I’ve never been much of a reader. That may come as a shock since I’m a 2nd grade READING and Math teacher. But, it’s true. My parents used to bribe me to read books. In middle school I was grounded for making my first “C.” Well, there was a dance coming up… and we all know how crucial Jr. High dances can be. In order to go I had to read 2 books and complete book reports for both. Needless to say, I couldn’t miss a single social event, so I completed the book reports in no time! Unfortunately I carried my “I have better things to do than read” mentality into adulthood, and it takes a lot for me to sit down and read a book. After visiting RCA, I knew I had to dig a little deeper. I learned so much from my visit, but I was like a kid at Disney World… there was so much to take in, and my jaw was on the floor for most of the time! So, in order to put into practice what I learned, I knew I would need to do a little reading.
Therefore, I ordered these three books:
I’ve officially read all three books (cover to cover… no skimming or skipping!!). And, I’m so glad that I did! Most of my reading was done over Spring Break on our anniversary trip to the beach. My mind was spinning in all kinds of directions with new ideas to try in the classroom. I’m excited to get back in the classroom on Monday so that I can try some of these best practices out!
Well, before I even finished “Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites” I wanted to challenge myself. The week before spring break I pledged this to myself “I will not use the copy machine for any of my ELA activities this week” Now, I don’t use worksheets often at all… maybe one or two a week. The majority of the time I even make the copies, I don’t use them because there are so many other things we can do with our time in the classroom. However, I do still make copies for recording sheets, graphic organizers, reading response activities, etc. None of those things are bad, but I wanted to see if I could go a whole week without even touching that copy machine… and I did! So, here’s what a week in reading looked like without making a single copy!
(Feel free to use this button on your blog and show everyone how you went a week without the workroom!)
I decided that I wanted to showcase some of the books from our Scholastic Book Fair we were having at school. So, I went and did a little shopping (which you totally don’t have to do, you could just use the books you already have!). I placed the books on my table, put my students in pairs, and had them come choose a book they wanted to focus on for the week. On Day One, they sat around the room to make predictions after completing a Picture Walk through the book. They also paid close attention to all the details on the cover. Using their little tri-fold, they illustrated the cover of the book.
This is where we focused on adding details to our illustrations. I wouldn’t accept incomplete or sloppy work. They didn’t have to mimic the cover completely, but they did have to include important details.
Over the next few days they started reading the book with their partner. On Day Two, they began reading and then used sticky notes to write about the setting and characters.
On Day Three, they finished reading the book and wrote a persuasive note to a future reader of the book. They were told to convince someone to read the book that they chose! We also gave the book a gold star 🙂
On Day Four, they re-read the book and used notecards to write about the Beginning, Middle, and End.
So, each day we just used this simple tri-fold and kept adding to it, little by little.
Well, we had a snow day in the midst of our little book studies, so on Day Four we also went back through the book to look for juicy (AKA interesting or strong) words.
If we would have had more time I was going to have my students present their book studies to the class and try to convince the other students to read their book, but the snow got in our way! Overall, my students really got into these activities, AND since they made every little piece, they took a lot more ownership than normal. The best part… it took me NO time to prep any of these materials. Everything we used I just had around the classroom… colored paper, sticky notes, notecards, etc! I had to plan it out, but I didn’t have to spend any time in the workroom! I call that a win, for sure! For my next challenge I am going to try a week without any copies for all of the subjects that I teach. I’ll keep you posted on that 🙂