Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Picture Books I Just Can't Get Enough Of!


I am excited this year to start a new position as an instructional coach.  It is hard to not have your own classroom. However, I am looking forward to meeting all the students at Darby Creek Elementary and thinking about how books can help us bond and grow as individuals.  When I was unpacking my boxes of books I was getting excited about all the different ways I can use the books, but most importantly I started thinking about the books I just love and hold near and dear to my heart.  So here is my list of books that I just can't get enough of!


I just love this book! Bear wants his hat back and sets out to find it. Each animal Bear comes across he asks if they have seen his hat.  Unfortunately,  all the animals haven't seen his hat. A deer comes along and asks a question that triggers Bear's memory of the whereabouts of his hat.  I love reading and watching the students reactions when they infer that the bear ate the rabbit.  The conversations start flying and students start calling out..  wait, go back to this page and that page.  I usually have to also read Jon Klassen's book This Is Not My Hat.   Good news in October he has a new book coming out titled We Found A Hat!

This book is about a nerdy bird who just can't fit in with the cool birds.  He enjoys reading books and playing video games which excludes from hanging out with Eagle, Cardinal, and Robin.  Being a nerdy bird is a lonely lifestyle until he meets a flock that he fits in with perfectly.  I love so many books by Aaron Reynolds and this one is also a must to share with students. It sparks conversations of what does it mean to be "cool" or to be "nerdy".  Can someone be both? This book hits home that friendships can be developed around different interests and appearances. 

Dot's parents who are rabbits find a baby wolf outside their door.  Mom and Dad instantly are smitten by the baby wolf but Dot constantly worries if she and her family will become a tasty meal for Wolfie.  However, Wolfie loves Dot and is constantly following her around.  Dot's apprehension and annoyance grows about Wolfie until they go to the store to buy some food for the family because Wolfie ate all the food.  At the store she is sure that Wolfie is going to eat her when suddenly Wolfie finds himself in danger. Dot needs to decide if she will save her brother or not.  I love that all families have a different dynamic and so does Dot's.  Even though Wolfie is different there is unconditional love and some sibling rivalry. 

This book is hilarious and I love the sarcasm. Bruce is a grumpy bear who likes to be alone.  He loves to eat eggs but when his hard boiled eggs are actually live goslings he suddenly loses his appetite.  Things continue to get worse for Bruce because the goslings think that he is their mother.  Bruce tries to get rid of the goslings but nothings seems to work.  Bruce needs to think about how to face the fact that he needs to think about how to handle the hard job of being a parent.  This book has become on of my favorite books because it is just so much fun to read aloud. 


I guarantee this book will make you laugh out loud each time you read it.  Leon needs to go to the bathroom and discovers that he has no toilet paper.  So he grabs something nearby (briefs) that will work and get him out of his predicament.  However, he starts to think about his choice and that the briefs might actually belong to someone.  Leon realizes that he has made a big mistake and needs to try and correct it.  This book teaches about being considerate as well as ensures lots of laughs along the way.


This is such a cute story about Max who is a brave and fearless kitten who likes to chase mice. However,  Max is not quite sure what a mouse is. You will need to read to find out if he does indeed figure out what a mouse is and if you have to be brave and fearless all the time.  


This is a new book I found out about on Twitter and just had to get it.  A young boy wants to enjoy a good book and heads into the woods.  Each time the boy settles into a good book there is an animal there to ruin it for him.  I wanted this book because I think it is important to teach children to respect each other as readers and not spoil the ending for another reader.  This happens a lot in our reading communities and it is important to address this issue and how it impacts us as readers. 

       


I do enjoy Bob Shea as an author and this books is a great book about friendship.  Buddy the monster is hungry and wants to eat bunnies.  He finds some bunnies to hop into his mouth but before he munches on them the bunnies have made delicious cupcakes.  Buddy eats the cupcakes and he's too full to eat bunnies so he will have to eat the bunnies tomorrow.  The clever bunnies think of different ways to distract Buddy from eating them.  Finally, Buddy realizes the bunnies have tricked him but he also comes to realization that the bunnies aren't food they are his friends. 

Life is full of unexpected surprises that can cause things to go topsy turvy.  Boot and Shoe are dogs from the same liter that live in the same house.  They do the following things together, eat from the same bowl, pee on the same tree, and sleep together in the same bed.  The dogs do spend their days apart because Boot is on the back porch because he is a back porch kind of dog and Shoe is on the front porch because he's a front porch kind of dog.  One day a squirrel shows up messing up their routines. 


It would pretty hard to mention books you just can't get enough of and not mention a book by Peter Brown.  Lucy finds a boy in the woods and wants him to be her pet.  Lucy's mom warns her that children make terrible pets but eventually lets Lucy keep her new pet named Squeaker.  After spending the day together Lucy realizes that Squeaker is hard on furniture and just refuses to be potty trained.  Lucy might just have to admit that her mother was right.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Amplify - Getting Started: Developing a Mindset For Technology


                                                   

                                                              

     When I first started this digital literacy journey a couple of years ago I remember always hearing Deb Frazier and Cathy Mere sharing all the great ways they were incorporating technology with students.  I wanted that sooo badly but didn't know how to get started.  I realize now the two essentials that are necessary to start this journey are the following: knowing what are my core beliefs and establishing a reading and writing workshop.  I love this quote on pg. 4 - "We focus on the overall goal to teach kids how to think and then layer in purposeful tools along the way."   The teacher and students need to understand how the tool propels student learning.  They also mention that "tools" does not always mean a device or technology.  Tools are anything that support students as they are learning.  I think that it is important to always have a balance and a purpose so that learning can be intentional and scaffold towards independence.  As my literacy journey with students continues I need to remember my core beliefs and keep that as a solid foundation.  On page 5 it states - "We keep these leaders and established best practices, which are research based, teacher tested, and kid approved, at the core of all we do.  When introducing technological tools, we apply the same practices and strategies we use in reading and writing workshop." 

     The workshop's predictable model allows teachers to stick to their core beliefs about best practices and gives students opportunities to be supported at various levels.  Kristin and Katie make a great point on page 5, "Technology in the classroom fits easily into this hands on approach to learning: our students should be the ones using it."  As a teacher I started to think about how technology could be integrated into our reading and writing workshop but I didn't do it on a consistent basis.  I knew spaces like Google Docs and Kidblog gave my students a place to share their learning.  Many students would use Google Docs to organize their thinking for book talks or around their reading life.  Some would use Google slides and others would create tables. However, some readers preferred to have a small steno pad for each book. I let the readers decide on which tool helped them get prepared for their book club. Kids shared books via Kidblog and later on in the year we learned how to make book trailers as another tool to share books within our learning community. 

Here are a few examples:




     I need to think about how technology can be used as a tool to help students reflect on their learning too. I think that when students blog they were reflecting about their reading life but I didn't purposefully think about different ways to have my students reflect.  I used rubrics and they created goals but after chapter one I see I should have been more open and flexible. I focused mainly on how to use technology purposefully to guide instruction and as a tool to help students communicate what they felt was important to share as readers and writers. I also wanted technology to be a tool to use as a vehicle to celebrate and share quality work that needed to have a wider audience. 

     On page 18 in chapter one the authors discuss the use of digital bulletin boards and how this space is another way for students to make their thinking visible.  Digital bulletin boards also make it possible for the learners to also view, respond and interact (pg.18).  I used Padlet over the last couple of years in different ways.  The students love it and are always engaged in sharing their thinking with this tool. I really wish I would have incorporated it more into my chapter book read aloud time but it was at the end of the day so we often ran short on time.  This was a tool I used in the beginning of my journey because it is quick and easy to incorporate in a variety of purposeful ways within reading and writing workshop.  When you use Padlet as a quick check the best part is not carrying a stack of papers home all you need is your device to analyze and take notes. 

Padlets: 
Third Grade Reading Goals 

Assessing Theme in 5th Grade

Flint Water Crisis - 5th grade

     
    Kristin and Katie state the following on page 19, "It doesn't matter where we are on the continuum, only that we've placed ourselves in the exciting world of digital learning."  This is so true and if we embrace this journey with colleagues and students we will continue to push ourselves as learners which will impact the ways we use digital tools within our daily lives.       

Monday, August 10, 2015

Picture Book 10 for 10 Community - 2015


I love picture books so I look forward to particitpating and reading all the different posts from #pb10for10.  I will need to have my Amazon account open so that I can purchase some great books to share with my students.  I am excited to share with my fifth graders some books that will inspire our learning community to embrace who we are as individuals, teach us about perserverance, how to make a difference, and how to compromise when collaborating.  I don't have a particular theme but here are my 10 books that I want to share this year. 

 I love this book and I know the students will too.  The frog wants to be a cat, a pig, a rabbit or even an owl.  The frog wants to be anything but a frog because they are slimy and eat bugs.  Then the young frog meets a hungry wolf who eats just about everything but frogs.  He then realizes maybe being a frog isn't so bad after all.  The students will love the dialogue between the frog and his father.   I will read this book in the beginning of the year as we get to know the unique things about each other and how each of us will be an important part of our learning community.  

 I am a big fan of Mac Barnett and will be sharing many of his books with my students.  Extra Yarn is one of my favorite books because I love how a little girl whose kind heart and magical string change her community.  It is such a powerful and sweet message that will help the students understand that kindness matters and brings about positive changes within a community.  

I love going to the library and browsing the new arrivals displayed on shelves as you walk in.  Ben Franklin's Big Splash was one of those wonderful finds.  This is mostly a true story of Ben Franklin's first invention which would help him swim like a fish. His first attempt didn't quite work they way he had hoped but he didn't give up.  Ben reflected and made new observations that led to new changes.  This is a great book to read and talk about growth mindset.  Students will understand that making mistakes are a natural part of learning and the inquiry process. 

This story is about a little gardener whose garden is everything to him.  Despite his size he works and works in his garden but still his garden is dying.  He thinks he is too little to save his garden but a special flower gives him hope and pushes him to work harder.  This is a wonderful story to illustrate how determination can make a difference, so much so, that sometimes the impossible can happen.  
This is another great book to read and discuss growth mindset.  Rosie is a very quiet girl who is constantly tinkering and inventing things alone at night.  Rosie who fears failure hides all of her wonderful inventions under her bed but all that will change when her great-great-aunt Rose visits.  She shares with Rosie some of the things she had done and goals she had checked off her list.  But great-great-aunt Rose would love to fly and so Rosie decides to invent something for her great-great-aunt Rose.  Rosie gets upset when her first attempt flops but her great-great-aunt tells her it was a huge success and something to celebrate.  



 Nicola Davies is such a talented author and I adore her books.  This fabulous book sends a strong message about how people can change and make a difference in the world.  A street girl lives in a horrid city full of darkness, and so she too makes dark choices like stealing in order to survive. One day she steals a bag of acorns from an old lady who demands her to make a promise that will change her life.  The street girl promises to plant the acorns and as she does she begins her wonderful journey of changing her heart and the world.  Here is video I found on Youtube where Nicola Davies shares her thoughts about this beautifully written book.




I found this book on Twitter from Pernille Ripp's blog post.  When my Amazon box arrived and I started reading this book I immediately fell in love with it. Every Sunday CJ and his Nana take a bus to Market Street.  CJ is not thrilled about going this Sunday.  Luckily, Nana opens his eyes to all the beauty in their neighborhood.  CJ and his Nana's final destination is volunteering at the the soup kitchen.  I love the language in this book and the message of seeing the beauty in new things.   This book will be a great mentor text for writing workshop and a great book to use 
in reading workshop too. 



Peter Brown is an author that I really enjoy and so do the students.  The Curious Garden is a story about a little boy named Liam who stumbles upon a garden and he decides to take care of it.  Liam doesn't know anything about gardening but learns through trial and error along with reading gardening books.  The garden turns into a lovely, lush green garden.  His actions start to spread as other people start planting and transforming the city from dull and dreary to vibrant and beautiful.  I love the messages this book teaches, especially the power of paying it forward.  




I have grown to appreciate and adore wordless picture books so I had to include one in this post.  Marla Frazee is a talented author of many books which include Roller Coaster and Boot and Shoe. This is a story of  how a baby clown accidentally bounces off the circus train separating him from his family.  A farmer finds the clown on his land and takes him home.  The two discover new things about themselves and life.  This is a story that will truly touch your heart.




One of my all time favorite books is Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea.  Ballet Cat is another great story by him.  Bob Shea is writing a series for Ballet Cat and the next book is coming out in February of 2016.  Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide on what to play.  Ballet cat wants to play ballet as usual because she loves to spin and twirl.  Sparkles the Pony is not happy and has a secret he thinks will upset Ballet Cat, but he doesn't realize that Ballet Cat also has a secret too. A totally secret secret. This is a great book to use to discuss the importance of compromising when working with a partner or small group.  It is also hilarious!







Thursday, July 23, 2015

#CyberPD - Chapters 6 & 7: Assessing Literacy and Moving Beyond the Classroom Walls

Assessing Literacy and Moving Beyond the Classroom - Chapters 6 and 7

"The digital tools we use have not changed our beliefs about formative assessment.  Rather they have given us better tools with which to monitor and encourage the journeys of our readers (pg. 90)."

A student is helping another reader in the class think about her response to the book titled Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds. I loved capturing this student to student feedback.


I captured this moment using the camera on my iPad and then imported it into Evernote (pg.93).  Cathy Mere, who loves this digital workspace, came to our school last year to discuss the many features Evernote offers.  I loved all the possiblities it offered so I started to use this tool to help me monitor my students' growth as readers and writers.  I can have folders for each student or I can make a folder for a group of students.n I am not losing post-it notes or conference sheets and I don't have to add anything to a large binder.  I can jot a little note along with a picture to capture students' thinking or reading habits, and I can quickly snap a picture of work samples.  I can record a conference so I can reflect on my feedback to see if I am helping a student grow as a reader or writer.  I love how this tool gives me flexibility to gather artifacts about a student's learning and keep them organized.  

I really liked being able to take pictures of  "TBR" piles so that I could conference with students about their reading life.  We could have conversations about which books they loved, disliked, or abandoned and why? I could recommend a new book or series based on our conversations or I could talk to them about maybe recommending a book to a friend or to the class.  Sometimes the students would want to blog about a book to share their thinking with a wider audience. 




The only problem I had with Evernote was having a device to use everyday.  Since we did not have 1 to 1 or BYOD I would find myself giving my teacher iPad to a student to use.  I should have brought my computer to school or used my smart phone when my iPad was not available. However, I need to get a bigger smart phone so that it is easier to read and compose on.  Next year we will have more devices so that should not be an issue. I want to try and use tags and the work chat feature to see how this will help me better meet students' needs.  I look forward to using Evernote again and learning more about how to use this digital workspace to capture, gather, reflect, and share students' learning journeys. 

My students used digital bulletin boards and Kidblog. These tools helped us connect/share our learning and it also helped me monitor and celebrate student progress. We used Padlet to record our thinking about our chapter book read aloud or to write our reading goals.  It was so nice to have all the thinking on one page to quickly access during conferences.  I could look back over my Evernote artifacts and read their Kidblog posts to see decisions students were making as learners.  For example, in the beginning of the year Trey wrote about a baseball memory in his writing notebook.  He got the idea from another writer in our classroom.  In May when he was trying to think about a possible blog post he took this idea from his notebook and crafted a new post.  
 
                                         


Our padlet we used to share our thinking about Edward Tulane in the beginning of the year during Global Read Aloud - http://padlet.com/tonyabu/blkabe4cibv

A Padlet with our reading goals - http://padlet.com/tonyabu/1171xp3gatyq

Next year I would like to use the following digital tools so that students and myself can assess how their learning is progressing throughout the year: 
  • Google Docs - (pg. 93) last year we used this tool to help us organize our first Edcamp Kids across grades 3-5.  We used the survey to see who was interested in presenting and what they would like to teach in a small group.  We also used the survey for students to reflect on the Edcamp experience.  This tool really helped us get organized and now we can refer back to it when we think about planning for Edcamp Kids next year. As a literacy coach I use Google Docs during data team meetings and to share documents with teachers.  I would like to have students use Google Docs next year for various reasons throughout the year.  I love this post from Two Writing Teachers - https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/twt-post-google-docs-writing-workshop-happy-writing-teacher-and-happy-writing-students/.  I will reread this again before school starts to help me think more about how to use Google Docs in my workshops.

  • Digital Portfolios- I started these with my students last year but the year was more than half way over.  We used Weebly so that each student could create his/her own website.  I plan on starting this at the beginning of the year so students can collect and reflect on their learning all year.  I would also like students to refer to their websites during conferences with parents. Not all homes have a computer or internet access so parents could have an opportunity to see how digital tools are helping their child monitor and reflect on their learning. My new grade level team does student led conferences which I am very excited to try next year.  Of course the goal is for students to share their digital portfolios frequently with their family so that this tool can help parents and students learn alongside each other. 


There is always so much to ponder over and reflect on before school starts, but I need to think about my overall goals for the year.  "Just as in reading instruction, no one path or strategy will serve all students in all situations, so it's important to choose wisely based on your goals (pg. 97)." It is important that whatever tool/s I choose it will help me achieve my goals and to monitor how students are growing in literacy.  I need to keep in mind that some of the tools will allow parents to be more involved in their child's learning journey.  This will help connect our learning community to students' lives at home.  I need to be explicit with parents when sharing how these digital tools fuel our literacy learning.  "The key is having a plan with goals for communication that supports literacy in multiple ways and involves families as digital readers (pg. 108)."














Friday, July 17, 2015

Authenticity, Intentional Decisions and Connectedness - Chapters 3-5


I loved reading about authenticity, becoming intentional decision makers and connectedness in chapters 3-5.  There were so many "a-ha" statements and of course AMEN statements. In my reading and writing workshop I always valued all three of these components.  However, by incorporating digital tools within the workshop it opens new possibilities for us as learners.  Before integrating the digital component we connected our learning within our classroom community or our school community. Now we can have a wider audience which makes the work the students do more authentic, powerful and motivating.  I loved this statement on page 64, "We want students to make decisions about the things they consume and create because they want their messages to be powerful, because they want to make a difference in the world."  These words are like music to my ears and I want to help my students strive for this as learners. 

"In our workshops, we have tried to embed tools into our routines that stretch thinking and give readers new opportunities for understanding. By using these tools collaboratively first, students can then choose to use them independently when the tool seems right for their purpose (pg.38)." This statement is so powerful by focusing on purpose and choice.  When planning a lesson I would think about which tool to incorporate into the lesson and the purpose for using it.  I would also think about how the features of the tool would help us grow in our learning. A colleague, Deb Frazier, said this to me, "I typically focus mostly on the benefits of the tool and the outcomes."  It was important for the students to see how the tool helped capture our thinking, see connections in our learning, and share our work with an audience.  As a class we would use the tool collaboratively first and then students could choose to use it independently.  I was always amazed how children would find new possibilities on how to use the tool and then share that during share time.  Here are some of the tools we used in our workshops:
  • Kidblog - kids could share their thoughts about the book or create a book review.  Students could add photos or video to help articulate another layer of their thinking.
  • Explain Everything - students could create slides with photos and they could record their thinking or add text.  It is very similar to Educreations.
  • Padlet- pg. 39 
  • Pixie - is an authoring tool that students can create original artwork or add photos.  The can also add text or record their thinking.  This can be used a slides or you can create a podcast.
New tools I want to try:
  • Google forms
  • Biblionasiom - similar to Goodreads
  • Popplet
  • Symbaloo or Diigo
  • VoiceThread-web based communication network that allows children flexibility in how they share their thinking. It also is a different way to connect their thinking with a wider audience.
  • Canvas- our district has added this as a new digital classroom space as an option for learning.  

I will need to take time to explore these new tools and think about the purpose for using them and the options they offer to propel learning.  It is important that I not only think of purposeful ways to use these tools collaboratively but explain why I chose to use this tool and how it has fueled my learning. It is crucial that students see some of the intentional choices I make so they can begin to think about how they have voice in choice in the work they consume or produce. 

"Authenticity is evident when I look around the room and see kids using various tools that meet their needs at the moment (pg.64)." Franki and William also discuss how authenticity is about choice and ownership. Last year when I started to embrace the messy parts of learning by trusting and valuing the choices the students made our learning community changed.  Students stopped asking me for permission and started deciding which tool they needed at that moment to capture their thinking.  We had reading partners meet before our whole class share and I loved how students would flexibly choose between traditional and digital tools to share out.  Some students would choose to blog their reflections and some would use post-it notes to jot down thoughts.  Other students would choose an App like Explain Everything or Pixie and some would still use their notebooks.  The children started to think about their message and then which tool would best communicate that message.  


It was important for me to notice if students thinking was changing and growing and if not how would I support them to develop a more sophisticated understanding.  Did I need to think about changing their reading partner?  Did I need to offer a digital tool to help them connect to a wider audience so they could get more feedback about their learning?  Was it the book he/she is reading?  Just like I wanted my students to think purposefully about the tool they chose to use I had to think about what is the next step for particular readers and which tool at that moment would help he/she move forward in his/her learning.  I basically noticed that digital tools opened possibilities for my students but it also gave me more flexibility in meeting my students' various needs.

Before I read chapter 5 I thought that I really had dropped the ball on connectedness.  I felt like my students' work did not reach a more global audience to gain more feedback about their learning.  This chapter helped me realize that we did connect our learning in different ways and I can continue to work on adding more opportunities for my students.  One tool we did use quite a bit was Skype.  We were lucky to Skype with several authors to help us grow as writers and readers.  I didn't plan the Skype sessions simply just to connect with authors but I purposefully chose authors that would help us develop habits as readers and writers.  I also wanted my students to see how their reading life impacts their writing life.  I noticed children choosing books or websites to read because they needed to gather info for their writing pieces.  Students would choose to read a particular genre because they wanted to craft a writing piece in that genre.  Skyping allowed my students to not only connect the learning we were doing in the classroom but it helped them see new possibilities as a reader and writer.  In the future I would like to not only Skype with authors but other classrooms to help us share, learn, envision, and reflect on our learning.  



Franki talks about using digital text sets as shared reading.  I LOVE this idea.  "Connectivity with resources starts with being thoughtful about the resources we use across content areas. Rather than choosing texts and resources that teach about a topic, we want to build digital texts that help students explore an idea (pg. 79). "  I think that sometimes I choose resources to explore an idea and then sometimes my resources probably just taught about a topic.  In writing workshop I would carefully use books and videos to help us explore possibilities in our writing.  However, I think that some of the resources I used really focused on teaching us about a topic in science or social studies.  I really need to think about how to collect various resources so that we could explore and expand our thinking about an idea.  Franki's example about the different resources she used to help the students explore the idea of community was very helpful and eye opening.  Franki discussed how she met several goals by using digital text sets.  "It helped me think differently about how I was sharing content with my students, and it helped them see that as readers, we build an understanding as we read, view, and connect one piece with others. They saw the continued connections and recognized that each of these pieces did not exist solely in isolation but were stronger together."  I am super excited to use digital texts in my workshops next year! 

As a learner I have enjoyed participating in online communities.  I can work and read at my convenience and each space always helps me push my thinking.  These learning opportunities also help me reflect on teaching and provides ways for me to build upon best practices.  I look forward to the powerful feedback because it energizes me and propels my thinking.  I think it is important for students to have the same online opportunities so I am going to have my students participate in International Dot Day, The Global Read Aloud, and World Read Aloud Day.  These are some authentic ways we as a class can collaboratively connect our learning with a more global community.  I am hoping that some participants in the #cyberPD would like to connect with my 5th graders through blogging, Google+ Communities, Skype, or Voxer.  I choose which online PD I want to participate in and I would like to offer some choice for my students too.  On page 70 this quote sums up why I am going to work hard for my students to become more connected, "When teachers are intentional about connecting their students learning in several ways and across several communities, students will begin to grow in ways they can't when confined to the community of a classroom." 




















Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cyber PD- Digital Reading Chapters 1 and 2


 
Chapters 1 and 2

    After reading chapters 1 and 2 I find my mind reflecting about last year and spinning with new ideas for the new school year.  Last year I tried to integrate more digital literacy into my reading and writing workshops.  I showed students how to use different digital tools to compose various writing pieces. Students would choose which tool to craft their writing piece depending on their purpose and audience.  The students crafted reviews, nonfiction pieces, narratives, poetry, etc.  This was a great start but during independent reading time students were not choosing digital pieces to read. Most of the students in my class used technology to write or to research. Even though students could choose the technology tool, what to write about, and what to research on they still needed more.  I realize that I need to think about more authentic ways to help the readers in my room be flexible with various types of texts including digital pieces.   The quote on page 4  really hit home for me: "Digital reading experiences must be a part of the opportunities we give students on a regular basis.  If not, we're discounting much of the reading they will engage with in the future."   
     The words from the quote: opportunities on a regular basis is so key because in the book Franki Sibberson and William Bass mention that we can't view digital reading as an add-on.  The authors mention that students do not have to be competent in traditional literacy skills before we introduce them to digital texts.  As teachers we have to be intentional in providing different experiences so that students can develop skills to navigate digital texts. They need to understand that reading whether it is a digital text or a paper book requires them to use various strategies to make meaning.  Their reading life should impact who they are and change their world.  I know all of this but I didn't think about the importance or even how to incorporate digital pieces on a more regular basis.  
     I used the website Wonderopolis on Tuesdays and Thursdays to incorporate more nonfiction throughout the year.  We would read the articles together and share out what we learned and some fierce wonderings it might have sparked.  I would pick pieces that tied in with either social studies or science standards if possible.  The students loved the website and the videos.  However, I did not observe many students reading this website on their own during independent reading.  Some students did get on the website at home and would discuss what they learned. 
     We would read poetry once a week for Poetry Friday.  I used poems from books and poems from websites.  I used quite a few poems from Amy Ludwig Vanderwater's The Poem Farm.  This is an amazing site to discuss poetry and the author discusses where she got the idea for the poem.  It is a great resource for kids and teachers.  We enjoyed reading and discussing Amy's poems on Fridays but again the students did not visit the website on their own.  I needed to think about the chart on page 8 figure 1.2 where it discusses what digital reading is and isn't.  
     These are just a few examples of how I tried to incorporate digital pieces into my workshop, but I realize that even though this wasn't a one time event I made these digital pieces available during specific times and days.  I didn't think about other ways to flexibly use these resources.  I also didn't take into consideration voice and choice from the students which is key.  I need to think about the intentional use with each of these digital pieces and a place to house these resources for easy access.  I will need to add links to my class web page so that students might start to access these as readers. I will also use the chart on pages 19 and 20 which is figure 2.2 to help me make decisions about text choices across all workshop routines so that I can begin to help students see more options. Figure 2.3 will also guide my thinking in understanding the differences between a traditional and digital workshop.    
    On page 21 it stated: "We have learned again and again that running an authentic reading workshop in this digital age is a huge challenge as we try to keep up with the technology and tools in the midst of teaching children to read." This is so true but it also makes me realize that I need to be more reflective about the digital pieces I read as a reader and why I choose those pieces.  How do the digital pieces I read impact my world? I have focused so much about how I use digital tools to compose pieces so that I can connect with others to push my thinking.   Most of what I read is still traditional books and then I find a space to share my thinking. I do read blogs and tweets to fuel my professional life but how often do I find digital pieces for personal use?  How can I incorporate more digital pieces to push myself as a reader?  So much to ponder and think about but I want myself and my students to be intentional and active readers who know what is possible (pg. 23). 
      




Sunday, August 10, 2014

Picture Books 10 for 10: Community

I am very excited to participate in #pb10for10 and to be thinking about how to build a community of learners in my third grade classroom.  I have been out of the the classroom for two years, and I am ecstatic to be thinking about my "must-haves" to start conversations about how our classroom community will look, feel, and sound.  My list is definitely more than 10 books but here are the ones I absolutely LOVE (right now)! Thanks to Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere for hosting this event.


This book is by the author of the Lunch Lady.  The students just love his books and I think they will enjoy the story of how Peanut Butter and Jellyfish teach Crabby their neighbor the importance of being kind and helping others.


Ruth Ayres shared this book at The Literacy Connection last spring.  I knew I needed to have this book for the beginning of the year.  Brian is very quiet so he often gets left out or overlooked at school.  A new boy, named Justin, comes to his class and Brian is the first classmate to make the new student feel welcomed.  Things start to change for Brian as he works on a project with Justin.  

I just love this book!  Goat is jealous of all the things Unicorn can do and thinks that they could never be friends until they share a piece of pizza. 


 This book is such inspiring story about how an old rundown bus called Heaven and a little girl named Stella inspires their community to work together to transform the bus into a new community center.


This heartwarming story really hits home the importance of working together, failing and trying again and again until you get it right.  It is such a great book to illustrate the importance of creativity and perseverance. 

Enemy Pie will allow children to discuss how important is to get to know each other and to be open and willing to make new friends.
Jacqueline Woodson writes such wonderful books that send a powerful message.  Each kindness really teaches children the importance of how small acts of kindness really can make a difference.

I will have a very diverse class this year and so this book is a "must-have."  This book will help spark the conversation of accepting each other's differences.  

I love all of Peter Reynolds books and really can't imagine building our classroom community without them.  I really want kids to understand that learning is a process that allows you to see things differently, and it isn't always about getting it right but looking at things in an "ish" kind of way.

I want kids to feel safe enough and free enough to think outside the box in our classroom community and this book will help me illustrate that point perfectly!