Friday, August 30, 2013

Birthdays and Five for Friday

Goodness, it is a super quiet night in the Dunn household! The hubby is out of town, and the kids are all out and about! So as I soak up the quiet for a bit, just before it drives me crazy, I thought I would join Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!

First...this week...I turned 29 again! Whoo many years now? haha...

My kiddos and teammates spoiled me :)

Katie Byrd brought an ice cream
cake...LOL...I didn't manage to
get a pic before we all dug into it :)

My teammates REALLY do spoil me butterflies for our room :)

After such a wonderful birthday celebration at work, my boys had their first football game of the season! Yay! You know what that means...tons of football pictures headed your way soon!

Justin's Marine recruiter came to watch his first game. Never thought I could be so proud and frightened at the same time! I also found out that his departure date has been moved up to the day after his graduation ...can't help but to hold back the tears.

I am trying to gear myself up for a whirlwind of a year, preparing for Justin leave. My beautiful sister took Justin's senior pictures this week. I cannot wait to see the final results! You might as well get ready for senior picture overload! haha....I will try not to be overwhelming with it. ;)

In class, my kiddos and I are continuing to build a safe and strong writing community. As we fill our writer's notebooks with as many writing ideas as possible, we created our "Writer's Eye." Before hand, I created my own "Writer's Eye" (I) as explained by Jeff Anderson in Mechanically Inclined. (I have also seen it on Julie Ballew's amazing website A Literate Life.) This will be one more resource for them to use as we begin working our way to writing our narratives. We have spent many hours talking about where writers get their ideas! Using our writer's eye to look closely at ourselves is a perfect way to gather the ideas that just may lead to that perfect story.  My kiddos worked hard....



I love watching my kiddos work hard in their writer's notebooks, and even more, I love their excitement in sharing!


Silly fun with my kiddos :)
love my sweet class!

In all of our excitement in building just as strong a reading community as a writing community, my kiddos have fallen into the manic rush to read as many books as they can. (Which of course is such a double-edged sword.) The next few weeks will be spent slowing our that we have created that fun, excited buzz in reading we will be focusing on digging deep and thoughtfully responding in our Reader's notebooks.

I am pleased to report that all students
unanimously tallied...a few books deeply

Technically, I think that is more than 5, but oh's my birthday week ;) haha!

Happy reading, friends...I am off to finish Divergent! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hopes, dreams, and commitments

Hello sweet friends...

I wanted to drop in with a quick post! We have spent more than our fair share of time focused on procedures and expectations, but the majority of our time has been on building solid, positive relationships with each other. We spend so much time together; we become a family!

This was one of our morning messages last week. After spending so much time the few days before talking about hopes and dreams and reaching our goals, I asked students what we could do to help each other reach them. These are a some of the ideas the kiddos came up with....we used these as a starting point for building our commitments to each other. Both classes participated in these discussions and contributed what commitments were most important to them.

Here is the final result! I am so proud of my kiddos...both my homeroom and Mrs. Whitt's babies! I can honestly say that there are some super, sweet kids in this group! I am excited for the year ahead!

Our commitments to each other....
tomorrow we will all sign this together!

I can just see their precious faces as they said, "Never underestimate!" Or..."Be confident." And ..."Be truthful."

Now...don't get me wrong! No rose-colored glasses here...I have a few non-stop-talking, little toots, too. But they are deep down good kiddos...with just a bit extra in the vocabulary department. No worries...that's were all the procedures practice and practice and practice....and even more practice will come in. hahaha.... I'll make them practice until they are too exhausted to talk anymore. ;)

Just another morning message...I LOVE Responsive classroom. Morning messages are such a quick way to put a finger on where most of my kiddos are in their thoughts and practices of reading and writing, all the while helping me build a positive relationship with them.

Ok...well not exactly sure how "quick" that was, but I just had to take a moment to share.

Happy reading, friends.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

First weeks, full moons, and Saturday Snapshots Sunday style ;)

My sweet kiddos enjoying
Reading Workshop :)
We have had such a great first week ~ an exhausting week, but fun and productive!  For some reason one day this week I was looking back at old posts, and I saw this on an August post from 2012: "Whew wee... Goodness! I think that the first few weeks of school is a lot like child birth in that we forget exactly how crazy it is or we would never do it again. I am being dramatic, but a whirlwind of DSA,  DRA, DIBELs and seemingly impossible deadlines is about to wear me out." HaHa....I had completely forgotten that I had written that, but it is soooooo true!

This year we added a beautiful, full moon to the mix of first week's madness. :) 

In all of the busyness...we accomplished much. 

We are well on our way to launching a strong Reading and Writing Workshop!


Most kiddos have taken off in their efforts to reach their goals! Our book frenzy from Monday and Tuesday has been very inspiring for some. 

We have set a goal of reading 40 books this year. After seeing last year's kiddos sail right past their goals, I have no worries that we will meet our goals.

We are all starting with the same goal...40 books: 10 can be picture books, 10 Nonfiction texts, and 20 Fiction texts from at least 3 different genres. 

I do realize that every student is different, and that possibly not all students will master this goal. Some students will be reading larger selections that take more time, and other students may not be capable at this point. I keep this all in mind as I work with and conference with each kiddo. Together, we will adjust reading goals to be just as individual as each of the sweet kiddos that walked through my door on the first day of school!

Books read at school and at home count towards this goal! As long as students are responding in their reader's notebooks, and I can see their thinking and understanding about what is read at school or home, it ALL counts! 

I will also be working to surpass the same goals as my kiddos...if I ask them to read at least 40 books this school year, then so will I. (A tall order with all of the reader's notebooks I will be reading this year. LOL) This weekend I read Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick and Radiance by Alyson Noel. Although both of these books are so different, I thoroughly enjoyed them both! I cannot wait to do a book talk tomorrow. I am seriously contemplating sharing Freak the Mighty as a read aloud this year. 


I also began reading Divergent by Veronica Roth. This one will take me just a bit longer, but I can tell you that I am already in love with it! I am a huge dystopian fan. I was in love with this genre before I ever heard the word dystopian...haha. If you are a Hunger Games fan, you will love this one, too. 

And so it lovely shelf covered in anchors...

We began our heart maps! This is mine from the past few years...I know it is probably time to make a new one, but everything on this heart map still fits!

Here are a few of my kiddos' heart maps....



We also decorated our Writer's Notebooks...



We started what will be quite a few lists in our notebooks...tons of fun storytelling took place this week. Great writing is really great storytelling! This is one that we made together...each of the kiddos has their very own personal list in their notebooks. 

Check out our creepy crawly recess visitor!
He was the BIGGEST I have EVER seen!
Like seriously....HUGE!

With that big beauty, haha...I am joining Miss Nelson at Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera. A day late...yes, I know! I'll blame it on full moon, first week of school madness.  Be sure to stop by and check out everyone's snapshots! Miss Nelson always takes the most beautiful pics! So jealous! ;)

Well, I am off to finish getting ready for another great week of learning. I think after spending so much time at school yesterday, I should be just about there. haha

Happy Reading, friends!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book frenzy kind of day

Just look at that picture! That is what used to be my desk, was a "book frenzy" kind of day. We had just enough time yesterday to tease some of the kiddos with stacks of books, but today was the day that those stacks of books were piled around the room and across the tables.

Our annual book frenzy is inspired by The Book Whisperer. My goal is to get books in kiddos hands and create an excited buzz about reading! Boy does it work! I do love all the excitement, but goodness...does it make a mess!  

~I have to say that even though we had stacks piled everywhere, one of my sweet kiddos said, "Mrs. Dunn, you have so many doesn't even look like you pulled any from the library!" my kiddos!

Look at this mess of
a book shelf! ;)

Check out all those books stacked in the cubbies...these are a handful of books that kiddos selected as their starting point in independent reading. As I conference with each of the students and get to know them as readers, their selections may change and/or grow.

More of the sweet gifts and notes from my kiddos
and from our amazing PTO...we are spoiled!

We sat down today and discussed our goals for the year. The kiddos were cracking me up with "a bunch" and "a lot." Those were their words, so I went with it! I was proud of our productive discussion! As we move further into reading and writing workshop, we will discuss and clarify what we truly must do to read and write "a lot."

Here are a few of our Morning Messages. Our morning meetings have been smooth and fun so far. Getting to know this silly group of kiddos has been a blast. After this morning's greeting, I learned that I have a TON of pizza lovers in my class, LOL. 


I love when my kiddos come back!
Here are former students and one current.
Sure do love these sweet boys!

Derrick sent me this pic today...
he has transferred to UCA to enter
the teaching program!
I am so proud; I could bust!

With that I will say goodnight...early again!

Happy reading, friends!

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