Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Linky Post to end ALL Linky Posts

First things first.  I have to say thank you to all of my followers.  It truly makes my day when I see that I have new followers or have new comments.  Suddenly my blog is blossoming!  So thanks to all of you who have taken the time to officially follow my blog! 

There are so many fun linkys going on right now…so many in fact that instead of linking to one each day I’m just going to link to them all in one post.  Otherwise all you would see from me would be linky posts. 

Linky #1 – Must Have Picture Books – brought to you by the Teacher Wife

I’ve been meaning to join this linky for a while – but I had to think hard about which books I wanted to include as my top 5.  The first 3 I discovered this summer after several back to school posts by Candis at I Teach Dual Language.  She has shared some wonderful read alouds for back to school that are more multicultural than your traditional back to school read alouds.  After checking them out from the library…I fell in LOVE with these books.  You should get them from the library now…because they’re amazing, and because I’m working on a bilingual back to school packet that will include these books!

1.  Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown.  This is a story about a little girl with one Peruvian parent and one Scottish parent.  She’s an interesting mix of the two, and completely unique.  This read aloud is great for teaching that differences are good, empathy, and accepting yourself.
I rarely like bilingual books with English and Spanish prose – but this book did it so well and in such a way that it reflected how a bilingual mind works.  Brilliant!

2.  Rene Has Two Last Names by Rene Colato Lainez.  This is another great story about a new student from El Salvador.  In El Salvador he used two last names, but his second last name is not included on any of his school paperwork.  Rene struggles with this – because his second last name helps him remember his maternal grandparents and all they represent.  This book explains cultural differences in a very authentic way, and would be great for any classroom.  It truly is a story and isn’t just an explanation of the cultural difference!

3.  This one is a fun for inspiring readers!  It comes in English and Spanish.  Wild About Books/Que Locura por la lectura by Judy Sierra.  I caught myself smiling and laughing out loud while reading this book!  I wanted to immediately share it with my husband.  Essentially a librarian takes her library to the zoo and the animals fall in love with reading.  You find out what each animal likes to read, how they read, what they write, etc.  Reading it out loud is fun though because it is written in rhyme.  It’s clever and creative…you’ll love it!

4. I also love The Three Little Tamales by Eric A. Kimmel.  This is a great story for teaching compare and contrast as it is essentially the story of The Three Little Pigs but told from a tamales perspective.  I love books that put a new spin on something familiar.  I also love stories that incorporate English and Spanish in an authentic way.  My students adore this book, and I’m sure yours will too!
5. Finally, this is one of our favorite read alouds from this year.  Square Cat by Elizbath Schoonmaker.  Eula is a square cat that is unhappy with her square state, since all her friends are round.  We see Eula try to change herself to fit what she thinks is the “right” cat mold.  However, with the help of her trusty friends, Eula discovers being square really isn’t so bad.  The illustrations in this book are very well done and my students really related to this story.  The author is very sweet and reached out to our classroom sharing pictures and letters.  This was a special read aloud for us!

Linky # 2 - I’m also linking up with Kelley at the Teacher Idea Factory.  She is my newest follower – which makes me excited!

1.  I love Words Their Way.  This is a spelling program that is designed to meet kids at their developmental spelling level!  At first it seems a bit overwhelming, but it’s worth the learning curve.  I was amazed to see how much growth my students demonstrated – in their SECOND LANGUAGE!  There is a spelling assessment you give three times a year and you can really see how much your students have grown.  Even better, this program is inexpensive – if you and your team decide to use it you could easily split the cost!  I actually posted about how we used WTW in our classroom, check out that post by clicking the link below the image.  AND if you have questions about the program email me!
2.  Another program I love is Interactive Read Alouds by Linda Hoyt (who I’ve met!).  This is a wonderful program that has identified read alouds that compliment different reading comprehension strategies, literary elements, language structures, writing styles, etc.  Each mentor text also has a lesson plan, a shared reading activity, and an extension activity.  This is another inexpensive resource that has become essential in my classroom!

3.  I love double dice! (Technical name – Dice in dice – BORING!) My students love double dice!  I was lucky enough to receive these from our bilingual department.  I can’t tell you how excited my kids are when they get to use these little guys!  There are an infinite number of ways to use them, which makes them even more valuable!
4.  Wire hanging file holder.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of mine, but it basically looks like this one.  I use this holder to keep track of my students data folders/signed forms/parent contact.  I have a hanging file – each is numbered since my students are assigned numbers.  Inside each hanging file I have a pronged folder where I keep all of my students’ data.  I may change it up next year and find a way for my students to update their data folders – but I believe I will still use this little guy.  I never lost anything – and could just bring it home when I need to update things. With R.T.I., I really depend on this little guy to make sure I have everything I need.

5.  This item is something I actually don’t have in my classroom – but wish desperately I did!  For a short while I did have an electric hole punching machine.  It was amazing how much we used that hole punch!  It saved so many trips to the work room.  The kids liked it, I loved it.  But then it died.  It was probably from the 80s, but it was a tragic day when it left us.  I would love to have another hole punch in my classroom, but ideally an electric hole punch!

So there you have it!  Go visit Kelley’s page to see more amazing resources and link up yourself!

Linky # 3 - Last but not least I’m joining Amy Lemon’s linky Tell Me More, Tell Me More! – I’ll try to keep it simple and just give you a glimpse of who I am.
  • I lived in Argentina for nearly 5 years.  Met my husband and got married there.
argentina map
  • Our anniversary is coming up – 5 years in August.
  • I didn’t study to be a teacher.  Due to a desperate need for bilingual teachers I was allowed into a classroom with no qualifications other than speaking Spanish.  Luckily, I’ve since become qualified!  :)
  • I LOVE animals.  Generally speaking, when I watch movies I only cry sob if an animal dies, an remain semi-rational if a human dies.  Probably means something…
  • While living in Argentina I rescued several animals – 2 cats, a box of kittens, 1 pregnant dog and her 9 puppies, and at least 4 other dogs…and I may have lost count. 
Fotos1 044Argentina1 047PA260018
  • I have 2 cats – Max and Ellie.  They pretty much rule the Castro house.
    • Max has one eye.
    • Ellie has two eyes.
    • Together they have three eyes.
Max and Ellie 1Max and Ellie 2
  • I am a tea person.  No coffee for me.  (This is dangerous because my husband works at Starbucks and I get a free thing of tea every week!)
  • Movies I can (and do) watch over and over:
    • The Mexican
    • Galaxy Quest
    • The Proposal
    • The King’s Speech

  • I love reading – so much so that I wear this necklace all the time!
2012-02-18 09.30.53
  • AND last but not least, I ran my first 5K/Mud Run today!  It was a lot of fun!  But I’m totally out of shape and held the group back.  MUST train for next year!  Our team was the “muddy maestras” and the back of our shirts said” teaching is a dirty job…too true!
I think that’s enough tonight – if you made it this far…thank you and I’m sorry!  That was the longest post E-V-E-R!

Have a great weekend! 
Mrs. Castro Pin It


  1. Girl . . . thank you so much for taking the time to link up with me! I loved your post - your WHOLE post. It wasn't too long. PROMISE! Great call on the Words Their Way book . . . love that one! Thanks again friend.

    Kelley Dolling
    Teacher Idea Factory

  2. Me falta la practica pero voy a tratar de escribir algo en espanol. Es mas facil leer. ;]
    Primero ... necesito buscar algunas de sus libros ... especialmente Marisol McDonald. Escribo (en ingles!) un comentario corto en una revista para las bibliotecarias que se llama 'New Books in Spanish." Aunque el libro no es nuevo. Pero siempre estoy buscando libros en espanol. Que pena que no tengo muchas estudiantes en mi escuela que hablan espanol (y vivo en el sur de Tejas ... es increible, no? Algunos si pero no muchos.) Y segundo ... drat. I can't remember how to conjugate and get the direct (indirect?) object in there. Where did you get that necklace? It is so cute!
    Y la ultima cosa que voy a decir ... me gusto mucho el nombre de su equipo.

  3. Great post - Words Their Way is a staple for me as well! Congrats on your 5k! :)

    Second Grade Sparkle

  4. Ok I have several comments to make.
    1. Have you ever read the book Abuela? I used it with my kids when I taught ELL and it was a great one.
    2. I'm really wanting to try words their way so badly! I used it when I taught in Nashville it was the required spelling program. I just don't have the money to buy the book.
    3. Love love love the necklace! Where did you get that?
    Ms. Kerri and her Krazy Kindergarten

  5. Hi! Jill from Marvelous Multiagers sent me over to your blog! I just started a brand new blog of my own called Multiage Moments... I know... totally behind the curve! Any-hoo... Hope this finds you well! Your blog is super! Thanks for all the great ideas.

    Michele Yanong (formerly Mangold)

  6. I am so glad that you have enjoyed the Spanish read-aloud recommendations! I had fun discovering them. I am a Words Their Way fan too. I can't imagine teaching spelling any other way! Finally, always love finding out more about you, especially your cats and their eyes! :)

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