I've created a new page for my reader's notebook. This one is all about book Recommendations. You can get the form below and see many more great ideas and displays for book recommendations on the new page.
Facebook Fan Freebie 9/16/2013
I've uploaded a new Facebook fan freebie for the week. If you'd like to see what it is you can go to my Facebook Fan Freebie page. Hint: It has to do with first grade math.
There have also been some great texts sets posted to text set library this week.
If you would like to include one of your text sets to the site just visit the submit you text set page and fill out the form.
Text set library
I'm so excited to announce my new site. Textsetlibrary.com. This is going to be a website where teachers can browse for and search for books focused around a specific topic or theme. Teachers can also share their text sets on this site.
If you are a fellow teaching blogger if you submit your text set to the library you can also upload a button to your blog and will get a new dofollow link.
Each text set that you submit must have at least 3 books in the set. You must also leave a comment about the text set that you are submitting.
To go and submit your text sets go to the Submit page.
b and d are buddies
One of the most common ways for teaching b and d is the bed method, but this doesn't always work for each child. While thinking about this I realized that the best way I learn is if something is in a story form. I know that this is true for many kids out there as well, so I made this book with that in mind.
The book is only available for Kindle Fire devices, you can also read it in on a desktop kindle reader, which would be a great way to share the book with a whole class. If your a Kindle Prime member you can borrow the book for free, otherwise the book is $7.50.
b and d are buddies - almost here
So the last few days I've been busy working to get my children's book, b and d are buddies, available on amazon for the kindle. I have previously made a version of the book and had it available on Teachers pay Teachers it has been so far my best selling item. Since it has been 3 years since making this version my computer arts skill have improved "a lot," and I mean a lot, a lot. Take a gander at the difference of the pages below and you'll see what I mean.
So since I've improved so much I wanted to redo all of the images for the book, and I'm so happy with how it has turned out.
Oh and let me tell you getting the book into the correct format that Amazon wanted for the book was no simple task. I mean seriously it shouldn't take longer to format the book then to write it and do the illustrations, right?
Here is a short list of what had to be done to get it ready, and this really is only part of the process.
So the result is that after a lot of frustration and headaches it's finally completed and I've accomplished a goal that has been knocking around in my head for the last few years.
I have my fingers crossed that there won't be any problems when Amazon reviews the book. When it's made available I'll post a link to the book on Amazon.
And one more thing, since I'm enrolling the book in KDP select which we'll make the book available for free for Amazon Prime members I'm not going to be selling the book anymore on Teachers pay Teachers.
No matter how long students spend engaged in direct reading instruction, without time to apply what they learn in the context of real reading events, students will never build capacity as readers. . . . Students need time to read and time to be readers. - Donalyn Miller, The Booker Whisperer, pg 51
I'm cruising right along in my study of the Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. This chapter was all about finding time to read in the classroom and creating a great reading environment.
Donalyn's focus is on 6th grade and middle school. Those of us who work with the younger ones know just how difficult it is to have them stay focused for such long periods of time. If your included in that group I recommend that you take up time to build up their reading endurance. A great way to do this is to start off, at the beginning of the school year, with just a few minutes a day and then gradually increase the time spend reading as the year goes along.
I loved the authors suggestions about ways to find time for reading in the classroom, even when your school district doesn't have time allocated for silent reading. One of the times she mentioned that students could steal some time to read is during picture day. Although that's just one day out of the school year, and I don't see how an activity on only one day will make that much difference in the reading outcomes of your students, I can testify that its great for classroom management on those days.
I remember that back when I was a student teacher and it was about time for my kids to go and wait for their pictures, that I dreaded trying to find a way to keep them quiet in the halls for however long they would have had to wait. As it turns out they had to wait about 20 mins because they had fallen behind from previous classes. Luckily my classroom wasn't so far away from where they were taking the pictures so I had a chance to take my class back and start a read aloud. When is was time to go out in the hall and wait again. I had the students sit next to the wall and walked up and down the hall showing my students the rest of the pictures of the story. (We hadn't finished the book yet.) I also asked them to try and figure out how the story was going to end only by looking at the pictures of the story.
This technique worked perfectly and my class was so good in the hall that we even got compliments that they where the best behaved class that had gone through yet.
Well, I guess that's all I had to say about the chapter. I highly recommend that you read the book yourselves.
I'm really enjoying the book I choose to do this book study on. Chapter 2 was a great chapter all about changing are assumptions about are students as readers. Personally, I don't know how effective any teacher can be without the assumption that each of their students can learn and has their own talents. But I do have a few questions about this chapter.
Whether we label someone as a reluctant reader or as a dormant one isn't going to make much of a difference. Sooner or later the new terms will take on the same negative connotations unless we also change the meaning applied to those terms. I'm sure when the term reluctant reader first came out it wasn't meant to have a negative connotation at all.
Sorry about the rant, I'd love to hear what ya'all think about changing the names of types of reading to more positive terms.
I must believe that my students are readers - or will be readers - so that they can believe it. - Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer, pg 23
Although, I don't agree with changing terms, I do completely agree with the above statement. A teachers perception of his/her students is so important to help them develop their own perceptions of themselves as readers.
I hope your all having a great summer. I'm currently working on a great new back to school product that I'm very excited about.
Yeah! Its now officially summer. I'm going to try and spend some of this summer, as I know many of you other teachers are right now, reading some professional development books. The book I've chosen to read first, was Recommended from the Organized Classroom Blog Facebook feed. And if any of you haven't liked the Organized Classroom Blog Facebook Page you absolutely should its a great teaching community to be a part of.
Learning to read
The first chapter is basically about the authors experience with learning to read and her evolution of her teaching practices. While reading the chapter I realized that I've never really shared with my readers my experience with learning to read.
First of all, you should realize, that I'm not the type of person who remembers the name of each and every teacher they've ever had. I have some childhood memories of learning to read but their not exactly extensive.
As a young child, I didn't like to read. I viewed reading as school work, I thought school was boring and work as hard. So I hated to read. Now I really liked it when others read to me, either my parents or teachers, but reading by myself wasn't something I would choose to do.
During this time in my life, I do have one positive memory of learning to read and it happened because I didn't really consider it reading. One thing that you might not know about me is that I love to sing. Now I don't have an American Idol quality of talent. Singing is something I love to do and I don't completely suck at it. That was true now and it was true of me as a child. This love of singing is what helped me to learn how to read "big words."
On sheet music multisyllable words are broken up with dashes so you can sing each syllable with its note. I have fond memories of singing in church with my dad pointing to each word as we sung. This experience helped me have the capability and confidence of reading larger words.
So how did I change my attitude of hating to read to loving books? The change came when I discovered book series like Sweet Valley Twins and The Babysitters Club. I couldn't read enough of them and eventually (it took awhile) I was able to move from these to some great novels.
What I'm reading now
I've also finished within the last month two History books, The Notorious Benedict Arnold and Charlie Wilson's War, which was about the CIA's involvement in the Russian Afghanistan conflict.
Now, I accept that I may never arrive at teaching paradise, but as long as I hold on to my love of books and show my students what it really means to live as a reader, I'll be a lot closer than I once was.
I loved Donalyn Miller's closing thought for Chapter 1, and I'd like to give a shout out for all of the teachers out there who are continually trying to reach their teaching paradise by inspiring a love of books in their classrooms.
I had so much fun creating the last two reading charts that I decided to create a few more. So here is a giraffe and elephant reading chart for you to download.
I also created a new page to put all of the reading charts in the same place so if you missed last weeks you'll be able to find them here on my Reading Charts page.
If your wondering why I put the numbers as 26 on one and 27 on the other one, that's just how many circles and spots I was able to fit on the animals.
My Books on Amazon