Hi, Everyone! I hope the Fall weather and dropping temperatures has been getting everyone ready for the best holidays of the year! I am excited to share some fun freebies over the next month of things you can do in your classroom to make the holidays more fun and manageable.
Today, I am going to share my newest addition to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I’ve been working on some new units, but wanted to share a fun visual that anyone with ANY reading program can use.
This current school year has been an explosion of new curriculum in my district. We are implementing a brand new reading/writing curriculum and attempting a new Math pacing in order to meet the needs of the CCSS. Needless to say, like SO MANY of you out there, it has been a challenge to stay afloat. I have to say though, this has been a great year in terms of team collaboration. I am lucky to work with 3 other professionals that “get it”, and are willing to work together to make sense of this new adventure we call CCSS. I still feel overwhelmed EVERY.SINGLE.DAY…. but, I’m starting to feel like I might get through the year with only half of my hair turning gray. 😉
One of the big steps I’m taking to getting on the same page as my team is to begin to incorporate the CAFE into my reading groups. I love learning about new strategies and bought both The Daily 5 and The CAFE books years ago. I use parts of the Daily 5 inmy classroom even though I don’t necessarily call it that, but I have been apprehensive to delve into CAFE. I’m taking it slow this year, and praying my teammates don’t get annoyed with the bajillion questions I will have, but you have to start somewhere. I have the headers up and will get them in my TpT store soon, (free of course), but for now, I want to share how I taught my students to pick “Just Right” books.
In the first few weeks of the school year, I observed my students choosing books from my library. I wanted to see what types of books they gravitated towards. It was not surprising that books like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, and “Bone” (graphic novels) were among the most popular. I knew that this year I needed to do a formal mini-lesson on how to choose “Just Right” books. I am a firm believer in not forcing students to read at a certain level just because their formal assessments say that is the “right” level. I really feel that in fourth grade, students should be free to choose the topics and genres that interest them… to a certain extent. I want to create and deepen their love of reading, but also want to challenge them as readers. That’s why I give them a few weeks to choose their own books. Then, I swoop in and guide them in choosing “better” books.
To start, I ALWAYS read this book:
I LOVE LOVE LOVE and just for fun LOVE this book! It is a great way to introduce choosing books. After we discuss the story, we create an anchor chart of Too Easy/Just Right/Too Hard books. Then, I introduce my version of the iPick poster. There are millions of these floating around cyberspace, but I decided to gear mine towards the iPod. Here is my class’s anchor chart and iPick poster displayed in my classroom.
Then, after they know what my expectations are for them, they “check in” their books with me. The language we use is “Fun books” and “Independent books”. I let them choose three a week from my library and one of them MUST be an “Independent book”. They are assigned a shopping day to choose new books, and their books need to last them the week. If I notice they are finishing way too quickly, I step in and help them make better choices. The funniest part is when I suggest a book and they seem very apprehensive. Then, after they read it for a few days, almost always they come to me and say, “Ms. Furlan, I LOVE this book!” I joke and say, “Wow! Ms. Furlan must know something about picking good books for her library.” But, it’s forming trust between us so they can believe me when I say, “Try this. I bet you’ll like it.”
If you would like to have your own iPick poster iPod style, click the picture below, and snag the file for yourself! I made them in a variety of colors to fit any color/theme you may have. I hope it helps. Til next time, happy reading!