PA Conference Recap & Retelling Song Freebie!

It has been a BUSY week, teacher friends! This past weekend, we made the five hour drive to Harrisburg, PA for the SDE Pennsylvania Kindergarten Conference!  It was SO.MUCH.FUN! At 34 weeks pregnant, I was not about to fly by myself, so my sweet husband drove me, lugged all my suitcases for me, and even helped me set up my conference room on Sunday night!
Can we say Amazing Husband Award?! 

Here’s a little snippet of the conference and our weekend for you!
 We set everything up on Sunday night and I was ready to roll in the morning! (At the size of my 34 week belly…you could probably have literally rolled me out of the room! πŸ™‚ 
 Eeekk!!! I am so short, that I swear it looks like I could have delivered yesterday! I took this picture on Monday morning, the day of the conference.  We spent an amazing day discussing small group literacy, science integration, comprehension strategies and skills, and writing instruction. A BIG *Thank You* to all of the incredibly sweet Pennsylvania teachers who attended my sessions on Monday! You were all amazing and I had so much fun sharing and swapping ideas with you!
We spent a BIG chunk of our day on Monday learning ideas, discussing research, and digging into comprehension activities and interventions for both small and whole group literacy lessons. We also learned a bunch of ideas for teaching our students retelling skills! Of course, as a first grade teacher, there is always some SINGING that takes place in my PD sessions! We learned this new little retelling song that I created, so I wanted to share it with YOU, too! πŸ™‚ 
To grab a copy of this retelling song for your own classroom, click HERE. Enjoy!! 
Looking for more retelling ideas? You might be interested in this Retelling Blog Post. It’s packed with a couple extra retelling ideas that I didn’t share at the conference! πŸ™‚ 

 Can I get an AMEN?!
 Every time I present at a conference, I can almost FEEL the stress that teachers seem to have regarding small group literacy instruction.  A big, hairy question seems to just pour out of their heads:
We discussed this exact question in my small group session on Monday morning.
And…teacher friends…I have some breaking news…….
You don’t! 
Sure, there are those magical days when your entire small group lesson plan from start to finish seems to just happen perfectly. But let’s face it. Those days are sometimes far and few between. In about 20 minutes, it’s sometimes NOT possible to fit in a running record, fluency practice, word work, sight word identification, a new text, comprehension, and writing instruction. So, give yourself a break. Breathe. Then, take a good hard look at your reading group and your data. Pick one or two concepts your kids need the MOST that week and focus on it! We can do an “adequate” job at small group instruction by trying to rush our students through ten billion objectives in 20 minutes…OR we can make a POWERFUL IMPACT by prioritizing what each small group and reader needs the MOST.  So pin the image above, save it to your phone, hang it by your computer – do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that small group instruction is not a race – it’s about getting results! πŸ™‚ 
The day before the conference, my sweet husband and I had some time to visit Hershey, Pennsylvania, which was only about 10 minutes from the conference hotel. We had SO much fun! (I mean…I’m 34 weeks pregnant….at a chocolate factory…do I really need to state the obvious?! Haha!) We made our own chocolate bars, did a taste-testing experience, shopped for lots of fun treats for our families, and of course, ate some candy! 
I hope you enjoyed my little conference recap! Be sure to grab the retelling freebie in this post to sing with your kiddos. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Learning,

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  1. Thank you so much for all of your helpful hints and inspiration! It was fun being a part of your sessions, and I LOVED the Think It Through, Talk It Out, and Write It Down session!! Teaching a half day program with full day expectations, it certainly is a question of How do I fit it all in??! Your ideas will go a long way to helping me do that!

  2. I'm sure you could have used being 34 weeks pregnant as a VERY legitimate excuse to not present, and it couldn't have been easy; but, I bet all the teachers in your session were certainly glad you came. πŸ˜‰

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