Monday, August 31, 2015

Classroom Library Reveal!

As part of our monthly #WeCantPutBooksDown post, this month we're sharing our classroom libraries! I waited to the VERY end of the month but I'm super excited to share my finished library with everyone! Don't forget to check out the hashtag #WeCantPutBooksDown on Instagram to check out the other amazing libraries for the wonderful girls in my reading tribe!

Show off your library by using the tag #wecantputbooksdown and #libraryreveal on Instagram! 

Happy Reading,

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sparking an Interest in Books!

I've been back at school for nearly three weeks! What?! I know I can't believe it myself! My new fifth graders are excited about and books but I noticed some bouncing around habits within the first few weeks of school already. So, today, I'm linking up the fabulous Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching to share some motivational tips for those indecisive readers!

After noticing so much flip-flopping over books, I knew I had to do something to get students IN TO books... They were so excited that they couldn't find a book and stick with it! I purposely wanted to see their habits so I didn't do a lot of recommendations and we don't start book clubs right away either. After thinking about how to get my students excited, I was struck with an idea... SCHOLASTIC BOOK FAIR VIDEOS! My students are always SO excited to see the new books coming out - so why not show it without the book fair? Luckily, our librarin saves previous year book fair DVDs but I also found the videos on You Tube and the current year is on Scholastic's website.

I showed the Spring 2014 knowing these books are current and able to found in a library or book store.... 

As we watched the Book Talks, my students jotted down books they might want to read or author's that sounded interesting to them so I could help them find those books!

I took a trip to Half Price after reading my interest surveys and then took the stack to school. I pointed out "new" books I'd be adding to our library. I had a line after class asking when the books would be "ready" since the students knew I needed to scan them into the library and label them. The interest and buzz spread throughout nearly the entire room. Some students even offered to share the book with a friend...

We're using the 40 Book Challenge again this year! This year, I'm also completing the challenge along with my students. I've hung up the books I'm reading and the genre so my students are are reading right along with me. Catherine from the The Brown Bag teacher has a great free 40 Book Challenge that I've used for several years. This year, I'm actually using Lauren from the The Sweet Thing's Just Read: Reading Management System. I loved that everything was EDITABLE {bonus} and that she had other handouts like a books I want to read list and other important reading resources along with with her challenge.

Building the community also helps students stay engaged with books! I know many students want to read books that their friends are reading or that I'm reading! I've really tried to do a lot of showing off my reading in these first 2 1/2 weeks... Students definitely learn to value what teachers value. So I'm trying to show a range of diversity in my own reading to get kids excited about all different books!

Here's a few snapshots from several of my reading emergencies this summer... 
Need to get out the house Starbucks emergency...

Early to yoga reading emergency... 

My reading wishlist after watching the Scholastic Book Fair video... Showed my planner and note to my students!

Students have also been showing off their reading to each other with my {free} Currently Reading Locker Tags

Don't forget to check out all the other amazing ideas over at Joanne's blog! Can't wait to see all the wonderful back to school motivational tips!

Happy Saturday,

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Reading Life Timeline Assignment

After rereading Reading in the Wild this summer, I got the idea to have my students create reading timelines of important moments in their reading lives to help me get to know them better this year as readers. This has been one of my favorite launching activities, I've ever done! The students were super excited about creating their timelines and the book discussion it generated was simply amazing! From talks of Brown Bear, Brown Bear to Because of Winn Dixie and The One and Only Ivan, all my students were excited to share their favorite books (even my nonreaders!).

I started off with this picture of me reading a book about Fraggle Rock at around 3 years old... 
We talked about how books are a part of our lives before we can even read! I mentioned that at 3 years old I was not actually reading this book about Fraggle Rock but I was doing all the great things readers do. I had my own cozy spot next to a lamp and I had the book open and I chose a book that was interesting to me!  So even at 3 year old I was already "reading" to myself. I then went on to share my favorite reading memories from childhood.

Here's the assignment directions I gave:
Here's my timeline:
(Special thanks to Education Layne for the free template)

I discussed how I "read" Are you My Mother? before I could even read by memorizing the main line. I talked about how the first author I ever met was Gail Gibbons and she signed my copy of The Milk Makers. I gushed over my Lois Lowry favorites Number the Stars and The Giver. And I talked about how Goosebumps was the first series I really became obsessed with! Lastly, I shared how Maniac Magee was my favorite book in fifth grade and it was the first book I chose to reread on my own.

I gave my students time in class to brainstorm their own favorite books and the stories behind them. Then they finished the timeline as part of their first reading homework assignment.

Here's what my fifth graders came up with... 
The next day, we had a gallery walk and then got into new groups to share timelines. Students had the "mission" of finding someone with similar book interests and meeting someone new in class. Overall, it was a huge success and now I can also know a LOT more about my students as readers from one simple assignment.

Can you use this in your class?
You can download a PDF version of my Reading Life Timeline directions and template from my Google Drive. I can not take credit for the original timeline since that was created by Education Layne.

Happy Reading,

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Erin Condren Custom Planner Headers!

It's been a long first few weeks of school! Anyone else feeling the same way? Friday, I needed to go to my happy place and do some organizing and creating! The end result was creating some new headers for the absent section of the Erin Condren teacher planner. I don't need the absent section since our office tracks and reports attendance. I can look up each student online and see their full attendance history.

Using some inspiration from 3rd Grade Thoughts, I made my own new planner headers. I wanted more room for passwords (for teacher and students) as well as a section to keep track of my parent communication so I didn't need to print a separate log.

Here's how mine turned out:

Could you use these in your planner?

If you can use these in your planner simply choose if you would like the EC Planner Editable PPT or the EC Planner PDF version by clicking on the links. When printing just make sure to choose the option "scale to paper" so they are the "right" size. I have included notes with the download so you can get your planner lookin' great in a snap!

I printed mine on astrobright paper and glued them down with rubber cement.

Please post your photos on Instagram using the #ECPlannerMakeOver
Happy Back to School Ya'll!

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