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The Ron Clark Academy.... an experience like no other!

I've been teaching for 18 years and I love it, but if we are being totally honest we know that every once in awhile the negatives sneak in and start robbing us of the joy of teaching. We have to find ways to keep us focused on the positives and the reasons why we teach.  I took two years off to travel and present at conferences.  I love getting to meet teachers  and share my love for teaching, but I've decided that I'm ready to get back to what I love most. So, next year I'm going back to teaching K!  After spending some time at the Ron Clark Academy I have never felt more energized and excited about teaching!!

It is a magical experience from the very first moment you enter and I know that I can't even begin to do it justice.

The school looks AMAZING and I just wanted to explore every nook and cranny because there is no way to take it all in.  Once I stepped inside the classrooms and observed the teachers I was floored by the level of student engagement and how passionate the teachers were.  My big take back is to use lots of MEANINGFUL  music and movement to keep the students ACTIVELY learning. 

" In my classroom I spend a lot of time rapping lessons, dancing, jumping on desks, standing on my head, and doing whatever it takes to get my students excited and enthusiastic about learning." 
-Ron Clark  The Excellent 11

Even though the level of rigor was through the roof you could see that the student's were having fun while learning... and isn't that what it's all about?  I've always been a firm believer that LEARNING SHOULD BE JOYFUL!  If you are forced to teach with a basal I would encourage you to find a way to add in some activities that bring joy and excitement to what you are teaching.  
If no one is looking throw it out! 

Kim Bearden shared her story and she had me in tears.  I don't even have adequate words to describe what a wonderful person she is.  She not only talks the talk, she walks the walk.  Her love for teaching and for her students is contagious!  

Another take back is the feeling that everyone (students, staff, teachers, parents) truly care for one another.  In class if a student struggled to answer a question the other students cheered them on and encouraged them to give it a try.  They cheered for each other in times of success and in times of struggle.  Wow!  I'm getting teary eyed just typing this.  Could you imagine how wonderful our world would be if this was the norm?  

"At our school, we clap and cheer for one another, and we embrace each others' good fortunes.  We teach our children that we are in this together and that we must help each other find success."
-Kim Bearden Crash Course

Okay, so I might be a bit biased here because Hope King is one of my dearest friends but I was blown away by her teaching.  We were only able to observe her for about 15 minutes but I took away so many strategies that I can incorporate into my classroom.  Hope hasn't written and published a book with a publishing company like Ron and Kim have but she does have a wonderful resource on TPT called, Student Engagement: A Guide to Teaching Outside the Box.  This book matches perfectly with my Philosophy of Teaching.  Learning should be joyful, meaningful & engaging!  I want my students to love coming to school each day and be excited when to tell their parents what they learned when they hop in the car every afternoon.

Do you want to see some pictures of Hope's classroom?

One word... AMAZING!
These are the doors that lead into her room.  When they open up you are led through a doorway that looks like you are stepping through the pages of books.

These are the pictures of the inside of her classroom.
No Words!

We all had to climb in her tree house and get a pic. :)

Friday evening we were able to attend the first basketball game in the new gym.

The energy and enthusiasm in the crowd was contagious!
Everyone was cheering on the team and their level of sportsmanship was out of this world.
They even clapped for the other team. 
Ron Clark was there cheering them on and there was very little time to sit.
At one point he looked back at us during the game and when he noticed us sitting he fussed at us and told us that there was no sitting allowed.  Everyone must stand and cheer.  If I could bottle up his energy and sell it.....

Must reads....



If you ever have the chance to attend the Ron Clark Academy I highly recommend it! 
Your passion for teaching will be reignited!  
Click on the image below to check it out!

Guiding Readers Giveaway!

Oh... the power of interactive writing!    
Couple that with reading comprehension and responding to literature, and you will have time well spent!
Guiding Readers January
Guiding Readers January
Guiding Readers January
Winners choice:  Deanna/Deedee Collaborative unit:  

We have loved reading the feedback from our Guiding Readers January Unit.  
We selected a few to share!

We will select a winner from those photos submitted
Just follow along for a chance to win!

By the way... February's unit is done and READY!

Yes, we do plan on bundling them once all of the units have been completed.  
We have learned that growing bundles are very difficult to manage.  If you buy the units within the first few days of them being released, you will actually receive a better discount, so we hope that helps!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February Guiding Readers Organizational Tools

You can click below to download the Organizational Tools for this unit.
To see how I organized the January unit click HERE.
Note:  I will add these to the file on TPT as soon as I get a chance so that all of your resources are in one file.

MORE GOOD NEWS.... Deedee and I are in the process of adding Comprehension Assessments for each story to the units.  We just finished January so you will want to go and download the revised unit and snag those!  February assessments will be added to the unit sometime tomorrow.  

February Guiding Readers Book List

Happy Thursday, Y'all!  We've had a lot of requests for the book list for the February unit.
Each month will usually include 4 books but for February we are including a 5th book for our friends who aren't Americans and don't study Abraham Lincoln.  :)

I'm including the Amazon links below as well as the links to 4 of the books online.
I'm including the online books so that you can preview them.
You will still want to purchase the books or check them out from the library if you don't already have them, because many of the lessons require you to look closely at a certain page or illustration.

This book is available on YouTube

We also found this book on YouTube

This is the only book that we weren't able to find an online version of.

This book is also available on YouTube and it has great sound effects!

This book is available on YouTube but some of the pictures look  a little fuzzy.

If  you have book suggestions that you would love for us to include for other units please feel free to leave us a comment below!  

Guiding Readers January: Getting it ORGANIZED!

Hey There!  Happy Hump day! We've had a few questions about how we organize our new 
Guiding Readers units so I thought I'd do a quick blog post to show you!

These are the supplies I used to organize mine.
I used a 1" binder
sheet protectors
Binder pocket (one pocket holds all four books)
ziploc baggies
Clear packing tape
Printables for the spine and fronts of sheet protectors click HERE to get yours.

First, I put our cutie patootie cover (thanks to Graphics From the Pond for our custom graphics)
in the binder and added the label to the spine.

I put the anchor charts that will be used throughout the unit in the front pocket until I need them.
Inside the binder pouch are all 4 books for the unit.
Two of my books are hardcover and they all still fit.  YAY!

Next, Hole punch all of the pages for the unit and added them to the binder.
(NOTE:  I saved a step by running the pages on hole punched paper)

This unit is organized into 4 weeks worth of lessons. 
So to divide the weeks up I used sheet protectors.
Inside the sheet protector are all of the retelling pieces, phonics charts and misc. items
 that I need for that weeks lessons.
I used clear tape to add the graphic with the title of the book to the front of the protector.

We are so excited about these units and we can tell by the feedback that others are too!
We just got started working on the February units and we can't wait to share them with you.

If you haven't checked out these units yet you can click on the image below!


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