Friday, January 29, 2016

Five for #Friyay!

I haven't linked up in a very long time with Five for Friday! Is it just me or has this been a SUPER long week? So, I'm linking up to share my #FriYays of the week!

We've been practicing our on demand essay skills this week during Reading Workshop. Students have been reading their book club novels and connecting the themes of various novels. Students have been rocking some HARD questions using the "PEEL" model!

Here's my anchor chart and a students' response for today's on demand writing!

This week, we've also been super pumped to move on to new books in our book clubs! I've had so many kids reading two or more books for this book club! Look at all the great books and students' choices! Also, notice the lack of "A's" for abandon. That means we have some great book choices!

I've also been reading, reading, reading! I love sharing my love of reading with my students. My Pintresting reading board is bright and full of great books for students! My students have also enjoyed analyzing my book choices and habits.

As a school we celebrated the end to our reading challenge. Our school foundation sponsors the fundraiser and reading challenge. It's a great way to celebrate reading and raise money for technology and grants for students and teachers! This year we read over 500,000 minutes and raised over $37,000. Wow! To reward the kids, we played a staff dodge ball game against other teachers and administrators! We didn't make it to the final game against the principals but we had a great name and cute shirts. That's what counts, right?

It's #FriYay! I'm exhaust but when I came home my Facebook and the local news was a buzz about students at our high school. They created a great video for a wonderful cause! It truly made my teacher heart happy!

Hope you had a great Friday as well!
Here's to FriYay! 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Gettin' hooked on Graphics!

We all have "those" readers that just need a little help finding a book that will make them fall in love with reading! I've found that graphic novels are the perfect gateway books for those students. My students this year have helped me add to my graphic novel section of the library with recommendations and classroom favorites. Quite a few are even counting down to the next book in the Amulet series! Graphic novels are a whole new way to fall in love with reading.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to introduce students to graphic novels.

How do you hook unwilling readers?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Vera Bradley Deals!

Do you have a compulsion to buy new teacher bags, pencil cases, make-up bags, and other random items from Vera Bradley? Well, you're not alone... I am a #VeraAddict. I do limit my purchases but when I seem to need a new bag the retail prices make me scream... YIKES! 

Did you know Vera Bradley has an eBay Outlet? 

Vera's website does offer some fabulous deals throughout the year but shipping can be costly. Also, 30% off is great but could be better - YES! Last summer, I found Vera Bradley's shop on eBay. It features retired patterns at 50% - 60% off! The selection varies and they also run online promotions offering additional % off. You can't use your coupons but you won't need too!

It's a great site to bookmark when you're looking to make a Vera purchase. I always check there first and then decide what's the best deal!

Recently, I was looking for a weekend bag to take to Nerd Camp and small trips. Vera Bradley online is currently offering and additional 30% off all sale items! Score, right? I decided I wanted to purchase the Grand Traveler after watching too many YouTube videos. On the website the final cost would be $63 dollars down from $120. I figured, I'd check eBay before making my final purchase and I'm glad I did! On Vera Bradley's eBay Store I found the same bag for only $49 dollars! Not only did a I save an additional $14 dollars but I saved 58% off retail! The eBay site also offers free shipping on ALL purchases and everything still comes right from Vera! All my previous items have included the same Vera touches like boxes, tissue, etc. just like I ordered from the website! It's worth checking out! 

Here are my steals of the day...

Happy Shopping! 


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Club Basics

I wanted to do a quick blog post about some book club basics. I'm a huge supporter of using book clubs as a way to foster a love of reading and build a community of readers in your classroom. If you're thinking of launching book clubs in your classroom here are few things to consider before getting started!

First, you need to make sure your students have access to books! When I was first starting out with book clubs, I used my local library as well as my school library to help put books in my students' hands. This can take a few weeks at times so give yourself plenty of time.  As my book clubs have grown, my own collection has grown as well. Scholastic bonus points, half price books, library sales, etc. have really helped grow my book collection. Currently, I have at least 4-5 copies of every book I feature in one of my book clubs. We also always offer the option for students to download or purchase their own copies.

Here's a few of my book club sets:
Don't forget your lower readers, too! Having a variety of books and reading levels is something you need to look at before starting book clubs. Book club needs may change year to year so having some back up books {for your highest and lowest readers} is always important!

Next, you need to decide how you're going to launch your book clubs. How will you get your kids excited? My favorite way to launch book clubs is to show a short preview video or book talk about each novel we're featuring. This gets our students SUPER pumped for book clubs. It also helps students decide if a book is a "good fit" for their reading tastes.

Savvy is one of my favorites from my fantasy book club!

Absolutely, Almost is a perfect for any character unit of study!

Once you have your books, you need to decide what book clubs will look like in your classroom. They should help facilitate what you're already teaching in the classroom.

In my classroom, my students know that our reading block will be a teaching point, read aloud, group practice, and then independent practice and reading. Some days, we have to read and model and then students will get time to read and practice the following day. It just depends on the length of the lesson and read aloud.

We use our Reader's Notebooks for modeling and practice. We also use them to jot down information about our book club novels!

Why do adults join book clubs? Because they are FUN! My students do not meet daily in book clubs because that's not how real book clubs work. They can always get help or ask fellow students questions but we only meet in book clubs on Friday. On Fridays, we choose a fun activity that relates to our weekly lessons for students to complete in small book club groups of 3-4 students.

Our students LOVE book club Fridays! It's great because they can also work with other students on our team that have the same reading block - we work it so it's not just homeroom based!
We made Facebook pages for our main characters during our character book clubs. This is Roy from Hoot's "Fakebook" page.

This Friday, we made theme posters as part of our interpretation book clubs. You can see more examples of these posters and the requirements we set {here}.

Planning fun Friday activities keeps kids engaged and helps focus their discussions. This really helps keeps book club excitement going. As kids read several books, they also get to choose which book club join . This offers additional choice for kids and promotes further reading.

How do you build a reading community in your classroom?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Fun {Theme Posters}

Everyone needs a little Friday fun, right? On Fridays we have students meet with other students on our team during their reading block for book clubs! We'd love for kids to sit and discuss books for 30-45 minutes but they're just not quite ready for that yet... So, we have Friday fun!

This week my amazing teaching partner came up with an activity relating to theme since we've been working with themes in our novels ALL week! The kids came up with some amazing posters to help teach theme and the rich discussions they were having were fantastic! From debating words to selecting phrases... this activity is a keeper!

Our poster requirements:
- Theme in your novel
- 10 words describing the theme
- 10 pictures
- 5 phrases
- 2 quotes from the novel

Not everyone finished but these turned out UGH-mazing!

Look for a Book Club Basics post coming your way soon with more tips and tricks to help you launch and maintain successful book clubs in the classroom!

How do you keep your Friday's fun?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Handouts for Launching Book Clubs

Finally, decided to take all the general book club forms and handouts and put them into one BIG Book Club Handouts bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers. This bundle includes all the handouts and forms you need to get book clubs started in my classroom. I've included sample activities, letters to parents, teacher tips, leveled book choices by topic, quizzes, and a {no mess!} final book club project.

I'm not one to typically use my blog to promote my products but book clubs are SUCH a big deal to me! Since, book clubs are a focus of my blog, I just had to share my newest product that could help get them started in your classroom! This was truly a labor of book club love to get all these files updated and bundled together. If you're thinking of starting book clubs, check it out! These handouts are a great way to EASE into book clubs!

So what do you get? 
Do you currently use book clubs in your classroom? 
What questions do you still have about using book clubs to teach reading?

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