Monthly Archives: September 2014

Using Reader’s Theater During Intervention…

It was the first day of Autumn yesterday! As a teacher in the primary grades, I just wanted to read a good book with my class, bring in apples and make applesauce with them, which can of course, lead to a slew of writing activities after.  However, sneaking in a Fall-related activity can induce high levels of anxiety despite the positive effect it may have on a child.

The classroom has lost much of its pizzazz due to the overwhelming amounts of protocol teachers have to follow.  A teacher needs to be resourceful and manage his or her time wisely, which is a difficult feat when adhering to strict time schedules.  I have discovered that intervention blocks allow for some creativity and some lost pizzazz.  How?  One way to bridge learning gaps in reading is using Reader’s Theater, a research-based technique, in which students can act out parts.  It can become a truly fun activity that invites one’s creativity, in addition to honing on reading comprehension, fluency, and specifically prosody.  I particularly like using this strategy with children who have emotional and or behavioral disorders because it allows them to also focus on their socialization skills while improving their reading.

So, we might not all be able to make applesauce, but we can take out the puppets and create our own classroom theater!


New Girl’s Healthy Season 4 Premiere

We know that laughter is known to be a remedy for a variety of emotional states, but it’s a little better than that.  According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter’s short term benefits encompasses the stimulation of several organs such as your lungs and heart, it relaxes you, and promotes positive circulation and muscle relaxation. The long-term effects of laughter include improvement of your immune system, acting as a natural painkiller, helping you cope with difficult situations, and making you happier.  So, you might understand why I have incorporated its health benefits here….

New Girl is insanely funny.  This cast has you laughing out loud throughout the 30 minutes.  I can honestly say that two minutes in, I said “I had been without them for too long”.  The season 4 premiere was great.  The plot was centered around their final wedding of the summer and ensuring they all left with someone.  Zooey Deschanel’s character, Jess, opens the episode by saying they were going in as a sex fist and ending the episode saying they were leaving with just a sex finger.  She used a voice she named “Vagina Voice” which, as I write about it, has me laughing right now (I’ve heard writing can also be beneficial for your health). One of the other characters, Winston, advises Jess that since there is only one eligible bachelor at the reception, she was to “Joe Biden” him and just “be there” every time he turned around.  Since I will never be able to do it justice, I won’t go into Winston’s advise about foursomes to Nick and Schmidt using the salt and pepper shakers, Jess’ YMCA dance in the men’s room, or Coach’s “chocolate pocket”.

Go add laughter to your life and watch it on Tuesdays on Fox at 9 p.m. EST, and please go find and watch the season 4 premiere.  With everything that’s going on in the world today, we really need to take time to laugh and enhance the quality of our lives.  It may sound silly, but take some time for you, and go and double-over laughing at this wonderful cast!


Resourceful Teachers in an Ineffective System

As the summer came to a sad end, the back-to-school hustle and bustle has been in full throttle.  You can’t go to any place that sells paper, composition notebooks, pens or pencils because the lines have been outrageous and the crowds unnerving.  Yet there’s nothing like that smell of school supplies.  Teachers are a significant part of those crowds buying their own supplies on a limited budget.  In fact, in certain districts, teachers are just being asked to confirm their addresses in order to receive supply money in a few weeks, which would put us in October and they’ve been in school since August and haven’t even received paper.  You do the math (just in case math isn’t your strong suit, by now some teachers have spent an average of $500 of their own money for this new school year alone).

Teachers have to constantly make magic happen for supplies and educational resources.  Many schools and classrooms have been without textbooks, but teachers are still being held accountable for the learning happening in the classroom despite not being provided with the basics needed to teach. Thank goodness for Google and that teachers are resourceful creatures.  There are websites that are major supports, and I would like to acknowledge them at this moment and perhaps explore their effectiveness individually at a later time.  Ed-Helper has a wide range of printables available in many subjects and many grade levels, which you can customize; this is a wonderful site and a huge life saver.   Pinterest provides a wealth of how-to’s to build your classroom, for lesson plans, you name it, Pinterest has it, and often it will take you to another useful site, Teachers Pay Teachers.  There’s also Discovery to help build and teach science lessons, Khan Academy to reinforce a variety of subjects, and  Read Think and Share My Lesson that offer a wide variety of standards-based lesson plans.  Let’s not forget the often unsung heroes who help tremendously: YouTube and Google!

So there you go…some useful sites if you’re expected to pull a rabbit out of a nonexistent hat!


Trader Joe’s

In my mind, Etta James’ At Last is playing and I seem to be gliding through a field of daisies…where am I? At Trader Joe’s.  What is it if you haven’t ventured through its doors?  A grocery store chain from the West coast that finally brought one store here to South Florida a little over a year ago.  This store is unique in a number of different ways…

The folks working inside have a hippiesh feel and they are more than happy to help you.  The food, one might think is expensive, but check again because it’s actually cheaper than many of the typical grocery stores available, but it has wonderful little things like milk and meats without hormones, fair-trade coffee, a variety of foods that are healthier for you yet reasonably priced…please finf the sweet potato gnocchi in their freezer section and try it or their unsweetened dried mango, their cereals are so wonderful and cheap…just go and see what I’m talking about…oh and their simmer sauces like the curry or marsala simmer sauces are so good.  I’m going to stop…just go and discover your own favorites.  Then there’s their wine and beers.  Good wines, great prices.  I almost don’t want to tell you about my favorite area because it’s already difficult enough to get because it sells out so quickly…they have Boatswain beers that are $2.49 for each bottle that is a little more than a pint of deliciousness.

Some people go to therapy or a bar when they need to decompress, I go to Trader Joe’s.  Go and see what I’m talking about.

Here’s their information:

Trader Joe’s Pinecrest
9205 S Dixie Hwy
Miami, FL 33156 ‎
Grocery Trading Hours:
Mon-Sun: 8am – 9pm