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Archive for August, 2011

It is so good to be back in classrooms again! All summer I worked around the U.S. with teachers, but the kids were off for the summer. Last week our schools were open, so I got to go to a few of my favorite rooms to work with the students (and their teachers). I visited a few math classes and introduced our first math station in one classroom. We taught a game to the whole class (very thoroughly), had two students show the rest of the class how to play, and then had all kids play with partners as their first math station. More to follow in the next few weeks.

The secret is to introduce each station well, one at a time, to be sure students understand the routine and can work independently. Take something you’ve taught well, and then have students do it with a partner. The teacher isn’t working with small groups. She is walking around the room, checking in and observing students at work.

Two students model how to play the game, Close to 100, for the rest of the class

Two students model how to play the game, Close to 100, for the rest of the class

Directions written with the class on how to play this game

Directions written with the class on how to play this game

All students play in pairs around the room

All students play in pairs around the room

Jamila checks in with partners as they work at their first math station

Jamila checks in with partners as they work at their first math station

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Explore the idea of a quiet poem by studying lullabies with your class. Here’s one to get you started:

 

Lullaby
by Christina G. Rossetti

 

Flowers are closed and lambs are sleeping;
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
Stars are up, the moon is peeping;
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

While the birds are silence keeping,
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
Sleep, my baby, fall a-sleeping,
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

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One sure sign of the beginning of the school year is when my local Target starts to stock back-to-school items in their $1 section. Some of these items cost $2, or $2.50, but they are still great finds for organizing your classroom. What bargains have you found this year? Share your story in the comments section and if you have a photo, send it to d.diller@live.com

Great for organizing pencils , markers, and other supplies at small group tables or work stations

All sorts of great bins and buckets -- for books, for supplies, extra paper. The only limit is your imagination!

More great bins and step-stools -- for stepping and sitting!

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David McCord was one of my favorite poets when I began teaching in the 1970s. His poems still remain my favorites today. Here’s one to share with your class:

This Is My Rock
by David McCord

This is my rock,
And here I run
To steal the secret of the sun;

This is my rock,
And here come I
Before the night has swept the sky;

This is my rock,
This is the place
I meet the evening face to face.

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As we begin a new school year, I am curious to hear from all of you about what changes you have made to your classroom. Have you created new areas for quiet reading, or for new work stations? Did you get a chance to declutter? What do you hope to accomplish with the changes? How do you think your students will benefit from the changes?

If you are still working on your classroom or you are trying to decide what to do, here are a couple of older posts from my blog where I talked about inspiring classroom spaces. As you browse through the pictures, I am sure you will find answers and inspirations. Send me your classroom photos to d.diller@live.com and I will post them to my blog!

Welcoming Classroom Environments in Denver, CO

A New Teacher Gets a Classroom Makeover in Ozark, MO

Inspiring Classroom Spaces from Cabot, AK

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I was browsing my poetry books and wanted to share this one with you. It’s from an anthology called Small Talk: A Book of Short Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins (another of my favorite poets).

What Are Heavy?
by Christina Rossetti

What are heavy? Sea-sand and sorrow.
What are brief? Today and tomorrow.
What are frail? Spring blossoms and youth.
What are deep? The ocean and truth.

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Two favorite reading spots

Two of my blog readers sent in photos of their favorite reading spots after I shared mine in a recent post.

The first one is from Peggy from Colorado, whose husband built the flagstone patio all by himself!

The second one is from Gayle from Ohio, whose reading “cottage” is a converted three-season porch with a fireplace and bookshelves. In the picture are her Kindle, loaded with Literacy Work Stations and many other professional development books, and a copy of Spaces & Places and Math Work Stations.

Happy reading, everyone!

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