Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer School for Me?

Kate created our double S logo which made an infinity sign, which we both have tattoos of.  So cool!  Oh summer school.  Or Summer Reading Academy as it is called.  Getting up early.  And oh the kids.  I still have a few weeks left of summer!  As bad as I dreaded going, I always learn new things.  The best teachers learn from other teachers.  Summer school allows me to work with other teachers from other schools and I have learned more in the past few weeks than any staff development workshop could possibly offer.  I emailed my principal to see if we could use one of our mandated workdays to have a sharing session with the same grade levels from other schools.  She said that was a great idea!   Best. Way. To. Learn. Ever.

Teaching 4th grade, phonics and word study get pushed aside for comprehension strategies.  I use Words Their Way for spelling, but definitely not to fidelity. Enter: Summer Reading Academy with upcoming third graders.   I have seen these kids grow in two weeks just based on 20 minutes of isolated word study, using a variation of  Making Words.  It's quick.  It's meaningful.  It's fun.  It's effective.  It's no longer scary for my 4th grade comprehension and fluency freak self.  And it will be a part of my literacy instruction this year.  Maybe summer school isn't so bad after all.

We have a crazy intense schedule - we do three different groups, poem of the day, read aloud, library visit, breakfast and lunch in less than four hours. We stay busy! And it goes by fast....

 An example of a making words lesson...easy for those who are phonics disabled (Katie!) Kids get a copy of the letter tiles needed for the mystery word and a paper with the columns to sort already labelled. 
We sort on the big board. (And wrote all over it for our reader's theater groups!)

One last thing.  Such negativity in our state about the legislature passing a bill that basically says teachers are worth nothing.  Here is a positive story.  The air in our building for summer school has been out since last week.  11 teachers and 49 kids teaching and learning in July in NC with no air equals sweat and attitude.  Our new superintendent visited today and walked through all of our rooms smiling and greeting us with his presence, and probably sweating.  Within an hour and a half, every room had a brand new mobile air conditioning unit installed.  Boo-yah!  Feels nice to be appreciated for the first time in a long time.

There's people out there!

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We have followers. I can't get past it. Thanks yall! Wow....Bloglovin, where have you been all my life? Happy Tuesday! Wait, is it Tuesday? I don't even know. Both of us are teaching summer school this year so look for a post later today about our summer reading set-up! 

-p and k

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I just wanted to try a post on our new blog.  Kate pretty much summed up everything as I would have said it.  Sharing a brain is so efficient!  I have periods of time that I go through obsessions much to the dismay of my family and friends and I can't rest until my obsession has been satisfied.  Shout out to my fellow Scorpios who know how it feels.  My obsession right now is setting up my classroom!  I try to make it better than the year before, but with no salary increase in a zillion years, classroom setup on a budget has proven to be a challenge, but as Kate knows, challenges fuel me! Pictures soon to come!  

Well. Here we are.

So we've fought this for about two years. The teacher blog. "We don't have time, " we said. "We don't need one," we sighed. "We don't know how to do it," we complained. But here we are. We've got ideas and stories to share that we seem to think the world shouldn't be without. Ha! We also have good teacher stuff to sell  make you aware of.

Here's a little about us, as written by Katie. Petie may dispute, correct or add on at any time later. :)

We're just two girls who've been teaching school for 12 years in a little town in North Carolina. We met up in high school at a journalism camp and the rest is history. We ran into each other while we were at Appalachian State University, where we learned everything we know about teaching, and have stuck together ever since. Our first two years teaching we taught at neighboring schools, but I quickly transferred when a 3rd grade spot opened up, where we got to team teach and now refer to those as the "good ol' days." To this day, we don't do a bulletin board without the other's approval. Ha!

We get in trouble a lot. In faculty meetings. In the hallway. On the phone. Going on trips. In restaurants. With our moms, even though we are supposed grown-ups. We have 5 tattoos and of course, plans for more. :) (Sorry, grandmother.) Our previous instructional coach referred to us, along with our other cell mate, The Tattooed Teacher, as "The Dirty Girls." We might get out of hand sometimes. Just. a. Little.
Gingerale  is fabulous!

Despite our antics, to which most people, including our husbands and children, have become immune to, we love our jobs and have a real passion for teaching and helping kids learn and navigate life. When we were roommates, we would bounce wacky ideas off of each other while brushing teeth and cooking supper.  We've taught 24 years and four different grades combined, tackled some serious student challenges, fought the system, gotten our Master's in Reading and passed our National Boards at the same time, and seen a lot of changes in education since we started. Things are getting a bit crazy in education in our good state of NC. In fact, some things that are down right embarrassing and sad. But more about that later...

Outside of school, we have three children between the two of us and we usually travel in a pack. :) Petie lives for Tennessee football and even wears orange flip-flops, some friendly competition whether it be a bulletin board competition with Rachel or who can catch the most fish, and her two hysterical sweets, Caroline and Tate. Katie would steal cupcakes out of a kid's hands, bake until her feet hurt, and squeeze her boy Tucker until he ran away screaming.

We are teachers down to our soul, but here are some things you might need to know:
  • You aren't going to find any teacher jumpers in our closets or on us. What is the deal? Are those still around?
  • We will try to refrain from sickeningly sweet weird things on our blog like "I love to smile." Duh. I mean who likes to frown? Shouldn't that be a given? Sarcasm is our middle name.
  • Expect to find teaching ideas and activities that are firmly rooted in the common core or state standards. We all know there's just not time for fluff. (Oh, but I miss some fluff and Friday movies!)
  • Rachel over at The Tattooed Teacher is going to have to give us some pointers in making our blog easy on your eyes. We apologize.
  • We would buy every Ticonderoga pencil on the planet. Accept no substitutions.
Look forward to our next couple of posts which I imagine will be about setting up our classrooms! We may or may not be armed with lots of crates (the scene in Wal-Mart was embarrassing), two gallons of paint, and some wicked good ideas. In the meantime, visit our store over at Teachers Pay Teachers!

And to celebrate the birth of our blog...our Peace, Love, Grow Data Notebook Start-up Kit is just ONE DOLLAR for the next two days!!! And our Literature Circle Posters are FREE!!!!


Aren't you glad you read to the end?????????