Tuesday, November 27

Oprah's Favorite Things - Part 2

Oprah - Part 2 - The Pre-Show Experience

If you want to read how I got to be in the audience, check this post.

I walked on clouds for a week or two before being able to head down to Harpo Studios. I was thrilled about getting to see the show and be a part of all the excitement that went with it AND about having my guest and several close friends be part of the experience with me (they got picked from their Last Mn Email submissions, too! Yayyy!).

So special!

My two college bffs (University of Wisconsin - Madison...goooo Bucky!) were both picked. Jen & Katie. Jen invited her sister & Katie invited her husband. (Yes, tin the end, they ended up with two of EVERYthing.)

My  guest was my closest teaching friend, Cathy, that had just moved away to Little Rock, Arkansas - she was flying in the day before.

Another new friend was also picked!

The night before I stayed in the hotel with Jen and her sister. We had a blast giggling with excitement at the opportunity to go to Oprah. Not much sleep was had as we reconnected and anticipated the fun of the next day.

Our cab picked us up super early and we got in line at Harpo, meeting my guest Cathy, Katie and her husband. We waited quite a while and it was kind of cold, but totally fun. Everyone in line was excited to be there!

The line started moving and once it was our turn we had to turn in our cell phones and cameras to security. We were also given a number that would be the order we were to go in to get our seats. Not sure what time the low numbers had arrived to be in line. Our number was in the mid hundreds.

After going through security we went to a large reception area with tons of chairs and huge pictures of Oprah and her various guests from over the years. The wait was long, but the energy was high and it was fun finding out where people were from. One adorable teacher had just flown in from Hawaii.

We went to the bathroom...fluffed our hair...redid our lipstick...maybe a dozen times? Gotta look good for Oprah!

When someone started speaking on the microphone, everyone stopped talking instantly and you could hear a pin drop. The next phase was beginning...

Several individual names were called - we had been told that the show was about teachers and wonderful teacher stories. We'd seen some of these teachers getting miked up in the reception area, and they were the names called, so of course they had preferential seating.

Then they starting saying a few names of people the show had selected for pre-seating because they were impressed with something that was in their email submission.

And...Jen's name was called! (She's always been an amazing writer and person.) They said that Jen and all her guests could come forwards for pre-seating. They clarified that "guests" would be everyone she knew PRIOR to being in line that day.

So, the six of us headed up to the audience specialists who studied us with our guest, looking at the colors we wore and whatever else they were trying to do and then picked our spots for us from the reserved seats. Our three pairs ended up in three different sections of the audience, but we could all see each other easily!

The audience specialists seated Cathy and I...


Wanna read Part 3? Click below...
Part 1 (How I got picked)

Part 2 (Pre-Show Experience)

Part 3 (During the Show)

Part 4 (After the Show...Meeting Oprah)

Monday, November 26

Oprah's Favorite Things for Teachers - part 1

So, apparently the Oprah's Favorite Things for Teachers was aired over the Thanksgiving break...I heard about it this morning from a sweet colleague. It's been a while since I saw it and I still can't believe it all happened!

Got me thinking it was about time to share this crazy, once in a lifetime out-of-body experience!

Oprah - Part 1...How I Was Picked~
I live in suburban Milwaukee, which is 2 hours or less from Chicago...I had tried to get to a taping the previous summer but learned that they really didn't do shows in the summer. Bugger. Darn hiatus when summer was my only option.

So, when I was on maternity leave (Fall, 2004) I was DEEEEtermined to get to one. I'd be in my most comfy nursing position...recliner, Boppy, blanket, baby, drink with straw, remote control for tv and telephone in hand.

I called the studio literally hundreds of times a day while nursing and watching tv. Busy signal every time. Went on for several days. I tell you, I was determined.

After a few days, though, I started mildly complaining to girlfriends who would listen. One girlfriend (a college bff) mentioned her sister in law going to the taping the day or week before to see Brad Pitt. After he made Troy. Can you say buff?

At any rate I asked her how her SIL got to go to the taping and she mentioned a web link called Last Minute Email Reservations.

I tracked that page down FAST. Made it my home page so I could see if there was a link that I could get in on.

Since we live just a few hours from Chicago, I wouldn't have to worry about flights, etc.

So...most times I checked there were zero links. No opportunities. When there were links they would be soooo random and not related to me at all. One of them I almost clicked on..."Are you Kathy Griffin's biggest fan?" Being a rule follower and fairly literal I couldn't go through with it. I mean, my entire reason for clicking would be to get to the taping. And Kathy Griffin wouldn't be a bummer to see, but was I her biggest fan? No.

Then...one super super early morning when my newborn was sleeping and so should I have been, I just had this weird feeling that there'd be a link that would work.

Headed to the computer. Sure enough. "Calling All Teachers."

Filled out a form, made sure I got the thank you screen and then sent the link to a bunch of teacher friends in hopes that they'd fill it out, get picked and maybe choose me as their guest if I didn't get picked. :)

Well, a week or so went by and my mom was in town (from the great state of Minnesota) and we were bummin' around my house. We decided to go shopping. Luckily, when we headed out, we both realized we'd forgotten something in the house.

Headed back in to retrieve whatever it was...and the phone rang. My caller ID said, "Oprah Winfrey Show!" Ahhhhhh!!!

I answered in a tither. My mom was in a tither, too. The lady probably was used to nutball reactions, though, as she was all cool and casual.

When they asked if I wanted to bring a guest I said I wanted to bring my mom. Of course!!! But, my guest had to be a teacher and we had to bring our teaching licenses. Sorry, mom.

Okay...I gotta go to bed...will write part 2 (The Pre-Show/Front Row Experience) soon-ish.


Part 1 (How I got picked)

Part 2 (Pre-Show Experience)

Part 3 (During the Show)

Part 4 (After the Show...Meeting Oprah)


Sunday, November 25

Common Core Reading Workshop - Building S.T.A.R Readers!

During Reading Workshop, I want to build readers that have excellent reading habits...regardless of whatever reading program my district had purchased. Grounded in Common Core, this Building S.T.A.R. Readers pack can be used on its own or as a supplement to any reading curriculum.

A STAR reader is a reader that has these important reading habits:





Each STAR Reader habit has a friend with an original ditty...wanna meet them?

Each habit from S.T.A.R. has two anchor charts, described in the Teacher Notes page below...

There are 12 anchor charts for elaborating upon the habits and a goal setting page, too.
Mini Lesson Outlines...

Thoughts for working with the ideas behind each anchor chart are included as well. Those pages look like this...

Also included are Parent Letters & Student Response pages...

This STAR Readers pack is SO helpful!!

It's available in discounted Reading Workshop bundles along with companion packs:

Wednesday, November 14

Oprah (and me and my friends!!), Comprehension Freebie, Giveaway(s)

This time of year I see references to Oprah's Favorite Things all over the place. Kinda can't help remembering that it's coming up on my 8 year anniversary...from being in the Oprah show audience...for the Favorite Things show...the one for just teachers.

And, I got to experience it with several of my besties.

AND, Oprah approached our little group afterwards from the back seat of her SUV via her security guard.

Total insanity.

We almost didn't stop. See, we were afraid it was the press and we were given strict orders not to leak anything to the press until the show aired that Monday. The security guard urged us to stop. "Ladies, you are going to want to stop."

The pic is blurry because the random lady who took it was all verklemmt. As were we...we probably would not have been very good at taking any one else's picture either. I am the second one from the left.
 If you want to hear more about this, let me know and I'll put together a post. If you're, like, so over Oprah, I get it. Let me know that, too. And I won't go into it again. :)

Do you ever have your kiddos track their thinking on sticky notes? Ever have them do it as homework? I do, sometimes, with some groups. When I do, sometimes I put the sticky notes on the particular pages I want the kids stop at to record their thinking. Other times I just put a few sticky notes on the cover and they pick and choose where to place them. Depends on the book. We often share and discuss their thoughts the next day. The discussions get fairly lively sometimes depending on the text!

If this sounds like something you'd like to try with your students, I have a note you can send home. There are two on the page so you save some trees. :)

And...for the last of my ramblings...a super talented parent knit and crocheted this precious owl for me. I was so touched...
Have a wonderful rest of your week, friends!!
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