Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tracking Reading without a Log

 I had a meeting with my teammates this week, and we have all decided to take the "logless" plunge.  I have read positive results from so many bloggers as well as the recommendations from the fabulous resource The Book Whisperer.

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I am excited (and a little nervous) to give this a try.  We had a great discussion about reading accountability.  Here is what we came up with to substitute for our logs.

I have used Status of the Class for several years as a quick way to check in with students.  However, I would like to be more consistent.  Here is the form I use.

I got this from Franki Sibbeson's awesome book, Day-to-Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop.   (This book is a must in my opinion!)

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In addition to Status of the Class, we wanted to think about reading goals.  Goal setting has always been big at my school and in my classroom.  However, since we started The Leader in Me program, it has become huge!    

I love the idea of the "40 Book Challenge".  However, we wanted to make the goal flexible, and we also wanted to challenge students to read from a variety of genres.   Here is the form I made for students to set and track their goals.

Students will fill in the boxes as they finish their books to create a bar graph.

Even though I am tracking completed books  with the Status of the class, I also wanted students to track the books they finished.  I created this form for them to use.

I thought students would need a reference sheet handy to determine the genre of their books.  Students will keep this form in their data notebooks with their reading goals.

I put these forms on a Google doc.  If you are interested, you can download them here.

I will be sure to let you know how this "logless" venture goes.  I would greatly appreciate any advice if you have tried tracking reading without a log.  Thank you!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Moving - The Good, The Bad, and The Freebie

Change is good.  Right?

I am currently in the process of switching rooms.  This change has definitely been good, well mostly.

*A huge perk of switching rooms is that my new room was painted last week.  I just love the yellow and green combo!  I have two walls painted each color.  I will share more photos of my room once it is presentable.

*I am now closer to my fourth grade team.
*I purged like crazy.  After teaching for 23 years, you accumulate a lot of "stuff".  I used to think I was good about pitching things I don't need, but boy was I wrong.  I still had plenty to get rid of!

*It took so. much. time.  Packing, purging, saving, deciding, moving, unpacking...
*Although my new room is set up very much like my former room, the layout is slightly different, and I will need to rethink my writing center.  For the past several years, I had a display of writing ideas that looked like this.

Now, there just isn't a good spot of it.
I am toying around with putting the cards on a ribbon or finding another area in the room.  In the meantime, I wanted to make something I knew I could use right away.
That leads me to -

*The Common Core and our new writing program limit my students' time for free choice writing.  However, I am determined to find some time for my students to select their own topics and genres for their writing notebooks.  My previous students did a nice job referring to the posted list for inspiration, so I decided to make a list for students to keep in their notebooks.  Hopefully, I will find a way to make both resources available to my students this year.

If you would like this list for your students, you can download it here.

Thank you, and enjoy the rest of your week!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Favortie Things - Websites

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer (or their final days with students).  As I'm sure it is with all of you, summer doesn't mean stop planning.  It does mean, however, plan at your leisure which is a huge perk.

Today, I am linking up with The Teaching Trio to share three of my favorite go to websites when planning my units.  All three of these websites can provide great hooks, reinforcement, and review.

Brainpop - I absolutely love Brainpop!  My favorite thing about it is how excited my students get every time I play one.  This is one website that works extremely well across grade levels.   The animated videos are informative, engaging and cover just about every topic.  I use it all the time to introduce and review topics.  If your school does not have a subscription, I highly recommend that you request one.

Pete's Power Point Station - This site links you to tons of awesome, free Power Points and games across all subject areas.  I blogged about it in detail here.

YouTube with Safe Share - There are so many great videos on Youtube!  However, some of the advertisements that come up can be annoying, or even inappropriate.  I first heard about Safe Share from Ideas by Jivey.  If you copy and paste the Youtube link on the Safe Share site, it allows you to view the videos ad-free.  I use for my lesson plans.  I can just plug in the safe share link, and I'm ready to go.

Here are a couple of my favorite Youtube video.

Of course, there's always Schoolhouse Rock!
(Just a Bill - How a bill becomes a law)

What is your favorite "go to" website when you are planning your lessons?
I am off to check out everyone else's favorites.  Thank you, Teaching Trio, for hosting this fun linky!

Monday, June 15, 2015

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

Hooray!  It's summertime!  After almost two solid weeks of professional development, I am super excited to begin my first full week off.  I have already started into my (huge) stack of summer reading.  I am linking up with Kellee from Unleashing Readers and Jen from Teach Mentor Texts for their linky, It's Monday!  What are you Reading?

I just finished reading One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.

One Crazy Summer

This book is about three children who leave their home in Brooklyn to visit their mother in Oakland.  Their mother had abandoned them seven years earlier.  The signs of a growing relationship are very subtle and slow.  The mother does not wish to spend much time with them.  She even sends her children off to a summer camp during the day.  The camp is sponsored by the Black Panthers.

In the end, there is a sense of a beginning to a relationship between the mother and her children.  Once I learned the secret behind the abandonment, Cecile, the mother, gained some sympathy.

It would be helpful for students to have some understanding of the time period (1968) and the basics about the Black Panthers (their belief in equality) for them to get the most out of this book.  The book is humorous, heartbreaking, and heartwarming - all in one. 

I am definitely headed over the the link up to check out all of the other great reads!  I am always looking for more great titles, and that is a great place for books!  Thank you Kellee and Jen for hosting such an awesome linky!

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Scoop - June 14, 2015

Before I start today's post, I would like to quickly address my blogging hiatus.  In a nutshell, life just forced me to make other priorities.  My school and home life both seemed extra crazy these past six months.  Thankfully, all is well... just a little more hectic than normal.  I have definitely missed blogging, and I am super excited to be back!  I have loads of things to share with you all!

I am going to start back with one of my favorite linky parties, Sunday Scoop, hosted by the fabulous Teaching Trio.  Here are some of the things I will be up to this week.

My team has decided to update some of our language arts activities.  We all took advantage of an awesome professional development opportunity from our district.  We are meeting next week to share our personal touches on the ideas from the conference.  I will definitely be sharing the updates with all of you!

I live in Columbus, and my mom is from Cleveland.  I have to cheer for the Cavs in the NBA finals.  Although my favorite player, Irving, is out injured, I have high hopes for these guys!


I have several blog posts planned for this week.  I am planning to do a lot of blog reading as well.  I am looking forward to seeing what everyone has been up to as well as checking out some new blogs.

Thank you, Teaching Trio, for hosting this fun linky!