Saturday, March 28, 2015


     This week felt like a whirlwind. Finishing DEA, keeping up with my own little projects and planning a before Spring Break "party." But, now it's over! Packing a few things and heading South! Happy weekend!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


     I'm reading Hope Against Hope by Sarah Carr, about charter schools that opened in New Orleans after Katrina. One thing that stood out to me are the rules some of these schools have to enforce. For example, saying thank you when someone gives you something. Sounds automatic, but there are many children that haven't been taught basic manners or kindness.
     My class and I discussed how we thank each other all day long (we're a grateful group :) and made a goal to thank our cafeteria server and look her in the eye at lunch today on purpose. I reminded them as we walked down the hall. It was corn dog day so appreciation came easily.
    "Thank you for making us this food!!" resounded first with a beaming smile back at me, making sure I heard. Many more thank yous followed. One friend even whispered a reminder- Look her in the eye. A small slice of life that made me happy and proud.

Monday, March 23, 2015


     After a wonderfully relaxing weekend including lunch out with my parents, walking outside and an afternoon nap, it was back to real life. First-grade style!
Monday's goals:
Reading DEA- finish test with three students. Met this goal with a few extras! Tuesday- only three kiddos to go
Math DEA- finish test with four students. Met this goal, too! Worked with one of my most challenging wiggle worms first, then three others. Rest of the week- Fifteen to go.
Reading project- read third story in Book 2 with my little buddy. She only read four words in a minute today, but the first line included people and neighborhood. Disclaimer: She made the n sound at first, then said city, which shows she understands the context. As I learned during Whole Language days, I said, "It means the same as city, but it starts with n." She read many silent e words independently. Changing my ending goal to finishing Book 2 the second week of April.
Fluency check- Fresh Read one-minute timing with sixteen children. Only had time for one-my next to lowest reader.
     These individual activities are interspersed with all our regular, on-level work: Yellow book phonics, new story, new spelling words, ai/ay word sort/ find, Read-to-Self, RtI centers, Writer's Workshop and new for today...a Number Talk. It was too easy for them, but okay for a first time. Outdoor playtime topped off the day.

Friday, March 20, 2015


     Each school year starts with children watercolor painting a chameleon after reading A Color of His Own. Inch by Inch is in a year-long math center with snap together inchworms and addition fact cards. But I never expected the reactions from this week's Leo Lionni author study. It was a hit!
    They knew of Swimmy from Kindergarten and enjoyed Frederick saving up colorful memories for winter. Let's Make Rabbits got a few laughs.
    This week's all-time favorite? So much so we read it again Wednesday? So much so that I overhead, "I love this!" as I was reading aloud. So much so that a little friend asked for "my book" back for her Read-to-Self folder?
 Fish is Fish.
Minnow and Tadpole start out together in the pond.
Frog grows legs and climbs out of the pond.
Frog hops here and there, sees extraordinary things,
and comes back to the pond.
Frog tells Fish about birds, cows and people.
From Fish's point of view, he imagines this:
 which absolutely cracks my kiddos up.
Fish decides he must see these amazing things, but...
I won't give away the happy ending :)

I see library/ bookstore visits in my future this weekend.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Thursday evening
chicken potpie
Diet Coke
clean dishes
folded laundry
Candy Crush
warm bath
good book
cozy jammies
coffee cake
hot tea
fleece Snuggie
Law & Order
sleepy time

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


     Once a month, all the first-grade teachers in our county meet together. A sub watches our classes and we head to McDonald's first, then the Board Office. This afternoon, a friend and I were called out for talking (shame) but were also dismissed at 2:50 (yippee!)  Sweet freedom! 
     I picked up my son at the High School and we discovered our new-to-us City Walking Trail. It's curvy, it has trees, picnic tables and benches, it's by a creek that looks like a river right now because of localized flooding. We walked two laps, me still in my school clothes and shoes, but it was wonderful. I'll bet we do it again tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Slice of Life
I'm still not discouraged!

An update on my reading project (hoping to help my lowest readers catch up to grade level):

     Two students tried to rip the page explaining the extra reading practice from their planner. Undaunted, I stapled it back in securely and wrote this evening's assignment- Please, read it again :)

     Another student said that her mother slept too late to put her planner in her backpack. I used my old standby, "It's not mommy's responsibility to put your planner in your backpack."

     Another student actually read the passage with her mother. Her mom said to tell me, "Ms. Leach has done a really good job." This of course, makes it all worthwhile :)
As does this sunset from last evening. Quite worthwhile.

We'll see what tomorrow morning brings!

Monday, March 16, 2015


Two weeks before Spring Break. We're all a little antsy. This calls for a change of pace!

1. My six highest readers (two were absent today) were invited to choose a Magic Tree House chapter book for Self-Selected Reading. I've used books 1-6 for read-alouds this year. Our class is really into them. Nick said, "I'm gonna read mine right now!" It was like Christmas morning.

2. My six lowest readers (one was absent this morning) were assigned an on-level reading passage to read with their parents three evenings this week. Four of them immediately began practicing...The other?

3. Brings me to my reading project buddy. Remember? My little friend that's reading our second book for the second time? She just put the passage in her backpack.  Later, she read 11 words per minute from a lower-level passage. Down from 14 last week. I'm not getting discouraged!

4. We go everywhere in line order starting with the first day of school. This prevents the dreaded, "He CUT!" which gets on my last nerve. Well, today, we lined up for lunch in REVERSE line order. It confused some kiddos, used to being in the front, but thrilled my back of the line friends. Nobody figured out (yet!) that they're sitting by the same kids, just on the other side.

Nine school day to go until I'm sitting on the beach!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

fun, make

     This year, our local Papa John's (owned by a school board member) established a Teacher of the Week award. A few weeks ago, I won! With all the snow days we weren't able to celebrate until yesterday.  I broke my cardinal rule of telling them anything before the day of. My kiddos were SO excited!
Slowly but surely putting some blocks together. 
     Daylight savings time and going out of the house one evening this week have thrown my sleep schedule for a loop, but I plan to catch up this weekend. Happy Saturday! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015


     Slice of Life

     You know that teary-eyed, happy excitement when you drive under the entrance arch at Disneyworld? Well, I almost get that same feeling at the Harlem Globetrotters show.

     The music, the dancing, the silliness, it's just nice and fun. Grown men taking the time to entertain, making little kids (and simple-minded grown-ups like me) laugh and clap and root for them. You totally know the jokes and the ending, but it's totally worth going again. It's also totally worth waiting in line afterward to meet them.
 Colton and Scooter!