#GRA17 is FINALLY HERE!

I think it was two years ago when I first officially joined the Global Read Aloud.  We were reading The Year of Billy Miller that year and I was teaching 2nd grade.  I was invited by my Tweep Tam in Australia and was excited to collaborate worldwide with other kids and teachers reading the same text.  Then last year, as I returned to 1st grade, I brought Ms. Turken along for the ride and had an even more amazing journey exploring and responding to Lauren Castillo books!

As we moved into this fall, excitement was high to join this project again, and THE DAY IS FINALLY HERE! We are so jazzed to be studying Mem Fox (and old, familiar favorite author!) and sharing our learning along the way.  We will for sure use Seesaw to show our friends and family our thinking, but also hope to collaborate with other kids via Skype, too.

We started with a short video about Mem Fox, and some wondering about both her life and Australia, where she lives.  Then, I shared a book I had written when I was teaching 2nd grade (as a mentor text during a culture study we were doing in Social Studies).  It was a little indulgent–I got to have a Peter Reynolds moment and say “Australian Culture, by ME!”–but also helped give kids some background on Australia before we read.

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Kiddos wrote and drew about what they learned and uploaded their thinking to their Seesaw journals.

Today we came back, ready to hear Koala Lou (the first week’s book), but instead we first teased kiddos with a habit that we’ve learned that good readers do–take a sneak peek.  We studied the front and back covers and kiddos made predictions about what they thought the story might be about.  They did a pretty good job of guessing some things that actually happened in the story.  Again, these were uploaded into Seesaw so we could share our learning. 🙂

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Then…finally, last thing today, IT WAS TIME to finally hear the story!  We gathered in Rm. 112 and it sounded something like this:

We are SO EXCITED to see what comes next!   Art maybe?  Have any suggestions for us? 🙂

 

#classroombookaday UPDATE: First of the year!

Somehow we’ve gotten to the 22nd day of school and I have only posted ONE TIME about our book-a-day challenge.  Because that’s the reality, I will NOT tell you about every book we’ve read (we’re up to 85 as of today!!), but I will give some words about this week’s additions.  Hope you enjoy, and maybe even find a book you might want to read!

First, here’s what our wall looks like right now (the pic on the left):

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(At this point last year we were at 89.  Funny–I thought for sure we were reading faster this year!)

This display is so different than how I displayed it last year, and in some ways I think it’s hard to see how quickly it’s growing…

…but FOR SURE it’s an improvement because of all of the kids and teachers who get to look at it now!  I LOVE to see last year’s kiddos walk past and marvel, as well as other kids point out the books on our list that they’ve read, and the way so many people say “Man–they read ALOT of books!”  I’ve even heard from teachers who have now begun to keep their own book lists as they read with their classes.  LOVE the inspiration that can come from such a project just because it’s shared in a different way!

Ok…here’s what we read this week:

You can probably tell by the titles that our focus this week was on our community (getting to know each other and celebrate how each of one us is special and unique) as well as the celebration of Dot Day–we ended up reading 6 of Peter Reynold’s books!!  The Hooray for Kids book was really cool and led us to a scavenger hunt where we found out what kind of kids we are:

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As we shared out after we were finished we made lots of connections to who is like us and who we might want to know better.  I’m excited to build on the things we learned!

What did you read this week? 🙂

Don Tate Comes to Robinson!

I LOVE when I get to use that title.  It’s usually the same one I use for every author visit. Ok, I should be more inventive, but hey, that’s what happened, right?

Anyhow, Robinson (and especially Rm. 202) LOVES their authors, but this one seemed extra special.  Most of the authors we’ve hosted have been amazing, but most of them have also been women (yes, I’m talking about you Mary Casanova, Deborah Hopkinson, Kate Klise, Betty Birney and Lisa Campbell Ernst!). Oh, ok–we have had a male visit us before, and although not an author, Mr. Schu was equally amazing.  But this time our new author friend was an African-American male!

We’ve been learning so much about diverse literature this year and have made many new friends (both in text and real life).

I already told you a little about how we were introduced to Don Tate when we visited the library.  We also spent several weeks reading (and loving) his books and admiring his illustrations.  The other day we even tried our own hands at art like Bill Traylor in It Jes’ Happened (which we learned today was his FIRST BOOK!  Man–what a great way to start your career!  This book won awards!!).

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After we read the book, we collected the information we’d learned about Bill from the story:

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Then we decided to do the same thing!

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First we made our way to the recycling station to find some discarded things on which to paint.

We found our canvases, got our paint (only blue, red, yellow and brown!) and got busy sharing things we had kept deep inside (which was a line from the story).

We ended up with some quite fantastic masterpieces!

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If you want to see what some of us said about this experience, check out our blogs here.

Ok, so the day finally came and this was us:

We headed down to the library to FINALLY meet our new friend and learn some amazing things about being an author and illustrator.  He talked to us about being gritty and not quitting, about how everyone has their own special talent, about how to make masterpieces out of your mistakes and also how it TAKES A YEAR TO MAKE A BOOK! You better believe I’ll mention that the next time a first grader tells me that they’re done after 10 minutes! LOL  I went live several times during the visit and the easiest way to share that is through this link to our Periscope channel.  It’s totally worth a few minutes to click on that link!

He talked, he listened, he answered our questions, and he DREW FOR US!!

We listened, we laughed, we learned and then…

Thanks for your time, your books, and your inspiration Don Tate!

 

Don Tate is Coming!!

We have a love of diverse books in Rm. 202 (thanks to some book gifts from our district, some great blog posts I’ve read this past year and thanks to Eyeseeme and their amazing bookstore FULL of books with diverse and powerful characters), and so we were DELIGHTED to hear about how Don Tate is coming to visit our school at the end of the month!

As with most of our visiting authors, Mrs. Meihaus works hard with teachers and kids to get us familiar with the author’s (and in this case illustrator’s) work beforehand so we have something to base our new learning upon.  We can also really raise the level of excitement and anticipation as they day draws near and help kiddos think of what they might want to talk to our visitor about when they are here.

We gathered in the library classroom and Mrs. Meihaus introduced us to our new friend, Don Tate.

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She started with a short bio, and showed us some of his books.

While he has written several books, he is mainly know as an illustrator.  Our next step was to learn more about how he tackles his images.  We uses primarily paint, and we learned more about the differences in how illustrations look when he uses watercolors versus acrylic paints.  He also has some images that include pen and ink on top of those colors.  We took a look at many of his books with our partners and tried to identify how they were similar to each other.

What’s great is that this was easier work for us because we’ve been working on “getting to know” authors and illustrators all year with our #classroombookaday challenge.  I LOVE that my kiddos can see a book and name who wrote it or drew the pictures just by sight.  I love that they can name and appreciate the people who took such time and energy to create the amazing texts we read and enjoy.  They had great ideas about what they saw that was the same in different images and could name the medium he had used to create them!  Great job, Rm. 202 kiddos!

Before we left, she read one of the books I’d been wanting to share with the class anyway–Ron’s Big Mission— and we loved it.  What an inspiration to hear about a little boy who did whatever it took to get a library card, and what a tragedy that in AMERICA he was not able to get one.  I think it’s important to tell his story.  Reading took him so far in his life!

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Mrs. Meihaus shared many titles with us, and while I’d LOVE to read them all, there are LOADS of other books in our to-be-read pile that we want to get to, as well.  Here’s the plan for the ones we’ll share this week and next in preparation for his visit (and just because they’re GREAT BOOKS!):

We are excited to meet our new illustrator friend in person and talk with him about how he does his great work!  Stay tuned for more of the story after he visits us on January 31st. 🙂

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week 11

SO excited to update again with some more great books we’ve been reading!  We’re up to 188 books (what??  How is that possible?), AND we’re about to fill up our door!  I wrote previously about how I think this challenge has changed both me and my students as readers, and that continues to ring true.  SO glad I caught the book-a-day bug and excited to keep scratching the itch to read!!

Check out how we’re doing:

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This week we read 17 books (starting w/ Yard Sale by Eve Bunting and Lauren Castillo).fullsizerender-4

Our Global Read Aloud text was Yard Sale, which we loved, and will probably revisit again next week because it’s so good!  We also read a couple of non-fiction texts as part of our study in reading and writing, learning how to teach our writers as well as how to really dig into a teaching text as a reader.  We found a couple of Halloween stories we has missed last week and read them on actual Halloween on Monday.   The Spiderman book, the two “underpants” titles and The Ninjabread Man were requests from kiddos.  I found Gilbert Goldfish and Everyone Loves Cupcake at the library and go them because they were an author we had read during our election reading.  They are both by Kelly DiPucchio and we discovered she has so many great books to enjoy!  The last two on our list were also because of author-love: Lori Degman wrote Norbert’s Big Dream and our friends in Rm. 203 shared it with us because they are having a Skype with her later this year, and Dirk Yeller is a favorite of mine from our friend Mary Casanova.  We also read Curious George Gets a Talker as part of our focus on Disabilities Awareness Month (I hope to share more about this in a later post 🙂 ).

I mentioned that we had been doing some election reading, which is partly because of the election our parents are participating in on Tuesday, but also be WE get to vote as part of Kids Voting on Monday!  We will elect the President at our school, and we will also vote on our Literary Lanterns!  WOOHOO–democracy in action.  🙂  First I shared Vote For Me!, which was a great example of how NOT to encourage someone to vote for you–mudslinging and lots of “vote for me because I’m pretty” and “vote for me because I’m awesome” and “vote for me because I’ll give you something” kinds of reasons.  We had a great conversation about how this was unfortunately how much of our Presidential election has been going this season. 😦  Next we read Grace For President, and got a much better example of how to handle an election.  Grace, the main character in the story, wants to run for President after seeing a poster of all the past presidents and saying, “Where are all the girls?”  This text had a great, kid-friendly example of how the electoral college works, too, which was a great surprise.  After this one, I asked kiddos what they thought was important in a President.  They had some great ideas; I wonder if this is what we will give them on Election Day:

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Rm. 202 kids said things like: nice, polite, trustworthy, someone who cares for us, who will protect us, fair, someone who works hard, who is brave and of course, someone who is 35 years old or older–LOL

Lastly, we read the book If Kids Ran the World, which was another great example of what is really important in this world and is a challenge to all of the adults to think about the big things.  Are we giving our kids what they really need?  Are we focused on the right things?  We didn’t get to it, but I will ask Rm. 202 kids this question: If YOU ran the world, what would you do?  What would you think was important?  Can’t wait to see what they say. 🙂

This was another great week of reading in Rm. 202!!  What will this next week bring?  Please check in next week to find out!! 🙂

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week 8

It’s the end of the 1st Quarter, and I am SO GLAD I decided to keep track of our books like this!  I know that it has helped us in loads of ways, and has changed some of my thinking as well.

First of all, while it is not hard data, I can tell that the kiddos in my room have gotten more interested in both reading and writing because of the presence of so many great books!  The first few days of school, I remember saying sadly to my friends, “This class doesn’t like to read!  They don’t like books! What is up with that!?”  Honestly, I remembered the sounds of disgust and the moans that emerged from many first grade bodies when I’d announce that we would meet on the rug to share a story, and the mention of having THEM read was like asking them to drink vinegar!  I was seriously worried that we’d be fighting all year about how amazing reading and writing are and how you should do them every day.  To look at them now, you’d never know that was where we had started.  I can say that everyone in my class is a willing reader, and many choose to do so whenever they get a chance to make a free choice.  It has also upped the excitement about writing, as well, since Rm. 202 kiddos understand the connection between reading a great book and where it came from.  They have, on many occasions written their own versions of great stories we’ve read–mainly Elephant and Piggie, but also other Mo Willems books (yep, we’re still HUGE FANS!).  They are then super excited to be able to read those books to the class; this is a new phenomenon in my primary classes–I’ve never had kiddos so eager to read to their friends!  You will notice many of these kid-published titles on our door. 🙂

Secondly, I’d have to say that our excitement with #classroombookaday has changed my intention, purpose and selection of read alouds in our class.  Read aloud has also been a big deal in my classroom, and I completely believe that it is a crucial piece of the puzzle to creating strong readers and writers–and thinkers!  In the past, however, my read alouds have been primarily chapter books.  Even in 1st grade, my book choices were longer texts (often series or other stories) that I know and love that I want to expose my kiddos to so they can love them, too!  First grade read alouds last time included graphic novel series like Lunch Lady and Babymouse, which most kiddos hadn’t yet heard of.  We also enjoyed many authors that wrote a variety of different kinds of books, like Kate DiCamillo.  We have read the Mercy Watson series, the Leroy Ninker series, as well as The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  While I do believe I will eventually get around to reading longer texts and starting our Read Aloud Timeline (another core part of my literacy instruction), I think this will probably not happen now until after the new year.  Because of my focus on the #classroombookaday challenge, I’ve become more interested and aware of great picture books and picture book authors that I didn’t really know before (it’s weird I know, I am a first grade teacher and I didn’t really read picture books).  This has lead to some new friends and new favorite books and new people to connection with on Twitter with my class.   This whole process has also increased the amount of books that kiddos bring me from home or from the library that we “HAVE TO READ.”  I love that they are being more discriminate about what their friends might like or what a “good” book sounds like. Win/win for everyone, wouldn’t you say?

Ok, so here’s our new door picture, up to date from last Friday.  We’re up to 152 now–which blows my mind!  And we still stop to look at the beautiful book covers (as does almost everyone else who walks by!) every time we’re in the hall.  Check it out!

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This week we read many less books than previous weeks.  I’d say it was probably because it was the last week of the quarter and so worked much more on finished up assessments and such instead of gathering together on the rug for a lesson (which is when most of our read alouds happen).  We have 3 kid-written books on our door this week, as well as a Curious George book, a wordless book by Tomie dePaola (which is a new author to us), another Ashlyn Anstee book that also has an Emily Arrow songEmily Arrow song, a Pigeon book we hadn’t read, a Pete the Cat math book and the second book from the Global Read Aloud schedule.  Whew!  Even with less titles, we were busy and engrossed in REALLY GOOD BOOKS!

I do have a couple more pictures to share before I go…

Mara, Kaiden and Aadish are three kiddos that have been most interested in writing their own texts for our class to read.  This week we had one from each of them, but I’m sorry to say I only have a picture of Kaiden’s book–not of him actually reading it.  Sorry buddy!

Ok, one more. 🙂  Ms. Turken’s class is also on the #classroombookaday journey, and their board looks like this:

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Don’t all those books just make you happy?!  Thanks for reading!  As always, if you have a book or author suggestion, please leave us a comment and we’ll definitely try it out! 🙂

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week 7

Another week, another list of great read alouds!  For some reason we only read 12 (instead of the almost 20 from most weeks so far), but boy were they good ones and man did we have fun!  Here’s what our door looks like as of Friday:

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Let me tell you about a few of the highlights from this week:

  • We added 3 Piggie and Elephant titles to our door, which we LOVE!!
  • We read another Peter Brown book ( well, 2 of them actually), and we’re becoming fans of another great author.  We loved My Teacher is a Monster and noticed lots of great things happening in the illustrations.  Then we shared The Curious Garden and LOVED it!  And we found The Curious Garden because we’d seen the amazingly beautiful song by Emily Arrow on her YouTube channel.  What a great partnership between music and literature!And speaking of The Curious Garden, we had great conversations about grit and growth mindset from that little city garden and the boy who helped it grow!
  • We added some Olivier Dunrea titles to our list, too, which we found after we first read Ollie the Stomper for shared reading early in the year.  Since the first one, we’ve met Gideon, his octopus buddy Otto and a perfect pair of friends named Jasper and Joop.  This coming week there’s more on the list to explore!
  • Another Ame Dyckman title was enjoyed this week– Wolfie the Bunny!
  • We read our first title for the Global Read Aloud this week and interacted with Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo.  We drew and wrote about how we could be brave in our capes.  We’re excited for next week’s book–The Troublemaker!
  • Lastly, we had a really special mystery reader come to our class and share a funny book with us called Naked by Michael Ian Black–Allison Bearden!  Do you recognize that name?  It’s my cutie-pie kindergarten daughter!  She had been reading and rereading Naked, practicing sounding like a storyteller, and I asked her if she wanted to read it to my first graders.  She was excited about that idea, and when she showed up, my kiddos were, too!

They were great listeners, Allie was a great reader and Rm. 202 kids were impressed that she could read the words in that book!  The next request was that Riley Bearden come down from 4th grade and share a book with them.  He’s ready to take on that challenge, so maybe he’ll be here next week on the 20somethingkids blog!

Another great week of reading, inspiring, thinking and book-loving in Rm. 202!  Thanks for reading!  Do you have a suggestion of a book we could read?  We LOVE recommendations from other readers!