Monday, August 24, 2015

First week in the books ~ 2015!

Just look at that sweet group of cutie patooties! I totally love them already. We are going to have so much fun this year... I can't wait to see what amazing things we learn from each other!

As first weeks go, ours flew by so quickly. I have to admit our first day had me a little their excitement we had a chattery group of kiddos. I wasn't sure if it was the classroom set up, getting to see old friends, or if we were in for a long chatty year, but by the end of the week we had ironed out most of the kinks to have a smooth running classroom. I am so glad that I did not chicken out and start the year with desks. I do believe these kiddos love our classroom setting as much as I do....*sigh :)

Just look at these book lovers reading away! One of our first goals was to really establish firm expectations for our writing and reading workshops, and I would say that we accomplished that. Of course we will need to revisit and maybe even make adjustments throughout the year, but we are off to a great start.


While setting up our reader's notebooks, I really stressed the importance of our reading record and our book status forms. These forms can tell me a lot about a kiddos reading when I call them up to conference with me. 

This example is one of my own reading records... if I ask the kiddos to read 40 books and keep a reading record, then I feel I should do the same. This is a mix of young adult and adult books which is what I tend to do throughout each year. 
There is so much I can learn about my young readers from this one form... 

Our book status form is an idea I took straight from the pages of Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller. I fell in love with her philosphy of reading instruction with The Book Whisperer! Her books inspired me and gave me the courage to really reach out and teach reading the way I always envisioned it. If you haven't read these two books yet, you should pick them up as soon as possible!

In writing workshop we worked just as diligently to establish routines and expectations, and create a safe place to keep all of our fun and creative writing ideas.

Every year while creating these writing notebooks, I ask myself "why".... so much work and such a crazy-messy time but when I see the final products, I know exactly why I stick to it an have my kiddos create these.

One of our first entries into our notebooks is our Heart Map! This is another activity that can be wild and crazy, but I sure do love the results and the discussion.

Another of my favorites has become my students' weekly journals. This is a journal in which kiddos tell about their week and share their thoughts on school and their learning - and sometimes outside school events make their way in, too! They share these journal entries in the form of a letter to their families, and the exciting part is their families respond as well. The kiddos love that their parents have homework just like them.... my parents have always been so good to respond and participate with these, and the kiddos LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading their responses. I will share more about these later. 

Look at this beautiful group of ladies that I have the privilege of working with every day!
Of course we had to do a silly pic :) ~ great things ahead for this group!

Well, I think that wraps up our crazy-busy first week! I am so excited for all the fun and learning we will have this year with this cute little group!

Happy Reading, friends!

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