Thursday, March 22, 2012

Poetry and Ponderings

As I learn new information my brain starts to do the crazy, keep me awake kind of questioning.  I have been reading three books that just have me stimulated and intrigued. 

The first I have mentioned before, To Understand by Ellin Oliver Keene.  As I get deeper into the book, the questions she poses really have me thinking about our curriculum.  What is really essential and what do others deem as "essential"?  I have mentioned various times about the pressure I feel towards the clock's countdown...Ellin talks about this and gives solutions.  I'm about halfway...I think she will pose many more questions for me to ponder and stay awake at night thinking about.  Has anyone else read this book?  Can you comment on your thoughts?

The second book is The Literate Kindergarten by Susan Kempton.  My administrator and reading coach went to her classroom in Denver in January. I am following their footsteps and trekking to Denver in April to see her and other great teachers.  As I read about Sue's class I become eager to implement the things I read about.  I even went out and bought fish for our classroom this week and went to two pet stores this evening to check out reptiles.  Her students have excitement for learning that is contagious.  Her population is 100% free and reduced lunch...they are coming to school with the same knowledge base as the students I teach.  Most of the time I feel like I'm playing catch up but her beliefs in what the students are and can achieve changes the thinking process for me.

The third book is creating the most new learning "Aha!" moments for me.  The book is Comprehension & Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels.  Have you read it?  Do you use inquiry circles?  I had never witnessed an inquiry circle until I watched the DVD that they made as well.  I was sitting there with my mouth on the floor.  The vocabulary and abilities that I saw happening with complex texts were unbelievable.  The inquiry approach is small, per-led investigation teams.  It is collaborative, relevant, deep and thoughtful learning that works at all grade levels.  I thought it fit perfectly with the common core's increase level of nonfiction texts.  As I gain more insight, I am sure it will somehow develop on my blog.

What are you reading?  What readings have changed your teaching?  Which readings have made you had the most AHA! moments?

We are starting poetry and my colleague, Ms. Gilman, had a fabulous idea for a poetry journal with a table of contents.  I took that idea and added a few prewriting pages about what poets do.  I will add more as needed but if you are looking for something, just let me know and I can add it in. 



  1. I just bought To Understand and will read it over my spring break! I would also enjoy reading the other two you mention.
    Love the poetry pages! Thank you!

  2. I am loving everything you have done. I am unable to print anything with this font though. Do you know off hand which font it is? Maybe I can purchase it because it is stinking cute. Thanks so much for all the freebies!

  3. Hey Tonya, I used several fonts from Fonts for Peas by Kevin and Amanda. Their link is further down my page on the right. All the fonts I used were free :)

    Here is what I used in the order I used them:
    Rebekah's Birthday, Howser, Fontmoochers, Y2K Pop Muzik, Spicy Sushi Roll, Too Many Secrets, Lima Bean

    They have this link that allows you to download all their fonts for free at one time. I did and I love, love, love them!

  4. Although I am not too much into poetry, I find that this is a great idea for those that are. You can basically keep a journal of almost anything.