Monday, January 13, 2014

Sunshine Award... Part 2

Sunshine Award Picture

My blog is officially one week old :)  And on its one week birthday, I was officially nominated for a Sunshine Award by Jen and Sarah, here's their blog.  
In less then a month, I've joined Twitter and started a blog.  I'm such a newbie to all of this, but I'm so glad to have connected with so many talented educators.  It amazes me how people have found me - through Twitter Chats, RTs, and link-ups.  I will be forever grateful for everyone's endless knowledge and willingness to share.
When I first started this blog - a week ago - I started it by doing my own Sunshine Award post.  Katherine Sokolowski had invited her readers to do a Sunshine Award post, and I thought it would be a perfect start.  
Now I have a real invitation.  This time, I plan to pass it along to others.  I feel like most people I follow have already received this award.  If I pass it along to you and you've already filled one out, please just know that you have inspired me at some point and I wanted you to know.  Thank you.
Here are the official "rules" of this blogging award:

The Rules of the Sunshine Award
  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  • Share 10 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 10 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List or tag 10 bloggers that you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  • Post 10 questions for the bloggers you nominate
  • Let those 10 bloggers and let them know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger(s) who nominated you.)
I'm going to cheat a little bit and use the random facts that I wrote in my first post.  No one needs more random facts about me.
Here they are:
1.  I've lived in the Chicago suburbs all of my life.  I hate winter.  I hate snow.  So why do I still live here?
2.  I've been a reader all my life, but when I was in high school, I thought I was going to go into the business world.  Silly me.  My mom, who obviously knew me way better then I know myself, convinced me to become a teacher.  Smart.
3.  I like to think of myself as a good swimmer, but I swam with my daughter's swim team's master program this winter break and my butt was officially kicked.  But instead of being humiliated, it made me more determined.  I will be back....
4. Speaking of swimming, my goal is to try my first triathlon this summer.  Haven't signed up yet, but it's looming...
5.  I'm going to cry when I cannot get my Pumpkin Spice Latte at my Starbucks because they are out of pumpkin syrup until next September. 
6.  I am not on Facebook and won't until my daughter is on it.
7.  I just joined Twitter because I found there are other educators out there who read as much, if not more as me, and think about education like I do.  
8.  Some education conference goals, this year I am going to try really hard to attend my first NErDcampMI and NCTE14!
9.  When I've been running for a really long time, I can no longer do any form of math in my head.
10.  I cannot stand emoticons when texting.

Now to answer Jen and Sarah's questions:

1.  What's your favorite professional book?
I'm finishing up Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller and it's doing wonders for my thoughts on helping students love to read and want to read, and not just at school!  Over the summer I read Notice and Note and my colleague and I are using it this school year.  I still need to figure out how I want it to look, but I like it.  Finally, I read Falling in Love with Close Reading.  I really need to figure out how it looks in a K-4th gr school, but it still has me thinking about it which I think is a sign of a great book.

2.  What is the best read aloud you would recommend to other teachers?
Wow.  No way could I limit it to one.  I think I will always love Wonder by RJ Palacio.  It has so many lessons to teach and discuss.  Plus I love Auggie.  He got me right in the heart.  I just finished Please Bring Balloons by Lindsay Ward and I loved the story and illustrations.  Chopsticks by Amy Rosenthal will always make me laugh out loud.  

3.  What is your most used app in the classroom?
Fail on this question.  Since I am a reading specialist I don't use iPads/ipods in my small groups.  I just can't replace putting a book in their hands, with the small amount of time I have with them.  I use my iPad every week for AIMS Web progress monitoring.  Does that count???? ;)

4.  How do you integrate technology in your daily schedule?
Read above.  I use books :)
I have been trying to use some technology, but I'm not replacing a book.  When I co-teach with other teachers I like using their SMARTboards and doc cams.  Doc cams have made my life easier.

5.  What is the quickest and easiest way to promote content area literacy in the classroom?
Reading.  With books :)  See a pattern?  I'm using Kid Lit Frenzy and her weekly link-up to promote Informational Texts every Wednesday.  I figure the more non-fiction I read, the more I can pass on to other teachers!

6.  How do you support students with special needs in the classroom?
Those are my friends that I work with!  As a reading specialist, I see them during intervention times when we are pulling them out of the classroom so they can receive the extra instruction they need.  As a co-teacher, I see them in the classroom during whole group lesson time.  I try to think ahead of time what they need.  I've been playing with some ideas of maybe seeing those kids first thing in the morning, reading to them what we will be doing in class, and having them reread on their own during class - at that point they have background knowledge to give them tools to use when the reading becomes difficult. But then they are participating with their classmates... big self-esteem boost for them.

7.  Share your playlist of choice during your personal writing time.

8.  Describe your best professional development experience.
I try to learn something from each one.  I've presented at the Illinois Reading Conference, I've presented to our staff, I've presented to small groups of teachers.  I try to carry away something positive from each one.  My new favorite experience is the knowledge I'm learning from on-line!!

9.  If you had to "sell" the Twitter PLN to another educator, what would you say?
Remember how we've been saying we need to have better staff development than just us teaching each other???  I found new presenters.  On line.  And it's free.  

10.  How do you help ELL students gain the background knowledge to participate in your lessons appropriately?
Hmmmm... probably not as well as I should!  I know we read all the time about bringing in hands on materials that they can feel/manipulate, or reading books that might enrich their background knowledge about the subject they are learning about... but... it's hard to do that when you have a 30 min. block of time with them.  We have fantastic ELL teachers who do a lot for us, so I generally just try to get them to understand sounds, letters and how they go together!  Best practice?  Probably not.  

11. What advice do you have for educators getting into the field/halfway through?
Read.  Learn.  Listen.

Ok, I'm done.  Now it's your turn.  
I'm inviting these bloggers to participate, or just know that I was thinking of you.

Kara DiBartolo at Reading Queen @dibartolok
Dylan Teut at Mile High Reading @dylanteut
Mindi Rench at Next Best Book @mindi_r
Patrick Andrus at ReadWonder @patrickontwit
Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers @kelleemoye @ReadwithPassion
Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life @Teachr4
Jen at Teach Mentor Texts @mentortexts
Shannon Clark at irunreadteach @shannonclark7

My Questions:
1.  Favorite place to vacation?
2.  Guided reading or Independent reading?  Why?
3.  Swimming pool or ocean?
4.  Would you rather close your door and teach or co-teach?
5.  City or country?
6.  Most anticipated 2014 children's book release?
7.  Where do you buy most of your books?
8.  Best way to incorporate CCSS in your reading block?
9.  How many books do you have checked out from your public library right now?
10.  Best original teaching idea you've had?

Have fun and thanks for inspiring me!

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