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Classroom management

Arranging your classroom

Our babysitter is starting her first year of teaching this week. She'll be teaching kindergarten at one of our high needs schools. It's an Open Court school, so while most of her curriculum is already prescribed for her, how she arranges her classroom is up to her. And she's filled with questions!

Open House: What does a good classroom look like?

Our school has an Open House the week before school starts. It's always a day or so after we find out our teachers for the year. School is open for an hour so families can help kids find their new classroom, and meet their new teacher. There's lots of nervous excitement in the air!

We start school early here (August 20), so our Open House is next week. The girls can't wait, and neither can I. The promise of a new school year never gets old.

School spending: Parents and teachers

Molly, Anna, and I went shopping for school supplies yesterday. It's always a bit of a giddy shopping trip; choosing which color for the composition book, 16 or 24 box of crayons, Elmer's or Rose's glue…getting to buy colored pencils…oh my! We were there for at least an hour.

Total cost: $47.00 for two kids.

Reading logs: Our own hot topic

I've written twice before about reading logs: back in August 2007 with "Reading logs, reading blahs" and then again in April 2008 with "Should reading with parents count?"

Those two posts have sparked lots of comments, all of which carried valid points about the purposes and pitfalls of reading logs.

Big trouble, written down

Something I never thought I'd hear...

"Joanne, this is Mrs. Z from school. Anna's bringing home a note today. I thought I'd give you a head's up."

Oh boy. It seems Anna had trouble including someone in a game on the playground yesterday. What a sad "backpack unpack" we had... Anna was distraught to have to show us the letter she wrote describing the incident. Here she was, fresh with new writing powers, needing to use them to write about her trouble at school. Darn it.

I like writer's workshop

I like writer's workshop.

There. I said it! I like writer's workshop. It's like a confession for me...someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about things like density of instructional time, explicit instruction in skills-based groups, and more. But, I'll say it again: I like writer's workshop. Good 'ol time to sit and think and write.

I've watched both my girls absolutely flourish when given the opportunity to write, share, and publish. Both started off tentatively and complaining that they didn't have anything to write about. And then, it clicked.

Ouch! Tough day for Four Block, aka Whole-Language High Jinks

A new report came out today, authored by reading expert Louisa Moats. In it, Moats takes a hard look at reading programs that market themselves as ones based on Scientifically Based Reading Research (SBRR). The report, "Whole Language High-Jinks," examines Reading Recovery, Four Blocks, Guided Reading, and programs that use a generic "balanced literacy" description.

"Level-Mania" and the Identity of the Reader

I read something interesting at the Edge of the Forest about leveled book systems in elementary classrooms. A small snip from the thoughtful piece:

In the name of "just right" books, we may be sacrificing real reading experiences that will last a lifetime.

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"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall." — Roald Dahl