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Happy Cesar Chavez Day!

Cesar Chavez Day

Linking with Sheila from Book Journeys.

Happy Cesar Chavez day!  If you're looking for a book to read to your students, I love Harvesting Hope.  I would say its best for 3-5  grades.

Illustrations by Yuyi Morales.  Woot, woot!

The book gives some background on his history.  They had a beautiful Adobe home in Arizona, which they lost.  That's when they had to move to California to find work.

Cesar had a hard time in school.  He dropped out in eighth grade to work full time to help the family.

When he grew older and saw the injustices, he decided to try to inform the people and get them to work together.  He would travel all over trying to convince people to band together and protest non-violently.

During a grape boycott, he and others marched 75 miles from Delano, CA to the capital of Sacramento to protest the working conditions.

My only dispute with the book is that there is no mention of Dolores Huerta.  She worked closely with Cesar Chavez and was an important part of this movement, too.

Today, Cesar Chavez day is a state holiday in California, Colorado and Texas.  President Obama did proclaim March 31 as Cesar Chavez day, though it is not a Federal holiday.

Si se puede!!!

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IMWAYR: Brown Girl Dreaming

Monday Linky from Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers!

by Jacqueline Woodsen

I just finished this and it just wowed me.  It's written in narrative prose.  It's so powerful.  It's a collection of the author's own memories growing up in the 60's and 70's as an African American.  She has her feet in two worlds: New York City and South Carolina.  It details her thoughts about growing up in these places during the Civil Rights era.

I loved the section entitled The Other Woodsen which will resonate with anyone who had a brilliant older sibling and always came up short.

Another section I loved was:


I am not my sister. 
Words from the books 
   curl around each oth-
make little sense 
I read them again 
and again, the story 
settling into memory. 
   Too slow 
the teacher says. 
Read faster. 
Too babyish, 
the teacher says. 
Read older. 
But I don’t want to read 
   faster or older or 
any way else that might 
make the story disappear 
   too quickly from 
   it’s settling 
inside my brain, 
slowly becoming 
a part of me. 
A story I will remember 
long after I’ve read it for 
   the second, third, 
tenth, hundredth time.

Woodson, Jacqueline (2014-08-28). Brown Girl Dreaming (Newbery Honor Book) (p. 226). Penguin Young Readers Group. Kindle Edition. 

How beautiful was that?  Something we need to remember this in the the age of reading levels.  Don't limit your kids.  We need to allow our students to read outside of their levels.  Sometimes they need to reconnect to those primary books that are so meaningful to them and sometimes they need to read older books because they are motivated.  Let them fly!

Thinking about Mentor texts?  Read this!!


I loved my friend. 

He went away from me. 
There’s nothing more to 
The poem ends, 
Soft as it began— I
 loved my friend. 
   —Langston Hughes 

   I love my friend 
and still do 
when we play games 
we laugh. I hope she 
   never goes away from 
   because I love my 
   —Jackie Woodson

Woodson, Jacqueline (2014-08-28). Brown Girl Dreaming (Newbery Honor Book) (p. 245). Penguin Young Readers Group. Kindle Edition. 

Isn't that the most powerful example of using a mentor text?  What a simple, beautiful way to show kids.

This book has won the John Newbery Honor Medal and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Fiction In YA and the National Book Award.  Here's her speech at the National Book Award.   All well deserved.  Congratulations, Ms. Woodsen on a triumph.

Celebrating with a Spring in our Step Linky!

Celebrating with a Spring in our Step Linky!

   Gosh, have I been on TPT for two years bow?  Wow, time flies.  I had such a great time last year at the TPT conference.  I can't wait to go again!!

      So happy for Spring Break!  Ours just began and it came at just the right time.  Spending a lot of time at Disneyland and with friends.  Also taking a short trip to Seattle with my mom to visit my  niece.  It'll be fun!

     Since I was thinking about the conference, here are my notes on the TPT Seller's Conference.  I learned a lot and created a powerpoint to share my new learning!

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Twitter: @Lisa_teacher


What's a Growth Mindset and how do I teach it?

What's a Growth Mindset and 

how do I teach it?

So first, let's start with some background.  It's an idea founded by Dr. Carol Dweck from Stanford University.  A fixed mindset is the idea that things are the way they are.  You're born good at something or not.  There's no room for growth.  A growth mindset is the idea that you can develop ability through hard work and effort.  You can become good at anything, if you work hard enough.  If a student has a growth mindset, they build confidence, perseverance and ultimately success.

So I've been doing some work with my kids on changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.  I thought I'd share some of the things I've done.

So in my class I started with quotes.   I found a lot on Practical Savvy.  I put up quotes like:
  1. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did. Mark Twain
  2. It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. Confucius
  3. It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. Walt Disney
  4. It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
I gave each group of four kids one quote and had them discuss it.  Then they separated and formed new groups.  They shared their quotes, their groups thinking and what it has in common with the other quotes.

After that, I explained the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset.  I then gave them an activity where they took fixed mindset thinking and turned them into growth mindset.  You can find that activity here.  

I then put up posters showing how to change fixed mindset thinking into growth mindset.  I made them with nice frames.

Another activity is to have them research successful people who had to overcome obstacles to get where they were.  People like Walt Disney, Michael Jordan and Steve Jobs.  You can find that activity here on TeachersPayTeachers. 

Best of all I created a growth mindset bundle!  If you want it all:
Research, Quick pre-assessment- pick a side, Read aloud possibilities, The Most Magnificent Thing, Neuroplasticity, Activity: Your Brain!, Activity: Let’s make a neuron!, Successful People and Their Struggles, For the teacher: Moving from Person Praise to Process Praise, and the Change Your Mindset posters- 11 separate png’s  (This bundle includes my previous products:  Fixed vs. Growth Mindset Activities and Change Your Mindset: From a fixed to a growth mindset posters)

I've found these lessons to be the most successful with my kids. I hope you find them useful too!

As a teacher, I want to be sure I'm framing my feedback using growth mindset. Am I using process praise (praising the effort) such as "You must have worked hard on that!" or person praise (praising the student) such as "You're so smart."? 

Process Praise & Process Feedback
Things to do everyday, often, or as applicable

Think about whether or not you did these things...

  • Process Praise-Praising the work or effort of the student, which led to the result/outcome e.g. “You really studied hard for your math test and your improvement it.” 
  • Provided feedback when students struggled despite strong effort 
  • Provided feedback when they struggle and need help with strategies
  • Provided feedback when students made progress toward a learning goal
  • Provide feedback when students succeeded with strong effort 

So that's where we are right now.  Funny, the other day, a student said," Miss, E--- has a fixed mindset!  He said he can't do it and he hasn't even tried!"  So I asked, "What would be a better way to say it?"  She said, "He could have said, I'm worried I won't do well but I'll try my best."  Something is sticking!!

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Cool apps: Subtext

Have you used Subtext?  I love this app!  

     First of all, it's free.  Which I love!  It's a collaborative iPad app for reading and thinking about text. You can share texts very easily with it.   It allows students to work collaboratively around text. Great for close reading and sharing texts.  Kids can highlight and tag their notes.  They can keep that private or share with others.
     In discussions, you get four options:  comment, multiple choice, true/false, or polls.  Ms. Tripsa has a cool blog post with pictures to help you out.  
     I love that it is embedded in Edmodo, too.  That helps those classrooms that don't have access to iPads.
     Check out this cool tool.  You won't look back!

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Twitter: @Lisa_teacher

Women's History Month: Frida Kahlo

It's Women's History Month!

Why not do some lessons on Frida Kahlo?

Frida was a Mexican painter known for her surreal paintings and self-portraits. One book that I found to be an amazing teaching support is Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales.  This book is a 2015 Caldecott Honor book and Yuyi Morales won a 2015 Pura Belpre (Illustrator) award.

Viva Frida

by Yuyi Morales

Viva Frida is a beautiful picture book by Yuyi Morales.  Very bright, simple text to describe her life.

At the end, it shows her painting.  I like that the book isn't ALL about the painting.  It shows different aspects of her personality.

The art is amazing.  Appropriate for k-5th grades. Enjoy!  If you'd like to do some lessons, I created a Frida Kahlo Emergency Sub Plan or mini-unit on TPT for $3. This sub pack is for those days when you can’t help being absent or you can use it as a mini-unit. It has 16 pages.  Enjoy!

WW: Disneyland vignettes

It's Wordless Wednesday!

Linking with Wordless WednesdayCreate with JoyWordless Wednesday with NC Sue and, sometimes with Miss DeCarbo and Focused on the Magic
Sleeping Beauty's castle under construction

My favorite ride: Alice!

Snow White's Grotto

London from Mr. Toad's perspective


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