Thursday, March 1, 2012

This classroom is brought to you by.... Post-its!

Today was a bummer of a day. I teach at a year-round school and our track break begins at 3:01PM tomorrow afternoon. We will then be out of school until Monday, March 26th. It's awesome and I REALLY appreciate the breaks mid-year. This is the time of year however, when the TCAP is lurking in the not too distant future, the thought of sending my students away from me for three weeks is down-right terrifying. There's always a little lapse in achievement when they return (but far less than over a 2.5 month summer break) and I simply do not have time for it!!

I find when I get too stressed out over this I tend have zero patience which is a bad thing when you work with 11 year-old children. I feel bad immediately after I snap and I do try to make amends immediately if I think I was too short with someone. I have to keep chanting to myself, "It'll all work out. It'll all work out. I felt like this last year and it all worked out. Breathe. Breathe." 

Ugh... moving on!

I was wondering the other day if the Post-It company would be willing to sponsor my classroom.  Any one out there with connections??  We use post-its for everything! A new thing that we've been doing this year is using post-its when we are reading to record our thoughts. It all started because I read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller over the summer track-break and decided to take a few baby steps towards a more free reading environment. Reading is thinking and we're just making our thoughts more visible.

"LOL-ing while reading and finding
figurative language!
<Rabbit-Trail>: I don't like reading a method book and throwing out everything that I've been doing to dive into a new system without really getting my toes, then feet, then shins, etc. wet first. I've worked under administrators that got distracted by something shiny at a conference and came back with yet another program for us to use on top of the preexisting programs which became overwhelming and watered down the effectiveness of the other thirty-odd programs in place. So, I've picked the parts that I could see fitting into my reading program and will tweak for next year. This is one of the reasons I love being at a lab school. I get to experiment and figure out what works for my class. I'm rarely given a mandate of "you must" or "thou shalt use this <fill in the blank> program". It's nice. 

Well, we of course model this post-it thinking at the beginning of the year for a few weeks during read aloud and/or during our reading groups and then the students take ownership and finally they are introduced to their reading journals (I'll share about those later).
Analyzing character motivation
& making predictions
Student can note:
1. Thoughts
2. Feelings

3. Personal Connections
4. Interesting language (figurative language, etc)

5. Things they liked, hated, laughed at
6. Predictions
7. Pretty much anything else that comes to mind while reading. 

Reading is thinking!!
You can put the mini post-it notes on your school supply list, but I just grab one of those huge packs of them at Sam's club. They're usually $8-9 for 20 pads and I split each pad up. At the regular supply store you'll pay $4-5 for 6 or 7 pads.

Getting your kids to make connections and relate to characters is what reading is all about. I have found that it has helped with test-prep as well because the kiddos have been thinking critically all year making predictions, inferences, etc. It's enough to make a teacher tear up!

Hopefully I survive Seuss Day with three classroom birthdays AND it's the last day before break... here goes nothing!!!

Mrs. J

This is a new blog. Please follow me and receive updates as I try to figure this whole blog-osphere out! 


  1. Hi Mrs. J,

    Dr. Marissa Ogando mentioned your blog on FB and I thought I'd come check it out. Looks great! I'm a new blogger as well, and I know it's nice to get a comment that lets you know who visited and how they found you. Enjoy your break!

    Valerie @

  2. Hi Valerie! I must admit, my heart skipped a beat when I saw I had a comment! :-) Thank you so much for coming to check out my blog! I'm heading to yours next. Thanks again!

  3. My step dad works at 3M Company who makes Post-Its so I get all I can handle for free. I started using these methods when I used The Comprehension Toolkit for RTI reading last year. It made such a difference in my students' comprehension and reading interests.

    1. JEALOUS!!! Maybe if I bat my eyes at the guy at Staples he'll cut me a deal. :-) I love getting asked "Are you a teacher?" when I'm buying 27 of everything at the store. It's that or my reality TV show "Jill+27" is still in production...

  4. What a wonderful idea. Blogs are new to me (they almost sound like a recipe gone wrong). However, I would like to sign up for your blog to receive updates. Thank you for sharing your ideas, creativity, humor, challenges, and time.

    In His Service,