All posts by Jennifer Priddy

About Jennifer Priddy

Hi Friends! My name is Jenn and I am a lover of all things literacy. I have taught elementary for 13 years, have two young crazy boys, and stay very busy as a life-long learner. This blog includes my reflections of my professional life with a dash of personal every now and again. Please feel free to add your thoughts!

Star Struck

Oprah Winfrey was in downtown Baltimore last week eating crabs.

Actually eating crabs about 20 minutes from where I live!!! I can’t believe I missed it.

 

You could say I’m pretty star struck. I mean, imagine spending a week with your favorite movie stars, TV stars, or musicians. It’s a pretty big deal.

Well, I have some favorite READING stars, too.

Yup, there is such a thing.

I have the privilege and honor of spending a week with several of my favorite reading stars. If you are as passionate about reading as I am, you will understand that meeting Lucy Calkins is pretty spectacular.

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Bumping into Kate Roberts in the hall and having her sign her book for me was also pretty spectacular.

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And getting to meet the ONE AND ONLY (not Ivan, though that would have been cool, too) BOOK WHISPERER herself, Donalyn Miller—will be icing on the dark chocolate cake.

I am spending the week immersed in a Reading Institute at the Teacher’s College at Columbia University learning from these great minds. How lucky am I?

Here are my take-aways so far, and I’m only two days in!

Mind you, these are just my notes!!

Reading Workshop Tips

What Does The Reading Workshop Look Like in Action?

Wise Words from Kathleen Tolan

Visit my Heart of Literacy page via FB to view sample anchor charts.

Stay tuned…more to come!

One Chat, 11 Minutes, 10 Takeaways…WOW!

Last night I engaged in #titletalk, a chat that occurs (sadly) the last Sunday of each month from 8-9EST on Twitter. I say sadly because this is one of the most POWERFUL chats in the Twittersphere.

To learn more about it, please visit http://titletalk.wikispaces.com/.

You know you’re in a great chat with amazing educators when 11 minutes in, you already have a list of 10 takeaways. A great way to catch up on the chats is to visit https://tagboard.com/ and search #titletalk. Make sure you have googledocs or evernote handy…you’re going to take lots of notes.

The topic was “Launching Back to School Reading” with a grand finale of book recs for the start of the year.

Here are my takeaways:

(mind you, the chat was 60 minutes, so if you do the math…well, there’s a lot)

  • Begin the year with an interest inventory using Google Docs
  • Speed Dating- “What Have You Read” style
  • Book Talks
  • Silent Reading (and conferring)
  • Summer Rdg Door Ideas (Like these…)
  • Sharing book trailers
  • Letter to students before school starts to invite them to help set up classroom library
  • Reading Information Night (for parents)
  • Shelfies (http://www.annhandley.com/2014/01/30/shelfies-like-selfies-but-for-book-nerds/)
  • @theBooksource to log in your class library and begin a new checkout system
  • Global Read Aloud Day: October 6th
  • No reading logs! Reading GOALS.
  • Students interview Parents about their life as a reader and share with class
  • #booksandbagels (sounds like a great way to start a book discussion before school, but why not include FAMILIES???)
  • take roll using book titles…instead of “here” or “present” students say the book/magazine/article they’re reading
  • Adding book recommendations to your email signature (“I am currently reading…”)
  • Have something posted for all to see that shares what you’re currently reading
  • One Tweep shared his weekly morning starter activity for each day: MON: Book Trailer, TUES: Book Talk by Teacher, WED: Book Talk by Student, THURS: Poem, FRI: Reading Logs/(Goal Sheet)
  • And most importantly, this Tweet by THE Donalyn Miller herself: “Grandma’s bookshelf, Barnes & Noble, and the public library–not leveled. Kids need strategies for book selection!”

Here’s some recs for books to start of the beginning of the year:

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How will you kick of literacy in your classroom this year? Please share and add to the list.

One Chat, 11 Minutes, 10 Takeaways…WOW.

Last night I engaged in #titletalk, a chat that occurs (sadly) the last Sunday of each month from 8-9EST on Twitter. I say sadly because this is one of the most POWERFUL chats in the Twittersphere.

To learn more about it, please visit http://titletalk.wikispaces.com/.

You know you’re in a great chat with amazing educators when 11 minutes in, you already have a list of 10 takeaways. A great way to catch up on the chats is to visit https://tagboard.com/ and search #titletalk. Make sure you have googledocs or evernote handy…you’re going to take lots of notes.

The topic was “Launching Back to School Reading” with a grand finale of book recs for the start of the year.

Here are my takeaways:

(mind you, the chat was 60 minutes, so if you do the math…well, there’s a lot)

  • Begin the year with an interest inventory using Google Docs
  • Speed Dating- “What Have You Read” style
  • Book Talks
  • Silent Reading (and conferring)
  • Summer Rdg Door Ideas (Like these…)
  • Sharing book trailers
  • Letter to students before school starts to invite them to help set up classroom library
  • Reading Information Night (for parents)
  • Shelfies (http://www.annhandley.com/2014/01/30/shelfies-like-selfies-but-for-book-nerds/)
  • @theBooksource to log in your class library and begin a new checkout system
  • Global Read Aloud Day: October 6th
  • No reading logs! Reading GOALS.
  • Students interview Parents about their life as a reader and share with class
  • #booksandbagels (sounds like a great way to start a book discussion before school, but why not include FAMILIES???)
  • take roll using book titles…instead of “here” or “present” students say the book/magazine/article they’re reading
  • Adding book recommendations to your email signature (“I am currently reading…”)
  • Have something posted for all to see that shares what you’re currently reading
  • One Tweep shared his weekly morning starter activity for each day: MON: Book Trailer, TUES: Book Talk by Teacher, WED: Book Talk by Student, THURS: Poem, FRI: Reading Logs/(Goal Sheet)
  • And most importantly, this Tweet by THE Donalyn Miller herself: “Grandma’s bookshelf, Barnes & Noble, and the public library–not leveled. Kids need strategies for book selection!”

Here’s some recs for books to start of the beginning of the year:

20660824 182250376609765825377

1123398818222556180797196399406

173314341610106618349884

How will you kick of literacy in your classroom this year? Please share and add to the list.

Somewhere Under the Rainbow…

 

Fostering and nurturing acceptance in a child is one of the biggest gifts we can give our children. The world is incredibly globalized, and children will cross paths with an individual who is different in one way or another. People from diverse backgrounds can be found in every job field, and a child that is unable to accept differences in others will suffer in the future.

This week, #ptcamp is engaging in colorful conversations about diversity based on the book, Beyond the Bake Sale. Several Voxers in the group have expressed concern about their lack of diversity among race, ethnicity and culture. We understand the importance of teaching acceptance, but how do we teach it in our schools if they are primarily one race?

Here are several brilliant ideas that have been expressed this week:

  •  Joy shared that we should tap into our HS graduates that have attended college.  Invite them back to elementary schools to share what they wish they were taught about diversity.
  • Geniene suggested tapping into children’s own history, going back a couple of generations to see how different they are from their roots.
  • Becky suggested using the term “Different Abilities” rather than “Disabilities”. (Love this!)
  • Several voxers mentioned different levels of diversity instead of simply thinking about race and culture… (socioeconomic, academic, sexual orientation)

My biggest takeaway thus far from my week from the Beyond the Bake Sale discussion:

Embrace your families and commit to building meaningful, authentic relationships with them everyday.

How do you embrace diversity in your home, school, and life?

Not Your Ordinary Camp

 

CAMP. I love that word. When I hear the word CAMP I am flooded with fantastic memories of swimming, horseback riding, archery, arts and crafts, not so good food, suntan, sleepaway, great friends and Lake Cotoctin.

But now I am going to different kind of camp. One that includes Voxer, ApprenNET, 100 like-minded people from across the world, and a deep conversation about engaging parents in our schools.  And this camp is COOL. Our discussion, thus far, revolves around the first two chapters of the book Behind the Bake Sale, by Anne T. Henderson, Karen L. Mapp, Vivian R. Johnson, and Don Davies.

This is GROWN-UP camp via #ptcamp (check out the Twitter feed) and the AMAZING Joe Mazza, whose vision and passion for improving education is inspiring thousands daily. Thank you, Joe!

Here are my take-aways, so far:

  • Schools across the world are doing amazing things to engage parents.
  • Schools across the world are also struggling in their efforts to engage parents.
  • In some schools, students are leading conferences with parents. They are about 15-20 minutes, using a script.
  • Parent/Teacher home visits are POWERFUL in building relationships. http://pthvp.org/
  • Language interpreters are necessary to meet the needs of our diverse families.
  • Families should be considered “full partners” and “co-creators” (Professor Karen Mapp’s words, not mine 🙂

Take a minute to look at the image below and think about what version applies most to your school (whether you’re an educator or parent).

Be honest and please share comments.

 

The Power of Three

There is power in 3’s.  One of the most interesting concepts is the power of 3.  Just think about it for a moment:

Earth is the 3rd rock from the sun.

The English Language grants our first 3 digits with unique endings: first, second, third, but the rest are followed by a measly “th”.

Sporting events typically award players up to third place.

We are given 3 choices of drink size: Small, Medium, Large

The 3 Musketeers, The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears…

There are 3 national networks: ABC, NBC, CBS (ok, so now there’s FOX)

Even the Stooges came in “3’s”.

As you think about how many iconic and powerful things come in 3’s, reflect back on your first 3 years in your chosen profession.  Most likely your career improved each year and by the third year you probably reached a level of comfort you never thought you’d feel during your first year. By the 3rd year, you were probably ready for another change.

When it comes to teaching, relocating, trying something new, or reading a book, think about the power of 3.

Teaching: By your third year, you know the content well and can navigate a classroom with confidence.

Relocating: After three years, you’ve made strong connections, built relationships and know how to live like a local.

Trying Something New: You’ve likely mastered the skill.

Reading a Book: Each time you read, you discover something new or deepened your connection to the story or characters. Each time you read it’s a different experience.

Change is hard.

Change is scary.

Change is healthy.

But three years in, you might realize that change was just what you needed.

Even if it takes 3 years to feel that way.

 

Liebster Award?

My new friend, Jen Houlette over at http://engageinspirelead.blogspot.com/ surprised me this weekend by nominating me for a Liebster Award. (Thank you, Jen!) While honored, my 1st thought was: “What is the “Liebster Award?” I discovered that the Liebster Award doesn’t seem to hold any clout other than PR. Its primary purpose: simply a way to discover new blogs with very few followings. Nonetheless, it’s an honor to receive any kind of recognition for my new adventure in blogging.

Official rules for the Liebster award

  1. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the questions designated by the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  3. Place YOUR nominations for the Liebster Award! Nominate five (or more) other bloggers that have less than 200 followers. Make sure to notify them via comment/email, etc.
  4. Make up a set of questions for those nominated bloggers to answer.
  5. Display the Liebster award badge on your blog!

11 Random Facts About Me

1. I love music. It is my happy place. Sometimes sad, but mostly happy.

2. I love reading. But I didn’t always. Not until I was a “grown-up”. Kinda sad.

3. I’ve moved way too many times. It is NEVER fun.

4. I can’t sing, but I still do.

5. I have a Twitter addiction at the moment.

6. I chew a LOT of gum.

7. Exercise is an important part of my life. It’s a mental thing.

8. I love live sporting events.

9. I could listen to Coldplay all day.

10. I have two incredible boys that keep me very busy.

11. I just received my Masters in Reading–online, which worked perfectly for me!

 

11 Questions asked by Jen Houlette: (Thanks again for the nomination!)http://engageinspirelead.blogspot.com/

1) What made you decide to become a teacher?

My mother. Her encouragement and foresight inspired me to discover myself through teaching. (Thanks mom!)

2) What children’s book is your favorite?

That’s not a fair question—too many to choose from. Here’s a few:                                    Flotsamstellalunaoh, the places you’ll go!the true story of the three little pigsknuffle bunny: a cautionary talethe dotsector 7chicka chicka boom boomanimalia

Front Cover           

Told you it was hard to pick just one!

3) If you went back to school, what degree or endorsement would you pursue?

I would want a degree in Literacy Coaching and a degree in Educational Technology. Twitter has inspired my passion for new tech. Also love the idea of getting my PhD–Dr. Priddy sounds so nice 😉

4) If you wrote a book, what would it be about?

Whoah, that’s a tough one. Maybe strategies and mentor texts, but that pretty much already exists.

5) What website, app, or other technology tool could you not live without?

Twitter, note-taking app, smart phone calendar.

6) If you were given $500 to spend on your classroom, what would you buy?

Why more books, of course…and ways to organize all the literacy.

7) What teacher was your favorite and why?

My favorite teacher Ms. Sexton, 10th grade Social Studies. She made learning fun and relevant.

8) What is the name of a book you are currently reading?

Digital Leadership Sheninger, Eric/ Zhao, Yong (FRW) 1 of 1 product image

 

 

9) Describe your ideal classroom space.

Modern, organized, clean, open, many tables for collaboration, Smartboard, many computers/laptops, video cameras/flip cameras for recording, many shelves for books, white boards but plenty of space for anchor charts, student centered, book nooks with comfy chairs throughout the room, music playing in the background from the iPod station…one can dream.

10) What would you be doing with your life if you weren’t teaching?

Continue being a mom, volunteering at the school in any way, sharing through my blog/FB page, Twitter

11) Why did you decide to start writing a blog?

Blogging for me is definitely outside of my comfort zone. Writing is not a strength, but reflection is–I am always thinking and analyzing and critiquing myself. Blogging is a way to show vulnerability, grow through writing, and share what I’m learning.

My Nominations:

I am nominating 5 of my blogger friends from the #10summerblogs challenge, which inspired me to start blogging. 

1. Ben Kuhlman http://www.benkuhlman.com/ Teaching Writing and Writing Teaching

2. Diane Peterson http://dianepetersonsite.wordpress.com/ The Real Deal

3. John Hines http://coachhinesblogs.com/ Coach Hines Blogs

4. Lori London http://davis7science.blogspot.com/ Science is Everywhere

5. Dorothy Suskind http://www.junglegymnegotiations.com/ Jungle Gym Negotiations

My Questions for Nominee’s:

1. What are you currently reading?

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

3. What song would be playing if you turned your car on right now?

4. What do you do in your down time?

5. Describe your perfect classroom.

6. Name your favorite movie.

7. What topic would you present at a conference?

8. Name someone you’d like to meet one day.

9. List your top 5 Twitter follows.

10. What is your guilty pleasure? Why?

You Know The Feeling…

You know the feeling.

What you feel when you see your child after too much time away.

What you feel when you start a new book and your hooked with the first few sentences.

What you feel when you walk on the boardwalk as a 7-year-old when you catch a glimpse of that roller coaster way up ahead.

What you feel when you’re almost near the “finish line”.

What you feel when you find the “perfect pair of jeans” ON SALE!

Your heart beats a little faster. You move a little quicker.  And you’re smiling–though you probably don’t even realize it.

The ANTICIPATION.  The RUSH.  The mental HIGH.

That’s how I feel every time I log onto Twitter. Whether it’s a quote, infographic, or something new to take back into the classroom, it’s the same feeling.

And boy, does it feel good.

Here are my top 10 takeaways from Twitter THIS WEEK!

10.  Answer Garden: Digital scribble space. Using 20 characters or less, you can use this as a Q & A forum for students or brainstorm session. Quick and easy!

9. A link to an incredible book club for summer reading: For those interested feel free to join the #satchat book discussion on Digital Leadership edmo.do/j/4xswdm #ACretreat14

8. If you want to update your resume, prezi is the way to go for educators. @techgirljenny has an AMAZING resume for ideas.

7. Looking to increase your Digital Leadership? Follow these challenges…http://adjustingcourse.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/digital-leadership-challenge/

6. Can’t forget the late great Maya Angelou https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BozZBmrCIAAGbcA.jpg:large

5. #complichat is a new Twitter chat debuting June 10th at 8:30 EST. @bethhill2829 and @jenngroach will be hosting.  Amazing educators!

4. Did you know you can WEAR technology? Check this out: http://www.edudemic.com/wearable-tech-in-the-classroom/

3. Why creativity in the classroom is so important: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity

2. Use this image to guide you during an interview: (posted by @plugusin)Embedded image permalink

1. And finally, ask yourselves these 7 questions as you end your week, courtesy of this post by @2morrowknight. 

What have you taken away from Twitter this week?

“Sometimes, you read a book so special that you want to carry it around for months after you’ve finished just to stay near it.” –Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

There’s something to be said for writers that literally bring you into their books. Hatchet byGary Paulsen did that to me.  For a moment, I was with Brian in Hatchet.  Surviving, scared, but brave. Then it was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  The characters inThe Fault in Our Stars were my friends, too. It was such a hauntingly beautiful story. Wonder by R.J. Palacio was another book that captivated me.  These are the books that keep me talking and thinking, long after I read the last word.  These are the books that I depend on to teach our young ones empathy, bravery, compassion, kindness and generosity.

Hatchet (Brian's Saga, #1)    Front Cover   Front Cover

FICTION.

I know Common Core State Standards are pushing nonfiction, and for parents, word is that fiction should fall to the wayside.  That is simply not true.

In the words of Kylene Beers, “Nonfiction lets us learn more; fiction lets us be more.”

Reading fiction changes us and teaches us. Sure, if we want to learn more about the brain, we can read from a wide variety of nonfiction books.

But if we want to connect with a character on a very deep level…we read fiction. And what a magical thing it is to see yourself in someone else’s writing.

At the moment, it’s Eleanor and Park, by  Rainbow Rowell.

Only a quarter of the way in and I feel the magic with every word.

What role does fiction and nonfiction play in your life?