Beth Gaster’s Weblog

Just another weblog

The Not-So-Jolly Roger September 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bethgaster @ 11:52 pm

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was quick and easy, but still filled with factual information that could be used to teach a lesson on pirates. The three boys reminded me of my brother and his friends. After reading this book, I am interested to see what the rest of the series looks like and what kind of teaching opportunities might be presented in those.

I think that this book would be a great independent reader for third grade, but it could also be a good read aloud for second grade. Because it is fun and packed with good information, I think that it could be used at any grade (2nd-5th) to help introduce the pirate unit.

I really liked this book and the manner in which it presented the information. I like books that are fun to read and still have valuable information in them as well. By having fun books liek this, kids are learning something without even knowing it.


Data Retrieval Chart September 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bethgaster @ 10:57 pm


Here is my data retrieval chart for the internet workshop.


Swashbuckling Adventure on the High Seas September 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bethgaster @ 11:10 pm

I really enjoyed reading this article on the Pirate unit. It had heightened my anticipation for the beginning of hte unit. Just from looking at the books on my shelf, I have gotten excited about the Pirate unit. After reading the article, and learning all of the other fun things that can be done with the books, I am even more anxious to begin.

     I like that the unit can be intergrated into a Language Arts and Social Studies unit. Because of end of grade testing, Social Studies tends to be restricted in many classrooms. Through this unit, it is possibleto teach the crucial subject of reading, while also integrating Social Studies.

     I liked how the unit was started, with the Pirate music in the background and the three different stations set up with different books. It’s always easier to teach something if the students are interested and excited about learning it. By creating anticipation, it gets kids excited and keeps them interested.

     By using both ficiton and nonfiction books in the unit, students get to explore many different genres of books. I also like the emphasis put on the historical relevance of ficiton books. Sometimes it isn’t made clear that while something is not completely true, it can hold some factual information. By using historically relevant fiction, students will be able to enjoy a good story while learning some factual historical information.

     I am excited about starting this Pirate unit. I am also anxious to learn the process of developing such units, so that I might be able to do the same with other topics and subjects during this semester, as well as, in the future.


So much depends upon… September 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bethgaster @ 9:39 pm
My Car

My Car

So much depends

My little white

Not beautiful
Not new

But it takes me


My Cell Phone

My Cell Phone

So much depends

My Cell Phone

Sleek and Black
Fits in the palm
of my hand


History of my Name September 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bethgaster @ 10:35 pm

My given name is Heather Elizabeth Gaster. I was given this name by my dad. Heather was chosen because my dad thought it was a pretty name. Elizabeth, on the other hand, had more significance. My dad chose Elizabeth because it was the name of his favorite aunt. He was very close to her, and therefore, he named me after her.

For short, my family calls me “Beth.” Other than a shortened version of Elizabeth, I don’t think there is any significance to it.

It’s funny sometimes, when I begin a new semester or meet new people, because I am legally Heather, I have to correct people and tell them I prefer Beth. I would say that about fifty percent of the time I get the question “Where does Beth come from?” I then explain that my middle name is Elizabeth. Even after this explanation, I still have some people that do not understand. I this point, I usually have to spell out my middle name and then show them where Beth comes from.


Notebook Know How Response #2 September 2, 2008

Filed under: Writer's Notebooks — bethgaster @ 2:03 am

As I get further into this book, I find that I am enjoying it more. I like the information that she is providing and I know that I will use it in my future classroom. I have already found myself using her techniques in my own writer’s notebook. After a very long and interesting weekend, I was gong to write about it in my writer’s notebook. After reading this section of the book, I decided that I would make a list of each event and then focus on eacho of the events in their won seperate entry. Along with the strategies, I really liked the expectations that she had dveloped for her students and herself.

As I read, I remembered when I was in elementary school and we kept a journal, our teachers had much the same privacy policy as she has. If we wanted to write about something in our notebooks, but didn’t want it to be read, we were allowed to fold the page over and keep it private. I like this privacy policy. It is a way for the students to have an outlet and practice their writing.


Writer’s Notebook Response #1 August 29, 2008

Filed under: Writer's Notebooks — bethgaster @ 1:31 am

Just from the first 15 pages, I really like the idea of writer’s notebooks. While I do not spend a lot of time free writing now, there was a time when I really enjoyed writing poetry, and even once, in middle school, I wrote my own book. As stated in the reading, the purpose of writer’s notebooks is a starting point of “writer’s workshops.” The writer’s notebook is a place where students can put their personal thoughts and ideas on paper. It is a resource they can use throughout the writing process to bank ideas and go back to them later and choose, edit, and improve selected pieces.

As a future teacher of writing it is my goal to get my students to a point where they realize that writing is more than just a prompt based test and that it can be used in many forms, such as, essays, poems, etc., to relay a lot of information and even emotion. I want writing to be a subject that my students enjoy and even look forward to. I also hope that I can make my students into good writers who use proper grammar and such. I hope that my students will explore many different forms of of writing and find one that best suits them so that they will enjoy it more.

As for launching the writer’s notebooks, I really liked the idea used in the book, especially for elementary aged kids. Almost always, when one student has a story to tell, the rest follow closely behind. I can see myself launching writer’s notebooks much the same way.

In the way of organization, I would reserve the notebooks strictly for the students own writing. I might ask that they keep notes in a separate notebook for referral. I like the idea of keeping the work in a bound notebook so that things cannot be removed. For future drafts of those works, they could re-copy by hand or even photo copy their original works.