Showing posts from June, 2017

Should I read with my students during independent reading or not?

You've committed to the idea that students need choice in books they read.  You're growing classroom library.  You've carved out a chunk of reading time each day for students. The only question you're struggling with is what to do with yourself during this time.  Do you model what readers do by taking out your own independent book and reading with the kids?  Or do you grab your notes and head out to confer?
Before you take advice from others, step back and define your own purpose for having independent reading time in your class. The choices we make in our classrooms for our students are important and should not be made just because we read someone's book or were persuaded by a compelling presentation at a conference.  Our choices must directly relate to the students we teach and the learning we have designed. This ownership allows us to answer the question of what we should be doing while our kids read.
So, what’s my answer?  Do I read with kids or not?  The clear a…

3 Things I've Learned from Having a Classroom Library

School ended two weeks ago for me, and I'm now done with one week of summer school.  This means I have not cleaned up, packed up, or straightened up anything my classroom.  My credit-recovery English students are still working hard - reading books, talking about them, writing and giving presentations.

In the quiet moments, however, the room keeps staring at me.  The books have raised their eye brows and given me the look.  "Remember what happened the last time you decided not to pack us up?" they challenge from their seemingly peaceful shelves.  "Broken shelves and piles of disorganized books everywhere."

Yes, I think, I do need to pack up my classroom library.  It's grown tremendously in the four years since I moved out of my middle school classroom to become a high school teacher.  I had taken as many books as I thought were high school-ish (meaning, I had no idea what to bring) and settled into my new space.

One Book Love Grant, several smaller local…

2 Ways To Get Unstuck in Your Teaching

Last week I wrote about my need to re-invigorate my teaching. While our independent reading time in class was going well, it felt like my classes' desire to learn was dead.  They were simply doing what I assigned, but it lacked heart.  

So, where does a literacy teacher turn when she's stuck?  The public library, of course.  While my children browsed the manga section, I ventured off to nonfiction, to find...something.  I wasn't even sure what I was looking for, so I just walked.  

I wandered a bit and found myself staring at books on creativity. As I scanned titles, I knew this was the perfect place to be.  I quickly found several titles:

Unstuck:  52 Ways to Get And Keep Your Creativity Flowing at Home, At Work and In Your Studio by Noah ScalinHow To Be An Explorer of the World by Keri SmithInGenius:  A Crash Course on Creativity by Tina SeeligThe Rise:  Creativity, The Gift of Failure and the Search for Mastery by Sarah LewisImagine by Jonah LehrerAfter reading two and a h…