A Gift From Lucy

Did you get your Christmas gift from Lucy Calkins and the TCRWP Community today? Well I did and it is awesome! They have videotaped a few teachers ranging in grades teaching specific common core lessons. Here is the email they sent me with the link to the videos-

Dear Friends of the Project,

In honor of the holidays, we are writing to let you know two pieces of good news. The first is that we're completing work on a new Units of Study series—Units of Study in Teaching Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing: A Common Core Curriculum. You can visit Heinemann's website to get more information about the series, view sample minilessons, etc.-- 

Our second announcement is that we have compiled almost 40 video clips of Common Core aligned teaching and learning and want you to know this is a resource you can have, use, share. You'll see that this provides more than 6 hours of classroom videos to support you and your colleagues. To ensure that Pathways to the Common Core: Videos from Inside Classrooms can be helpful to as many people as possible, we've put the videos online in Vimeo albums. This is the link to the website on which you can watch all of the clips:

You'll notice the videos are organized by major aspects of the Common Core State Standards—Reading Literature, Reading Informational Texts, Opinion/Argument Writing, Informative/Explanatory Writing, and Narrative Writing.  Within each album are clips of teaching which aim to help children reach that aspect of the standards.

We offer these snippets of instruction, these scenes of classrooms, not as a final answer, but as a laboratory of sorts. We think these classrooms represent an important pathway to the Common Core. That is, we make no pretense that the methods of teaching that are shown here are those a teacher must use in order to align to the Common Core. The Common Core does not mandate any one particular method of teaching and in fact, explicitly says that decisions about teaching and curriculum must be left in the hands of practitioners.

Know that we've put this together on a shoestring budget. Unlike other CCSS video collections, this was not funded by an outside organization. It's the result of just a few days of filming…and we don't think for a minute, that this is perfect. The teachers you see didn't suggest that their teaching met some special gold standard—they simply said yes when we asked if we could stop by, video camera in hand. Some of the snippets were filmed long before the CCSS came onto the scene and we'd do things differently if we could, but we included them because they, nevertheless represent a pathway to the CCSS. We hope you appreciate the teachers featured here for opening their doors to us, and for welcoming critique. We've provided our own critical comments, and explained connections we see to the Common Core in commentary.

This is our gift to education---no profits will be made from the distribution of these clips or of the DVD on which they are compiled. We share these with thanks for all you do each day. You are invited to share this with whomever you'd like. It is our hope that these clips will be the start to conversations across grades, buildings, districts, states—all of us putting our heads together to find ways to help all children to reach the Common Core State Standards.  Special thanks to Kelly Boland Hohne for editing this collection.

Have a beautiful holiday break—well-deserved!

Lucy Calkins and the TCRWP community

Don’t you just love Teacher College and the Writing Project? It is my dream to one day attend in New York City!
I have only watched a few of them so far, but I really enjoyed watching the first grade teacher teach the lesson of comparing and contrasting fairy tales. I love how she encourages them to dig deeper.
I am off to make cookies I have a huge Christmas planned. This year both my brother’s and their families will be here. I don’t think my kids have ever been with both Uncles on Christmas. It should be a fun filled, story filled, laughter filled, Christmasy good time. AND we are expecting snow!

My wish for you is much of the same. I hope that your Christmas is filled with family, fun, precious new memories, and a blessedly safe New Year.   


Debbie Miller on My Doorstep!

WOOO HOO! Merry Early Christmas to ME! Look what the UPS man just brought! It’s the brand new second edition of Reading with Meaning Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades- by Debbie Miller.

I am so excited I can hardly wait to dig in and “dig deeper” with Debbie. Her first two books are like my bibles and my go to books in the summer or anytime for a refreshing or stimulating myself and my teaching. I love me some Debbie.
Did I ever tell you I was once sitting right BEHIND her while we both listened to Georgia Heard speak? I was there hundreds of miles from my home to see HER and there she was sitting Right. In. Front. Of. ME. (Georgia Heard and Katie Wood Ray were added bonuses that summer). It was the best summer PD EVER!
So here I am home from some incredibly dull PD from our state department this afternoon about that good ol obscure Common Core and as soon as I get home Yippeee the UPS man shows up with this. A great ending to fun with friends but boring PD day! Merry Early Christmas to ME I’m off to READ!
      “It doesn't get any better than this.”         



Our little corner of the world has been Elf-iltrated! They are everywhere! One has invaded our classroom and has been a little "defil." He has written on my whiteboard, rearranged our ornaments on our tree AND got into our bubblegum jar, spilled our gum and chewed some!

He is quite the little stinker. But he has reminded us how nice it is to give without asking for anything in return, and taking the time to tell those around us thank you.
Today first grade took some time to do just that. We wrote thank you letters to the special people in our school, and then the sneaky little first graders- turned elfy, secretly (as secretly as first graders can be) delivered the fruits of their labor and a candy cane to each person.

They had the best time. A few of the staff found me and told me how much they enjoyed getting their notes and treats. That made it even more enjoyable.  
It looks like the Christmas spirit has hit here in the country.
Next week is reindeer week I wonder what ideas the sweet little “deers” can come up with to make someone’s week! 


Currently, Buggy, and a Carousel!

Time once again for Farley’s Currently and I currently have a few moments before everyone wakes up and complains of hunger so I’m going to take advantage of the quiet and write.
This weekend I spent a few days in the big city of Tulsa Christmas shopping with my hubby. We had a good time and spent way too much money. 
It doesn’t matter how old your kids get you still try to get them everything on their lists to make their Christmas morning special.
We have 13 days left in school so I’m trying to get everything in order and ready so I can squeeze in as much as possible. 
Plus I have my annual cookie exchange here at home, the school Christmas party, the Fire department party (gotta cook pork loins for that one), Hubby’s work party, and my annual Christmas Eve bash, The holly bloggy Christmas exchange and blog post, the RACK’s I have planned, buy gifts, wrap gifts, and I still have no decorations or my tree up. 
Whew, I really need to get off this computer.

Buggy for 2nd Grade
Have you seen my friend Kelly’s newest post at Buggy for Second Grade? She has a new TpT store up and would love for you to visit. She has a really great number unit and some freebies offered there.

Also have you found The First Grade Carousel?  She has a fun activity exchange she is hosting and is looking for participants. I’m joining in and you should too. Jump on the Carousel and check it out. 

I'm off to clean and decorate....and watch Christmas movies! It's MY favorite!!!