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Little Bits

I feel like I’ve been working so hard on my room the last few weeks, but I don’t feel like my room is close to done! I stayed at work until 6:30 last night and I only have one corner of my room actually complete. Luckily, it is my library corner and most likely the most labor intensive part of the room. I was hoping to have the room done by now though, because I only have one day left in my room before Check In Day!

I still need to cover my chalkboards, and organize a lot of my stuff. I was really hoping I would only be working on curriculum and planning tomorrow, but that is not likely to happen. I know it will all come together in the end though!

I took a few pictures of things in my room that I did accomplish this week so far. Maybe writing about them will make me feel not as far behind!

First, I decided that I did not want my Read the Rainbow as a bulletin board that was stagnant. I only have one true bulletin board in my room and it seemed a waste to put something up that didn’t change. So I made a poster to hang instead.

And here is a picture of my Pot O Gold. When a student completes a rainbow, they get to pick a prize. I keep trendy books, book related cards or trinkets, book lights, etc. I like to keep it literature related so it feeds into the excitement of reading.

Since I wanted to make my bb more interactive, I made a Reading Takes Us Places bb. This concept has been around since I was in school and probably before, but I think its a fun idea. When I student finishes a book, they will write their name, book title, and place on a card and then hang it on the board. Then they’ll put a pin on that spot on the map! I want to find a way to include all the made up places book take us too. Any ideas on how to incorporate that?

For my PI Club, I’ve been on a hunt for a briefcase to use to keep all the mysteries in. While searching at the teacher supply store, I came across this expanding file system on clearance for $2.50 and I thought it was perfect! I added cardboard at the bottom to keep it upright, and made a little cardboard handle to make it look like a briefcase.

And the PI Club advertising board:

I also make new game pieces for Homeworkopoly. I will share more info about those later, I’m late for a softball game!

I’ll leave you with one last shot of my finished library! Well almost finished… I still want to make pillows and finish my crate seats. I also spent almost a whole day sorting my books by genre. I usually want kids to figure it out themselves, but i thought this might make the Rainbow easier to accomplish!

I must apologize for my crazy pictures the last few posts. I am having trouble getting them from Photobucket into WordPress without them getting distorted or sized incorrectly. Hopefully the odd photos aren’t too distracting!

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Read the Rainbow- My Reading Program

I just finished reading the book The Book Whisperer because I had heard such good things about it. It was a very inspiring book about reading instruction, but more than that, it validated so much of what I already do in the classroom. My students read silently for long periods throughout the day, share books among themselves, and we talk about books a lot!  I took over a page of notes from the books of new things to do or try, and it made me more passionate about the method I use to get my students to read! I occasionally question myself when I people are surprised to come into my class to see students reading silently. I feel like I am not doing my job if I am not constantly talking to my students at a whole! But then I remember that they are learning a great deal about people, places, grammar, English, emotions, science and so many other new things!  And of course my students do not sit and read for 8 hours, so I do impart a little of my own knowledge for part of the day!

I did not completely invent this idea, my own fourth grade teacher used it in her classroom. I really have no idea where she got it! I used what I vaguely remember from her along with the requirements of my school to teach genre. I drew a rainbow and filled it in with genres that my students need to read. I also have a pot of gold filled with books, fancy bookmarks, and some treats that they can choose from when they finish a whole rainbow. ( I forgot to take a picture of my pot today at school, but I got a large plastic cauldron at Wal-Mart one year around Halloween.)

When I started doing this I had students complete a review worksheet on the book before I would initial the rainbow  square and let them color it in. I think I am going to phase this out and concentrate more on our reading response journals and conferences.

This is where I keep the reviews along with each student’s folder. It’s likely I’ll get rid of this system and instead glue the rainbow into their response notebook. Then I could store more book here!

I start the school year with several mini lessons about genres and we continually discuss it throughout the year.  The rainbow helps the students visually see how much they are reading and feel the accomplishment of coloring in each square when they finish!

Here is the rainbow each student fills out. I scanned it in as a picture, but I can try to scan it in as a PDF or text document if you are interested in using it for your classroom.

I have always required one rainbow per school year, but after reading the The Book Whisperer, I wonder if I should set the expectations higher and have one complete before Christmas?  What do you think?

As for the reason I didn’t get much done at school today? Well this little helper had something to do with my lack of productivity…