My work with Scholastic has been a fabulous experience, but the opportunities it has brought forward have really made my head spin (in the best possible way). Today, we participated in a live webcast with Taylor Swift, who talked about her life as a reader and a writer. Last week, we recorded a question in a third grade class at my school, and Taylor answered it today. It was an experience that made the kids giggle and the adults get teary-eyed, and it was an experience that I know none of us will ever forget. The webcast has been archived, so I invite you to share in the experience. My school pops up about the 19-minute mark, but the whole thing is a big bowl of happy. Watch it all if you have time. She even gives a mini-concert at the end! 🙂
I know I haven’t updated in a while, but I’ve been busy with my latest project. I’m now a weekly blogger for Scholastic’s Top Teaching! The blog redesign hasn’t happened yet, but the posts are beginning to go up! I’m excited to be part of this fabulous team. Check it out!
Technically, my summer has been over for two weeks now, but I’m still in a bit of denial. We have a JumpStart Summer School program at my school, and I absolutely love it. It started a couple of weeks ago, and it’s a great way for the invited kids (and us teachers) to get back in the swing of things! The teachers are all bravely fighting the battle of the “summer slide”, and I know we’ll have great results.
I also taught six workshops in the last two weeks (whew!) on assesing readers with a notebook. I taught sessions for teachers of Kindergarten through 5th grade. On my campus, we are going to try notebooks at every grade level this year, so I was excited to begin processing this work with some teachers from around my district. I added just a few charts from those workshops – you can check them out here. (My apologies for the quality of the poorly-lit iPhone pictures.)
I found several scripted minilessons that I’d forgotten about on my iPad, so I will add those soon.
Hope you are having a fabulous summer! I’m headed back to New York City tomorrow for a training with Scholastic – stay tuned for more info on that! 🙂
So sorry that the site was down for a few days. I had a lot of hits this month and exceeded my “unlimited” bandwidth. Luckily, it resets every month, so we’re back in business! (Where on earth did August come from, by the way?)
For the past few months, I’ve had my website up in two places. MobileMe is officially going away at the end of this month, so I took down the older version of my site that was published through that service. It was still getting lots of hits, so I know this will break some links and pins, but I hope everyone can find their way to the new page – that’s where all the updates are anyway! 🙂
If you asked me to name the most common request I get from visitors to julieballew.com, I could do so without a bit of hesitation. Minilessons. At least once a day, I get an email asking for more specific lessons to go with the charts I’ve posted.
I am fortunate to work in a school district with a robust, thoughtful curriculum, but unfortunately, I don’t have permission to share the curriculum documents with the world wide web. I can however, share lessons that I’ve taught based on that curriculum. Last year, we focused on scripting minilessons. We didn’t ask teachers to script every single lesson, but many of them found that the lessons they scripted went MUCH better. To model this good habit, I began scripting any lesson I taught, whether it was for reading workshop, writing workshop, or a strategy group.
Soon, I will add a new page to my site, where I’ll post some of those scripted minilessons. I’ll be sure to include the grade level in which I taught each lesson, but they are all adaptable for any grade level. I hope this is helpful for you. Let me know what you think, and I will add to it.
Happy summer! 🙂
Update (6/6/12): Minilessons are up! Click here to see them.