One of the best pieces of advice that she gave me (and did so herself), was to actually make it a point to read a book EVERY DAY to her students.
It seems so obvious, but is rather difficult to keep up with when you have all of these requirements each year to get to.
It's kind of like writing a blog every day about my classroom. Once I started going, it felt rather liberating telling you about what I get to experience each day.
Think about it from the child's perspective:
"My teacher is taking about 15 minutes to bring me back to my early childhood… wow, this is pretty cool," is what they might be thinking each day that you pull out that book.
Not only do I read them a book each day, I also put a "starred number" on the upper right hand corner of the book, and put it for all to see (and more importantly, to actually read themselves or to another student). The star corresponds with the day that I read the book to the class.
For instance, here's the breakdown of the first 5 books that I've read to my students already this school year (and why I chose that book):
Day #1: "Starting School" (to help them feel a little more comfortable if they were nervous).
Day #2: "Don't Eat the Teacher" (a funny little story to help keep the room clean).
Day #3: "Five Little Monkeys with Nothing to Do" (another funny little story to help them laugh).
Day #4: "Chrysanthemum" (a nice character building story to show them that all people have feelings… especially about their name).
Day #5: "There Once Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed Some Books" (another funny little story about the start of school).
All of these books I show under my "Document Camera" as I read them, so I can model correct reading, inflecting my voice, discussing characters, anticipating plot… not because I HAVE to, but because I WANT to.
Therefore, it was very interesting for me to see that not many students applied for my "Technology Helpers."
"Hmmmm…" I said to myself. "That's kind of odd since we have so much technology in the world today at their disposal."
However, it makes sense, because they don't know WHAT technology I have in the classroom… unless I show them and start using it… like today!
NOW, everyone is re-thinking their applications, and I can tell that my two students who applied for technology will have some major competition after I continue showing them what we have over the next few days.
Morale of today: READ to your students, and embrace technology.
What a "novel" idea.