Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Determining Importance in Reading

Moving along with our Reading Comprehension Work (shout out to Tammy McGregor's incredible book).
We have been focused on Determining Importance within the text through this semester. We have had a great time using non-reading activities to help us develop an understanding of this strategy before, and along with, applying it in our reading.
To introduce the subject I use the creative activity of having the kids look through my purse and determine the items that would be important if I were to go to the gym this afternoon. 

Then, I found THIS cute WS from iTeach 1:1 blog that we inserted into our reading notebooks and I had them go through THEIR backpacks to determine what were the VITALLY important items needed for a successful school day ... we found LOTS of "treasures" as we cleaned out looked through our bags.
TOPIC = Backpack
MAIN IDEA = Being successful at School (not on the way to or from school) 
I use Tammy's "Noodle Metaphor" (along with a notebook insert idea from Life in 4B blog) to help them remember the entire process ... since we are currently looking at figurative language, this worked out great in the discussion of what the noodles, water, combination, and strainer represented.
Anchor chart inspired by Life In 4B blog
In our guided reading groups, I have been using A-Z non-fiction books along with graphic organizers to help them practice finding the most important information for each section that helps them find the MAIN IDEA.
I gave THIS AMAZING MATH WORKSHEET (from iTeach 1:1 blog) to my partner teacher to help integrate "determining importance" into math.
MY LIFE Blending with SCHOOL (grin)
This week was my University Gymnastic Team's Home Show. As I was mournfully reminiscing watching, it got me thinking about another, unique way to help my kiddos remember "determining importance" ... I showed the kids a video of my old Collage Acro/Cheer Gymnastic team. It is a GREAT example of determining importance. The audience has to practice this strategy throughout the performance since there are many things happening, however, there are usually big center moves that you don't want to miss even thought there is a lot of other stuff going on. Another great example to show kids this strategy would be to show a circus routine under the big top - LOTS of audience determining of importance going on there! 
Southern Adventist University Gym-Masters (2012) (available on Youtube)

Pictures from my University's Home Show 2013:
Hoop Routine 
Chairs Routine
Contortionist Routine
Pairs Silk Routine
Group Routine
All of this was such a HUGE part of my life throughout high school and collage (see my post Reminiscent Gymnast). I had bittersweet feelings as I went back and watched the final home show! Always sad to not be still in it but great to still feel apart of such an awesome program - and reunite with old teammates! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My Life: The Lake

spent a lovely spring afternoon walking The Lake shore by myself
there truly is something addicting about "The Lake" yes, here in Michigan, it is a proper noun :)
one can find many reasons why so many of us, here in the lovely state of Michigan, cherish The Lake
and while not having scary sea animals and salt water constitute for a large portion some of the reasoning, many reasons are so much deeper. .. .. .
at times, i think our fascination is paired with the connection the lake brings to memories. .   ..... .

friendships cultivated
swimming lessons learned
earliest memories of playing at the beach
family time
cookouts enjoyed
Church gatherings and potlucks
holidays celebrated
school tests studied for
date nights and watching the sunset
Sabbath walks on the pier

other times, the attachment transcends these moments and expresses itself through a connection with something greater than ourselves .. .. . .. .
awe at the majesty of God's creation
insignificance as one gazes at the never ending horizon
natural beauty encompassed in its topaz waters
emotional and stress release
respect for nature as one discovers natural ice sculptures encasing piers
serenity found on its stretches of endless sand
amazement and awe at its monstrous sand dunes towering above creation

yet still other times, different feelings evolve as one watches the waves crash upon lighthouses and cascade across sandy shores ... . ... .
pride in being a small part in the states uniqueness
passion for remaining in the lakes presence - forever.
personalizing the scent of its shores 
privilege at having it as an ever present option, any time of the year
identifying with seagulls 
embracing the quaint culture of Michigan coastal towns

no matter the reason, we always come back and remain just a little longer to enjoy whatever it is that
first drew us . .. .. .. .... .
it is truly difficult to express a Michiganders love of The Lake in words .. ... . perhaps it's because it simply satisfies the soul.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Life: Charleston, NC

In the spirit of my husband's spontaneity {of which i fell in love with} he thought on Wednesday, of last week, that it would be a fab idea to visit our dear friends in South Carolina. The only kink was that we would need to be leaving Thursday night, of the same week, and we had already made plans with friends to see a Casting Crowns concert in Grand Rapids... however, things like this only seem to add to our enthusiasm!
and so, after a Spirit filled, uplifting concert, we began our 15 hour journey to South Carolina for a REAL vacation!
No one invited him, but our dreary Michigan weather came along for the ride. it was rain, rain, RAIN! the only nice day was Saturday and we took advantage of this spending the afternoon walking the streets of Charleston...
...and boy did it DELIVER!
What a BEAUTIFUL city! I really have never seen anything like it. while parts of it hint of the Louisiana Bayou with its sprawling moss covered trees, marshy landscape, and magnolias, other parts scream old world Europe, and yet somehow all around it is still so uniquely "Charlestonian." 
Driving down age old cobble stone and brick streets, one gets glimpses of the unique "porch doors" and side alleys that lead to mini courtyard gardens.
The unique "Charlestonian" stacked, sideways porches grace most homes, modest and elegant. In days of old, homes would not have been air conditioned and during the hot summer months these worked as "breezeways" to cool the home.
Charleston is truly a city of history and art. Shops all seem to feature an "anthropogie" style while restaurants come in various eclectic decor. Facing the harbor is "Battery Row" lined with a smorgasbord of the most magnificent Charlestonian, Georgian, Federal, Adamesque, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Victoria homes. In the distance lies the infamous Fort Sumter where the first battle of the Civil War began.
To quote Rhett Butler, in the second {less memorable} part of his most famous Gone With the Wind line, Charleston is quite literally a town of both "grace and civility."
a FAB cheese shop our friends took us to ... i just love hole-in-the wall shops and non-chain restaurants.
Only a few miles from Charleston, small towns such as Folly are just as charming in their "beach town" quaintness as Charleston is in it's historic elegance.
i just HAD to collect shells  - it's just what you do on a beach. i'm bringing some back to my kiddos ... 

Being a very woodsy, outdoorsy, rock climbing, camping, hiking type of gal, I did not particularly fall in love with South Carolina's overall marshy and flat environment, however, my time spent there was wonderful and I truly fell in love with it's Southern charm!
I always have a tendency to think about how different people in different regions/countries/places in life view things, how they live in connection to how I live, how our ideals/motives are similar/different.
Throughout this trip, I kept thinking about how different each region of the US of A truly is. Particularly my home versus this utterly different landscape in the South.
South Carolinians, Michiganders; Charlestonians, Detroiters; Plantations, Car factories; Atlantic Ocean, Lake Michigan; Southern charm, Northern rustic; Humidity, Snow; North, South.
and yet despite our differences, i am inspired by the ever present truth ... we are all the same.
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