Wednesday, September 30, 2015

There Can Never Be Enough...


I am obsessed with buying picture books. As I'm sure most other elementary school teachers are.

We are 3 weeks into the school year and I've probably read over 50 stories to my class. I'm want to share some of my favorites when I'm launching Daily 5: Read to Self.

Dex the Heart of Hero.

Do you struggle is explain reading stamina? When I went to the Daily 5/CAFE conference, the Sisters, gave everyone this book! This is a super cute story about Dex, who is a small dog with big dreams. He works hard to become a super hero and guess what all this hard work pays off! Kids reference Dex as they are building their reading "muscles."

Too Much Noise.

Sometimes there is a lot of noise in the classroom and we try to silence the noise but honestly, we just need to learn to live with it. This book is about an old man who tries to get this house perfectly quiet but nothing he tries helps. After reading this funny book, we discussed what noises can we live with during our rounds. We came up: page turning, whisper reading, wind, quiet talking coming from the reading table, and the garbage truck... yes, our room is right by the dumpsters! Ugh.

The Best Place to Read.

This is a cute story to read about finding a just right spot at home. We relate this to the classroom. It is important that no one is sitting in an arm's reach to someone else and that you are in a comfortable place where you won't need to constantly readjust.

Those Shoes.

This was another recommendation from the Daily 5/CAFE conference. I like to read this when we are discussing "just right books." We relate books that are too easy, too hard, or just right to shoes that are too small, too big, or just right. In this book, the main character really wants a pair of popular sneakers but can't afford them. He finds a pair at a thrift store, tries to make them work, but they are too small. He realizes he should give up on the shoes and realizes what he really needed all along are the boots he grandmother bought him.

Library Lion.

This is one of my favorite stories. It is about a lion who loves the library. This story helps us realize that everyone needs to be responsible for taking care of the library.

I like to display all the books I read for lessons or pure enjoyment out for the students to take and read. I display them in our group meeting area. These books are not allowed to be kept in anyones book boxes. Once students are finished reading them they have to return them after the round so someone else can enjoy them.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

New Year, New View

We made it!

Week 1... Check.

My new group is amazing! We are totally meshing. Things in the behavior department are good. They are hanging on every word I say.  Let's hope this keeps up!

We've tried to change things up a bit this year.

1. You're Finally Here! Super cute book.

This is a must read to set the tone for the year. The kids were super excited for the rest of the day.

We used to read, First Day Jitters. I'm not hating on that book, I do love it but... I think it sets a weird feeling that you should be nervous and scared of school. Do we want kids feeling that way? Of course everyone is a bit nervous, it's human nature.

But to be honest, I was more pumped after ready You're Finally Here!

2. Cooperative Learning. The right way.

We were Kagan trained during PD this year. If you were like me, group work = cooperative learning. Ummm... no. Cooperative learning is amazing. Mix-Pair-Share and Round Robin are the first two I'm tackling. We are getting the hang of it and truly building the community.

3. Community.

Why did I rush this before? This year I am focusing on building our classroom community. Maybe that's the reason for the instant meshing, as mentioned above?

4. Favorite read alouds.

We are reading books for pure enjoyment. I felt stuck only using books for lessons and learning last year. There's so much pressure for testing and making the most of every minute. Let me tell you... Pure reading enjoyment makes the minutes count.

5. Ron Clark.

Lindsay is hooked on Ron Clark. She brought the book for me to read and I'm so bummed that I forgot it on my desk! I can't wait to read about the Essential 55 and put it into use.

With all of these new outlooks, I'm feeling like I need an overhaul in other aspects of our day. Stay tuned for how we are going to switch things up this year!

I'm really excited to get this year underway!