A place where we can let our thoughts "percolate" and join in the conversation.

2011 Goals January 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 10:32 AM

Welcome 2011!

It seems silly making goals in the middle of the school year for the “New Year,” but the turning of the calendar page has made me want to set some goals and put them in writing.

My 2011 New Year’s Resolutions:

•Continue to learn about technology and what can be used by my students to help create a more personalized learning path for them.

•Continue reading and learning and sharing about education in terms of curriculum development, educational technology, and motivational practices.

•Continue to explore collaborative opportunities for my students within our classroom and abroad.

•Maintain a positive attitude even when challenges arise.

What are your resolutions?

Please comment and share!               Thanks! 🙂

Thank you to Discovery Education for the clip art used on this blog post.


Storybird December 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 7:09 PM

I started using Storybird in my first grade classroom this school year and love it!

I created a Storybird to share with you the reasons I use Storybird in my classroom:
Storybird in the Classroom on Storybird

Storybirds created by my first grade class are currently private, but I can share with you my daughter’s work.  She is a 5th grader. After reading her story, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to see another story she wrote as well as a story we collaborated on.

A Rainy City, With No Sun on Storybird

The possibilities are endless!  Happy writing!  🙂

Comment to let me know how you use Storybird in your classroom.


Merry Christmas! December 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 10:57 AM

This is my personal Christmas card.  Thought I would share it with those that follow my blog.  Merry Christmas and Blessings for the New Year! 🙂


Singing for Reading Success December 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 3:50 PM

For years my brother and I took turns reciting, “God is good, God is great, Let us thank Him for this food.  Amen.” at the dinner table.  We were so proficient at reciting the words to this prayer we would race to see who could recite it the fastest, much to my mother’s dismay.  She would have liked for us to have placed more value in our words.  🙂

I am sharing with you this story from my youth because of the moment of inspiration I had in my own reading development when I first saw the words to this prayer written on paper.  We were in Sunday School and the teacher was sharing a list of dinner prayers. I was following along with the class as she read the words to us from the paper.  When she read the prayer I had verbally recited for years I remember becoming overwhelmed with emotion.  Two things had simultaneously become evident to me:   1.  I could read and 2.  What I was saying had meaning!

WOW!  This was such a powerful moment in my development that it is permanently etched in my brain and stored as a vivid memory.

I had not brought this memory out of the storage shelves in my mind until a conversation with one of our Reading Recovery teachers forced me to dust it off and think about my reaction as a child to this learning moment and how I want my own students to have these same reactions to their reading experiences.

My peer had recently attended a seminar where an aspect of reading success was related to singing songs along with the song sheets for children to read.  She referenced the speaker’s website during our conversation.

We both took the time during the past two weeks to make a conscious effort to incorporate this into our reading instruction, thus making it very purposeful.  My class had read and sung Frosty the Snowman from their poetry folders and I had already seen how powerful linking the words to music was as well as their overall engagement.  I then chose to take it to the next step.  We used You Tube to find the Disney sing a longs that we use to own on VHS.  You might recall the ones I am referring to.  The words are along the bottom of the screen with mouse ears bouncing over them as the music plays.  Due to it being the holiday season, it was easy to find some just right for the weeks leading up to winter break.  🙂

As you can probably guess, my class of first graders were very engaged in their learning during our sing a longs.  What impressed me the most is they did not get “lost” in the moment of the video.  They were pointing out words to me as we went along…which went back to making the learning purposeful and meaningful to them.

Along with poetry sheets and music videos, there is a great series of books out by Alan Katz.  One is Take Me Out of the Bathtub.

In these books, he creatively puts words to his own poems to well known songs such as, Take Me Out to the Ballgame. The kids have always loved it when I read them these and they have sung along…but now I will always make the point of putting the words in front of them as well so they can connect to the text on the page.

Keep singing and reading and promoting literacy success for all of your students!

Thank you to Discovery Education for the clipart used on this blog post.


Twitter as a Professional Development Tool December 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 11:33 AM

New Questions December 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 8:45 AM

In the past it would irritate me when students would ask “Do I have to do it?”  when given an assignment.

I can honestly say that since I made a conscious effort to change how I teach and incorporate more technology, that question has changed.

Their new question is “What are we doing today?”

They have also been known to ask “What’s next?” and “When can I do that?”

Now those are questions that do not irritate me in any way!  They make me smile…  🙂


Coffee with Abraham Lincoln December 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 9:51 PM

If only I could meet Abrahan Lincoln for a cup of coffee!  Can you imagine?

I just finished reading a biography of our 16th President written by Ronald C. White, Jr.  I find him not only fascinating as a self-taught lawyer and politician, but as a person who struggled with moral and ethical issues in a public arena while wrestling with his personal insights.

Towards the end of 1862, we as a nation were involved in the Civil War.  Controversy was high.  There had been military defeats for the Union, President Lincoln had published his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and the elections of 1862 had seen Republicans lose seats in the House as well as several states elect Democrat governors and Democrats gained control of several state legislatures.  President Lincoln had to give his second annual message to Congress on December 1, 1862.

White states this part of Lincoln’s annual message has often been forgotten due to the words that follow (pg. 522), but I was drawn to this quote, “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”

The words that followed were, “Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history.  We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves.  No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us.  The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”

White states Lincoln was “…crafting an alternative vision of reality.”  That he was asking his listeners to, “move beyond their limited worldviews and embrace a future that could not be fully known.”

Now of course, this was a time of war.  But let us for a moment consider his words in the educational world of today.  We are teaching students that are digital natives.  Their world is different than the one we were educated for.  They come to the classroom ready to be engaged in their own learning, share in conversation and create.  We must feel the urgency to meet them where they are at and move them forward.  We have a new “case” so we must start “thinking anew and acting anew.” We must move beyond our “limited worldviews” and “embrace a future” that is not fully known.

Will you take this challenge with me?  We must continue to grow as educators to meet the ever changing needs of our students and this includes embracing technology that we have to take the time to learn and understand so we can teach.


Hello world! December 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 2:08 AM

Welcome to my blog!  My goal is for this to be like a coffee shop where we can let our thoughts “percolate” and enjoy the conversation!


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