Friday, October 26, 2012

Bedtime Storybook Night

Over the summer, we invited all incoming first graders and their parents to attend Bedtime Storybook Night.  Children were asked to wear their pajamas and bring their favorite stuffed animal.

As the night began, we introduced the families to the first grade teaching team.  Then children were invited to sit up on the stage for a read aloud.

Before reading the book, I shared a little secret with the kiddos..."Teachers love books.  All kinds of books.  Sometimes they love a book so much they read it twice.  Sometimes they love a book so much they read it over and over again."

I shard one of my favorite books, Ira Sleeps Over.  We stopped to make predictions and discuss what Ira should do about his big decision as we read the story.

After the story wrapped up, we had a special gift to share with our new firsties.  (Teachers began to pass out a gift-wrapped present to each child.)  We counted backwards from 10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Unwrap!  Surprise!  Students unwrapped their very own hard back copy of Mrs. Brooks Loves Books (and I Don't).

I hope that they love this book as much as I did...I hope they read it over and over again!

What would a bedtime story be without the snack?  We concluded our evening with milk and cookies.  It was a great first night with our new first graders!

This event was held as part of a school wide program to promote summer reading summer, reduce "summer slide", and build a sense of classroom community.  To learn more about this project, read my post,  One School, One Book.  

Are you a 5 Star Blogger?  Visit The Organized Classroom Blog and take Charity's 5 Star Challenge.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

One School, One Book

Does your school participate in One School, One Book?

Imagine your entire school community (teachers, staff, students, and families) all reading the same book at the same time. That’s what One School, One Book is all about.  The program was originally designed to promote reading in elementary schools, but the concept caught on quickly, and now many middle and high schools are also participating in One School, One Book initiatives.

Here's how it works... Schools choose a book that will appeal to their student population. Every student in the school is given a copy of the book to read. (Our PTO funded the program.) Next, students read the book at home over a designated period of time. They are encouraged to share the experience with their families by reading the book together. Then, back at school teachers organize activities to promote and enrich the shared reading experience.

My school is participating in *a slightly altered version of* the program. Our teachers decided to choose one book for each grade level. The change was made so that students would have a book that was more closely matched to their reading ability, in hopes that students would do more of the actual reading themselves. We held a special "Oprah's Big Giveaway" style assembly last spring to reveal this summer reading challenge and hand out the gift-wrapped books. Students were bubbling over with enthusiasm!

Now that the school year is underway, teachers are using the book and the coordinating activities to build a sense of community within their classrooms.

Books we chose:

First Grade - Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't)

Second Grade - A Weekend with Wendell

Third Grade - Donavan's Word Jar

Fourth Grade - Frindle

Fifth Grade - Powerless

I'll keep you posted on the progress of this initiative throughout the school year, so check back frequently. :)

For more information about the One School, One Book program, visit the Read to Them website. Read to Them is a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging parents to read to their children.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Anchor Charts and Beanies

It's time to share what we've been learning...Comprehension Strategies with Beanie Babies!
My posters were purchased from Froggie Went a Teachin' on TPT.

At the beginning of the year I introduce each of the comprehension strategies and the corresponding Beanie Baby animals.  We create anchor charts for each strategy and practice using the skills.  The children make a mini book of strategies that they will keep with them throughout the year. 
Students are so excited to see which Beanie Baby animal and strategy will be introduced next.  They practically beg me to tell them. :)  And sadly, *tears* they are even disappointed once the last strategy/animal has been revealed.
The program that we use for reading intervention spirals back to each of the skills multiple times throughout the year.  We refer to the anchor charts, Beanie Babies, and mini-books often.  Here's a little look at a few of the anchor charts we made this year.

We use the "Click, Click, Clunk" method for self-monitoring.

Students used the clues from the photographs and their schema to make an inference about what is happening in the photo.  This was a great way to introduce the concept and grasp before applying it to text.

I read a excerpt from Charlotte's Web describing the barn, and students drew what they were visualizing.


I'll be back soon to share more about each strategy.  I'd love to hear some of your great ideas for introducing and teaching the reading strategies.  Leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Classroom Tour

Welcome to "Camp Read S'more!"  I'm (finally) posting pictures of my camping themed classroom.  September flew by in a whirlwind.  We've completed our initial benchmark testing, and my intervention groups are up and running.  My fourth and fifth grade students have been reviewing comprehension strategies.  Soon the walls will display the anchor charts we've created.  Although the room still feels like a work in progress,  I decided to snap a few photos to share.
Camp Read S'more
Small Group Instruction Area
There is another similar small group area (not pictured) at the other end of the classroom for my instructional assistant.
Yes, two groups of students meet in this room simultaneously.  The room is large, so it works out perfectly!

"Read to Someone" Area
Classroom Library (book basket labels are coming soon)
Partners can read together in this area.
 "Read to Self" Tent

Computers for Read Live

Beanie Baby Comprehension Strategies
Cafe Board
I ordered these adorable woodland animal decals for the walls.
The animals pictured are my favorites, but a fox, a deer, and a raccoon were also included in the kit.  

Thanks for taking the classroom tour.  :)  I'll be posting pictures of the comprehension anchor charts we created soon.  Stop back to see them!