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Reading in a Winter Wonderland

Put on a scarf and pour yourself some hot cocoa! It's time for our 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland link up!  Found at the end of this post is a "map" of The Reading Crew blogs participating, so you can hop through them all at once, visit some today and some later in the week, or see what best matches your literacy needs. 

On each blog, you will see a word in blue font. This is the blog's mystery word. Please be sure to record them because you will need each word for a five point entry in our raffle. To help you keep track, you can print and use this form. We are raffling off two wonderful prizes. We are giving away a copy of each book featured in our posts to two winners (K-2 group) and the (3-up group). Each prize package will include 12 books (K-2) and 13 books (3-up). I must say that I am SWOONING over these winter books. Some are old favorites, but many are new to me, including my selection Over and Under the Snow

Each blogger has shared their winter-themed book and lesson idea along with a resource. This may be a forever freebie or may be free for a limited time. Please take note of this as you visit the blogs. 

Again, we welcome you to our blogs and wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.

Over and Under the Snow was written by Kate Messner.  Kate is a former middle school teacher and award-winning author.  My favorite fact I've learned about this author is that she wrote the first draft of this book on a school bus on the way home from a 7th grade snowshoe field trip in the Adirondacks.  Not only was it written on a bus, but scribbled in bumpy bus writing on the back of an attendance sheet! I'm usually gripping my bottle of Dramamine, and praying I don't get sick on the bus ride during a field trip! This author actually mapped out an award-winning book!

Though this book paints a beautiful picture of the winter season, I have mixed feelings about the cold. I am the girl wearing sweaters and scarves when it drops below 70 here in Texas.  On the other hand, I love the changes that winter brings, especially with holiday traditions and having a great excuse to wrap up in a cozy blanket.  

Messner shares, 
"Over the snow, the world is hushed and white. But under the snow exists a secret kingdom of squirrels and snow hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals that live through the winter safe and warm, awake and busy, under the snow. Discover the wonder and activity that lies beneath winter’s snowy landscape in this magical book."

There really isn't any better way to describe this book than magical! When I first read this book to a group of second graders, I thought we'd never make it to the end. The illustrations are so beautiful, and the kids made so many connections as we were reading about animals who Hibernate in the winter that I lost track of what we were writing on our anchor chart! The second grade boys were especially interested in wondering what the fat bullfrogs might be dreaming about!

Before reading our book, I would invite students to share their schema related to animals in winter. Using sticky notes to share our schema, we will revisit the anchor chart after reading the story and completing the QR Code activity.  

Keep in mind that I teach 1st-4th graders, and I often adapt aspects of a read aloud lesson to fit that particular grade level.  My 1st and 2nd graders would spend more time with the Animals in Winter anchor chart than my 4th graders. 

My 4th graders would then revisit our interactive notebook entry related to imagery. I would explain that as we read today we are noticing what we visualize in our minds as we read the story keeping our five senses in mind.  I would remind students that good readers listen to the words and create pictures in their minds to go with the words. We would also revisit our thinking stem anchor chart and talk about how to describe what we visualize using complete sentences with details.

Focusing on imagery is one of my favorite ways to help students make connections with their reading and writing. As an intervention teacher, the more I expose my students to quality mentor texts like this one, the better they will be at creating images as independent readers and writers. 

I love the author's use of "a whole secret kingdom" and would use this as a discussion point to talk about what other connections we can make to what might lie beneath the snow and ground. 

My freebie includes informational links and QR Code Task cards related to the animals found in Over and Under the Snow.  Each animal listed also has a link to an information page students can use to research and record findings.  Each QR code will take the student to vivid images or videos of that animal.  I plan to use the set of QR Task Cards as an independent or partner station after reading the book together as a class.  This will give my students an opportunity to make connections between what we've just read, and the new information from a non-fiction online source.

I've also included a list of vivid verbs to focus on when teaching imagery, a page that can be use to create an illustration or diagram, and a fact sheet for students to record any interesting information learned about one of the animals as they complete their research.

If you are unfamiliar with QR Codes, FlapJackEd has a great Youtube Tutorial to give you a step-by-step guide on how to use QR Codes in the classroom. 
Pin for Later:

Don't forget! My mystery word is Hibernate. You can enter it onto your sheet or into the rafflecopter below. Good luck to you, and I hope you'll visit NotJANE again soon!

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Reality Check

Happy Holiday Greetings Everybody!

I am blissfully into day one of my 9 day Thanksgiving Break. That's right. After (I don't even know how many) weeks of what feels like 24/7 school, we've made it to our first real break. I am SUPER Thankful for a full week off because an 8 hour drive to visit family can't be done over the weekend.

Mom and dad, get the waffle iron ready.

Wait, this is a mindful eating post.

Ok. Let's do some real talk.  I have shared over the years on my blog my ups and down with running and my love to eat.all.the.things.  It is no secret that I have self-control issues when it comes to food. I have tried and majorly failed at Whole 30 more than once, and have really slacked on exercise since moving back to San Antonio.  Excuses are like ________ everybody's got one. I don't have any other excuse than my priorities have been out of whack.

I read about Dee Dee and Rachelle's challenge last week, and it gave me a reality check. I always joke that I have reverse body dysmorphia. I see myself as the healthier/thinner me from more years ago than I'd like to count.  Then leave it to a non-IG filtered photo to snap me back to reality.

What worked?

I found an accountability partner and have made a plan.  (I love you Sandy!)
We set a food/calorie goal, step goal for our Fitbits, and will use SnapChat to cheer each other on. Although today's snaps were all about Baylor vs. OkState...


I used MyFitnessPal and only stuck to one food goal of no dairy.  Let's just say we've got problems...
This week I will have no excuse for not being more mindful of what I'm eating. I have few work distractions to get in my way. There is time to sleep. I can exercise each day. Also, going home for the holiday means mom will make sure I eat my veggies!

Looking Ahead...

I realize the challenge includes sharing my food log with others! GASP.  I can do this. #openbook

I am working on a post about how I hope to maximize my time off to plan for the month ahead, and The Mindful Eating challenge will definitely be part of my planning.

Being a teacher is hard emotionally and physically, and if we don't take steps to stay healthy, then we cannot be our best self for our students.  I love my job and school, and I want to show up each day with the energy and enthusiasm my students deserve.  Feeling better is big piece of the puzzle. Be sure to let me know in the comments below if you have any tips for getting in 15K steps or fitting in enough veggies and water each day!

If you don't already follow me on Instagram, you can go there to see more of my shenanigans or head over to Twitter if you're all business. ;)

Currently November 2015

November you are HERE! For some reason the first thing that comes to my mind is it is time to renew my vehicle registration.  How festive.

I'm linking up with my friend Farley to share my Currently status.

I'm LISTENING to my favorite podcast, and they are talking about taking chances with love. The story is great! One person shared how she more or less made a decision to fly to the UK because she was convinced it was her real-life Rom Com moment. Oh what a funny world we live it.  My weekend has been one big Rom Com movie moment, if you are the character who stays home alone and does laundry and doesn't wash their hair. Oh wait, this is getting weird.  On to LOVING!

I am LOVING my new OSMO iPad toy. I don't know how to explain it exactly, but it has a mirror extension piece for your iPad camera and it can see the letter or number tiles placed below which interacts with the app. I shared this photo on Instagram @notjaneedu because I love how vivid the images are with each word. My teacher friend in Houston shared you can even create your own word lists! THIS has me excited, because as you can see, the word FARM tripped up my sweet little learners. Oh dear. I have my work cut out for me. 

I'm THINKING about a new project I have sat on for months. I had a dream about it last night, and I don't know about you but my dreams are usually vivid so this kicked my motivation into high gear. All that to say, if you have a goal you've placed on the backburner for a few months due to the whole back-to-school nonsense, it's time to bring it out and stare at it for awhile! 

I'm WANTING to run now that it isn't 900 degrees.  My old running buddies are long gone- anyone up for a turtle-paced jog?

I NEED to clean because COMPANY IS COMING. That company would be the sister I never had- Sandy from ELA Everyday!!!! We are going to the Region 20 Tech Field Day here at Fort Sam Houston ISD on November 7th! You should check it out! 

I think my friend Farley meant for us to share a yummy on the last box, and I too love Cornbread Stuffing. Now I want to FFWD to Thanksgiving break so I can go to my parents and proceed to eat without stopping for four days. 

I am THANKFUL for each of you who take time to read and share with other teachers. Have a lovely day!