Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Counting Down to 2016!

Graphics from I Teach What's Your Super Power? & Whimsy Clips.

Just a few more days to 2016! To celebrate, I'm throwing a sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop! All items {including bundles} will be 20% off this Wednesday through Friday! I just finished up my Europe and Africa lapbooks if you're looking for new Social Studies resources!
I also added a new freebie for anyone wanting to keep up with the Sixty Book Challenge! Grab the freebie and keep your reading organized and on track in 2016! I plan on gluing my copy into my Erin Condren notebook to help me stay organized and on point with my reading. Plus, I feel more accomplished when I write things down.

Also, don't forget to link up for the Sixty Books in 2016 Challenge. Share your reading list and set your read-olutions for the New Year! You can share on my blog, Instagram or Twitter.

Here's to a new year of reading,

Monday, December 28, 2015

Readers Gonna Read in 2016!

I've been looking at everyone's Top Nine in 2016 on Instagram and reading resolution posts on Facebook and it really got me thinking about what's important to me. Thankfully, I'm surrounded by wonderful and inspiring friends. A post on Twitter made by my great friend @LiteracyforBigKids was encouraging her followers to sign up for the #SixtyBooks in 2016 Challenge. Instantly, I thought - Oh, no, I can't do that. That's MORE than a book a day! But then, I thought this is important to me. Making time for reading is important and shows my students that reading is important. What can it hurt? What if I read 40 books instead of 60? It's not about the number, it's about the reading.

According to the website SixtyBooks.com the point of the #Sixtybooks pledge is saying... 

“I will make reading
a regular part of my daily routine.”

So, I jumped in and pledged to read 60 Books in 2016. I'm feeling optimistic and I'm going to go in with a long reading wish-list. Are you ready to take the pledge?

Here's a few books, I can't wait to get my hands on in 2016... 
Ready to join this reading movement? 
Click the images below to grab your own templates.

Don't forget to hashtag #SixtyBooks and #ReadersGonnaRead on Twitter & Instagram! 
Link up below to share your Reading List for 2016.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Winter Break Reading

It's my second day of winter break and I've already hit the local library for some winter break reading. I finished off The Red Queen yesterday and figured I should stock up on some reading materials for break! My mission was to score a copy of Circus Mirandus but they only had it on audio. So, I'll have to download that one to my Nook. However, I was able to find several other books that were on my "To Read List."

What's on your winter break reading list?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Tis the Season of Reading!

I can't believe it's already December! Book clubs are on hiatus so,  I thought I'd share a few ways to promote reading during this tricky time of year! Students are more than a little excited about break and teachers (including myself) are trying to get everything in before the end of the semester... Ugh! So, often the idea of getting cozy over break with a good book is not a top priority -- unless you make it one.

Here's a few of my tricks to get students excited about the Season of Reading! 

I ordered several new books from Scholastic with our Winter Book Raffle in mind! Book raffles have been an easy way to keep my students engaged and excited about reading this year. My students love graphic novels so I added Roller Girl to our collection. I also picked up two of Lauren Tarshis' nonfiction novels and Navy Seal Dogs for my fact loving students!

As a team we celebrate the season of reading with a team wide book exchange! It's one of our fun traditions right before winter break. Students participate in a "white elephant" style book swap. We sit in several circles and read a short passage, helping us pass around our books. We allow books to be gently used as well as new. We also include puzzle books and brain teasers as well. I also buy extra books and wrap them for students who are unable to bring in a book or as back-ups for students that receive a book they may have already read. As a team, we want everyone to leave with a great new book! 

Some students really get into the holiday seasons. I try and talk up my winter and "holiday" books. Often, students that need a new book are willing to try out a seasonal favorite! A few of my favorites are The Family Under the Bridge, The Last Holiday Concert, and Who is Stealing the 12 Days of Christmas?

How do you encourage your students to cozy up with books over break?


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

No Stress Summaries!

At this time of year, keeping students focused and engaged is well... hard! One skill that we practice all year in fifth grade is summarizing. Students work hard on putting summaries in their own words while still being able to restate the main ideas and details. For nonfiction, the best summary method I have found is the Index Card Summary!

The formula is simple... and stress free! 
Students write the topic or main idea in the center of their card. This can be a sentence or a single word. Then they write important words in the four corners. They can use the resource for the front of their note card. Then they close the book and flip over the note card. Using their key words they need to summarize in their own words!

Here's our index card summaries...
We practiced using our History textbook reading for the day! 

How do you keep summaries stress free?


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nonfiction Book List

Whipped up a short{ish} and sweet recommendation list for my nonfiction unit. I plan on Book Talking several of these books from now through Christmas Break. Although, I'm not having set "clubs," I'm encouraging students to create their own reading book clubs. Plus, I know I've struggled reading choosing nonfiction and so do some of my kiddos!

I think this list would be appropriate for 5th or 6th graders. A few titles could also be appropriate for 4th graders as well but some have upper level content or themes. As always, preview the books you share with your students!

Editable PowerPoint version or a PDF version available as a Google Drive download! 

What books would be on your must read nonfiction list? 

Share with me on Social Media @ MsAPlusTeacher
 #wecantputbooksdown #nonfiction


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Nonfiction for Big Kids!

I don't know about you but over the years I've really struggled finding "Just Right" nonfiction for my fifth graders. It seemed like a lot of nonfiction was either way too easy or way too hard. My students in the past have LOVED nonfiction but I was having trouble loving it myself. Until now!

I'm loving Lucy Calkins' new Units of Study for Reading. I'll admit it was not love at first sight with Lucy, but after having a few late nights with the teacher edition, love begin to bloom. The nonfiction portion is all about how reading gets harder as we become better readers. Main ideas get more complex and there may even be multiple main ideas {gasp!}. Text structures can also get more complicated and text features begin to disappear. Oh the horror!  However, I love that all my students are able to tackle some more complex texts finally because they have strategies to help them. With the help of Newsela and Scholastic News we've started getting into the unit but after break my students will need a nonfiction text in front of them daily. 

Here are a few of my favorites after putting over 16 books on hold at my local library for book talks... 

What are some nonfiction books you use to challenge your students?


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursday Thoughts: Benefits of Newsela

Our school was recently able to upgrade to NEWSELA Pro accounts. I've used NEWSELA in the past but more as a source for myself. Today, I dove in face first into NEWSELA as I needed articles for a nonfiction lesson. As we work toward harder texts, I felt like Scholastic News just wasn't cutting for some of my lesson's objectives. Plus, with need for annotations and differentiation, I was looking for a way to make my job easier. Today, NEWSELA did that for me!

I was about to assign all students via Google Classroom, a NEWSELA article to read and annotate. I was able to put directions at the top of the article and on the SMARTboard. The best thing was after students finished reading the article, I had instant feedback on their reading successes or failures! What?! I felt like reading the article digitally also helped my students be exposed to reading "differently" and allowed to practice using tech tools for annotations. I was nervous students wouldn't be engaged because even I have trouble with digital texts. BUT... My room was absolutely silent as students read and annotated.  I was also shocked and impressed by complexity of some of their annotations. 

Here's a snapshot of my day using NEWSELA: 

Another benefit is the ability to create text-sets for popular topics. I'm hoping to use these of our "research" portion of the nonfiction writing component to this unit. We usually write feature articles focused on space exploration and technology. There are also lots of sets that create an instant pairing with novels or social studies texts. 

Students can also "adjust" the reading level of articles as well. I made my students choose lexiles based on their Fountas and Pinnell and MAP data for their first read. I'm hoping the short quizzes and data points, will give me more information and feedback on my students as nonfiction readers. 

The free version is worth checking out as well! Today, I learned that sometimes you gotta be willing to jump off and take a risk. 

Do you use NEWSELA in your classroom? 
How do you promote digital literacy? 

Design by Laugh Eat Learn // Theme by Pipdig