Archive for May, 2010

Almost summer

As you may know, I live in Houston. And it feels like summer already here! With summer, come thoughts about what to read. So, here are a few books I’ve read lately that I’ve loved! Please post what you’re looking forward to reading (or may have read lately). I’d love to hear your recommendations!
I’m very fond of Adriana Trigiani these days. I first discovered her at Tri-Cities Airport while working in VA. I’d just driven past Big Stone Gap, VA, and there in the airport was a book with the same name. Just had to check it out and loved it! They’re making it into a movie now.
When we were in Richmond, VA in March, we visited an independent bookstore that had a big poster of her latest, Very Valentine. She had recently been to that store and had autographed books. So, I bought a copy. And am I ever glad I did. I love the main character, Valentine, who lives in NYC with her grandmother. They make custom wedding shoes for a living. NYC and shoes. Who can resist that combo? I laughed. I cried. It was a great read! Then I had to read Bravo, Valentino. Another great read in the same series.
What are you reading? Let us know!

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Remember this post? And how about this one? There is still time for you to send me your ideas for book clubs and for packing up at the end of the school year. The deadline is June 1 and the winners will received either an “author visit” from me via phone, or a signed copy of Spaces & Places.

Send your ideas and photos to d.diller@live.com by June 1 – winner will be announced June 5! Hope to hear from you soon!

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Packing up?

It’s that time of the year when you might start to think about packing up your classroom for the summer. The task can be daunting, right? But I am sure that you all have some great ideas for sorting through classroom materials, deciding what stays and what goes, organizing so that you will remember in August where you put things and planning for the following school year.

How do you pack up your classroom? Any tips or advice for your fellow teachers? Send them to d.diller@live.com, along with a photo and a brief description of what you do. The best idea will win a signed copy of Spaces & Places!

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If all you have is two minutes to take a breath from your hectic day, then sign up for Peace Partners! Each Monday and Friday you will receive a message from me with an inspirational message to carry you through your week. You can see a collection of these messages on my Peace Partners page.

To sign up, simply send en e-mail to d.diller@live.com

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This photo was taken at IRA. Steve is showing me the kinds of fun kids can have with the Whisper Phone. Check them out that http://www.whisperphone.com!

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We worked together at Castro Elementary to make more room for kids this week! Teachers from the CORE Matters training class I teach in Denver Public Schools worked together to help their colleagues resolve space issues. Here a few pics from my visit there:

Teacher desk area before

Teacher area after (still needs to organize materials, but much more space for kids!)

Everyone helps to move furniture and empty the teacher desk for moving

After picture of classroom library (we rearranged the shelves and seating)

We work together to rearrange student seating to have more space for kids

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Here’s some inspiration for getting organized! A first-year 4th grade teacher at Castro Elem. of Denver Public Schools in Denver, CO has been part of our CORE Matters training all year. Recently I had the privilege of visiting her classroom. Wow! Look at the ways she’s organized. (And you should see her teaching!) This school is using the Packing & Moving chapter from my book, Spaces & Places  for ideas on how to pack up their rooms. They’re getting new carpet this summer and must pack and move their whole classrooms!

Organized cabinets with sticky note labels so she can easily find teaching materials

Well-organized materials for math

Little books and questions from http://www.readinga-z.com are color-coded and stored in small boxes on a countertop for easy access

Organized guided reading materials are found in the small group teaching area

Clever storage in the classroom library- seating cubes that double as storage from WalMart


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Seen at Castro Elementary in DPS… Guzman’s Mercantile! Lucky students in this 3rd grade classroom can shop for stuff with money earned in class. But they have to work hard. Some of the items are $100! Love her dollar bills with the teacher’s face on the front.

Classroom store set up on a countertop

Real-world sign at the store

Ms. Guzman and her special cash- note her face on the dollar bills!

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