Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Summer Reading Goals

Today was fun! I had the opportunity to teach with a friend of mine at Rapoport Academy in Waco, Texas! It's been a few months since I've been in the classroom and it was JUST what I needed. Oh boy- it was a humid morning on the third to last day of school! So what on Earth was I going to try and TEACH on one of these last days of school you ask? Why Summer Reading Goals of course!

So if you read this blog, you know I am in love with Donalyn Miller and her new book Reading in the Wild was not a disappointment.  She reminded me that we have to cultivate readers- so they will be readers outside of school! And pretty soon- these 2nd grade readers that I spent the morning with- are going to be "outside" of school for nearly three months!  It is our job as teachers to do our best to ensure READING is happening outside of school and over the summer!

Begin mini-lesson...

I sit down in front of a classroom of 40 2nd graders (two classes were part of the lesson) and I produce a large stack of books from my backpack.  You can hear "Whoa!" from a few of the students as they look at my tall stack.

I ask students to turn and talk about what they are excited for this summer?  Lots of answers- camping, swimming, going to the park, playing video games. We come back together as a group and I tell them that I'm excited for all of things too- but what I'm most excited about.... more than camping... more than swimming... more than playing at the park... is READING!  I wait all school year to have time to read! I show them my stack of books that I will finally have time to read over the summer and I tell them that I am trying to read 75 books before it is time to come back to school!  I talk about how I am going to read in the pool. I talk about how I am going to read in a tent. I talk about how I am going to read in the car on the way to the mall.  What am I going to do this summer? READ!  

So then I ask how many books they think they can read this summer? We agree that one is not a good number.... it should be a goal of more than one... but we also know that we are all different and that maybe we will only read two books because we know they are going to be really big/long books.
Then we talk about how hard it might be to read to 100!  We agree that any goal is a good goal.  

I am armed and ready with copies of Hundreds Charts.  Because it seemed to be an easy way for kids to keep track of their number of books read- just color off a box for every book.  I ask every student to come up to me and whisper their reading goal to me and I circle their number on the Hundreds Chart. Then each student takes their paper back to their seats to make their reading goal banner- decorating and coloring their number on the black back side!

There were some incredible goals made! Some kids said they would read 100. One student said he would read 2. Another student who first said he would read 2 changed that to 17 after a small conference with me about his number.

Here's the deal... will all students meet their reading goal? Nope. They won't.  But will some of them read more this summer because of this goal?  Yes. I think so. Some of these students hadn't even thought about reading over the summer! It had never crossed their mind. Maybe they didn't even know they could.  I owed it to them to make sure they think about summer reading, right?   I sure hope these kiddos read more this summer than they did last summer because they made a reading goal!

Do your students have summer reading goals? If you don't know- you owe them this mini-lesson. AND- decorating the reading posters/banners easily could fill up a half hour of your morning.... just sayin! :)

Be sure to attach a note to the Hundred's Chart and Reading Banner so families know the scoop.  Share the website We Give Books which I have blogged about here so students won't run out of FREE reading options!

Happy Reading! And may I ask- what is YOUR summer reading goal? :)


Friday, May 9, 2014

Teacher Appreciation

I spent the week in schools for Teacher Appreciation Week!

It inspired me to write this for y'all! I hope it makes you smile! I appreciate you- all of you!

If you want to get your own copy... click here


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Currently May

I am currently on a plane (I really do love being able to blog from 30,000 feet and it seems to be the only time I have TIME to blog these days!). I am flying home to Texas from my final days in DC.  We had another successful district wide Professional Development day with over 700 DC teachers, coaches, and principals.  So many familiar and kind faces! Thanks DC! Now get out there and get your Running Records teaching on! They are interviewing for someone else to step into the role of Small Group Literacy Professional Learning Designer- and he/she will be fantastic! I have no fear that Small Group Literacy instruction will be alive and well in DC Public Schools for years to come and it was an honor and an immense privilege (that still amazes me) to have been a part of y'alls learning and journey with Guided Reading this school year. One thing I do know for sure. MORE Guided Reading is happening in DC now than it was two years ago and that means MORE students are getting what they need to be successful in years to come!

It is also Currently time to LINK UP! Thanks as always to Farley for keeping us blogging- sometimes its the only blog post we make each month, but we still do it!

Listening: I just love Zac Brown Band. Their music represents summer for me. Knee Deep was my favorite song our last summer in Texas. Island Song (another awesome one) was my favorite song the summer we went to the Bahamas.  Free... Settle Me Down... so many good ones! 

Loving: Spring is finally here in Texas! Jeff made me a new patio to sit on (took out the old deck and put down pavers). It's so pretty and I treated myself to a new patio set. I am pretty sure he will have it all set up for me so I can drink my coffee and do some work (writing Guided Reading lesson plans) on the patio in the morning before our day out on the boat.

Thinking: Usually April/May is NOT a busy time in my line of work (Educational Consulting). However, this year, it is non-stop! I had a couple of weeks off in April, and then the fury started. I keep reminding myself that I only have two more trips and then I can have a two week break.  

Wanting: I love teaching Guided Reading- but I don't always enjoy preparing to teach Guided Reading.  I have to do it- I know I have to do it. The only way to ensure a good Guided Reading lesson is to preview the text, and make good instructional decisions for each book/text/reader.  I am however, dragging my feet getting started. I have a feeling it will be happening on the patio tomorrow morning.  

Needing: I am in desperate need of a day on the boat (not so much looking forward to my bathing suit) but I desperately want a day floating on our anchor line at the sandbar! I want to be out there just after lunchtime and make dinner and come back in my the glow of the moon! I need a day/night on the boat.  

Surprise: My friend Kathy is part of the Educational Consulting world with me. We don't see each other as often as we should, but we have some of the best conversations via text messages and of course we read each other's blogs.  Check out her blog here


Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Freebie: Word Study Ideas

Yep! You heard me! Friday- FREEBIE!

I will be leaving DC on a jet plane tomorrow (headed back to my home in Texas). And I wanted to share a resource that was made by a DC colleague with you all.  There are still 30(or so) days of instruction in DC Public Schools- that's probably longer than what you have left in your school year depending on where you are reading this from. Like it or not- that's still a lot of time.

Maybe you want to give students something "new and novel" at a Work Station in your last month of school.Maybe you want to send home some summer work.  Maybe you want to start saving things for NEXT school year.

Whatever floats your boat. Check out this file for your Word Work Station/Working with Words Center.

Thanks to Cara Hoppe in the Office of Teaching and Learning for this great resource.

Happy last 30 (or so) days of teaching out there folks!