Thursday, June 26, 2014

Reading in the Wild: Creating a Workshop Schedule

Why I love summer, reason #312...this is my sixth post in six days!  That's more posts than I did all together in March, April, and May.  I still don't know how you blogging pros do it week after week all through the year!  Do you ever sleep?!

I'm linking up once again for the Summer Book Study on Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, really a must-read for anyone who aspires to motivate students to read.  



Today's topic is Creating a Workshop Schedule That Works for You, which is hosted by Jivey from Ideas by Jivey and Chelsea from Flip-Floppin' Through 3rd Grade.  


I struggle with the same issue that many of you do when it comes to scheduling workshop, the lack of time.  This past year I was limited to 55 minutes due to special education and intervention schedules.  55 minutes!  Yikes!  Donalyn suggests that no matter how much time you have, you should divide it into thirds, one-third independent reading, conferring, and small groups; one-third direct instruction and guided practice with the whole class; and one-third independent practice with additional time spent reading or writing.  What I did with my 55 minutes varied from day to day, but I would say it was mostly 20 to 25 minutes direct instruction and modeling and 30 minutes of independent reading and practice time.  

The hard part is still fitting in all those other pieces that create the whole language arts instruction picture, like word work, writing, read aloud, etc.  I did have a separate 45 minute block for writing.  I squeezed my word work into that time by devoting Monday's block to meeting with each of my three Words Their Way word work groups.  While I met with a group on the carpet the other two groups did independent writing at their seats. The rest of the week's word work practice had to be done through homework which was due on Friday, the day I gave a short word work quiz. 



I was able to squeeze in my read aloud at the end of the day, which wasn't ideal, but it worked.  While doing some of the MAISA units, like the one using Wonder, I would read aloud at the end of the day, and then the lesson for that section would take place the next day.  I am hoping that this year I can do my read aloud in the morning during an extended workshop time.  I dare to dream!   

I really tried to hold that 30 minutes of silent reading time sacred.  In past years I have suffered with groups of professional book shoppers.  You know what I am talking about...those kids that avoid reading by constantly looking for books in the class library. A few years back I starting designating a couple of book racks for my students to use to house the books they want to read next.  




They are required to keep at least two books on the rack at all times.  That way if they finish a book during silent reading time, they just go grab a book off the rack, and none of that precious time is wasted!  I do need to figure out a time to schedule book browsing though.  That is one thing I want to somehow fit into my schedule this year.  One thought I had was having one or two groups a day browse for books during snack and bathroom break time.  Any other thoughts on a good time to squeeze that in?




Tried & True & Throwback Thursday

It's Tried and True Thursday, which means it's all about linking up a post about something that works well for you that other teachers should try.  



I'm also linking up with The Teacher's Desk for Throwback Thursday!  


I've chosen one of my most popular posts about a subject that is near and dear to my heart...nope, not American History or book clubs or reading workshop...cleaning!  I am a bit of a neat freak.  Okay, a huge neat freak, something that does not go unnoticed by every custodian that has ever had my classroom on their cleaning route.  

Now maybe you would also like a clean room but feel like this...





Never fear, all you have to do is make a little fun out of it, and you can turn your students into the OCD neat freaks you have always wanted to teach!  Read all about it in my post "Spark Student Motivation to Clean!"




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Worksheet Wednesday #4

I'm linking up once again with The Teaching Tribune for Worksheet Wednesday where you can find loads of summer themed, one-page worksheets for free!



My worksheet is one that I created to use with the summer school program that I am coordinating, Camp Literacy.  It goes with the book A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen.  


This is one of those books that hooked me immediately with the cover, and the story did not disappoint!  It's adorable!  After listening to the text, students imagine and write about where they would like to go camping with Mr. Magee.  Then they draw the details of their camping scene around Mr. Magee's sweet little camper that my husband drew for me.  You can grab it for free at my TPT Store!  




Don't forget to load up on all the other free worksheets at The Teaching Tribune!





Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Two for Tuesday #2

I'm linking up today with The Teaching Tribune for Two for Tuesday.  Today only you can grab any of the products linked up for 50% off!  



I chose my two most wish-listed items.  My first product also happens to be my biggest seller, my "Wonder" Common Core Unit Student Packet.  Have you read Wonder by R.J. Palacio yet?  If you haven't, it's a must read for this summer!  This past year was the second time I read it to my class using the free lesson plans created by Oakland Schools. Even though I knew what was coming, I once again had to repeatedly stop reading at a certain part, because I was getting...you know...a little verklempt.


The packet includes among other things, pages for each section of the book that is read aloud with questions, prompts, and a section for journal entries, and pages to use to teach about point of view.  It's a bargain today at $2.50!




My second product is my second most wish-listed item, First Week of School Activities. It contains a variety of activities that you can use during the first week back to school. Today you can grab it for only $2.00!


I'm getting a late start on my post, so my sale price will be good through tomorrow too. Make sure you head over to The Teaching Tribune for all kinds of good buys!




Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Meet Up #4

Okay, first of all it's freaking me out that I'm linking up today with The Teaching Tribune for Monday Meet Up of Summer Bloggin Week 4!  Week 4?  This is actually my first full week of summer vacation, and I'm so busy it doesn't seem like vacation yet.  



This week's Monday Meet Up is three interesting facts that you might not already know about me.  


Be sure to Meet Up with everyone else, and have a great week!




Friday, June 20, 2014

Reading In The Wild: Chapter 1

Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer transformed my classroom these past two years, so I was excited to see a book study was started to discuss Donalyn's new book, Reading in the Wild.  I'm linking up with Jivey to talk about Chapter 1.  


I totally relate to Donalyn's first chapter where she talks about how reading is a part of who she is.  As the daughter of a librarian, I feel like I grew up in a library and have a special love for books.  I love that quote of Meg Ryan's from the movie You've Got Mail where she says, "When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does."  


Some of my most vivid memories of childhood involve books...getting Little House in the Big Woods for Christmas, spending a whole summer reading the Anne of Green Gables series, finishing Gone With the Wind on Christmas Eve and crying my eyes out.  I want all the students in my classroom to feel the same way about the books they read in 5th grade!

Something funny happened today that shows just how dorky I am when it comes to books. My husband and I were hanging out at Panera in Ann Arbor passing the time while we waited for our daughter, Bonny, to finish taking the GRE test.  I was working on a lesson to go with the book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore


I was telling my husband what a great story it was, and I made him read it.  Then I was talking to him about the symbolism I see in the story and some of my favorite parts, and I said, "I love this line...As he went to the door, he turned and smiled, then waved goodbye.  "I'll carry you all in here," he said, and pointed to his heart."  I said, "He's talking about the books!", and I actually teared up.  My husband took one look at me with tears in my eyes and started laughing hysterically until he was literally crying too but for a different reason!  Yes, I am a dork about books!

Donalyn talks in Chapter 1 about reading every day and everywhere.  I do not go to sleep ever without reading first.  Even if it is only for five minutes.  I will often think to myself...no matter what, lights out by 9:30, and lo and behold it's 10:15, and I haven't been able to put the book down.  But even on those nights when I could fall asleep before my head hits the pillow, I still read for a few minutes first.  

I love how Donalyn talks about having reading emergencies.  I hate it when I end up sitting somewhere idle for even five minutes and I don't have a book with me to read.  And does anyone else get annoyed that almost every waiting room now has a tv on, interrupting what to me is a sacred reading space?  

I started some things in my classroom this past year after being inspired by The Book Whisperer.  I started Mrs. Rye's Recommended Reads, a part of my library where I display books that I love.  Each week I would add one book to the section.


I talked about this in my post Spark Student Motivation to Read, and you can check it out here.  I also made reading the only free time option, trying to capture all those minutes throughout the day.  Back when I got my masters in reading (over twenty years ago when I was a newbie) I did my final project on how many minutes students actually spend reading during reading class.  I was team teaching at the time and my teammate did the reading instruction while I was in a supporting role.  I secretly recorded how many minutes the students actually spent reading.  It was a shockingly low number!  But that was back in the day of a basal reader where you spent five days on one story.  It made me want to pull my hair out by the third day and changed the way I taught reading ever since.  

There is one part of chapter 1 that I struggle with, the status of the class.  I have done it before and felt like it was a waste of precious time.  Maybe I'm not doing it right, I don't know.  But I would love to hear what you guys think about this.  Do you do it?  Is it useful?





Friday, June 13, 2014

Five for the Last Friday!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday on the last day of school! Hooray!  


My kids made booklets for their dads for Father's Day this week writing about the top ten things they enjoy doing together.  They choose 10 different pages to include in their book and write about each of the ten activities they like to do with their dad.  


You can find this Father's Day Student Booklet at my TPT Store.  



This morning I had my kids write letters to my students that I will have next year.  On the first day of school I have these letters sitting on the desks so they can read them when they first come in and sit down.  


This is a freebie at my TPT Store!



Today I gave my students the memory books I put together for them.  I had them do the writing part of it during the last week but didn't tell them I was putting photographs in. They thought they were going to have to draw pictures in the boxes.  They were pretty surprised and excited when they saw them today.  They turned out great! Here are a few pages out of one of my student's books.









You can find my End of Year Memory Book at my TPT Store.




We had our auction today where students get to spend all the money they have earned in our classroom economy this last month.  I save things up all year long and usually end up with a good variety of things for the kids to buy.




The last day of school is always such a weird one for me.  And it's amazing to see how my kids and I can dismantle in a day what took me three weeks to put up!  Each time we left the room today and walked back in, my kids would say...the room looks so dull!


Make sure you stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!