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!
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.
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!
What other ways can we use Padlets in the classroom?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!”
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.
Go to An Unlikely Story soon! You won’t regret it, but your wallet might!
I love finding inspiring quotes in the books I’m reading! In fact, my students have a whole section of their reading notebooks devoted to quote collecting. It’s impactful work because it encourages:
- “reading like a writer.” Being aware of how words are composed influences and excites us as writers. I want my writing to have the same kind of impact!
- vocabulary acquisition. Often, my favorite quotes have some unusual, inspiring word choice. The conversations we’ve had in class while dissecting the nuanced meaning of words in quotes have been some of my most powerful teaching moments.
- reading an author’s body of work. I know that Sharon Creech will always have some stimulating nuggets. She has such a gift with words!
Three FREE websites I’ve found and used to turn quotes from students’ readings into something you’d find on Etsy are Recite.com, Quotescover.com, and Quozio.com. You can choose different styles, colors, and fonts! Have fun playing around, and happy reading!
For assignment #7, Potterheads created birthday cards for Harry. Harry would’ve LOVED these!
Payton’s birthday card for Harry:
John’s birthday tidings for Harry:
Charlie’s birthday wish for Harry:
Killian’s birthday greetings:
This is it, Potterheads. The LAST chunk of The Sorcerer’s Stone and the LAST assignment. There are only the last three chapters for you to read, and they’re so exciting, I won’t be surprised if you finish them in one sitting. Since I’m posting this a bit late, let’s make sure you’ve finished the book by August 17th.
In this post, I shared one of my favorite quotes from this book: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” Not only do I love the alliteration, but I also love the message. Whenever I’m reading a book that moves me, I always record meaningful quotes. This is what real readers do! When we find a book we love, we revisit it again and again trying to reveal significant or even new moments. I ❤ reading.
For your LAST assignment I want you to find a quote that means something to you from The Sorcerer’s Stone. The quote doesn’t have to be from the final three chapters (although there are some gems there); it can be from anywhere in the whole novel. Don’t forget to note WHO says the quote: it might be a character or J.K. Rowling. Once you’ve found your quote, send me the following info in an email, blog post comment, a note dropped off at HBB or MKG’s office to be put in my mailbox, a snail mail via the HBB or MKG’s office, whatever:
- the whole quote
- who said it
- your name
- your new teacher for the the 2015-2016 school year
If you send me all of this info before August 17th, I’ll have a special delivery for you in the first week of school. It may or may not involve an owl. 🙂
Happy final reading, Potterheads!
We’re SO close to the end! In fact, if you’ve been pacing yourself with my weekly assignments, I predict you won’t be able to resist finishing the book after you read the next two chapters! Go ahead and devour what remains if you wish! However, I’m only going to assign chapters 13 and 14 for Friday, August 7th.
This week’s assignment deviates from our reading of The Sorcerer’s Stone in order to celebrate Harry’s birthday, which is on July 31st! Make Harry a birthday card telling him why you like having him as a friend. Your card can be in the voice of any Hogwarts character OR simply YOU. Won’t Harry be surprised when owls start delivering these cards to him on Privet Drive (he’ll be there for summer break)?! Let’s make this birthday a memorable one!
As always, send me a photo of your card and birthday message, and I’ll post them on this site next week!
Inspired by the three-headed dog, Fluffy, and the mountain troll that terrified Harry, Ron, and Hermione in recent chapters, Middleboro’s Potterheads imagined their own fantastic beasts that could’ve been guarding the sorcerer’s stone or trolling the hallways scaring Hogwarts’ students. Beware!
The Chewgothagon has fangs that are three feet long. It uses it’s fangs to rip apart it’s enemies. It’s tail is so fast and deadly it can slice through steel like a laser beam! It’s wingspan is thirty feet long which makes it a majestic but deadly flying animal. The Chewgothagon is a carnivore who feasts on sheep, lions and even people! The mighty horns of the Chewgothagon can make shish-ka-bob out of anything in its path!
Beware of the deadly Chewgothagon!
ABIGAIL’S UNICORN DRAGON
It is a unicorn/dragon that spits flaming acid cookies!
ANNIE’S MR. EVIL JUMPER
KILLIAN’S ICE SNAKE
ZACHARY’S THREE-HEADED ELEPHANT WITH LASER EYES
PAYTON’S MONSTER DOG
The “Gaggle” is holding a Nimbus 2000 in one of its hands, a wand made out of dragon blood and a Gringot’s heart in the other, and it is wearing a book of spells on a sash around its shoulder. This would be found trolling the hallways.