Wednesday, September 17, 2014

THE SECRET REVEALED! How to get students to read!!!!!

Here it is.. Groundbreaking advice on how to get students to read.!!
It’s remarkable.  It’s phenomenal.  It’s actually THE TRUTH!!!!

Just a little background.  You all know these teachers  people.  The ones who have said OUT LOUD at one time or another in life the following:  

·       I lost so much weight over Christmas.  I can’t seem to put back on those last 5 pounds.
·       I dread the day I find a grey hair.
·       My kids NEVER act that way.  Tsk tsk tsk
·       I’ve got to stop planning so many lessons.  I’m about three months ahead. 

Or they at least have the following:

ü An Erin Condren lesson planner in colors that coordinate with their classroom.
ü Gel pens that their husband got them for Valentine’s Day that were died specifically in the colors that match the above mentioned Erin Condren lesson planner. 
I’m not slamming these!  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM!!!!!!!
ü Vera Bradley’s home phone number to keep up-to-date on when the newest pattern is being released for that Triple Zip Hipster.  (I’m not a fan of Vera, btw)
ü A dog they carry in a tote bag.  (Also known as a “snack” for my pit bull)

Do you get the picture? 

So, you ask this…………………..

“Do your kids enjoy SSR in your classroom?”

Their response…….

Please read the following in the voice of Thurston Howell III.  Really jut out your lower chin and teeth and DRIP with your voice………

Their reponse…….

“My students loooooooooovvvvvvveeeee to read.  I have absolutely no problems at all.” 

I slither away.  Here’s what’s going down in MY room. 

Me:  “Students, you have 10 minutes to check out a book.”
Play Jeopardy music in your mind right now..for 10 minutes. 

Me:  “Ok, for the next 15 minutes we are going to enjoy SSR.”
Silent Sustained Reading (public definition)
SSR:  SitdownShutupReadthatbookandincreaseyourvocabularysoyouwilldobetteronstandardizedtests (teacher definition)

Me:  “I mean it.  Let’s get quiet and enjoy our book”

---While they are reading, I spend  15 minutes 30 seconds grading one answer on one test of 25 questions for 90 students.   

Student:  “Can I get another book?”
Me:  “You just checked that one out!”
Student:  “Yeah”
Me:  “Well, how much did you read?”
Student: “Three words.  It got boring quick.”
Me: “ly”
Student:  “Do what????”
Me: “Quick-ly.  You became bored quick-ly”
Student:  (Gives me a look.  You know the look.  Gets another book)

I move on to grade a 2nd  question of 25 out of 90 tests.

Student:  “I’ve got a book in my locker I need to check in.  Can I go get it, and take it to the library?”
Me:  “If it was so important to turn it in today, you would have brought it to class.  Sit down and enjoy your book, please”
Student:  (Hearing only the Charlie Brown teacher voice stands and waits for another answer)
Me:  “Sit Down and ENJOY that book!”

Moving on to the 3rd question of 25 out of 90 tests.
Look at the clock and realize the 15 minutes of SSR ended 3 minutes ago. 

Here comes the secret……….How I finally enjoyed -  SUCCESSFULLY - a full 15 minutes of SSR


The big secret is………I read, too.

That’s right.  I sat down, opened my book, became completely engrossed in it (truth!), and dared anyone to interrupt.  They truly learn from modeling, right!!!!!????!!!

Guess what?????  They all sat there and copied my actions.  Of course, there’s always one in every crowd who has to test the waters.  Here’s how that went.

Me:  reading, reading, reading, reading
Student:  “Can I go to the lie-bury?”

Only teachers and mothers have this super-power that I whipped out at that moment.  It’s called the “Peel a Hairy-Eyeball.”  Teachers and mothers have special muscles IN the eyeball, AROUND the eyeball, and in that special “twitch” that happens in the cheek area.  So I look up at Mr-Can-I-Go-To-The-Liebury? dude and whipped it out. 

It had force.  It had a laser attachment.  It had POWER.  Unable to take his eyes off the wonderment of the eyeball, he backed away slowly, picked up his book and READ!!!!!!

What a thing of beauty!!!

Keep reading, people. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

One Month Without Technology

Yep.  I’m that kind of teacher.  I planned all summer.  Sure, I worked on products for my TpT store, but I only have products that I will actually use in my classroom………I mean, come on, why would I not??????? 

So I enter the classroom in August ready to

Rock and Roll   

I’m ready to head home on Friday afternoon..that Friday..the one before students come on MONDAY!!!!  

I’ve got my cute little power point that I use every year to break the ice.  A little humor…….A little sarcasm……A little wit..A little bit of me……..A lot about my classroom expectations…….

I’m verifying that everything in the room is READY……..

And suddenly it rears its ugly face………

The Green Blob of Death………THE PROJECTOR HAS DIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, the horrors.  No promethean board.  No ELMO.  No power points.  No daily edits.  No ActiveInspire.


I’m forced to do some serious soul searching.  I’m the first one to admit that I’m addicted to technology in my classroom.  I had a personal laptop and projector that I was using in my classroom in seventh grade before Promethean boards ever appeared in our building!!!!! I was showing videos and PowerPoints before it was even COOL!!! 


 I’m a junkie!!!!!

And now, the weekend before school begins, I’m searching my soul, my heart, my brain, my pocketbook (EMPTY) for the ability to SURVIVE THIS HORROR.   What to do.............

Here’s the motto for my district this year……

Here’s what my administration has shortened it to for our building..

Be Positive!

Every time a teacher comes crying to the principal or assistant principal or another teacher or an aide or a custodian or a lunch lady……………and screams……….. “For the love of humanity, can’t you see how bad this is……?????”

The response is ..Be positive”    Some days it is said with passion and feeling and gusto!!!!!

Some days it is said as a joke.

Some days it is said as a prayer to the teaching gods that it will make you leave the room.

But it is truly said!!!  Over and Over!!!  and Over and Over!!!!!

So I’m claiming it.

 It’s my chant.  It’s my matra.  It’s my prayer.  It’s my incantation.  It’s my warble.  It’s my song. 

I’m being positive.  One day the technology gods will shine down upon me and get me a new projector.  Until that time, I have found that I can truly live without it.  We have studied the HECK out of commas.  We've worked HARD on setting up the perfect Interactive Notebooks. 

No, we aren't arriving to school in horse-and-buggies,  and we aren't using a "slate", and we aren't fetching water in a pail, and we aren't dipping pigtails in the ink well........It's not that bad YET!!

But here's what I am doing.  This has made me


my true passion in the classroom, my love of reading. 

Be positive.