Video segment about me, by the school district

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Club Thoughts and Freebie

Hi everyone!  Abbey Giombetti Bannon over at A Teacher Mom started a new book club based on the book The Literacy Teacher's Playbook: Grades K-2.  I just finished reading chapter one, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you.  I really enjoy doing book studies, because I love learning new things.
I had mixed feelings from reading the first chapter because the author puts a lot of material into the book.  It's hard to differentiate between K, 1, and 2.  Even within my own school, one class is doing things differently than another class.  So I was worried there wouldn't be enough information for a K teacher in the book.  When I started looking at the chapter as more of a springboard to help me come up with new ideas for my own class, it put me in a more positive frame of mind.

The chapter talks about taking running records, looking at reading inventories, collecting book logs, and evaluating engagement levels of students.  The idea that I want to start using more this year in my classroom is how to do some sort of picture survey to see what kind of books my kids love to read, or will be excited to read.  As I was thinking about that, I remembered that I had a picture survey that I made in pre-k which might help you to know information about your children, not just necessarily in reading but the overall child.

In the next couple days, I'm going to try and make a new version of this to gauge their interest in books (fiction vs. nonfiction, for example).  I know this survey will have pictures so that the children could complete the survey themselves.  I usually do ask my children what kind of guided reading books they would like me to make for them.  Inevitably, I get answers like superheroes, unicorns, and rainbows.  I already have those, and am very happy when students share that they would like me to print them out for them.  But I would like to go a little deeper and find out what genres they like, such as science fiction, comedy, scary books, etc.

For many years now, I've kept portfolios on all of my students and I'm a little obsessive-compulsive about it.  Beside taking running records, I keep extensive notes on things that the children tell me, dictated stories, photos from centers with captions, and one of my favorites, pictures of students holding a book and retelling important details from the story.  I normally audio-record students in whole group so that I can get what they said about the book word for word.  I do it with a tape recorder, but I'm sure you could also do it on your cell phone.  This really provides excellent evidence for whether your students can recall information, pick out the main idea, speak in a full sentence, and much more.  I often use this information with our special ed team to get help for kids who have extra challenges.  I also use it to drive instruction, to tell me whether the kids are remembering to talk about plot, character and setting when they describe what happens in the book.

Here is a picture of my retelling board that I hang in the classroom.  As the year progresses, the children get to read what they've said about stories, which is really cool to watch.

Story Retelling Bulletin Board

Don't forget to visit some of the teachers contributing to the book review.

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