You Can Read EVERYWHERE!

Last week we read a great book called You Can Read by Helaine Becker (as we practiced Read-To-Self and talked about the 3 ways to read) and it was quickly a first grade favorite.  The kids in the story are reading in all sorts of (funny) places, including the bathroom, the backyard, the bus, the car and maybe even in a tree.

If you’ve been around 20somethingkids for a while, you know that reading and books and literacy is a BIG deal for me and my students.  So what better way to spend our first 1/2 day of the year than enforcing that YOU CAN READ EVERYWHERE idea by making take-home t-shirt book bags??

We had been collecting t-shirts for a couple of weeks and finally we were ready to do something with them!  Because we are on this co-teaching journey together, Ms. Turken and I had planned that both rooms would be doing this today, and that we’d use both of our rooms for the work.  Kiddos spread out and got busy knot tying!  Besides being fun, the job of creating this bag for themselves enabled them to practice some important fine-motor skills and also helped get them SUPER EXCITED about filling up their new bag with books to read at home!

The smiles when they were done, as well as the SILENCE in the room as they worked (alone and by helping friends!) was inspiring! 🙂

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#FDOFG2017–Readers Gonna Read (Part 2)

Before you read more about what’s going on with books in first grade right now, be sure you’ve read the first part, where we got started in our classroom library, began our #classroombookaday challenge, spent some quiet time during our day and visited the Robinson library. 🙂

As I mentioned in the last part of my last post, figuring out what kids like and who they are can happen in many ways–books are one of those ways.  Aside from just paying attention and taking note, we wanted to be able to share our favorites with friends, and so Ms. Turken and coordinated a Favorite Book Museum.  Each kiddo brought in (or checked out at school) their favorite book.  The reason it was their favorite could be for anything–someone special read it to them, it was a favorite from when they were little(r), they could read it themselves, it was funny–whatever.  I was able to take a picture of each kiddo smiling brightly with their favorite, and these fabulous pictures will grace many parts of our room (book boxes and our outside bulletin work-sharing board to name a couple).  I took them in front of our giant map, because reading takes you places!  Before I even go any further, I know you’ll want to see those so here they are.  And yes, they are precious. 🙂

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Aside from just being able to enjoy our books ourselves, we wanted to share them with our classmates–both from Rm. 111 and Rm. 112.  We did this in a format called a Favorite Book Museum.  In the past I’ve done this with bigger kids and called it a Reading Museum (which had a little bit of a different feel and protocol).  This time around, kiddos put together an “exhibit” with their book, a picture of their favorite part and a card with their name (just like exhibits have in a real museum!).   Children were given a chance to walk around to view other kiddos’ exhibits, looking for connections as well as for books they might like to read in the future.  We started in our own classroom and then traded rooms so we could see everyone’s favorites.

Before we could visit the museum, however, we needed to make sure that we knew how we were supposed to act and what we were supposed to do.  I think in the past I have taken for granted that all of my kiddos have been to a museum and understand what I’m talking about when I mention using a quiet voice, not touching things, only using eyes to look and not fingers, as well as just connecting the whole museum idea anyway.  This time I decided it would be a good idea to find a video that might help anyone who needed some support in this area.  We watched this short little video with our Rm. 112 friends first:

After we were sure we were all on the same page, we go busy with our visit!

This was another great, positive literary-focused community experience that we will build on throughout the year.  We will probably even hold Favorite Book Museums again throughout the year, watching how our tastes change and grow.

Have you ever been to a book museum?  If so, we’d love to hear about your experience!

#FDOFG2017–Readers Gonna Read (Part 1)

Oh goodness.  Reading.  It’s one of the most important (and one of my favorite!) things that happens in first grade. Ok, well, in any grade, but the beginning of the life long journey often starts in first grade, and I want to make sure it starts out in a positive way. 🙂

We do that in a number of ways, and one of those is by starting the #classroombookaday challenge.  Listening to, talking about and enjoying LOADS OF BOOKS is such an important piece of the literacy puzzle.  Reading (and lots of choice inside that reading) is another one.  And so we begin to read, read, read early in the year, and provide many positive experiences around books.

Almost on the first day of school, we have a conversation about how our classroom library is organized, and what they notice about how it looks, as well as how we will use it.  We talk about the kinds of things we like to read, and begin to fill our book boxes early on.  I always enjoy putting the library together when I’m setting up the room…

…but there’s nothing better than when there are actually READERS in it!

Besides being able to read during choice time and actual reader’s workshop, we’ve also begun our year with some necessary “quiet time” after lunch and recess.  During this time, kiddos can make a choice to read/write/draw or rest quietly.  Really it’s a chance for kids to be alone (which is hard but also necessary for many–me included!), as well as wind down a little after a busy morning.  It’s a time of day that many kiddos have a chance to finish up work or a project (usually of their choice) that they started earlier in the day.  Eventually this time will fade away, as we get more into our “real” schedule, but for now it’s a nice brain break before we get into hard thinking again with math.

One more exciting place first grade readers got to visit was the ROBINSON LIBRARY!!  We have library in our specials rotation now, so it took until we got to an “E” day before it was our turn.  Kiddos only go for 25 minutes and normally wouldn’t have been able to check out until the 2nd visit, but GOODNESS that would not have been fair so we stayed a little later so we get our hands on some new books!!  Kiddos got to meet our new Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Davis, and also hear a good story.  Before we went, I also read a library themed book. 🙂

It was SUPER fun to watch the kiddos work their way through the library and see what treasures they would find.  Finding out what kids like to read is just one more way of building community and getting to know them as readers and as little people. 🙂

Looking forward to TONS more fun and learning happening in the library this year!

#FDOFG2017–Principal Read Aloud and #classroombookaday Begins!!

Wow–that’s quite a title!  It’s a lot of words to tell about somethings that are the backbone of what we do in 1st grade., so I guess they’re worth it!  Let me tell you about it. 🙂

First of all, we were able to enjoy our first read aloud with Mrs. Sisul this past week, as she came and shared We are All Wonders with us.  Besides the fact that Mrs. Sisul loves books and all things reading, she came to share this one because it goes along with many of the “expected behaviors” we’ve been teaching during these first days of school.  This one connected so well to I am kind and caring. And as a lover of the “big kid” book Wonder, this one (also by R.J. Palacio) was at the top of my list.   Rm. 111 and 112 kids loved it, too!

 

Last year in first grade, my class embarked on a new and fabulous journey with a challenge started on Twitter that was called #classroombookaday.  It’s really a simple idea: you read at least one book to your class, and keep track of them throughout the year.  Simple right?  Yes, but so rewarding and beneficial to students and teachers alike!

As we began this year, Ms. Turken and I hatched a plan to do our books together, which made sense in our new co-teaching adventure (which I am sure to tell you more about here soon!).  We made a rule that if a book were to hang on our #classroombookaday display it had to have been read by both of us, or to both of our classes (like during a combined read aloud or during library time, for example).  It’s been really fun to think through our “best” read alouds together, as well as to see books that are new since we embarked on this journey last fall.  I’m so excited to finally have our books on display, and to watch how the wall is slowly filling up each day.  AND even better than last year, our new classrooms are now in a hallway where EVERYONE in the school walks and so EVERYONE will see all the books being devoured by Robinson first graders!  I’ve had many of last year’s kiddos walk by and comment on how fast the wall is filling up or noticing some of the same books we read together.  What’s more exciting than sharing your reading journey with THE WHOLE SCHOOL??

Ok, so I’ve teased you long enough.  Without any further ado, check out our display:

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The best and worst part of this is how much it keeps changing!  Even since this picture, we’ve added another half of a row!  My plan from now on is to update our progress at the end of each week, with some highlights of what we’ve read.  So far I will tell you we’ve had lots of fun with back-to-school and community building read alouds, as well as many that highlight grit and growth mindset.  Some of them will be mentioned in later blog posts, as we did projects around their themes after we read them.

It’s a little easier to see this way, and I can share ALL of them up to today.  We’re up to 53 BOOKS already and we’ve had 13 days of school.  Ms. Turken and I keep joking about how we perhaps need to make up a new hashtag since we’re doing WAY more than a #bookaday.  How about #loadsofbooksaday or #3to4adayhooray or #firstgradereadsandreadsandreads?

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After last year’s success and the impact all of these books had on the readers in Rm. 202, I’m pretty sure I’m sold on #classroombookaday forever.  Can’t wait to see what happens this year–we ended up at 542 last year.  Think we can break the record??  Stay tuned and follow along with our journey, will you?

 

#WRAD17 and #classroombookaday COLLIDE

I love to read.  Did you know that?  Ha!!  I might literally be laughing as I type that because if you spend even five minutes with me I’ve probably told you about a book you should read or one I just read or one I plan on getting from the library or the bookstore soon.  It’s kind of an addiction.  But hey, there are worse vices, right?

So anyway…today was a special day in the literary world where two fabulous planets collided–it was World Read Aloud Day as well as another day in the #classroombookaday challenge!!

I made a plan for our read alouds yesterday, and slotted in eight new titles, trying to fit them into what we were already planning to do in each subject.  I invited Mrs. Sisul to come to read to us–because why not?!–and figured I’d take care of the rest.  What happened instead was even better than I had imagined!

We only ended up with 7 (ha–I know, that’s so silly to say “only”) and also ended up with 3 OTHER READERS!!  Check it out!

Mrs. Sisul had a hard job finding a book that Rm. 202 friends didn’t already know, and she brought one we had already heard, but everyone knows that a good book is meant to be read and REREAD so we were so glad that she did!

Ms. Holzmueller was in our room this afternoon and so we had to ask her to share a story with us!  What better than Lola Loves Stories!  We had already read Lola at the Library and this one was a great addition!

I love how it has become commonplace in Rm. 202 for kiddos to make book suggestions, bring books from home and even volunteer to read to us!  Callahan had been working on The Cherries for a little while and was eager to read it to the rest of his classmates!  Since he and Jack had worked it out together, Jack showed the pictures while Cal read us the words.  Great job, boys!!

Penny has become a regular nowadays in our orange chair!  This was the third in this series that she chose to share with us and the kids were super excited.  This may be my favorite so far.  And no, not just because it has my name in it. 🙂

We ended up also reading some other books that were in my mile-high TBR pile, and one that someone just happened to add to the top of it today.  It was a pretty good selection, I’d say:

Ok, and since I said that #WRAD17 collided with our regular #classroombookaday challenge, let me update you on how that’s proceeding.  I’m pretty sure that it has been since the holidays that I updated our door situation.  I’m not really sure why, but wow does it look different these days.  I’m excited for you to see it and share in our joy.  I honestly just get all warm and happy every time I see it–which is at least 25 times a day or more!

Here are a few to watch the door fill up:

And then all together now:

We’re up to 389!!  COWABUNGA!!

Someone asked today when our next celebration would be.  Not sure–think at 400?  500?  When we fill up this side of the door?  I mean, I kind of think every addition is a celebration of some sort, but I’m an old lady so I find joy in the little things. LOL  🙂

No matter what we decide, it’s CERTAIN that the readers in Rm. 202 are on a roll!

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: 300 books!!

It’s been a while since I posted an update on our reading.  The last few weeks of the year were busy and I didn’t get a chance to read as much I would have liked, and also I felt like the way the door looked wasn’t really changing much so posting a picture was  kind of unnecessary.

Anyhow, we’re in a new year, have added many more books and today we reached another AMAZING MILESTONE in our journey!

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And while my phone didn’t get the whole thing (stupid memory!), it was a pretty great start to our day!

Just a few more…

She already has some mad upside-down-reading skills.  A teacher in training, perhaps??  And man was she super proud to be reading to us.  This was actually the second time she shared with us this week.  Go Penny!

See those white books on the top row? One of the best things is the number of kid-authored books we’ve been reading lately.  Gotta give a shout-out to Mara and her prolific publishing.  She has written 4 books this week, and we LOVE THEM!  They are rhyming and SO FUNNY!  Aadish suggested today that we get Mara her own author box in our library.  Great idea! And well, I think EVERYONE should have their own author box.  Hmm….

I still say this is one of the most amazing things that has happened in my classroom!  Bring on the books!  Can’t wait to share the next great thing. 🙂