Welcome to the first day of the book study! Today we will be chatting about chapters of 1 and 2 of Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller.

To start at the beginning of this book study with me:
If you are interested in getting college credit from Concordia University for joining this book study, you can get all the details here. It costs $127 and you can join in just by following along and sharing your thoughts in the comments. At the end of the book study, you will have to complete a written assignment summarizing what you learned and how you will apply it.  

Do not forget to make your Book Study Journal! This will come in handy when you go to write your culminating summary!


Chapters 1 & 2

In the introduction, Debbie gives us some insight into her life as she transitioned from a classroom teacher to a consultant. She talks about how her favorite part of the day was after school when she would turn down the lights, shut the doors (probably to ignore chatty co-workers!), and reflect on the day. That's my favorite part of the day, too! When my room is quiet and calm. I can think and make decisions. In the morning, my mind is still asleep. I have a hard time getting going in the morning. So after school is my time to plan, assess, clean, and just be. I can look around the room and reflect on the learning that took place that day. My classroom is my sanctuary.
"I'm convinced that success in the classroom depends less on which beliefs we hold and more on simply having a set of beliefs that guides us in our day-to-day work with children. Once we know who we are and what we believe in the classroom, we become intentional in our teaching, we do what we do on purpose, with good reason. Intentional teachers are thoughtful, reflective people who are conscious of the decisions they make and the actions they take, they live and teach by the principles and practices they believe in and value. " ~ Debbie Miller, page 4
So why read this book? Why do this book study? I've been teaching for 10 years now and I have systems and routines that work for me. When I really thought about my classroom philosophy, I realized I wrote that paper in grad school and my interview response is riddled with buzzwords. I had not actually sat down and written down my current beliefs and values.

"We're professionals, we need to make full use of our professional autonomy." In other words, by studying what the research says and pin-pointing our values ​​and forming opinions about what we believe as teachers, we can engage in academic conversations with colleagues and administration. Many times, we have to prove that we know what we are talking about in order to be taken seriously.

My state adopted a basal reading series program that all schools have to purchase and implement by school year 2015/2016. It's scripted. We all know that the best teaching does not come from the script. Teaching straight from the basal is certainly easier, but is it what all of our kids need? No. Some, yes. But all? Absolutely not. By explicitly exploring our beliefs and values ​​as educators, we can show those in charge that we are professionals and we can be trusted to make good curricular decisions for our students.

On to the discussion questions. Make sure to download the printables above for your journal so you can take notes as you read. I'm going to answer the questions for myself and share my thinking from my journal. Please tell me your thoughts and responses in the comments!

My ideal classroom has soft lighting. There are coordinated colors on baskets, bulletin boards, and other decor. It is organized with minimal clutter. You can tell that the spaces in the room are set-up for the students to use and have access to materials. The library is large and open with a wide range of books in different genres and levels. There is evidence of learning in terms of student writing, artwork, anchor charts, and poetry posted around the room.

I am a huge fan of children sitting at tables in heterogeneous groups and collaborating together. I also like using workshop models where students are working independently so that the teacher can meet one-on-one and with small groups to work on skills. My ideal room would facilitate this kind of small group work.

I want someone to feel calm and invited as the walk in my room. I want it to be obvious that kids are learning and working hard. I want them to see the rigor of the work, but also the fun and creativity of the students.

 I agree with all of Debbie's beliefs about education. 
  • Organized, purposeful, and authentic environment - check!
  •  Choose your words carefully as they affect the children - check!
  • Create engaging lessons - check!
  • Teach workshops with a model and foster independence - check!
  • Use assessment to guide your instruction - check!
  • Utilize student choice - check!
  •  The few I would add:
    • Make decisions based on what is best for children, not what is easiest for adults.
    • Every child deserves an exquisite education

  • What I already do:
    • Use a workshop model for Daily 5, Writing, and Math
    • Have an organized classroom
    • Plan engaging lessons
    • Create small groups in reading and math based on assessment results
    • Integrate student choice whenever possible
  • What I can do better:
    •  Research math workshop models on Pinterest and fine-tune my routines.  Search and read blogs who I know teach with a math workshop model, like Reagan Tunstall.
    • Add more student work and less teacher-store posters.  Or replace with student-made ones after we learn the concept.
    • Choose my words carefully and practice patience.
    •  Integrate tech for more student engagement and motivation.
    • Create a better system for recording formative assessment and teacher observations. Create a conferring notebook and actually use it.

Introduce with manipulatives, pictures, and/or technology.   Read primary source and teacher-written articles.  Have cooperative discussions (pair-share, teach-ok, group-share), practice with partners, and independent practice.

When I make decisions in my classroom, I always think, "Is this what's best for my kids?"  I am a big proponent of decision-making based on what's best for kids, not what's easiest for adults.   I feel that a lot of what's wrong in education is because the adults in charge do not always have the students' best interests in their forethought.   We are in business to educate children.   Our decisions should reflect that. 

Class discussions, evidence of application of concepts in their assignments, interactive notebooks, and assessments.

Pull small groups for re-teaching, whole-class practices in math - keep those centers out a bit longer independent, re-read articles or reviews interactive notebooks, students teach each other through the teach / ok.
If you follow my Facebook page or Instagram, then you will know that I am hosting a Summer Book Study right here on the blog around the book Teaching With Intention by Debbie Miller (click to purchase from Amazon).

I've partnered with Concordia University to bring you an amazing opportunity to earn college credits just for your participation! It only costs $127 - isn't that amazing??  This is a great way to earn more credits and move up your district's pay scale! Make sure to tell your colleagues, the more the merrier!  I'll have more information about earning graduate credits in my next post - promise! 
*Graduate credit is not required for participating - you can follow along for free, as well! :)

There are 8 chapters in this book, so we will focus on 2 chapters a week.  Each week I will post questions and printables for you to add to your very own interactive notebook.  To join, all you have to do is add your thoughts in the comments, or write a blog post if you are a blogger and link up on the weekly linky party. I can't wait to get the discussion started and see what you all think! 

Before we begin, you will need to make your notebook! 

  • Composition book - I got a cute one at OfficeMax
  • Glue - I used ModPodge, since I'm bringing my journal on vacation and wanted it to stay nice
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • White or colored paper - I used AstroBrights brand colored paper
  • Printer
  • Downloadable printables from above

The coffee is optional ;)

First I chose the cover I wanted from the download, printed it, cut it out, and glued it to the front of my journal with ModPodge and a small foam brush.

Then I printed out the tabs page on yellow.  I cut out and glued the "What Do I Value?" header to the first page in my journal.

Next, I cut out and taped the tabs to my pages.  I put tape on the front and the back of each tab to ensure stability.  My journal has 100 pages: I allowed 4 pages per tab, then all the rest are for the Daily Reflection tab at the end.

Here is my journal all completed.  

Go ahead and get started! Make sure to order the book and my first post will be next week! See you then! 
I've been busy moving my classroom and our house the past couple of weeks, I haven't even been able to slow down and enjoy summer yet! But I wanted to share with you what we did during the last week of school!

Students were only in school for 3 days during our last week.  Monday was Memorial Day, so no school.  We did Katie from Teacher to the Core's Memorial Day unit the previous Friday.  It was perfect!

Tuesday we did our writing samples, finished up assessments and assignments, and went on a walking Field Trip to the Lana‘i Culture and Heritage Center, where we learned about Petroglyphs.  We then went back to class and painted our own petroglyphs with hinano nuts, like ancient Hawaiians used to do!

Learning about petroglyphs - ancient Hawaiian rock carvings

Hinano paint brushes {image via}

On Wednesday, we played Minute to Win It from Tonya's free packet, passed out classroom awards (I used these super cute ones from Gladys at Teaching in High Heels), and did more classroom cleaning.

Stacking cups

The winner and only student to complete the task in one minute!

Balancing Fruit Loops on popsicle sticks


Getting ready to stack!

I printed these on colored paper.  The kids loved them!

On Thursday, we had our school-wide awards assembly, kite flying, and field day.  Then I said goodbye! I gave each student a bottle of bubbles with these cute wrappers from my friend Tessa at Tales From outside the Classroom.

My awesome brother sent us Ram-Air Pocket Sled Kite kits, so we got to make our own!  They fly REALLY well, too!

Cute bubbles for summer!

Then on Friday, I finished report cards, finished cleaning my classroom, and checked out of room G6 for the last time! I was on the verge of tears all day long, but I kept it together and left with dignity and grace :)

I'll miss my students and colleagues at Lanai, but I know amazing opportunities await me on Maui.  A hui ho - until we meet again!
Today was the first day I've been able to see my new classroom over on Maui.  And the very first thing I did before even peeking around was to open my gorgeous, brand new rug from Kidcarpet.com! And guess what, you might be able to get one, too! 

Kid Carpets makes factory-direct rugs right here in the USA.  They ship them directly to you and you get to reap the benefits and savings of not buying them through a store or online retailer.  

I had a heck of a time choosing a rug for my new room.  I knew I wanted to incorporate my bright pink, blue, and green library baskets, but then also add more primary colors back into my decor.  I've been chatting with Melanie from Schoolgirl Style and have a great plan for next year's decor (I'll show you when I have more of it ready!)  A rug with a blue base really spoke to me and these were in the running:

 I ended up going for the Fish in the Sea rug, and I'm so glad I did.  Look how beautiful it is! I love the blues and greys with pops of brights and primary colors.  It is so incredible soft, and it's huge! At 7'6"x12' and $279.99, it's such a steal!

My little model loves it, too! 

Now it's your turn for a chance to win a new rug.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter below!  Contest ends on Friday, June 13th at midnight.  I'll be on vacation, so I'll choose a winner as soon as I can :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway