The Year of the Reader

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The Year of the Reader is getting a jumpstart. See Ms. Vigna or Ms. Fritz if you have questions, comments, or moments of genius!

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Magical Muggle Masterminds

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Are you obsessed with Harry Potter? Do you love everything related to Harry Potter so much that you would be willing to stay at school past the bell? Is your Potter passion enough to read and write about Harry Potter’s world? Come meet fellow Lonmgeadow Potterheads to explore and create reading and writing magic together. We will use our five sessions to read and write in different genres and forms to reinforce literay skills and strategies students are learning in their classrooms. As Professor Dumbledore says, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” Let’s make Dumbledore proud with our magical musings! Interested students should have read at least one of the books in the Harry Potter series prior to the start of this class.

Click here to register for this Longmeadow Enrichment Program club!

A Guided Reading Glog

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I’ve gone and glogged again! My latest glog is all about Fountas and Pinnell’s framework for guided reading for teachers from kindergarten to second grade, though the information is certainly transferrable to all the grades. I love making glogs because you can see all of the information and synthesize everything at once. The video that’s included isn’t my favorite exemplar of guided reading, but it’s enough to focus our discussion. My goal is to film a guided reading lesson at my school with which to replace it soon!

A Sea of Talk

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I have seen firsthand how turning and talking to a reader or writer next to you can energize students. Sometimes I’ll ask a class a question, and wait for a couple timid hands to slowly raise themselves. I’ll quickly follow-up with, “Turn and talk to the reader next to you about…” After a minute or so of discussion with a partner, the number of hands shoots up, often with nearly every student’s hand in the air! The benefits of giving students a chance to talk out their thinking are noticeable and necessary. When students talk before sharing out with the whole class, they get a chance to:

  • reassure themselves that they’re on the right track
  • rehearse verbalizing their thinking
  • deepen their understandings
  • take a risk with an audience of one rather than the whole class
  • have a peer explain in a kid-friendly terms
  • be heard
  • consider other perspectives
  • gain enough confidence to share out

Additionally, reading and writing are sometimes passive activities. How do we know what reading thinking is taking place if students only read silently? Discussing their reading and writing thinking energizes the learning and informs instruction. Engaging readers in a conversation about their predictions, confusions, wonderings, connections, or visualizations gives us a glimpse of what they’re doing well and where they can still grow as readers. A classroom of readers and writers hums with partners quietly sharing their thinking and responding to each other. In a classroom where rigorous conversation is expected and valued, readers and writers will do more than float on a sea of talk; they will soar.

Padlet

At last week’s staff meeting, a teacher queried, “How can we hold kids accountable for their independent reading?” Such a great question! What else is out there besides book talks and reading letters? I began exploring and discovered Padlet.

A Padlet is basically an online bulletin board. You can upload photos, files, or videos to a brief description, synopsis, wondering, whatever and other users can comment! My first Padlet, The Year of the Reader, can be a place where teachers and students add snippets of their thinking about the books they’re reading. Add to it today!

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What other ways can we use Padlets in the classroom?

Giant Literacy Word Wall

Man, I love a word wall. I always thought I did a good job with word walls because they easily covered close to half of my classroom wall space. Then I saw this image from an article in an issue of Science and Children called, “Interactive Word Walls” by Julie Jackson and Rose Narvaez:

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The word wall of my dreams! My brain exploded with both envy and inspiration! However, the closest I thought I could get to creating a realia-filled word wall of my own was showing it to as many teachers as possible and convincing one to do it in their rooms.

Thinking about my new office though, I realized I had PLENTY of wall space to create this masterpiece! So over the next several weeks, I’ll be brainstorming and gathering realia associated with literacy for my very own interactive word wall, complete with QR codes and student work.

What literacy words do you associate with each letter of the alphabet? Comment! I’m low on J, K, O, Q, X, Y, and Z, especially.

When Kate DiCamillo Gave My Baby’s Name the Best Compliment

My family lives close to An Unlikely Story, the amazing book store owned by the author of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Jeff Kinney. When they announced that author, Kate DiCamillo, would be visiting the bookstore, we signed up right away. Unfortunately, so did MANY other people. *We* were put on the standby list. On the third floor. “Oh, great,” I thought. “I’m never going to meet one of my favorite authors of all time.” But we waited anyway.

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Mr. Kinney gave a presentation to entertain us while we waited, and we loved seeing Calvin and Hobbes as one of his inspirations. But it still wasn’t the reason I was there — to see one of my favorite authors of all time.

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Instead of being in a room of 200+ fans and Ms. DiCamillo, we were front and center in a room of less than thirty people!

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I even got to ask her a question!

Later, when she signed our books, she asked, “Who’s this?” while pointing to our baby. When I told her Sam Grey, she replied, “Sam Grey wearing grey…this sounds like a name an author should borrow for a future character!” I told her, “Please do!”

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On our way out, we couldn’t resist thanking Mr. Kinney for a wonderful event and for bringing this amazing bookstore to our (greater) community.

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Go to An Unlikely Story soon! You won’t regret it, but your wallet might!