I Can Do It!

I say this with surprise in my voice. I stuck to it. I did it. I wrote for 31 days straight! Woot! Woot! I found that I really enjoyed the writing aspect of my day. It was a part of the day when I could sit and think. I also thought about it during the day as I was teaching or working with students.

I tried to put myself in my students’ shoes today, in fact. I wanted them to write 10 sentences. Four of the sentences had to have action verbs, 3 sentences had to have linking verbs and 3 had to have helping verbs. I asked myself, “Could I do this? Could I write 10 sentences after my lesson today?” My answer was “Yes! I could.” I could write so much more! Why do fourth graders have such a difficult time getting ideas sometimes? Do they lose some of their imagination? Are they too worried about what their peers think?

We write every day so their writing brains should not be lax. Every experience is a potential writing experience. I tell them that all of the time.

This whole writing experience is totally something I can use in my classroom. When my students ask, “Mrs. Roeck, do you write?” I will say, “Yes, I do!” I don’t plan on showing them my blog because it’s something I want to keep personal. I will explain this to them. I do not read everything in their writing notebooks either. Some of it is just for them.

Maybe next year I will be brave and try the Slice of Life for the classroom. It would be a great experience for all of us!



a handful of stars

Excuse my lack of capital letters, but that’s how the title is written, the book by Cynthia Lord. I have just finished this book. My collegeaus and I bought a classroom set for our students to read during our book club times. We have a social issue unit of study based on Common Core standards so we have been “book-collecting” over the last 2 years. During the last two years, I have been trying to read the books we have been purchasing. So in a way this slice is a book review.

While I was reading, I was making connections to what we already teach the students about. We discuss migrant workers, Cesar Chavez and their plight. This book shares some of the life of the blueberry migrant worker of Maine. The social issues this book highlights are friendship, losing a parent, cultural differences, moving around, love for a pet, emotions, working, and growing up.

I have really been pushing students to self-monitor their reading. I have a group that is reading this book right now. As we were discussing the book, they wondered what a blueberry rake was, so we looked it up on their iPads. We all learned what it was, because I had no idea either. We do also have some great discussions based on the three sentence starters of I think, I feel, and I wonder.

So if you are looking for a great 4th grade chapter book to read look no further than, a handful of stars. It even kept this 42 year old entertained. Enjoy!


Why Do I Get So Nervous?

My principal, two of my coworkers and myself had to present today. We went to WSRA in February. One of our district’s requirements of going to a conference is to present the knowledge you gained to the rest of the staff. I knew that going in.

I was fine until Monday. That night I was working on the material that I was going to present. The usual questions flow through your mind: What if I sound like a doof? What if I say “um” a lot? What if I don’t make sense? What if I talk too soft? Too loud? AAAAAAHHHHH!

I told myself to just calm down that this wasn’t my first rodeo. I have been teaching for 15 years now and this isn’t the first time I had to present. I present everyday in my classroom, but these were my coworkers!  These people could judge me! AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

First Tanya presented.(My leg was shaking.) Then Amy.(I was chewing the inside of my lip.)  Then Julie.(Then I was tapping my fingers.) Finally, me! I presented my material for about 15 minutes long. I think I made sense. I don’t think I said “um” a whole lot. I don’t think I talked too soft or too loud. I hope they learned something! I am done! AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!




I Have a Book Problem

I buy a lot of books for my classroom, for myself, my husband, and for my boys. I shop Goodwill, St. Vincent’s, book sales, and bookstores. I like to give my students an opportunity to have more than one choice to read during their reading time. I just like to collect books.  I add new books to my classroom library probably twice a month. I do weed some out as I add in new. Also, if I notice that a book isn’t being read, I put it in a closet to introduce again at a different time.

I love to put books in my students’ hands. If I see them reading a certain author, I show them my bin of books by that same author, the same goes for genres. I love to talk books with anybody. I love to make any kind of recommendation I can. I love to get kids excited about books.

So, today two of my students each came to me with a book of their own. “Mrs. Roeck, you can borrow this book. I know you love the Titanic.”  One of my reluctant readers said, “Mrs. Roeck, remember the book I was telling you about at teacher conferences. I brought it today so you can read it.” I believe I looked at both of them with awe in my eyes. They were listening to me! They were willing to share their good books! The angels sang!! All of our book discussions have paid off! Isn’t this what we all work so hard for??

So I may have a book problem, but it pays off ten-fold if it takes a non-reader and makes them a reader! Wahoo!!!

Hey Mom! What’s for Supper?

This always seems like my teenage sons’ mantra. Anybody else have this problem? Does anyone have a solution? I don’t really.

I have tried meal planning. You know, like laying out the whole month, grocery shopping for the whole month, and then losing your plan.  I just can’t seem to stick with the plan. Then I tried a week at a time, but then I forget that we weren’t going to be home on some nights, and then days get pushed ahead into the next week and then I just am not feeling those meals. Does this happen to you?

I recently had an epiphany. My meal planning is a lot like my lesson planning. I plan out the whole month, casually. Then I really plan out a week at a time, then stuff happens that I didn’t plan for and then I just am not feeling those plans anymore so I completely switch it up. Woah! So now what do I do? Nothing! Life is about being flexible. If you can’t be flexible then you are going to be in a world of hurt. You just create more stress and anxiety in your life if you really think those plans need to be followed to the “T”. I feel bad for new teachers, because I think a lot of them feel this way, and we veteran teachers are kind of like, “meh”  with a shrug of our shoulders.

Don’t get me wrong. I have plans. I am not a free-for-all type of teacher or mom. I do not procrastinate. I just know that after years of planning and teaching, life happens. We all need to remember this. Some of my fellow teachers, even the veteran ones, have a hard time letting go. I feel bad for them because there are lots of innovative ways to teach nowadays and they are stuck in what they have always done. There is so much out in the internet world to try in the classroom, so many great ways to teach.

Another epiphany! If I don’t know what to cook that night for supper, I pull it off the internet. I love trying new things. I have found many new favorites off of Allrecipes.com. I think my family appreciates this, just like my students do.

So I don’t really ever have a solution of how to keep food in my teenage boys’ bellies, but I do try. I think this will be an ongoing battle. I wonder what I am going to make for supper tonight…


I Need to…

I need to get the licenses in for the dogs.

I need to get caught up on bakery bookwork.

I need to change the load from the washer to the dryer.

I need to put clothes away in the closet.

I need to write out checks for the bills.

I need to put invoices into the computer for that bakery bookwork.

I need to get a deposit ready.

I need to work on grades.

I need to finish my presentation for Wednesday.

I need vacuum the living room.

I need to scrub the floor in the kitchen and bathroom.

I need to take a shower and get ready for tonight’s outing.

What I’m going to do is this…

I am going to take my dogs for a walk. Then I am going to take a shower and get ready for a night on the town with some really great friends.  🙂



Living at School

I don’t really live there, but it sure feels like it lately. Last week, we had Literacy night from 6-8pm. I didn’t get home until 8:15ish. Some of my coworkers got home even later than that. Last night we had Parent Teacher Conferences. Again, I was at school past 8. Next week Friday, we are hosting the Jump Rope for Heart Dance for the kids. That’s going to be a long night for me. I usually go home on Fridays and just crash. I think a lot of teachers do. So as I grumbling about this I am also thankful for the district I work in. We really do a lot of extras for the students. That shows that we are a dedicated group of people. We want people to see the great work we are doing with their children and future community members. This couldn’t be done without the work we all put into it. So as much as I complain, I do look at the other side and realize how blessed I am.