Tag Archive: books

Social Stories

IMG_0394It’s getting to be that time of the year when friends are going a little stir crazy and patience for each other can sometimes be low.  I’ve noticed in 1st grade especially patience for dealing with peers has been a challenge for students.  We took this as a learning opportunity.

I had the students read Calming Down and The Rude Robot to learn about ways we could practice patience and kindness to each other.

In Calming Down students learned that it’s ok to get angry, but to channel that anger into something positive and find ways to calm down.  Once we finished reading the story, we created a group anchor chart of ways we could calm down at school to help us stay positive and on task.  Each student then received a pocket-sized version of our chart to keep in their book box as a bookmark to use when they found themselves getting upset with another classmate.

IMG_0395We also read The Rude Robot about a boy who gets a robot for a birthday present, but the robot is rude to everyone so the boy has to teach it manners so his friends will want to come back and play.  When we finished reading the book we came up with a list of ways we could be more kind to each other in the classroom.  They also got a pocket-sized version of this anchor chart to keep in their book boxes as continual reminders on how even when we get mad at someone in the class we can still be kind to them.

I was impressed with all the great ideas students had.

Zeus and Hercules Books

IMG_8675I have to give a big shout-out to Ann Hollingworth.  She has been a big supporter of my blog and has inspired me to write some of my own books.  It’s one of my long-term dreams to write books about my chihuahuas, Zeus and Hercules, for Reading Recovery.

IMG_8676I’ve finally written a couple books and shared them with my Reading Recovery students as a read aloud.  THEY LOVED THEM!  They have really enjoyed seeing pictures of my dogs and love when they interact with my son, Houston.

While we are no “Bella and Rosie” books, I hope one day I get to share my books beyond the wall of Lowell, but for now I will continue to be inspired by the work of Ann and many other authors around the world!

Happy reading!

What’s Up With 2nd Grade?

IMG_8341I haven’t posted about 2nd grade in a while!  I’m sorry!  We’ve been busy and I don’t always remember to take pictures.  In the IMG_8062last couple of weeks we have followed a similar path as my last semester 3rd graders.  My 2nd graders have made tremendous growth and have moved about a year’s growth in a semester.

We started out with fables!  I read them two fables, then read them a fable I created.  If you read my post about the 3rd grader’s fables, I used the same books.

IMG_8058From there we created our own list of fable ideas.  They came up with a lot of fun and new ideas that I hadn’t heard when 3rd grade created their fables.  We organized our ideas on a graphic organizer before writing and creating our own fable books.

They had a lot of fun creating and sharing their fables with everyone.

This past week we worked on different versions of the same story using Country IMG_8337Mouse and City Mouse.  I read them two different versions and then they read their own version.

We then compared all 3 of the stories using a 3 circle Venn diagram.  It ended up being a little trickier having them doing it on their own so they each had their own chart papers, but we did it together.  We brainstormed ideas together and students were able to put the information they found most important on their own chart.

From there students were asked to compare two things of their choice.  We had Minecraft vs. Lego Batman, zebras vs. horses, and whales vs. sharks.  I was impressed how they went to my library and found books to help support their ideas or if they were confused on something they double checked that they had the correct information.

Next week we’ll move onto some work with dolphins.

IMG_8400We had another Donor’s Choose project fulfilled within the last month and our items are just not starting to finish arriving after being back ordered and then needing to be replaced.

IMG_8401Ms. Acuff’s class wants to thank…

  • Dr. Jim and Jody Mueller
  • Nicole Earle
  • The Yellow Chair Foundation

Thank you for donating money for us to have comfortable furniture to read in AND for donating money for us to have books to read in those comfortable places.

We’ve had to learn some very good skills on how to share and take turns since all of the items to use are hot commodities in my room, but we are extremely blessed and spoiled to have such a wonderfully cozy place to call ours and work to become better readers.

IMG_8402Students have been very eager to get reading since the furniture has come.  It’s much more fun to curl up with a book when you aren’t sitting in the hard, plastic, blue chairs we sit on when we first come to class.

One of my 1st graders got to open the box with the big red rocker and the box was nearly as big as he was. (Photo to left).  It was exciting to get to open up new things.  We’ve had several days which have felt like an early Christmas gift.

IMG_8404So again I want to thank everyone everyone who has donated to this project and to our other projects to help inspire literacy learning to be much more fun and comfortable.  So many opportunities have been opened up to us because of the gracious gifts we keep getting.

IMG_8391And as I close we need to say a little RIP to the yoga ball.  The yoga ball has faithfully served Ms. Acuff’s room for the last 5 years and yesterday it finally breathed its last breath.  The kids were very sad, so it’s a good thing the red rocker arrived today.  The rocker will be a nice new addition to our room in lieu of the yoga ball.

We do have a current project posted on Donors Choose for us to get some new writing supplies for small group instruction and also some new take home book bags so the kids can take books home to read and practice with their families.  Our current book bags are ripped and falling apart after over 5 years of use and being held together with duct tape.  If you want to help us with our newest project please visit our link: http://www.donorschoose.org/project/breathe-life-into-our-supplies/1099491/ (Enter code MALL20 to match up to $20 or INSPIRE to match up to $100–code INSPIRE only will work for our project until Friday, October 18th.  After that please use match code MALL20.)

Choose Your Adventure

IMG_7907Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year!  I am really excited to be back at Lowell again this year for my 5th year!!!  It was SO wonderful to see so many of my students/former students and other Lowell kiddos at back to school night last night and then again this morning.

This year I really hope to get students fired up about reading (even more than I usually hope to get students fired up)  This year I want students to be able to choose their adventure destination with books!

Please contact me if you need any support in helping your child with reading, with book recommendations, or if you have any concerns about your child’s reading progress this year.  I am here for YOU and your CHILD!  Let’s have a great year and get our “read on”!!!


1st grade has been working on problem, solution, characters, and setting in their classrooms.  Today, I decided to do a little comprehension check and incorporate what they’ve been doing in the classroom as a quick little “get up and move” activity.  My 4 boys absolutely loved this activity.

I first had the boys re-read the story Pinky the Pig.  I told them to read carefully as I was going to be asking/telling about certain things that happened in the book later on.  We then went out into the hallway and I put 4 pieces of paper on the lockers in 4 sections of the lockers: Characters, Setting, Problem, Solution.  I had the boys take pieces of paper (although I think tape would work better so no one slips, but I didn’t want to take the extra time since this wasn’t my classroom and couldn’t permanently be there.) and divide the hallway into 4 sections/squares.

I then made a series of statements or questions (I.E. Who is Pinky?) and then said–is Pinky a problem, solution, character, or setting?  The students then had to move to the appropriate square.  Sometimes the students agreed and sometimes they disagreed.  Characters and problems seemed to be the easiest for the students, but for some reason (and it could have been because of the way I phrased the question) the students struggled with setting.  The solution questions made the students really think, but they were able to get those questions relatively easily as well.

The boys absolutely loved hopping into different squares and were all eager to tell their teacher what we had just played once we went back into the classroom to write.  This definitely was a good strategy to use with the kids and I’ll try to incorporate it again at different times throughout the year, but maybe fashion it with different categories as what they are learning will change throughout the year.

3rd Grade: What Stuck With You?

We are continuing to add to our “What Stuck With You?” chart in 3rd grade.  Reflection is such an important piece to the learning puzzle for both students and teachers.  I’m finding that the reflection is a lot more meaningful with my 3rd graders so I’m only doing this chart with them for the time being.  I may try to add 2nd grade back into this chart later on in the year.

Some of the reflections are surface level like “I’ll sound it out”, but some of them go much deeper.  Last week I was teaching a lesson and we were reading the book Animals with Wings.  At the very end of the book the author asks a series of questions regarding the information in the book.  I asked the students to go over that section if they finished before everyone else while I was conferencing with another student.  I heard one of the students read the question and then say, “Oh!  I better go back.”  And out of the corner of my eye I saw him turn to the section where he’d find that information.  Talk about a teachable moment!!!!  I had to stop at that very moment and talk about how that was a strategy excellent readers use.  We read for meaning and to learn about something.  If we aren’t sure of the answer we don’t just shrug our shoulders and say, “Eh!  Oh well!  Maybe next time.”  We have to go back to understand–to comprehend.  So I was thrilled when many of the students wrote on their post it note at the end of the day that going back and re-reading was something that they felt was important and would take back with them to do on their own as a way to help themselves be a better reader and writer.

I feel like this reflection piece has been extremely important for both of us.  For me, because I’m seeing what they value and what they think is important.  For them, because it’s not just “OK group is over.  Let’s close that file in my brain.  Back to my regular life.”  They are transferring back and forth and finding real ways to help them when I’m not breathing down their necks to do it.  I’m allowing them to be independent learners.  And as much as I would love for them to need me forever, I’m proud that I’m giving them strategies to fly on their own.  Perhaps the story should have been called Students With Wings because my babies are flying!

Lowell Bookstore

 Welcome to the Lowell Bookstore!  Located on the stage in the gym, the book store is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:15-8:50. 

Books are priced at $0.25, $0.50, and $1.00.  All are marked with a sticker for their price.

Gift certificates to the bookstore can be purchased in the office and we welcome parents to visit the bookstore so they can see all the wonderful books we have to offer.

Books are organized in baskets according to topic and are labeled with an easy to read/find tag!

We are always welcoming donations to the bookstore with cash to purchase new books or gently used books.  All proceeds go towards the purchase of more books!

You can also trade your book(s) in for another one!  Happy reading, Lowell STARS!