Monday, August 5, 2013

Hello Literacy Goes Back to School...and Resurfaces from the Deep End for a Breath of Bloggy Fresh Air!...Caution: It's a Long One!

Welcome back to another school year! Don't know about you, but we started last week and it's been a busy start, that's for sure! I certainly don't know where the summer went, but it was heavenly...all three weeks of it!  Mine was jam-packed. I hope you want to hear about it because I'm about to tell you.  {Besides, I feel like I owe it to for being MIA in the blogosphere for the last three weeks...}

It started out with a professional trip to Arkansas. I headed back to Sonora Elementary for a day of professional development on Vocabulary Instruction...specifically Tier 3 and Tier 2. You may remember, Arkansas was my first out-of-state trip to provide PD back in January, when they asked me to do my Fifty Shades of the Common Core...I was honored to be asked back and the teachers of Sonora Elementary {and Dr. Stewman} have a special place in my heart.  Not only did they show up during *their* summer vacation, too, 16 of them also turned out the week before to listen to Dr. Timothy Shanahan who came to Springdale, Arkansas, to speak about the Common Core.  Anyway, this one day workshop on 21st century vocabulary instruction was very hands-on, team-based, interactive, & high-level thinking {lots of critiquing, evaluating and reasoning going in here} and from the feedback I've received so far... the workshop was very beneficial to their schoolwide focus on vocabulary instruction this year. Here are few pictures from my trip to Sonora Elementary...clockwise from left...team read-aloud in order to create/compose an original text talk lesson (based on the template from Beck & McKeown's book, Bringing Words to Life), teams defending and challenging their Tier 3 Essential Vocabulary Lists {developed this time for math}...great conversations GREAT, and brainstorming "when in the day word learning could occur"...
...clockwise from left...a just had to snap this photo--when I saw this sandwich board propped inside the front door [there were no children in the building at the time] I thought to myself "I LOVE THAT"...don't you just want to tell parents..."PLEASE GET YOUR KID TO SCHOOL" or " PLEASE GET YOUR KID TO SCHOOL ON TIME"...after all, research shows that attendance is the number one most vital behavior of academic success...bottom line, if they're not there, there's no chance of learning, growth, or acceleration. Had a yummy {and chilly} Q&A dinner at a super fancy Mexican restaurant and so many teachers came out for that...it was really fun! The last photo is grade level teams working together to develop their essential content area lists (Tier 3).

If you're interested in my one day workshop on Vocabulary Instruction, email me. If you'd like to view it, I've uploaded it to SlideShare HERE


 Again, this one is very interactive and hand-on, so there's a lot that goes on that not necessarily IN the presentation.    I'll actually be headed back to Georgia in October of this year to provide this workshop at Barnwell Elementary in Johns Creek, GA.  Super excited about that...another staff, CST & principal that has a special spot, too. 

I flew home to board a plane with just my hubby for a 4th of July holiday weekend trip to Key West, Florida.  There we spent four days shopping, eating, lounging, sunning, shopping, eating, lounging, sunning, shopping, eating...do you see a pattern here? Anyone else do this pattern this summer?  The highlight of our trip was a fabulous dinner at Louie's Backyard...if you ever get this way, I highly recommend it!

Took some rest days, well, not really actually, it was more like unpack, laundry, pack, unpack, laundry, pack...another pattern. Anyone else do this pattern this summer?  The four of us then boarded {several} planes for Washington state for a family visit in southeast Washington, near Walla Walla.  We had a good time visiting, relaxing, shopping, wine tasting, four-wheeling, sunning, napping, eating....good times!

Then came home and turned around for another short trip to Monticello, Indiana to present Fifty Shades of the Common Core to four elementary schools in the Twin Lakes School District.  This was a short but sweet trip, making new friends and having a blast...I have given this workshop so many times now and absolutely love it every time...I have so much fun....teachers really seem to appreciate all the things I say....as Keisha told me at lunch..."Can I give you some feedback?...[sure]...I just love the way you just SAY IT LIKE IT IS!" Thanks Keisha! I appreciate that...not that I say anything mind-blowing or earth-shattering and have been told that every single turn-key strategy that I talk about are so SIMPLE and EASY to implement...it's like a V-8 moment...why didn't I think of that!!! they say.  I don't know, but let's all start doing it!  I'm still booking trips for this presentation so if you are a school or state that is interested in having me for this one-day presentation...email me.  BTW, if your school or district does in fact book me, included in the fee is the use of all the professional documents (including site licenses) I speak of in my presentation that I normally sell in my store.

Phew...and literally flew back into RDU at 11:00AM and was back at school by noon.  Welcome back to everyone that starting another year of teaching....this is my 19th year back. What about you? Here's a fun freebie I created for anyone that is looking for something fun and non-threatening for your students to do that first twenty minutes of the first day of school when your classroom is flooded with bags and buckets of school supplies....enjoy! There's actually many uses for this...feel free to use it as the cover of your Back to School Welcome Packet, whatever.

Download it HERE.

Another freebie I created at the end of last year was this "Are You a Text Talker" cheat sheet for students. Grab yours below. 

Download it HERE

 This year is going to be an exciting year at the lake.  Lake Myra is continuing our Common Core journey {and Marzano, and Walkthroughs, and all the things we value and say are important} in addition to adding a few new {as usual} initiatives starting this year.  The first biggie {this is state-wide across North Carolina} is mClass.  We made the big switch from AIMSweb to mClass and began benchmarking today.

(Thank you, Laura Chatterton for allowing me to take your picture :-)

Another BIGGIE this year is the exciting news that our school got a BIG {and I mean BIG} grant to become a Stephen Covey Leader In Me school.  So look for some great posts to come regarding our Leader In Me/Lighthouse journey.  In the meantime, grab some of the LIM things I've already created. 

Leader in Me 7 Habits Posters
Download it HERE.

Leaders ARE CAN HAVE / ACT SAY THINK
Download it HERE.

And...a Leader In Me recognition form.

Download it HERE.

Leaders ARE CAN HAVE & Leaders ACT SAY THINK Tree Maps

Download it HERE.  

And one last big debut....and this is truly the up or down side or traveling...I had a lot of time in airports and on airplanes...to make NEW FONTS...18 new fonts to be exact! Some of these took me HOURS to create and I'm happy to share them with you!  So, here they are:

 These are all available in addition to the other 120 fonts I've created HERE.  As a reminder, these fonts are free for personal and non-commercial use.  You can download individually (beginning tomorrow) from the right sidebar of my blog OR you can download them all in my TpT store.  Also, if you use Hello Fonts in your TpT products, you may purchase a Commercial Use license HERE.  

And a quick note, that I'm going to working hard this year with my reading groups to provide more higher level thinking collaborative literacy centers....the first one is below.  This one is geared for 2nd - 6th grade, but more for the lower grades are coming soon.

Download it HERE.

 Also, a K-2 writing center, too cute to not grab....

Download it HERE

Wow, did I leave anything out??? I don't think so.  So, in case you had any doubt that I had dropped of the face....I'm back! And ready for another fantastic year of learning.  I'm fortunate to again be working with  2nd and 3rd grade reading groups, in addition to Kindergarten. And thank YOU for following along on this education journey with me, with you, together!

Happy Reading! ~Jen