With the beautiful weather around here, I always look forward to days of open windows, doors, and natural lighting. During writing and reading workshop, students are free to read/write in or out of the classroom (I station myself at the door to see both areas clearly). I was not surprised to see all of my boys head outdoors. The outdoors, along with other things, can become your venue to reading, writing, loving boys.
Theodor Seuss Geisel's birthday is coming up this week, so I thought I would share how powerful and relevant his stories can be to growing and developed readers. I recommend five of his books to discuss symbolism, history, and schema; these books show that there is more than meets the eye when we read.
Considering our class will be on a full day field trip during the unofficial "Valentine's Day" festivities, I thought I would share a quick academic tie-in to the month of love. I combined my love of books and libraries by reading The Librarian Who Measured the Earth and held a discussion on how our libraries differ now compared to 2,000 years ago in Greece. It just made sense to turn the Venn-Diagram into a Valentine Venn-O-Gram instead. Continue reading to view the book I used for this lesson along with a list of books that teach about libraries.
*Our finished garden photo added 1/10/09.
Maybe it was Byrd Baylor's book, I'm in Charge of Celebrations, where the character says we should celebrate the new year in spring when things feel like they are changing and blooming, but I've never cared much for the whole New Year's Resolution "thing". I agree that it is just another cold winter day to me. All this said, this year brings new excitement, and I would like to share a quick, cheap twist to writing out New Year's Resolutions with your class.
Kid Lit writer, Sonja Cole, asked the advisors to report on their favorite book for the 2008 year. The Blue Stone was the first book that came to mind for me, and rather than probe any deeper, I believe this book surfaced first for a reason. This 88 page picture book was released in March, and required a lot of talk about metaphors, symbolism, and schema with my classroom last year. This quiet book is simply amazing and can be used under the reading and writing umbrella. Here are a few things I did with the book:
“What would you do if you were not afraid?” I love this line from Dr. Johnson’s, Who Moved My Cheese? Maybe that's why I have moved around so much. Tenure-smenure. And then there's the simple title of Rafe Esquith's book, There Are No Shortcuts. I have to remind myself of that one sometimes. And Smart Answers to Tough Questions. I could go on. I can't imagine who I would be without a few key authors along the way. Here are ten books/authors that will refresh and revitalize what you are doing in the classroom...great for a nice holiday read.
Revisiting the Reader's Notebook
My class takes some time each week to reflect on their reading and growth as a reader. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these letters each week. Recently, however, the writing quality has started to deteriorate for a few students. I knew it was time to stop, reflect, and model what meaningful reflections look like with my kids. And although I have posted on the use of a reader's notebook in our classroom, I thought it might be helpful to share how I got our writing "back on track" with a little modeling and review time.
I will be honest. I still remember how overwhelmed I was when I had the task of getting familiar with all the site has to offer last summer. There is a lot! So, while I have searched high and low with the plethora of information offered on Scholastic, I'd like to share my top 5 favorite resources on Scholastic...
I am always looking for new ideas to teach and support reading strategies to my class. I usually have a pile of four professional books that get browsed while making my lesson plans during the weekend. Sometimes I wish these resources were all combined into one book, as I use them all frequently. Here are some of the charts and bulletin boards I have used from Debbie Miller, Tanny McGregor, and Stephanie Harvey to teach inferring, questioning, metacognition, and nonfiction text features.
For many adults growing up, reading focused on "proving" it after a book was finished. Sort of like an after-thought, "Did you get it?" was found through comprehension questions, book reports, or dioramas.
We are now fortunate to have resources, literature, and methodology to support assessing what a child is comprehending while they are reading. Learn how we can now combine the old with the new by addressing before, during, and after reading strategies.