Literacy Links – Volume 74 *Bonus Summer Edition*

coaching, literacy links, professional resources, reading, summer, writing

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 2.33.15 PM

Hyperlinked docs and choice boards have been a really useful tool during quaranteaching and quarancoaching. Over the summer, I’ve been developing this coaching choice board. Each colorful dot links to a page that focuses on that option with a video of me explaining what it looks like and links to the supporting documents I use. Not only will this hyperdoc share coaching opportunities that teachers might not have considered in the past, but it also helped me clarify my role.

Here is this summer’s roundup of literacy links if you’re looking for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

3 Steps to a School’s Successful Summer Reading Program

literacy, professional resources, reading, summer

Right before summer vacation begins every year, teachers urge their students to read, read, read. Not only do we want them to keep up the reading skills they’ve built up over the year, but we also want them to enjoy the freedom to choose and read whatever they want! I’m not a fan of incentive plans or book lists because I want students to build their own reading identities. But then, how do we promote summer reading for summer reading’s sake?

Although I participate in plenty of meetings with teams where we brainstorm ideas, my ideas often hit me much later, which is exactly what happened with my summer reading plan. But when that lightning bolt of inspiration struck in the middle of a sleepless, pandemic night, I knew it was “the one”. I hoped my three step plan would boost summer reading like never before.

Step One: Parents as Teammates!

The problem that inspired my three step plan was: Why don’t students DO summer reading? I had a few hunches. My first hunch was that parents didn’t realize how summer reading affected students. So the first step in my plan was to educate families. I created an eleven minute info session for families that covered the who, when, where, what, and WHY of summer reading using Loom:

As an incentive for watching the video, I did a reading swag bag raffle. They submitted their reader’s name(s), and then I used a random name picker to choose three winners. For the swag bag, I ordered a few things (sunglasses for summer reading, stickers for tracking their summer reading on a calendar, multicolored pen, and the coolest magnetic cardinal bookmark/pen) and made the rest (reading bracelet, reading stickers, and three stamped, reading-themed coloring page postcards).

IMG_6545

I recruited my boys to help assemble the swag bags.

IMG_6530

and even learned a new skill: How to make homemade stickers. This is totally going on my résumé.

IMG_6528

I delivered the bags to the winners in the last week of school, and I got some great photos of them wearing their summer reading sunglasses or notebooks decorated with stickers!

Step Two: Build “Books to Read” Lists!

With parents covered, I tackled my other hunch: Students didn’t know *what* to read. How could I add to their “Books to Read” lists? I had several solutions, but this first one was, by far, my favorite.

Kid lit is my preferred genre. If you ever find me reading on vacation (ha! I have young kids, so I rarely read on vacation!), it’s almost always a middle grade novel. They’re my jam. And as a #classroombookaday ambassador and Ruth Culham devotee, I can never say no to a good picture book. It’s seriously a problem. This is all to say that I know a LOT of kids’ books! I decided to offer book recommendation consultations to families and their readers. They filled out a Google Form, and I scheduled a time for a quick Zoom to interview them and their readers. As an active seeker of joy and to make this Zoom special for kids, I decided to dress up as a fortune teller so that I could “see into their book-reading futures”! I used my Professor Trelawney costume from my Harry Potter Club stash, and I nearly bought a crystal ball. Seriously.

IMG_6433

After getting to know the reader, I created a list of books that I thought the reader would love based on their reading interests. I shared a list with them and also a recording of me talking through the list so that they would have a brief summary of each book.

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 8.12.49 AM

I had GREAT feedback about this service! Parents and kids LOVED it. But I only reached forty-four kids. What about the 350 others? How could I get them ready for summer reading by arming them with a list of books that they want to read? My answer: create “Getting Ready for Summer Reading” units for grades K-5. I ended up making two units: one for K-1:

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 8.24.31 AM

and one for grades 2-5:

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 8.25.11 AM

For both units, students created a summer reading journal to record books they wanted to read, books they read, a summer reading goal, and summer reading progress monitoring. To kick off their “Books to Read” lists, I started with a book talk before the minilesson in both units. Towards the end of both units, students created a book talk on Flipgrid, and students were encouraged to watch as many as possible to build their “Books to Read” lists.

Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 8.26.52 PM

I’m THRILLED that at the time of this posting  (July 16, 2020), the book talks have been viewed 2,798 times!! That is incredible! And some students have been adding book talks over the summer! I’m so, so proud!

On the last day of the unit, we celebrated by creating a book nook at home, decorating a summer reading book bin, hosting a digital book tasting, or creating a PSA about the importance of summer reading:

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 8.41.42 AM

Some students emailed me photos of their book bins, which I loved seeing (and I couldn’t resist recommending a couple books to them in my response to them!)! Making this unit was something that kept me sane in the last weeks of crisis teaching last year because it was full of joy and student-centered. I hope that it becomes a staple end-of-the-year routine for years to come!

Step 3: Maintain Reading Contact Over the Summer

To personalize motivation, I plan to send postcards to as many students as I can halfway through the summer. I’m going to DIY the postcards using empty packaging and glueing on a reading-themed coloring page. This artist has a collection of free reading-themed coloring pages (scroll down to “Words and Quotes Coloring Pages) that I’ll use for the postcards. I’ll inquire about books they’re reading, how they’re doing with their summer reading goal, and encourage them to keep adding and referring to book talks to the Flipgrid. I can’t wait to mail them soon!

When we return to school in September, whether it’s face-to-face, remote, or hybrid, I plan on conducting a survey of every first through fifth grader about their summer reading. Some questions might be: how many books did you read this summer, did you make a summer reading goal at the end of the previous year, did you meet your goal, how much did you enjoy reading this summer, etc. I can’t wait to hear what students say.

Happy reading, y’all.

Literacy Links – Volume 73 (Last for 2019-2020 year)

book list, Harry Potter, Just for fun, literacy links, poetry, professional resources, summer, writing
Screen Shot 2020-06-19 at 9.23.02 AM

Dear teaching,

From the moment
I wrote on Mrs. Francescutti’s chalkboard during student teaching

and gave fourth graders
word search advice
in an evergreen Lake Forest Park classroom,

I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all–

From my creativity and money

To my loneliness and energy.

As a twenty-something

deeply in love with you,
I never saw the endless standards,
stacks of papers to grade,
or hours of lost sleep.
I only saw students

at the beginnings of their journeys.

And so I learned.

I read books cover to cover
and observed countless classrooms,
growing my pedagogy with
each page,

each visit.

You demanded everything.

I gave you my heart

because you yielded so much more.

I taught through the fatigue and hurt

Not because problem-solving called me
But because YOU called me.
I do everything for YOU.
Because that’s what you do
when someone makes you feel as

alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave me my be-the-change-you-wish-to-see dream,

and I’ll always love you for it.

But this year’s crisis challenged me to my core.

These past three months I gave you more than I actually have.
I think my heart can take the pounding.
I think my mind can handle the grind.
But I’m so, so tired and so, so worried.

And that is going to have to be OK.

It’s so unlike me, but I’m ready for this year to end.

Let’s savor every moment we have left together —
The good and the hard.
We’ve given each other

All that we have.

And we both know, no matter what the summer and fall bring…

I’ll always be the teacher
Wearing the silly costumes,
Surrounded by books,
With a clipboard, pen, and notebook nearby
Happily reading and writing

Page after page after page.

Love you always,

Ms. Vigna

(my copycat poem of “Dear Basketball” by Kobe Bryant)

Here is the LAST official roundup of literacy links for the 2019-2020 year if you’re looking for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

 

Literacy Links – Volume 70

creating, literacy links, online learning, professional resources, reading, summer, writing

Screen Shot 2020-05-29 at 11.02.15 AM

Summer reading is a passion of mine. I’ve developed a summer reading launch unit for teachers to use in the past, so I adapted it for quaranteaching. The goal of the units, one for primary and another for intermediate, is to set up students for success for summer reading: figuring out their best reading routines, sharing book talks, and setting a summer reading goal. There are lots of accompanying resources: an info session video and accompanying presentation for families, book lists from trusted sources, and a collection of themed, digital Bitmoji libaries curated by Center teachers! I want summer 2020 reading to be our most successful ever!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

 

Literacy Links – Volume 69

book list, literacy links, online learning, poetry, summer, writing

Screen Shot 2020-05-21 at 2.43.25 PM

Last week, I hosted a PD for my staff on creating Bitmoji digital libraries that you can access HERE. Before showing them how to build their Bitmoji digital libraries, I sprinkled in some PD on classroom libraries, how to curate a collection, and digital book platforms. Together with the how-to portion of the session, I don’t think I’ve ever talked THAT much during a PD! Afterwards, I reflected on how I could’ve avoided yapping for so long: HOW do you show people how to do something tech-y without telling them everything?! Regardless, it has been SO fun seeing everyone’s creations they’ve shared with me! I’m collecting them all for some summer reading fun at Center School. Stay tuned!!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 32

literacy links, summer

IMG_1445

I bet you’ve read some GREAT books this year! The Reading Ambassadors have nominated books for awards in several different categories, and the winners will be revealed at the Summer Reading Assembly on June 7th. Check out the display of all of the nominees outside the library; maybe one of YOUR favorites will win!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Summer Reading – Online Reading Resources

literacy, reading, summer, technology

This list comes directly from this awesome blog post from the Nerdy Book Club, “Digital Device + Free Texts = Reading All Summer Long”. Check out their post if you want more background, but here are all of the links to free online reading resources!

  1. Storyline Online: Artists from the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists read stories aloud.
  2. Open eBooks: Michele Obama and the Obama White House launched this app to give students and educators access to free books.
  3. Wonderopolis: If you have students who love reading informational texts, introduce them to Wonderopolis. Each day Wonderopolis posts and answers a new question. Readers can search by topic or explore the question of the day.
  4. Just Books Read Aloud: Alma College shares over eight hundred videos of stories being read aloud. You can sort by author, narrator, reading level, language, and topic.
  5. The Poem Farm: The Poem Farm is Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s website and is filled with poems for students to read. Readers can sort by topic or technique to find poems they love.
  6. Dogonews: This site is loaded with articles and videos about current events, sports, and human-interest stories.
  7. Sports Illustrated Kids: Do you have sports fans in your classroom? On this site, students can read about favorite sports and sports teams.
  8. Readworks: When the classroom sets up an account, students have access to so many texts are a variety of topics and interests.
  9. International Children’s Digital Library: Looking for texts from around the world and texts written in a variety of languages? On this site, students can search for books by author, topic, and even country.
  10. YOUR Local Public Library: Don’t miss the digital reading opportunities available at your local public library. So many children’s libraries now give students ways to borrow eBooks and digital audio books without leaving their house. Just look at the digital public libraries available in the United States.

Happy reading!

Harry Potter Virtual Book Club Assignment #8: The LAST Task

Harry Potter, reading, summer

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!

Harry Potter Virtual Book Club Assignment #7: Happy Birthday, Harry!

Harry Potter, reading, summer

image

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!

Happy reading!