Showing posts from 2012

It's Picture Book Day!!

I'm so glad that Cathy and Mandy created and continue the tradition of #PB10for10.  It's my favorite holiday in August!  Every year this day stresses me out because finding only 10 picture books to feature here is SOOO difficult.

Without further ado, here is my 2012 Picture Book List.

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds was apart of my list last year and frankly may be apart of my list for years to come.  This book is a staple in my classroom.  It is the book I go to when thinking about everything from feelings to taking risks to trying your best.  I've said it before and I'll say it again this is the one book I'd have if I could only have one.
Last year, I had the privileged of reading Ish to a second grade class at my school.  We had a rich discussion about Ramon and what "ish" really means.  The kids still had a couple of questions that I couldn't answer so I said "Why don't we ask the author?".  I went and sent a couple of Tweets to Peter and h…

Opening Minds Part 1

Last summer I participated in #cyberPD with Cathy Mere, Laura Komos and Jill Fisch.  It was an amazing learning experience for me.  I had never read a professional book with that many people not to mention able to read their reflections on book.  This year when I saw tweets about #cyberPD again, I knew it was something I had to be a part of.

 Opening Minds by Peter Johnston was on my TBR pile for the summer so I was thrilled when it was chosen as our group read.

As teachers one of our jobs is to create the kind of classroom where mistakes are okay, opinions are valued and all kinds of ideas are respected.  Peter starts off by showing us examples of such classrooms and specific language the teacher uses to foster this learning.  There is a quote on page 4 that I think sums up Peter's thinking perfectly "Teaching is planned opportunism.  We have an idea of what we want to teach children, and we plan ways to make that learning possible.  When we put our plans into action, child…

Summer Professional Reading

It's that time of year again...when the school year is winding down and my brain is reeling with ideas for thinking and learning over the summer.  I've got a book stack that keeps growing.  Next year I'll be teaching first grade so I need to tweak my thinking as I'm learning new things.  Some of these books I've read and some are new. 

Cathy Mere, Jill Fisch and Laura Komos hosted #cyberPD last summer where we read Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop with several other people.  The conversations and learning were amazing so of course I'm on board to do it again this summer. 

Here is my TBR professional book list (rereads and new reads)

So there it is... the impossible list of books for me to read this summer.  What does your stack look like?  Should I add take away anything?

Reflecting on Slice

Today is day 31 of the Slice of Life writing challenge. Today is the last day those of us in the challenge are asked to post. I took on this challenge with lots of trepidation, I'm not a writer. I've never written for 31 days straight in my life. I have boxes of journals that were begun with good intentions but never got past a few days. Taking on this challenge has taught be a lot about myself as a writer.

*Ive learned that my best writing comes from ideas that I let simmer in my mind for a while.
*I've learned that writing about something every day is really hard.
*I've learned that I need to hear feedback on my writing...the sooner the better.
*Some topics are better left unpublished.
*Finding my voice in words is harder than I thought it would be.
*Reading other Slices taught be more about writing and hopefully made me a better writer.
*I don't foresee myself being a fiction writer at all. I'm at my best when I write about what I know and am passiona…

Untold Stories

During this Slice of Life challenge I've started several different stories that have never been published. I started one about a student and her incredible growth this year but I was nervous about posting even with names changed. I started another post about my dad. I just can't get it right. I firmly believe my dad is the greatest man on earth and I can't quite capture him in words. I started a post about yards in my neighborhood and the almost unspoken competition between them. We are in last place in the competition and had to call in professionals. I also started a post about traveling I love traveling but hate packing.

These are my untold stories from the slice challenge. Do you have any stories that didn't make it in?

Possibilities and Realities

I love first thing in the morning when the classroom is quiet and the possibilities are awaiting. Who will be here today? What questions will they have? What stories will they tell? Every day is different and the possibilities are endless. The only thing I can hope is that they learn something new and are happy to be here. Today will be better than yesterday.

THe previous paragraph was written about ten minutes before the bell rang. I had just checked my email and I was thinking about our day.

Today brought many adventures. After a student shared a book with Blue Whales we went outside to see exactly how long a blue whale was. The chalk went all of the way across the black top and halfway down the sidewalk...80 ft. You can't explain that without looking at it.

Today was the last day of our study of non fiction writing. We shared our expertise with the second graders. My students were amazed they knew things that the "big kids" didn't. They've worked …

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I will be here in 2 1/2 weeks.  Cell phones will not work.  Life will be amazing!

What is in the box?

A teacher friend emailed me a couple of weeks ago asking for my address. She said she was cleaning out her bookshelves and thought some books would work well in my classroom. I was floored! Of course I'll jump at any chance to get new books. Friday, I came home to a GIANT box of books on my porch...I had trouble lifting it. I couldn't wait to get it inside so I perched myself on the concrete and dove in. I Pulled book after book out of the box. It was A-MA-ZING.

I couldn't wait to get the books to school yesterday for the kids to see. Kindergartners notice everything, I mean everything, so when they walked in and their was a big box on the reading table they freaked out.
-What's in the box?
-I see books everybody!
-Whats under the books? Me-more books (sly smile)
-You mean there are books all the way to the bottom?!
-Do you think there is a Dinosaur book in there? (from my dinosaur expert, there was one)
-I bet there is a book about animals.

I left that box there…


Today was just a good day. My sister did my hair, mom and I went shopping and had dinner with the whole family this evening. My dad and I also made a plan for doing some work on our yard (Sidenote- I've tried for 2.5 weeks to write a post about how awesome my dad is and haven't been able to capture him properly. I'll keep trying).

Today ends with peace and smiles. Can't ask for more than that.

Is it home?

Tonight I'm in Kentucky at my parents house. It the house I lived in from the time I was 10 to 18. It's the house my friends came to and prom pictures were taken. It's where I got ready for countless band practices, had family dinner every night and played many games on Family Game Night. Is this home? This is the place where the cupboards are stocked with all the delicious food I refuse to buy and we talk for hours about everything. I come here several times a year to open arms but is it home?

I have a home of my own now, it's a work in progress but it's nice. We've lived there for two years and love being there is that my home?

I thought about this a lot on my drive this evening (I think a lot on drives). Then I walked in the door here and realized this is home. This place has the memories and the love built it. Years of it are seeped into the walls.

My new home is a blank slate waiting for the years of memories and love to overtake it. Both of these plac…

Snake on a Playground

Tuesday was a gorgeous day outside. The sun was bright, there was a nice breeze and the kids we running around like they had been let loose from the zoo. It was one of those recesses where I was tending to lots of falls, splinters and a couple of bee scares.

A former preschool teacher had just stopped by to visit when we hear "Ssssnnnnaaakkkee!!!" Honestly, I ignored it. My kids love to pretend they are all sorts of things from ninjas to dragons to tigers so pretending they were snakes was nothing new. Then the kid who I don't see from the time the playground gate opens until we line up comes running over. "Ms. Kessler, Ms. Kessler....There. Is. A. Snake!!"

I walk over to investigate. All kids are on the concrete section and I'm being really brave as "the snake hunter". I walk around for a minute or two and see nothing. I go in all the different directions they are sure they hear hissing and see the grass moving and then there it is. He…


Today was one of those days where this morning feels like it was a week ago. Any section of my day could be a whole post on its own but I'm too worn out think that much. Here are some words and phrase that describe my day.

Beautiful morning
Kids extra quiet
One student late ( explains quiet)
"I'm special because I can sew"
"I'm special because I'm a great big brother"
"Theres nothing special about me..."
No less than 54678 questions about snakes
Snake research and learning
"this is my best story EVER...can you read it, can you read it now?" It was his best ever!!
Making tough decisions
Manicure :-)
Shopping for gift for tomorrow
Eyes barely open
Good night


I would say that spring is my favorite season but I'm usually happy for whatever changes each season brings. I like spring because it's a time of renewal. The flowers come up, the trees bloom and I feel energized by the sun and warm weather. Tomorrow is the first day of spring, yet it was 80° here today. I would think that the spring would be taken for granted with such a mild winter but I was wrong. Today Chris and I spent much of the day outside planning projects for the next couple of months. Some will happen and others will be put on hold. We talked about what we would like to include in the garden this year (last year was our first garden and it looked like a jungle), we want to build a small wall around the flower bed and have some top soil delivered, but more urgently we looked around at our yard which is full of weeds. It would be a beautiful meadow but not a beautiful yard. This will be our 3rd spring/summer here and it's time to call in the professionals …


Ruth convinced me to start this project at the Dublin Literacy Conference. She talked about how she is driven to keep writing because of the feedback she gets from comments. I thought about this, and I do love getting comments but I didn't think it drove my writing.

After starting this project I realized how much the comments on each post mean to me. I can't wait to hear what others think about want I decided to share that day. The comments that challenge or extend my thinking are my favorite. I also like hearing how others relate to my stories or have something similar at has happened to them. All in all Ruth was right, the comments do drive me to continue writing even on days like today when I don't feel like I have much to say.

So thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on my writing. It's always a work in progress but you keep me going.

Beautiful Day

Today was an amazing beautiful day. Here are some pictures to illustrate.

First is the tree the city planted for us after Ash Borer Beatles killed 100's in our neighborhood.

Second is the daffodils in my front yard that are about to burst open.

And finally the grill full of delicious food