A Goldfish

Several years ago I was lucky enough to have had a parent who set up a fish tank for our class and for the orange "cherry on top", gave us a beautiful fat goldfish (soon after named Sally). Here is a video of the actual Sally in action in our classroom. She quickly became loved by all of us, and served as a READER FISH, listening to read aloud books that students deemed meaningful for her. Two of her favorite books were Not Norman and Memoirs of a Goldfish.

Everyday students read to Sally, building their fluency and confidence in their oral reading skills. They also built up a meaningful schema and vocabulary around goldfish and their care. The fish tank and Sally also served as a Science Center, a place where small groups or individuals could observe, sketch, write, and talk about Sally. Everyone had their very own Sally journal to fill as they saw fit. Fish have personalities and they are really cool to watch.  I highly recommend a fish tank in your class if ever a possibility, it clearly enhances the environment,

New Chair

I am so drawn to texture and print and influenced by color. When I fill my spaces with beautiful patterns and objects that bring me joy, it inspires me. At the same time I won't deny that I am a huge fan of the color Super White too. The mixing of patterns and time periods drive my design of my spaces, with antiques and contemporary art engaging in visual discourse. Straight neat lines and order also please me greatly. When I organize my classroom spaces, as I do with my home, it is important for me to bring the same heart and soul into the structure and organization of the spaces. My students and I spend a lot of our time in the classroom and we deserve a place that evokes inner creativity and access to feel grounded, in a space that makes exploring aesthetics natural and seamless. I share this photo of my new chair because it is the first thing I bought for my new studio. As I begin to move in my treasures of time into this space, I wanted the first piece of furniture to establish a voice that expressed fresh new thoughts, hopes, and dreams....the feelings that I want to feel. While in the spirit of chairs, check out this cool one I came across on the internet. LOVE it.


Word Collections

A cut paper assorted font quote collage.

I love fonts. It is one of the many "treasures" that I seem to have a need to collect in some way. My passion for collecting spans from foreign stamps and coins to small wooden chairs and frogs of assorted sizes (and thousands of things in between). Some could be considered very useful for a multitude of purposes, like buttons, the assorted sea glass, and round beach stones, while others like fonts and polka-dotted and striped socks are probably solely for self serving results. Well...lets just say this is a tribute to collections of all kinds, especially the ones that make you feel satisfied or uncovers a soulful side of your personality. Keep on collecting!

For your students, start WORD COLLECTIONS to inspire your students to pay attention to the beauty of language and words. I have done collections a few ways. My favorite was to give everyone a baby food jar container that they wrote words they wanted to collect on little strips of paper and put them in their jar. Each week we would share our words and we made a word wall on our class favorites that we encouraged each other to use in conversations and in writing. A few mentor text to start of your word collecting...

Found Poems

A Found Poem or Lifted Poem is a poem that is created by finding and lifting several sentences or phrases from a variety of readings and putting them into a new arrangement, to express a point of view through poetry. My 5th graders wrote their own Lifted Poems after reading three nonfiction books about African American women in history. They pulled two sentences from each book and ended up with unique expressions after synthesizing their comprehension and interest in particular sentences and phrases. To experience another modality, they made cut paper black and white collages using illustrations from the text.