Friday, March 10, 2017

Rediscovering My Love of Chapter Books

Grateful!  Oh, so grateful that our first round of I-step is over.  We plowed through a power outage, two days off school, terrible storms, lots of rain, and all the fun behavior challenges that come with all the disruptions to routine.  We are all (teachers and kiddos) quite tired of the testing talks so I decided it was the perfect time to begin a novel. 

I must constantly remind myself to slip novels into my reading block.  We are required to teach from the basal reader, but nothing, and I mean nothing compares to a well written novel.  The length of a chapter book gives the much-needed time to develop characters, to make personal connections, and to fall in love with books.  There is really nothing like it!  As a child, my family moved a lot and my very best friends became the characters from the many books I read.  Laura Ingalls is still a character that I consider a friend from my childhood. 

With my busy schedule, it is often difficult to plan for a chapter book.  I have also found that students hate stopping at every chapter to answer two pages of questions and to learn more vocabulary from each chapter that are commonly found buried in the pages of a novel study.  Reading should be a pleasure, and comprehension should be a natural process of reading and getting to know the characters and their predicaments.  Because of this struggle, we developed a product that can be used in grades 3-5 that meet all the Common Core Reading Literature Anchors.  I know we created it, and I shouldn’t toot my own horn, but I really do love this product.   It is called Common Core Reader's Response Graphic Organizers.  It is a pile of graphic organizers for everything from point of view, character development, poetry, figurative language, fables, plot development, and more.  Seriously it has it all.  It is so easy to find a relatable organizer for any book you are teaching and to print, copy, and go.

Introducing this novel, How to Steal a Dog, by Barbara O’Connor has been just what both students and teacher need.  We have bounced back from testing and can’t wait to daily dive into this rich piece of literature.  The discussion has been so encouraging to me and has reminded me during this stressful time why I became a teacher. 

 I recreated one of the organizers on chart paper and we completed it while discussing the events of the story all together.

Another exciting element of this week has been the test drive of our new product, “Sneaky Little Leprechauns.”  The students loved using junk from around the classroom to create their works of engineering mastery!  Check out this fun product for a great writing experience along with some hands-on creativity.  The kids loved it!

 Check out these fun Leprechaun traps!

Be sure to go over to our store to check out "Sneaky Little Leprechauns!"

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