Showing posts from 2013

Usborne Book Fair - Wed. Nov. 13 and Thurs. Nov. 14

Need some gift ideas for birthdays or Christmas? Check out the leaflet and letter going home on Monday about the upcoming Book Fair!
Usborne Books are beautifully made and offer a different selection since they feature UK authors and publishers. They have something for everyone - board books, multicultural picture books, popular chapter books, sticker books and pop up nonfiction books. Even my toughest customers will find something to enjoy, check out their website to see their complete catalogue.
Last week the younger grades worked on retelling using a beach ball game which helps those who need physical interaction to remember things, and of course have fun. I read from one of my all time favourite authors Robert Munsch, not surprising since I'm Canadian eh. 
With the older students, it was mostly about skills: we continued our work on how to use coordinates in an Atlas and comparing nonfiction text features to ones in a website. It always amazes me how much students love Atlases an…

A Sense of Wonderment

Stephanie Harvey, a well known reading guru,  has inspired me all over again! That's the beauty of going to good workshops as a teacher, you leave brimming with ideas and what's even better is so are your colleagues so you can start some new things together. There was talk of getting a group of people together to start tweeting and getting into to Twitter on a professional level, I wonder how many people would be interested in participating or if parents would follow?
Satisfaction was experienced on many levels. I've been reading Stephanie's books for years so it was quite exciting to meet someone I admire. Plus she affirmed that many of my practices are on the right track, getting kids to talk and that nonfiction is important. She also helped me to sort out where I need to take students next which is wonder, and the importance of having our students ask questions. Sometimes you need to be reminded of the things you already know, and one of my first tasks is to bring ba…

Short and Sweet

Short Video - Knee to Knee in Action

Having students share predictions during knee to knee is a great way to differentiate in the classroom and it helps teachers to quickly assess who is on track and who needs support. Check out this short and sweet video of these clever predictions by a Grade 1 class.

Short and Sweet - Shortcuts!

Students love shortcuts, especially when they are legitimate, they see them as a secret way to do things. This week for students who are practicing research skills I will focus on the ctrl or cmd F. Find is a super shortcut since it helps ESL, or any earlier reader, to find words in challenge text on a web page. For example if a student wants to inquire into 'What do red pandas eat?' they can search for the word food or eat to help find their answer. 

Short list 
Students also discovered that our library catalogue Destiny Quest can help them find relevant websites. Instead of 'googling' kangaroos and getting millions of sites, they can use the cat…

Talk the Talk

I'd give this week a thumbs up too. This week was all about talking. Across the grade levels, students worked on sharing what they know about books.

Talking about books happens all around the school and in many different ways. In the library, younger elementary students sit 'knee-to-knee' to discuss question I ask during a read aloud and then they have to decide how to take turns sharing. The Danish folk tale 'Fat Cat' was a great way to have the students interact and read by chiming in to repetitive text. They thoroughly enjoyed their knee-to-knee chats and deciding what crazy thing the cat would eat next, and some students thought it would be a dog and others the entire universe. Chatting about prediction helps support our ESL students since other students help them out.

With the older students I have the joy of sitting in on a couple of literature circles. They enjoy this time to take charge in discussions as a director or a story mapper and so on. Students are pr…

Make Your Mark

Dots, dots, dots were spotted everywhere along the halls on Friday and students made their mark both with their fashion and on paper. International Dot Day is about a combination of students making their own mark in the world and sharing it with others, creation and connection. Written by Peter H. Reynolds 'The Dot' is a teacher favourite since his message rings clear and true, every person has the ability to be creative and to share their ideas. Confidence is key!

The story 'The Dot' is a great resource in teaching students to identify the main idea or the author's message. This is a challenging analytical skill for children but Reynolds makes it clear through pictures and words.

With international day swiftly approaching students were asked to create dots that were about themselves, to put themselves on a dot. The result will be one massive community dot that will be displayed for International Day, check out how our students have been creative and shared.

Speaking …

The Power of Predictability

Children love rhymes, chanting and hearing their own voices. Predictable texts give them a chance to use their voice while enjoying being able to 'read'.  This 'magical memory reading' helps children develop a love of literature since they re-read vibrant quality literature again and again. Re-reading the same story helps our young readers to understand the structure of stories and they will bring stories to life, you often see children acting out them out. I will be reading some of these with the younger students and be encouraging them to take them home.

Along a similar line of the power of predictability is the power of familiarity. Students who are new to independent reading love to consumer different series of books. Mystery is a great genre to read in a series. The young reader is familiar with the characters and settings and enjoy trying to problem solve and then move onto the next installment. Even as adults many of us enjoy reading series, my recent favourite h…

Reading the World - An Inspirational Challenge

What a week in the library! It flew by in a flurry of books and smiling new faces. We had good discussions about 'Sharing is Caring' when it comes to books and reminders to check under beds and in wardrobes for summer titles that haven't come back to the library.

Eager hands reached for summer popular favourites such as the latest installment of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but students were open-minded and willing to try something new. I'm a big believer in the power and the joy of reading nonfiction. And I'm going to encourage students to inquire into a variety of genres over the next month.

When I was reading the paper on Saturday I stumbled across an inspirational article in the BBC news about 'Reading the World in 196 books'. The author Amy Morgan decided to read something from every country in 365 days. And it go me thinking, can this a happen in our school?

Reading for pleasure is very important and exposure to a variety of texts helps develop comprehension. S…

Thinking About My Readers

While sipping tea and surfing some blogs on Sunday morning I started looking at different apps available for reading stories. I've got a school full of readers, or soon to be readers, and a wide variety of books, print and digital is important. The article about Bookboard caught my eye; not only does Sharpio talk about the app, he explains his pedagogy about ebooks and print. It's similar to my own, in it's belief that children need both. My son loves the iPad but like many things it's finding something that is developmentally appropriate as well as somewhat intellectually stimulating. Not that he can't have brain candy sometimes, his fix is YouTube and he loves the option to scroll to different cartoons. Truly the important thing about books and shared reading is what you do with them, the tool isn't as important as the discussion. Talking to kids about what they notice and think is the beneficial part.

Getting to know my readers is critical for success, this w…

Going Up Anyone?

New students and new teachers have something in common; the extra challenges of learning new systems, meeting new people and figuring out how we will be learn in this new environment. I'm not sure if it's easier to be older and wiser, I'm all to aware of the size of shoes my predecessor left me to fill.
Surfing the net and other blogs led me to a fellow 'Back to School Survivor' who scooped an article from a very sensible woman Krissy Vensodale and she listed 10 reasons why as a teacher you want to be connected and therefore why your students need to be connected.
And let's not forget to be balanced and remember it's important to be unplugged. Gever Tulley's 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let You Could Do has the important theme of the importance of physical exploration in our world.
As my fingers start to cramp and eyes begin to cross as I explore the school online presence and attempt to build the new elementary libguide page and my professional blog, I n…