Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shifting Gears and Putting On My Running Shoes

This is my teaching blog.  So many of you read my posts hoping to gain a teaching tool, a lesson idea, or a quick tip to make your life a little easier in the classroom.  Thank you all for reading my posts and leaving me such encouraging comments.  I know you don't even know me, and yet you so faithfully check in here as you strive to become an even better teacher.  Well, today, I want to shift gears a little.  I want to share something very near and dear to my heart.  I hope you all know that I just want to see cancer annihilated.  My dad lost his battle to cancer in 2007, and since then I've been running with The Leukemia & Lymphoma's Society Team In Training as a way to help others who are in the same situation that my dad was in.  You can read more about my sweet daddy and his story here.  Please allow me to take my teaching shoes off and my running shoes on...

Yesterday was an exciting day for me!  My devotion to helping to fight cancer in memory of my dad was reaffirmed, and my dedication to training for my fifth marathon was reignited.  Why?  My running buddies with Team In Training met for our first run at the lake, and this little guy's mom is in my pace group.  May I please introduce one of the cutest little itty-bitties ever...Bennett!

Oh my goodness!  What a cutie pa-tutie!
Bennett is 18 months old.  He is A.DOR.ABLE!  He is a future Longhorn.  He has leukemia.  Of course, if you ask his mom, Kirsa, you'd never guess that he's in his 5th month of treatment watching him scramble around with that precious smile on his face.  On April 9, 2011, Bennett was diagnosed with high risk B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).  As Kirsa and I were running, we were talking about how he was diagnosed.  Unbelievably, Kirsa told me that just five days before his diagnosis, he had passed his one-year check-up  with flying colors.  Over the past several months, Bennett's parents have had to witness him endure countless pokes to his body, blood transfusions, lumbar punctures, bone marrow aspirations, several rounds of chemotherapy, associated side effects, treatment for blood infections, and many nights in the hospital.

Bennett is "pole-surfing" while his body receives his current protocol of chemotherapy.

Bennett's treatments will conclude on July 28, 2014.  He will be four and a half years old.  He will have gone from baby to toddler to little boy, all while fighting cancer.  I can't even imagine the celebration his family will be having on that glorious day!  Please pray specifically that Bennett's body will remain strong through the next 60-day protocol.  According to Bennett's doctors, this next protocol will be a tough one.

You can make a difference in Bennett's and all of the other patients' lives who are fighting against this horrific disease by making a donation.  The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society uses your dollars to help find cures and better treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. With your support, LLS can help improve the quality of life for Bennett, other patients just like him, and their families as well.

Kirsa, Jessica (my other running buddy whose story I will share next time), and I will continue to train as a way to do SOMETHING in the fight against cancer.  While we do the training, we will be praying for healing, comfort, peace and that His love would invade the hearts of those who hear our stories.  May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Kirsa, me, and Jessica...a force to be reckoned with!
So what are you waiting for?  Click here.  Make a difference.  Save a life. 

Thanks so much and keep on keepin' on!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Literacy Centers {free printable}

Last year my district started using McGraw-Hill's reading series.  While the station ideas for each week's main selection are good, sometimes I find myself spending a lot of time explaining the directions.  After reading The Daily 5, I decided to create some generic literacy centers that could be used with any story/selection.  So, drum roll please...I present to you a set of 16 centers that can be set up in your classroom with just a few materials that you probably already have on hand.

I created a few stations for Words, Reading, and Writing.  Here's what is in each category:

  • Making Words
  • Making Words Recording Sheet (The title font is called Grilled Cheese.)
  •  Spelling Activity
Spelling Activity Cards can be found {here}.
  • Dictionary Dig


  • Partner Reading
  • Comic Strip Story

  • Listening to Reading (a couple of online story sites {here} and {here}.

  •  Read Time for Kids

  • Art (My thinking behind this center is to have seasonal art projects or other art projects that compliment the curriculum.)

  • Top Ten List
  • Squiggle Story (Go {here} to see how Squiggle stories can be used in 1st & 5th grades.)

  • Making Sentences

There are 10 sets of sentence cards.  Just print on cardstock and cut out.  Put each set in a zipper bag.
  • Write a Letter

  • Journal Writing

Tons and tons of journal prompts {here}, {here}, and {here}.

  • Super Sentences

30 sentence cards in this document

You can find some other great literacy ideas {here}.

What's your favorite literacy center activity?  Make a comment or share a link in your comment.  Go ahead and download these literacy stations {here}.  As always, if you'd like an editable version, just leave me a comment with your email address.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Scoop on Groups

Woo to the hoo!  I'm so excited to be a contributing author of Me and My Gang
What a great place to come together as 2nd grade teachers and share our ideas, our successes, and our funny stories.  Of course, if you don't teach 2nd grade, you'll find AMAZING ideas there that you can easily tweak for your grade level. 

So since a bunch of us 2nd grade bloggers have come together at Me and My Gang to form a group, I thought my first post there should be about grouping.  I'm sure you've heard that "organizing students in heterogeneous cooperative learning groups at least once a week has a significant effect on learning."  Marzano sure knows his stuff!  Research has also shown that "low-ability students perform worse when grouped in homogeneous ability groups." (Kulik & Kulik)

As a classroom teacher, sometimes I forget all of the wonderfully fun ways there are to break my little rocket scientists into groups.  So to solve that problem, I compiled a bunch of grouping strategies and made a set of Grouping Cards.  These cards are going to help me quickly remember ways to break my kiddos into groups.  Most of them require minimal preparation that can be done once and then used again and again.  Here's how...

Print on card stock.

Laminate and cut out.  Punch a hole in the top left corner if you want to put them on a binder ring (which I will do when I get to my classroom).

You're ready to go!

There are a couple of web sites you might want to check out which I highlighted on two cards (on page 4).  For Clock Buddies, go here.  For Collaboration Cards, go here.

You want some of these, don't ya?  OK.  Please become a follower of Me and My Gang and I Love 2 Teach if you're not already.  Like us on Facebook too...just look for our FB links on the right side.  If you're a blogger, then why don't you go ahead and grab our buttons while you're at it?
Grab the Grouping Cards for free {here}.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Currently, I am...

Over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade, there is a creative Think Write Share linky party where you write down what you are currently doing.  Here's my list:

Head on over to Oh' Boy 4th Grade to link up, get inspired or both!  And while you're at it, jump on over to Me and My Gang, Step Into 2nd Grade, and Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.

Now, I'm currently going to bed!  Peace out!


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