A New Love Affair

Last Friday we had an early dismissal due to “snow”. I use that term lightly, but who am I to dispute an early dismissal!  When I arrived home my daughter already had cabin fever so she suggested that we rent a movie… let my love affair with our Apple TV and Netflix begin!


She wanted to watch the movie Pitch Perfect, but we weren’t able to locate it on Netflix. However, we did find it on iTunes and we downloaded it in a matter of seconds! Talk. About. Easy!

If you like the show Glee, chances are you will enjoy this cute movie too, and for those of you who grew up loving Molly Ringwald and The Breakfast Club you will enjoy the subtle connections.  We opted to watch the movie before Matt arrived home, which was probably a good idea since it is pretty much a chick flick. Our favorite character was Fat Amy. She really made us laugh.

Fat Amy

Fat Amy

Now, let’s talk about the Love Affair again.  As I perused Netflix I noticed that season one of Downton Abbey was available for our viewing pleasure. It is safe to say that I rarely watch television, but I am enthralled with the series.  Except for the last episode, I have now completed season one and cannot wait for season two to become available.  I have even thought about scrapping season two and just watching season three right now, but I will be patient.  Besides, there are several other viewing options on Netflix that have piqued my interest, so I guess I will explore those (Shark Week from the Discovery channel is one of them!!!).

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

If you have seen Pitch Perfect or watch Downton Abbey I would love to hear your thoughts!  Maybe you have Apple TV and/or Netflix.  What are some of your favorite movies or series?

Thanks for Visiting My Blog!

Workout Wednesday {1/30/13}

Whoo hoo!!!! There are just *FOUR* more days until I officially begin my training for the Nike Woman’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC.  I am actually looking forward to the training because it will get me back into a more formal exercise routine.  Currently, I am focusing on strength training, but I hope to be able to continue with the strength training as I complete my weekly runs. A balancing act it will be, but I’m up for the challenge!

For strength training I am attending Les Mills classes: BODYPUMP and CXWORX.  If I am not at the gym, you can find me in my basement hating and loving my kettlebell workout.

Kettlebell Workout

Kettlebell Workout

I started with the 5 lb. weight and the 20 minute workout and I am proud to say that I have graduated to the 10 lb. weight and the 45 minute workout.  We also have a 15 lb. kettlebell in our basement, but it will be awhile before I can swing that bad boy around without killing myself! Pink Runner has been begging me to try her Pop Pilates DVD but I haven’t gotten up the courage to give it a whirl…just yet anyway!

In between my strength training and the depressing winter weather, I have slipped in a few runs.  My last run was on Sunday when I completed just over 5 miles.

5.16 Miles

5.16 Miles

I have a race on Saturday, so I hope I can get out there at least two more times.  I know that if I don’t, Saturday’s race will definitely KICK. MY. BUTT!

Happy Running!

Happing Racing!

Thanks for Visiting My Blog! 🙂

Treat Tuesday {1/29/13}

Today’s meme is hosted by Daydream Reader.

Treat Tuesday


First, I would like to share the book I just finished last week… The One and Only Ivan.  I loved it so much that it deserved a five-heart rating from me. If you haven’t read it yet, you should!  And, you should share it with your students not only because it’s a great book, but because it is the *grand winner* of the 2013 Newbery Award. Congratulations to Katherine Applegate!

The One & Only Ivan2013 Newbery Winner

The One & Only Ivan
2013 Newbery Winner

It’s Treat Tuesday!  What are you reading? What are you eating?

This week I am reading Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder.  While I read, I am treating myself to a cup of hot tea (in a Starbucks mug) and some biscotti.  A great book and a great treat for a cold winter day!

Bigger Than a Breadd Box

Bigger Than a Bread Box

Thanks to my Twitter friends and fellow bloggers for sharing great books!

What are you reading?

What books are you sharing with your students?


Race Day?

So, today was to be a race day, and I was to run a 5k with Matt and our local Road Runner’s club.  Yes, oh yes, I can give you the excuses for why it didn’t happen, but I won’t.  Just know that it didn’t happen…and I do feel a bit (just a bit) guilty!  I did, however, run in my neighborhood to make up for my missed race :).    Here’s how it panned out:

Race Day Run?

Race Day Run?

There is no doubt about it, I am one who thrives on a routine and structure.  That’s why I am a bit excited to begin my 1/2 marathon training in two weeks.  And, I am super excited to be running in Washington D.C. for the Nike Woman’s Half with Pink Runner.

Nike 13.1

Nike 13.1

Pink Runner takes good care of me and she devised the training plan we will be using for the upcoming race.  Doesn’t look too bad!


Well, I have two more weeks to dabble around with an unstructured running schedule. I’ll continue to run a few times and do some cross training.  Shhhhh! I even have a 5 miler race scheduled in two weeks too! 🙂

Happy Running!

Happy Racing!

What Works Wednesday {1/9/13}

What Works Wednesday is an opportunity for me to share strategies that work effectively in my classroom.  Today’s topic is about a graphic organizer that I call PQR.


  • PQR is a graphic organizer that focuses on predicting, questioning, and reflecting.

PQR Graphic Organizer

WHY do I use PQR?

  • In the past I have used the KWL chart (What I KNOW, WANT to know, What I LEARNED), but the KWL did not prove to be effective.  The hang up was in the “What I Know” section.  At times, students would record information that they thought they knew and ended up sharing information that was not correct.  So, the PQR is how I modified the KWL. (Whew!)
  • Another reason I like to use this organizer is because it gives my students an opportunity to record their thinking and then it promotes discussion.
  • This organizer also allows the student to read closely and determine explicitly what the text states. This is the first anchor standard for Common Core.  If students cannot grasp the text explicitly, they will struggle with the textual analysis, so the PQR organizer serves as a formative assessment for the teacher.

WHEN do I use PQR?

  • PQR is used as a before reading and after reading activity.  It is also used with nonfiction text. One nonfiction resource I like to use is from the Hot Topics articles from Evan Moore.

Nonfiction Article
By Evan Moore Publishers

HOW do I use PQR?

Before Reading:

  • I introduce the topic and we discuss the title and the features of the nonfiction text. (i.e. realistic illustrations, headings, captions, charts, diagrams)
  • Then I read a brief introduction from the text.
  • model how we generate questions by using the sentence starter I WONDER…
  • We record the question I modeled in the middle column of the organizer.  Then I ask the students to generate at least two more questions they have about the topic. Yes, I start with the middle column of the organizer.  I don’t know why; I just do. 🙂 In order to promote discussion, each student shares one question they generated.
  • Next, I distribute the article and I model how I preview the text and generate a prediction. We record my prediction in the first column. The students are then asked to preview the text by skimming and scanning. They need to generate two more predictions and use the sentence starter I THINK I WILL LEARN.  Once again, we promote discussion by having the students share one prediction they recorded on their organizer.

After Reading:

  • We discuss if any of our questions were answered and if our predictions were correct.  Then we discuss any interesting facts we learned from the text.  There are always a plothera of facts, but I ask the students to record three facts using the sentence starter I LEARNED
PQR Complete

Student Sample of PQR

PQR works well for my students so I hope you will give it a try and experience success with it too!

Thanks for Visiting My Blog!

All You Need To Be a Runner Is…

This was originally posted on Sunday as a guest post to the blog called Reading Teachers Running. Hop on over to Franki & Sara’s blog to check out their running stories.  My ideas were captured from a speech that my daughter’s XC coach gave during the end of season banquet.  Thanks, Coach M! 🙂

All You Need To Be a Runner Is…

Some INSPIRATION:  My mother would have never told you that I would be a runner.  In fact, I would have never told you that I would be a runner.  However, I was inspired by those around me.  I guess it all began with my daughter.  One day she told me she wanted to run and she did. I thought I would give it a try and I lasted a whole TEN minutes.  It was tough, but I stuck with it, taking baby steps for a LOOOOOONG time. It wasn’t until I ran my first 5k that I considered myself a runner.  My family, my friends, and complete strangers cheering me on inspired me to keep on going.  In turn, I have inspired others to give it a try or keep on going.  Who inspires you?  Who do you inspire?

The MOTIVATION: Running buddies are the best motivators.  They motivate you through the good, the bad, and the ugly. They push you to be your best, they celebrate your accomplishments with you, and they get you through those running trials and tribulations.  There is nothing better than the running community for motivation.  Actually, I think runners might be a part of a secret cult!  Before I was a runner, I would see these magnets on cars that said 26.2 or 13.1 and I had no idea what that even meant.  Now I can’t go out without seeing magnets, magnets everywhere or a runner here and a runner there. Oh!  And, don’t forget about Twitter!  #runteacherrun motivates me when I am running buddyless!  What motivates you? What do you do to motivate other runners?

A lot of DETERMINATION: I love the saying, “Quitters never win and winners never quit”. This is definitely true in the running world.  Yes, there are going to be days when physically your body is tired or even injured!  And, there will be days when mentally you just want to quit and you doubt your abilities. So, you take a break, but you are determined to get right back at it. My hubby always tells me that the mind controls the body; the body doesn’t control the mind.   How determined are you?

Much DEDICATION: Of course I have another saying for you, “Failure to plan is planning to fail!”  Dedicated runners have some kind of plan or goal.  Whether it is a time, a pace, or a specific distance, being dedicated will help you keep on going!  For me, signing up for a race helps me stay a dedicated runner.  I always follow a training plan for a 1/2 or full marathon, but I can pretty much “wing it” for 5k races 🙂  What kind of plan can you devise to keep you dedicated to running?

An ADMIRATION for other runners:  I truly love to hear running stories of other runners.  How did you begin? How long have you been running?  What kind of pace do you run?  Where do you like to run? I admire anyone who is out there running! As Lebow said,  “It doesn’t matter if you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last.  You can say that you finished and there is a lot of satisfaction in that.”  What do you admire in other runners?

Well, the laces are tied, the Under Armor is on, the Garmin is ready to go, and the iPod is charged…it’s a great day for a run! So, if you are looking for some inspiration, motivation, determination, dedication, and admiration please join Twitter at #runteacherrun.  It’s all you need to be a runner!

Last but not least, I would love to hear your running story.  You can find me on Twitter @RunReadMom, or visit my blog at https://runreadmom.wordpress.com

Happy Running,

Amy 🙂

All You Need To Be a Runner Is...

All You Need To Be a Runner Is…