: How one JMU grad student, a professor and an elementary school faculty are removing roadblocks." I read the story, which outlined how one professor is working with a local school district to implement RtI (Response to Intervention) across the district. I began researching the professor mentioned in the story and of course ended up a million clicks away from where I initially began. {Side Note: I'm a research junkie and love to see what people are studying and consequently finding out in real classrooms. We are all researchers in our own studies every year as we look at different problems in our classroom and try to find the most effective way to solve the problem.} Anyways, back to what this post is about. Here are some of the resources that I found while I was checking out the JMU study. It prompted me to write this entry about some of my favorite resources, both new and old,  as we embark on a new school year.
  • I am currently reading Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire by Rafe Esquith. Although he teaches 5th grade, he understands and is very up front about the challenges that teachers are facing today, especially in urban school settings. This is a great book for a younger teacher to read because he illustrates through his own teaching experiences that becoming an effective educator takes a great deal of time and in fact a good teacher never feels like they have reached perfection. It's okay to do things the wrong way before you figure out the more effective way. He says, "That's the beauty of the job: You can learn from your mistakes. You can get better. In the process you may even stumble upon precious moments that can allow your students to soar higher then they ever thought possible." Last year I often let my failures get the best of me. As frustrating as this can be for a young teacher with a Type A personality like myself, it is important to remember to focus on the small moments of success. Based on my three years of teaching I can definitely see how eventually these moments add up into a rich collection of experiences. And experiences just take time. I am loving this book right now and feel it is a must read for new teachers as we start a new school year!
  • Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning {Vanderbilt University}I found the "Teachers/Caregivers" tab to be especially helpful. There are scripted stories for teaching certain social situations, tools for working on emotions and tips for developing behavior support plans. If you read my earlier posts, then you know that I am desperate need of integrating a social skills program into my daily lessons. I think this website out of Vanderbilt combined with my Making Meaning program might be a great combination!
  • While I'm posting about helpful websites I've come across this summer, I figured I would also share this document created by my aunt. She is a fantastic veteran teacher and created this quick guide to routines that can make transition time and management a breeze. She reviews some basic attention getters, especially great for newer teachers. This was helpful for me to read over and remember how explicit I need to be. 
  •  I LOVE the Florida Center for Reading Research site. Do you all use this? It is a great resource with tons of ideas and printable reading activities. They have activities that are great for student centers and hit on phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. I like this site because on days when I'm not feeling super creative, they already have materials prepared for just about everything. Just print on colored paper, laminate and voila!
 That's all for now. Up tomorrow... writing my policies and procedures manual! 

No comments: