Read-Aloud Timeline

One of the most important learning times in our classroom is read-aloud (chapter book).  I use this time to introduce kids to authors and books they may not know, as well as working on strategies that good readers use and practicing how to talk about books.

We recently finished The Boys Start the War, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.  I’m sure you heard how funny and interesting it was, and how there are at least 12 or 13 other books with these characters that we could read next.  Well, once we were finished, I introduced a structure that we will use after every chapter book we read: the read-aloud timeline.

Here are some pictures of what it looks like in our room:

I know the pictures don’t really do it justice, so make sure you stop by to see the real thing!  It’s been really great to incorporate a good reader strategy (creating images) with remembering what we’ve read.  At the end of the year, each kiddo will get a book of all of their images together, for their own timeline of our reading year.  So glad I’ve started this in our classroom!  Ask your kiddo to tell you what they love about it.  And stay tuned for an update–we just finished Crash yesterday, so it’ll go up this week. 🙂

Remembering 9/11/01

Cannot believe it has been 10 years since 9/11/01.  I remember it like it was yesterday, in my first year of teaching–1st graders.  And while you and I have memories of that fateful day, our friends do not.  They were alive, but everything they do know about September 11, 2001 is from stories, TV, books, etc.

So how do you deal with a major topic in their history in a way that both makes sense and doesn’t scare them?

I decided to tackle the anniversary first in Writer’s Workshop.  First we read Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, and then talked about what we were thinking.  We used this as an opportunity to both teach a strategy for writing (responding to literature and what’s going on in the world around us) as well to work through their thoughts and feelings of the day.  Everyone wrote entries about what they knew about 9/11 or what they were wondering.

Later in the day we took some time to watch a news segment made just for kids. It was from Nick News and was called What Happened?: The Story of September 11th.   It did a super job of explaining what actually happened as well as addressing questions that many kids have about that day.  They went back to the entries they wrote earlier in the day and listened for answers, or to add information they wanted to remember. Hopefully your student came home talking about it, and you were able to have a discussion with them about it, too.

Let’s help them remember.

Homework Day!

Today was the first day of homework in 5th grade!  We had a really great conversation about how it would work and your kiddos were really excited.  No, really–they were!  The new format is around a menu, and there are many choices that they will be able to make as they practice what we’re doing in class.  Here’s the Homework Menu for this week: Homework Menu 8-31 to 9-1  Exciting times ahead!