Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oprah (part 2) & Vowel Song Freebie

First...gotta say I have had a BLAST shopping at TpT's big sale! There are just a few hours left...I made round 1 of purchases yesterday and am headed back for more in a little bit here, using some of my TpT credits.

Our grade level uses Composition Notebooks to hold our Poetry, Songs and Chants...we got tired of those perforations on spiral notebooks, which is what we started using after binders annoyed us.

Timely for the holidays is The Vowel Song, sung to the tune of Deck the Halls. Practicing the words to the tune ahead of time is recommended. Hee Hee! It's in two formats - full page and half page.  Thanks, Kim Geswein, for the font! Click the pic to download from Google Docs.

Oprah - Part 2 - The Pre-Show Experience
If you want to read how I got to be in the audience, check this post.

I walked on clouds for a week or two before being able to head down to Harpo Studios. I was thrilled about getting to see the show and be a part of all the excitement that went with it AND about having my guest and several close friends be part of the experience with me (they got picked from their Last Mn Email submissions, too! Yayyy!).

So special!

My two college bffs (University of Wisconsin - Madison...goooo Bucky!) were both picked. Jen & Katie. Jen invited her sister & Katie invited her husband. (Yes, tin the end, they ended up with two of EVERYthing.)

My  guest was my closest teaching friend, Cathy, that had just moved away to Little Rock, Arkansas - she was flying in the day before.

Another new friend was also picked!

The night before I stayed in the hotel with Jen and her sister. We had a blast giggling with excitement at the opportunity to go to Oprah. Not much sleep was had as we reconnected and anticipated the fun of the next day.

Our cab picked us up super early and we got in line at Harpo, meeting my guest Cathy, Katie and her husband. We waited quite a while and it was kind of cold, but totally fun. Everyone in line was excited to be there!

The line started moving and once it was our turn we had to turn in our cell phones and cameras to security. We were also given a number that would be the order we were to go in to get our seats. Not sure what time the low numbers had arrived to be in line. Our number was in the mid hundreds.

After going through security we went to a large reception area with tons of chairs and huge pictures of Oprah and her various guests from over the years. The wait was long, but the energy was high and it was fun finding out where people were from. One adorable teacher had just flown in from Hawaii.

We went to the bathroom...fluffed our hair...redid our lipstick...maybe a dozen times? Gotta look good for Oprah!

When someone started speaking on the microphone, everyone stopped talking instantly and you could hear a pin drop. The next phase was beginning...

Several individual names were called - we had been told that the show was about teachers and wonderful teacher stories. We'd seen some of these teachers getting miked up in the reception area, and they were the names called, so of course they had preferential seating.

Then they starting saying a few names of people the show had selected for pre-seating because they were impressed with something that was in their email submission.

And...Jen's name was called! (She's always been an amazing writer and person.) They said that Jen and all her guests could come forwards for pre-seating. They clarified that "guests" would be everyone she knew PRIOR to being in line that day.

So, the six of us headed up to the audience specialists who studied us with our guest, looking at the colors we wore and whatever else they were trying to do and then picked our spots for us from the reserved seats. Our three pairs ended up in three different sections of the audience, but we could all see each other easily!

The audience specialists seated Cathy and I...
in...
the...
front...
row.

EEEEEEEE!

K...I'm leaving you hanging again...thanks for your patience! This has been really fun to re-live and write up. But...gotta get some sleep!

G'night, sweet friends!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Winner, Lola, Writing Workshop Freebie & Oprah (part 1)

 Here's a little random-sauce for ya...

Winner:
Congrats to Laurie from Chickadee Jubilee! Random.org selected her comment number to win a copy of the sweet mentor text Ralph Tells A Story. Thanks so much for all your great comments! I got MANY wonderful ideas from all of you fabulous teachers and bloggers (and moms and wives and and and)!

TpT Sale:
LOVING my "round 1" purchases on TpT today! Ready to get more tomorrow. My items are selling really well, too! Every time someone purchases from me I'm so honored that they like my stuff enough to spend hard earned money on it. That's also why I love to give freebies!

Lola Schaefer:
Each year our school has a visiting author or illustrator. We are so blessed! It's always an adventure, though, because until the guest is actually there, you never know what you will get! Great books or pictures does not always equate to excellent speaking or crowd-management skills. :) We've had some absolutely terrific author visits and luckily just a few...well...interesting ones.

At any rate, Lola Schaefer was our author this year and she was terrific. Her website is: www.lolaschaefer.com. She spoke to different grade level groups, went into classrooms for demonstration lessons and met with the staff to discuss writing workshop. She's a former teacher and you could really, really tell. She's savvy in Common Core and her books are darling! If you're ever looking for an author to visit, add her to your short list.

One of the things she talked about is not new to writing workshop teachers...the best stories come from times you've felt strong emotions. Some teachers from my school reminded me about a planning web that I had made in fall.

When I taught it, we did one emotion at a time after reading aloud a related book...and had a GREAT time telling our stories to one another before adding the topic ideas to the web in list form.

Here it is...I added a second page with the emotions parts and pics blank so you can add in your own ideas. :) Click the pic to download.

So, apparently the Oprah's Favorite Things for Teachers was aired over the Thanksgiving break...I heard about it this morning from a sweet colleague. It's been a while since I saw it and I still can't believe it all happened!

Got me thinking it was about time to share. Thanks for all your comments a few posts back saying you wanted to hear about it!


Oprah - Part 1...How I Was Picked~
I live in suburban Milwaukee, which is 2 hours or less from Chicago...I had tried to get to a taping the previous summer but learned that they really didn't do shows in the summer. Bugger. Darn hiatus when summer was my only option.

So, when I was on maternity leave (Fall, 2004) I was DEEEEtermined to get to one. I'd be in my most comfy nursing position...recliner, Boppy, blanket, baby, drink with straw, remote control for tv and telephone in hand.

I called the studio literally hundreds of times a day while nursing and watching tv. Busy signal every time. Went on for several days. I tell you, I was determined.

After a few days, though, I started mildly complaining to girlfriends who would listen. One girlfriend (a college bff) mentioned her sister in law going to the taping the day or week before to see Brad Pitt. After he made Troy. Can you say buff?

At any rate I asked her how her SIL got to go to the taping and she mentioned a web link called Last Minute Email Reservations.

I tracked that page down FAST. Made it my home page so I could see if there was a link that I could get in on.

Since we live just a few hours from Chicago, I wouldn't have to worry about flights, etc.

So...most times I checked there were zero links. No opportunities. When there were links they would be soooo random and not related to me at all. One of them I almost clicked on..."Are you Kathy Griffin's biggest fan?" Being a rule follower and fairly literal I couldn't go through with it. I mean, my entire reason for clicking would be to get to the taping. And Kathy Griffin wouldn't be a bummer to see, but was I her biggest fan? No.

Then...one super super early morning when my newborn was sleeping and so should I have been, I just had this weird feeling that there'd be a link that would work.

Headed to the computer. Sure enough. "Calling All Teachers."

Filled out a form, made sure I got the thank you screen and then sent the link to a bunch of teacher friends in hopes that they'd fill it out, get picked and maybe choose me as their guest if I didn't get picked. :)

Well, a week or so went by and my mom was in town (from the great state of Minnesota) and we were bummin' around my house. We decided to go shopping. Luckily, when we headed out, we both realized we'd forgotten something in the house.

Headed back in to retrieve whatever it was...and the phone rang. My caller ID said, "Oprah Winfrey Show!" Ahhhhhh!!!

I answered in a tither. My mom was in a tither, too. The lady probably was used to nutball reactions, though, as she was all cool and casual.

When they asked if I wanted to bring a guest I said I wanted to bring my mom. Of course!!! But, my guest had to be a teacher and we had to bring our teaching licenses. Sorry, mom.

Okay...I gotta go to bed...will write part 2 (The Pre-Show/Front Row Experience) soon-ish.

Tood-a-loo!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Common Core Reading Workshop - Building S.T.A.R Readers!

I am so darn proud of this Common Core Reading Workshop Pack!!! All 87 pages!

Update...there is a companion unit...Finding Proof...you can read more about it and see many pictures in this post {right here}. You can find it on TpT by clicking the cover image below...


Both Building STAR Readers and Finding Proof are available as a bundle, too!

You can click the pick to get to it on TpT, but if you want to read more I'll add another link at the bottom, too.

It includes so many foundation & habit building components that can be used along with any reading program or on it's own, too.

It was created right out of CCSS. 

The goal is to highlight and build readers who have the following habits EVERY time they read using the S.T.A.R. acronym.

Study

Think

Ask

Respond

Some images/text look blurry in the photos here...promise they're crisp & clean on the actual document! Blogger pix and I are not the best of buddies.

Each habit has a friend with an original ditty...wanna meet them?

Each habit from S.T.A.R. has two anchor charts, described in the Teacher Notes page below...

There are 12 anchor charts for elaborating upon the habits and a goal setting page, too.
Mini Lesson Outlines...





Thoughts for working with the ideas behind each anchor chart are included as well. Those pages look like this...

Parents of my class have found these letters helpful this year!




Response pages for each habit...with three line options...un-lined, single lines, top-middle-bottom lines (not sure what to call the ones with the dashed line in the middle)...

Here's the unlined version...




When each habit is being highlighted, there are recording pages for describing how to apply the habit. Also multiple line options...here's the kind with the dashed line in the middle...




There's also a variety of STAR logo response pages (all unlined) that can be used with any text...
 

 

 

 

Wowzers!!! 

If you'd like to check it out on TpT, go ahead and click right here.

You might also be interested in the companion pack...Finding Proof. 

You can read more about Finding Proof in this blog post

Or, click the picture to get to it on TpT. 

Thanks for sticking with me, friends!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giveaway Winner & TpT Sale - Cyber Monday, Bonus Tuesday!

I'll be selecting the winner of Ralph Tells A Story tomorrow night. :) You can enter by heading over to this post...it's an easy entry...no rafflecopter needed. :) Your odds are pretty darn good. :)

Winner of my full TpT store giveaway...
Also, out of nearly 600 entries (WOW! So honored!) the winner of  is Annmarie Santos (#521)! Congratulations!!! It took a few emails to send all the goodies the files were so large! :)
I'm thrilled to be joining so many great sellers on TpT for the Cyber Monday Bonus Tuesday sale. You can save 20% from me and take an extra 10% off that from TpT if you enter the code "cmt12" at checkout. That's a total of 28% off!

I have a TON of stuff in my shopping cart. Do you?

Click here to get to my store. Here's what I have...


 







 
Happy Shopping from all the fabulous sellers!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WONDERFUL Children's Book for Reluctant Writers

Oh My Word! Two Writing Teachers blogged about this darling mentor text a few weeks ago and I ordered it from Amazon. I just got it in the mail and opened it up. It is PRECIOUS! It tells the story about a little guy named Ralph who doesn't feel he has any stories to write about.



This is Abby Hanlon's first book. She's a former first grade teacher and it's evident from all the little touches she incorporates. She also did the illustrations and they are precious! I'm so excited to have found a new author! Click here to read more about her and see a preview of the book.

Well, whenever I find something I love, I just have to share. I ordered an extra copy of this amazing hardcover book and would LOVE to send it to one of you. To keep it simple, the winner will be randomly chosen from commenters who do all three of these things:
1) Be a Growing Firsties Google or email Follower
2) Name a favorite book used to teach writing
3) Leave an email address

Winner will be chosen on Sunday, 11/25/12 at 5:00 pm Wisconsin time (CST). Good luck, sweet friends!

Here's a link to Amazon for you to easily buy it yourself. Also, there's a link to two more darling and motivating stories about learning to write and read (Rocket Writes A Story & How Rocket Learned To Read).