Sunday, December 30, 2012

Benchmarks

(this is from October, I didn't realize I had not published it! and now we are getting ready for the second benchmark!)

Whew.. most of our benchmark testing is over for the first nine weeks. I have 2 who still need to finish tomorrow with the special ed teacher. While this is a stressful time, I really like having the data to look at and use.

It's hard for third graders, because they have never really taken a big test before. Using bubble sheets (I always want to call them scantrons but I am thinking that is not "politically correct") is new to them. Being totally quiet for an extended period of time is also new. I understand the big push in stamina for students, I just wish younger grade teachers would catch on.

The best thing is that our district has subscribed to Mastery Connect. Have you tried it? You can find it at www.masteryconnect.com.  You put your test in, the answers and align it to your state standards.Next you take a picture of your bubble sheet and it scores it automatically for you. It is amazing. It then scores it and you see instantly how your students did individually and as a whole class. I never knew it could be so easy!!

Coming back to third grade sure feels like I have come back home! While there are definitely bumps in the road, it feels good to be home.

The Top 10 Things I Miss most about Chicago (area)

I was a lucky kid. I grew up just less than 20 miles outside of Chicago in Bolingbrook, Illinois. At that time, Bolingbrook had only about 27,000 people (thank you Wikipedia.. I look smarter than the average bear now!). Today Bolingbrook houses over 75k!!! Amazing

I went back "home" this past fall to get my oldest, John, settled in at Wheaton College. He is a freshman and seems to be doing ok (thanks for asking!).
It really is as nice as it looks. 


I, on the other hand, am feeling homesick. For many of the past 20 (I hate admitting that, makes me sound old.. but I am not!!) years, I have not felt homesick for the area at all. But starting Thanksgiving 2011, I have been.

I want to share a list of what I miss most. Let me know your thoughts on what you miss about your hometown!

10. The way people talk. Never really realized it but having heard it, as well as some phone calls I have had with strangers lately, I miss it! Weird!! I know.... But I will tell you if I ever move back, I'm not giving up the y'all I have come to know and love!!

9. The beef sandwiches at Portillos. No way to describe how the gravy seeps into the bun and makes it just soft enough....yet not soggy. The rest stays harder, crunchier, for that just right taste!! A trip home wouldn't be the same without it.

8. The drivers. What?!??!!! Yes, the drivers. While they do seem to be more aggressive, they also are more polite. I noticed people always waved when you let them in ( no! not just with one finger), they seem more likely too to let you in. I like that!

7. Burritos. Football sized. Made by true Mexicans. No other explanation necessary!
My mouth is watering just thinking about the taste of this. Mmmm 


6. Life long friends. One of my best friends are from there. Well, she now lives in Vegas, but she can appreciate all that I know and love there. One of the best blessings this year is that John has met my high school best friend's sister, Annette. Annette and her family have somewhat adopted John. He is a part of their family now, they pick him up for church, have spent time with him, and truly seem to be loving him. This seems to go with #5 but not all went to high school with me, and how can you limit the amount you want to count the true blessings of friendship!
This is my friend, Ronni. Doesn't she look great!! She is the one who lives in Vegas, and while deciding which photo to choose, I figured one that shows her beauty (not sarcastic attitude) would be best. She is also a popular blogger. You can check her out here


5. High school friends. Believe me when I say there is nothing better than hanging out for the night with some friends that you have known over 25 years. The laughter, even some tears, just make you feel like your heart is home.
Some of my best friends, in life. 


4. Family. I am so fortunate to have a best friend in my brother and his new wife Glaiza. Growing up, yeah not so much, but today he really is one of my best friends. I also have a great cousin that I always try to connect with when I am lucky enough to be in town!

3. Always something to do. The museums are interesting enough that you could often and still enjoy them. The lake is amazing all year long. Once I went and was able to walk out on it all covered in ice. Train rides in and out are great for people watching. Lincoln Park Zoo is free. The Morton Arboretum is amazing. The list goes on and on. (I don't find Oklahoma City to be exciting, at all!!)
Arboretum, so peaceful
(photo courtesy of the Morton Arboretum)


2. Chicago style pizza. Whether it is Uno's, Giordano's, Lou Malnaty's, or any others.... Nothing compares. Many have tried (trust me, I've tried many who claim to be just like theirs), but none have succeeded in even coming close!! I personally prefer to go to Uno's downtown; it's just fun!!
Waiting just builds the excitement!


1. A few months ago, my number one would have been different, but now that John is in the Chicago area, he is the person I miss most there. I am so proud of him. I am so looking forward to seeing the plans God has for him in his life. I do, however, have to admit that I am slightly jealous of him being there. I hope he learns to love it there as much as I do!




Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Moving on to third ........

2011-12 school year is over. I had the best year, working as a librarian in an elementary school. I made some great friends and met some amazing students. My principal was amazing. He gave me full reign on what I did, though I am sure he kept his eye on me!

With that all being said, I have decided to go back in the classroom. Back to third grade. Back to what I know and truly LOVE. I so miss having my very own class. I have been out of the classroom for 3 years, and I am so ready to go back.

I am also changing schools (but not districts), so I can teach third. Rollingwood is our neighborhood school, and thankfully I already know some great women there. I also just met our new custodian, and he happens to be the Dad of one of my favorite students from my last school. Small world!

Look for classroom posts, pictures, and questions!! If you have any advice for me, bring it on!! I am not too nervous, yet I know I have bunches to learn!

Happy End of the Summer!

Kathy

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Found a great resource

This is a great article for teachers of all grades. With more emphasis on non fiction, you can't go wrong checking this out.


Online Sources for Informational Text

Blessings Gathering

Last night was my first Blessings Unlimited gathering hosted at my house.  I am hoping word will spread, and then the business will take off. We shall see! Here are some of the fun pictures from it.. notice my Abbie and her friend Molly. They were the "setup" gals!

If you still would like to order, please check it out here:
http://www.myblessingsunlimited.net/kathywhitinger/default.aspx

If you are unable to attend, you may still shop online and receive the great Guest promotions available for each month. When placing an order online, please use the User Name and Password provided above at checkout to ensure your Hostess receives credit for your order.

Don't forget to come check out this new adventure for me :) I would love if you would see what it is all about. No PRESSURE.... Thanks :) Kathy



Hard working sweeties!!
More reserved and looking sweet!!


This is just a SMALL sample of what is in the catalog. Check it out!

I need to work on my photography skills! darn iPhone! :)



This apron is so adorable!
 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

WHY YOU SHOULD READ CHILDREN’S BOOKS AS AN ADULT




WHY YOU SHOULD READ CHILDREN’S BOOKS AS AN ADULT
BY JEN ROBINSON
(From Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer)

  1. It’s fun.
  2. It keeps your imagination active.
  3. It strengthens your relationship with the children in your life who read.
  4. It sets an example for the children in your life, making them more likely to become readers.
  5. It clues you in on cultural references that you may have missed (both current and classical).
  6. It’s fast. Children’s books are usually shorter than adult books, so if you don’t think you have time to read, you DO have time to read children’s books.
  7. It allows you to read across genres. Children’s books aren’t limited to mystery OR science fiction OR fantasy OR literary fiction. They can have it all.
  8. It’s like time travel- it’s an easy way to remember the child that you once were, when you first read a book.
  9. It’s often inspirational- reading about heroes and bravery and loyalty makes you want to be a better person. And couldn’t we all do with some of that?
  10. Did I mention that it’s fun?
Creating a Reading Culture at Home


Parents often ask teachers and librarians for tips on how to encourage their children to read more at home. The conditions that foster lifelong reading habits in children are remarkably robust and apply to both home and school reading. Here are some suggestions for parents who want to create a reading culture at home.
This is my graduating senior!! who LOVES to read :)
Dedicate time for reading. If we make time for what we value, we must set aside reading time each day. Set aside at least twenty minutes each day for family reading time. Each family member may read something of their choice or the family can gather for a shared read aloud.
Carry books. Add a book for every family member to your leaving the house checklist. Running errands, doctor and dental appointments, haircuts, shopping--all provide stolen opportunities to read when children (and adults) are waiting and bored.
Read aloud. For most children, sharing books with family members is their first experience with books. Reading aloud to your children, even into the teenage years, reinforces a pleasurable bond between books and family. Sharing books as a family creates memorable experiences and provides topics for discussions, too.
Provide access to books. Children should experience a "book flood," with abundant access to a wide-range of reading material. Take children to the library, buy books as presents, and subscribe to children's magazines.
Role model a reading life. Children mimic the behaviors we model for them. If they see adults reading daily and enjoying it, children are more likely to perceive reading as meaningful. Adults, who read and share their love of reading with children, send a powerful message that reading matters.
Allow children to choose books. Children should choose most of the books they read. Forcing children to read books that don't interest them turns many kids off reading altogether. While you may bemoan the less than highbrow selections your child chooses to read, support his/her independence and self-direction as a reader by celebrating free choice.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blessings Unlimited

We only have 18 days of school left this year. I have a book fair starting tomorrow, and I am so grateful it is all set to go. I have rearranged or relocated different things in the library this year, and thankfully it seems even more roomy where we hold the book fair. I hope it goes well. I hope children are able to buy books they love and want to read. That's really what it's all about it!

On another note, I decided to become a consultant with My Blessings Unlimited. This is a Christian company that has amazing products. I hope to own at least 80% of the products. They are awesome. They call their home shows.... gatherings. I like that. They want all gatherings to start with a prayer. I like that. The don't allow alcohol at their gatherings (ok I do love margaritas but... I like that).
They encourage hearts, build relationships, and want to bring beauty to where we all live. It really is as good as it seems.

If you want to take a look, here is the website. If you want to host a gathering, I would be THRILLED to share it all with you. If you want to order without a gathering, I would be BLESSED to help you!!

http://www.myblessingsunlimited.net/KathyWhitinger





                                            


 Here are some of the products:

By the grace of God, I am what I am. 1 CORINTHIANS 15:10 KJV This block sign uses soft brown, cream, and turquoise to state all of the gifts that the promise of God’s grace gives us throughout our lives. It can be placed on a table or shelf, and has a saw tooth hanger on back for hanging on a wall. It fits well on a desk in an office, a kitchen counter, or on a bedroom nightstand. The statements on the sign are comforting reminders of how much God brings into the life of those who believe in Him. Measures 8"×8"×1¾".
 
  Add beauty to any wall of your home with this distinctive metal wall d├ęcor. In a polished finish of rich brown tones, this piece is a continual reminder of the loving God your household serves. Use inside or in a covered area outside. Hand-crafted in India. Measures 17"×23".



 This fashionable bangle bracelet set is a fun way to enhance your style, while bringing to mind that delighting ourselves in the Lord brings complete fulfillment in our lives—His desires become our desires as we delight in Him. Written on one silver finished bracelet is the first part of the verse of Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the Lord…, with the completion of the verse on the other silver bracelet, and He will give you the desires of your heart. The light celadon, glass-beaded bracelet, with small silver beads inserted between each glass bead, adds color and style to the overall look of the bracelet set. Imprinted on the delicate heart-shaped charm attached to the fastener is the Scripture reference, Psalm 37:4. 

 


 As a full-time husband, dad, and minister, Max Lucado has seen the power of encouraging words. This assortment features engaging photography and sensitive styling and is sure to bless both your heart and soul. Assortment includes: 2 Birthday, 3 Encouragement, 1 Sympathy, 2 Praying for You, 2 Thinking of You, 1 Get Well, 1 Thank You


The verse, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. PSALM 91:1 NIV is stamped in a copper finish on this metal door knocker. What a creative way to bless visitors, the mail deliverer, and anyone else who comes to your door. Hanging hardware included. 4½"×4¼".

 

 Like a breath of fresh air, our Enjoy Life apron instantly brings inspiration and color to your kitchen, whether it’s hanging or being worn. The Scripture, God has given us these times of joy. Psalm 81:4 TLB, is stitched in a playful font across the double, mid-level pocket, along with the simple message, Enjoy Life


Monday, February 20, 2012

Dr. Seuss Bookmarks!

Are you planning on celebrating Dr. Seuss's bday?  Michaels has these C(color)IY bookmarks. Won't your students love them? Mine will. I wish they had the Lorax, since the movie is in theaters on March 2nd.

Enjoy! I am off to bed, finally! :)

Click here to get to Michaels page!


100 Greatest Books

This new list is located at Scholastic's Top 100

This is the cover from the audio book. I like this one better!
Some of my thoughts on this list:

One of my very most favorites is Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume. I really believe I knew all the words to it when I was younger!! I must have read it 100 times.
This is an older version, maybe the one I had??

When purchasing books for my new library this year, I was sure to order all the Judy Blume books. Well, I didn't order Forever. I loved that book too!! But, I do remember my 5th grade teacher taking it away from my friends and I during class. I do believe it is better suited for middle school. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another one of my most favorite books is the Giver, written by Lois Lowry. My first year teaching I read this book with my class. They didn't like it at first, but by the end... they were so into it, they didn't want it to end. It was amazing to see these students get so hooked into a book, especially a book as good as this one. The Giver has won several awards and remains a book that many teachers use in the classroom.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What Shall We Do With the Boo Hoo Baby by Cressia Crowell is the last one for tonight. What a fun book to help toddlers look at what they are or are not doing. The baby is crying, and his animal friends try to figure out how to make him stop. Is he hungry? Does he want a bath? Could he want to play? Despite all these good ideas, the baby just keeps crying. Will the animals ever discover what the baby really wants? A must read for parents of young children!!!




Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Snowy Day

Today we visited the website... www.wegivebooks.org  This site is offering a chance to win 500 FREE books for your school, all you have to do is read the books on this site. Easy for me! Being in the library every day, I read to at least 4 classes a day, if not more.

Have you read the story? Here is some info about the book:

The Snowy Day, a 1963 Caldecott Medal winner, is the simple tale of a boy waking up to discover that snow has fallen during the night. Keats's illustrations, using cut-outs, watercolors, and collage, are strikingly beautiful in their understated color and composition. The tranquil story mirrors the calm presence of the paintings, and both exude the silence of a freshly snow-covered landscape. The little boy celebrates the snow-draped city with a day of humble adventures--experimenting with footprints, knocking snow from a tree, creating snow angels, and trying to save a snowball for the next day. Awakening to a winter wonderland is an ageless, ever-magical experience, and one made nearly visceral by Keats's gentle tribute.

The book is notable not only for its lovely artwork and tone, but also for its importance as a trailblazer. According to Horn Book magazine, The Snowy Day was "the very first full-color picture book to feature a small black hero"--yet another reason to add this classic to your shelves. It's as unique and special as a snowflake.

wegivebooks.org is different than the one I suggested yesterday. This site allows you to read the story to the students, giving you the chance to easily ask questions, predict, look for context clues and question their comprehension during the reading.
After the story, some of the classes then created snowflakes after. I will have to post some pictures later of that. What fun we had. One boy accidentally cut some shapes out that looked like bugs or caterpillars in the middle of his snowflakes! They were so excited, and enjoying seeing the different shapes everyone made.

So, if you haven't had the chance to go to www.wegivebooks.org, you should try it. Imagine if your school won 500 FREE books, just because you chose to read to them!! AMAZING :)
(so, if your homeschool or as a SAHM and want to read.. feel free to select my school as the school you want to add books to! We would appreciate it!! Western Oaks Elementary, zip 73008)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I have had a wonderful first Valentine's day as a librarian! I got a Valentine Gram from a student, some lil valentines from other students and lots and lots of happy wishes.

With first grade, I did not have any more Valentine books left to read aloud to them. So, I went to one of my very favorite sites... http://www.storylineonline.net/ and let them listen to a wonderfully well read book.

I chose the book, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch.

This story is so sweet and really shows children how having compassion for others can make a world of difference.

Mr. Hatch is a drab, predictable gentleman who leads a painfully ordered and uninteresting life. One Valentine's Day a giant candy heart is delivered to Mr. Hatch with a note that reads... Somebody Loves You. If you have not heard this story, you will love listening to actor Hector Elizondo (Pretty Woman, Last Man Standing, Grey's Anatomy, etc..) read it.
http://www.storylineonline.net/



I'll end today with a funny (remember I am in an elementary library!!) lil joke:  
What did the librarian give the kid with overdue books on February 14? A valen-fine!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Another great resource

I forgot to mention this website before. It is for the Teacher Librarian. There is one section of FAQ regarding Library Centers. There is huge wealth of other information on this site too. If you have time to get lost there for awhile, you should go check it out :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thank you

First, thank you to everyone who attended our workshop today. I feel like we had a huge gathering, with great success!!!

Second, if you have ANY questions from today.....maybe something you saw that you can't find right now, let me know. I love sharing ideas and will be glad to find it if I can! If you want to leave any comments about what younliked or didnt like too, we'd love to hear!

Lisa and I presented at 1:00 today to a little over 100 guests. What a fun surprise. They just kept coming in and I only saw one person leave early. The worst part of it all was the heat in the room. The convention center should have had the air on!

Here is a picture of the poster I had hanging up that people asked for. I made this to use with our fifth graders. It really is just an anchor chart for the activity, but hanging this up, vs a regular ole piece of whitepaper with black writing,really makes the library look more imviting. It was worth the extra 10 min it took.I also do not keep the question cards around the edge, though they do look kinda nice there! :)


Monday, February 6, 2012

The day before....

My assistant principal and I were talking about the conference tomorrow. I love working with people (like him) who are encouraging and seem to always want the best for others. He was encouraging about tomorrow, and even commented on how this would be good for my future career as well. I love that. I love when people aren't trying so hard to hold you onto one thing forever (like planning on me being at this school forever, doing exactly what I do right now). I may stay here the rest of my working career, and that would be ok. But if not, it is nice to hear people encourage you to spread your wings!!

Here are a few more resources I am finding today. I am spending the day updating our school's iPads, so I have the luxury of looking for more resources. This will of course help me tomorrow, but also here in my own library for weeks and months to come!

Mini Posters and so much more

Here are some websites that offer online games related to the library:


http://www.pppst.com/library.html (this site includes jeopardy and powerpoint activites)

I am going to hit the sack! I am tired, anxious, and excited!! I'll be back tomorrow (hopefully) to let you know how it went!





Sunday, February 5, 2012

More resources

This first one has some signs I plan to print out and use for my library. I love love love my job!!

Library Games Free Stuff
 

Word Detective Cards

 

This will probably be my last post today. I am planning on changing gears and making a new recipe for dinner. Hopefully it will be as yummy as it looks :)
If you want to see.. here is the link... Country Club Chicken