Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dot Day 2013

This year I celebrated Dot Day with my PMD (profoundly mentally disabled) class and their teacher (and future librarian), Mrs. Shockley.
I donned my best dot clothing and we read Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This book asks readers, "How will you make your mark?". And it is an excellent, fun way to teach punctuation.

Then we watched The Dot video.

After the video my helpers and I assisted the students in coloring in their own dots that we put on display near the library entrance. Each students received a Dot Day certificate.

I love the message of The Dot and always enjoy celebrating with my students.

Navigating the Library: Teaching Genre

The genre lesson I'm going to share is one that I used for my National Board portfolio last year. It is an effective lesson for me that keeps the kids engaged and involved. I hope that you can take it and adapt it for your needs.
Learning genre is vital for my students because our fiction is arranged by genre. It is also one of their standards. I use this lesson with my sixth graders and they have fun while they learn.
I divide the lesson over two days. The first day I give them a modified version of the What's Your Genre? quiz created by Mrs. Readerpants. This is always fun because every student (and adult too) loves to talk and learn about themselves.
For the second visit I have small whiteboards and markers out at each table and a small printout of each genre sticker that I use in the library, one set for each table. I use these slides for the lesson.

What is genre? from Palmetto Middle School

Each student has a handout that they fill in as we go through the lesson. First we discuss and define genre. Then I show just the genre sticker and have them write down characteristics of that genre on the whiteboard and a book title that fits in that category. After we discuss it briefly and I look at their answers I show the description at the bottom. Then they fill in their sheet. We quickly go through each genre doing the same.
Then I do an informal assessment of their understanding using book covers. I show a book cover and they have to hold up the correct genre label at their table. I tried to choose book covers that would give them clues. We talk about how they decided on genre just using book covers. You could easily do this with a stack of books, but usually if I show a book they will immediately check it out so I didn't want to have to run around between each class to find another good example.
The teachers follow up this lesson by giving groups in their classroom a stack of books and asking them to sort by genre. That would be another easy informal assessment of understanding.
At the end of the lesson students check out books. It is always fun to see how they browse the library with a new understanding.
This lesson is simple, but effective.
How do you teach genre to your students?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Boot Camp Update

We have had 2 successful Twitter chats with Book Boot Camp and I'm looking forward to discussing historical fiction at the end of this month. I am really enjoying having this to challenge me to read a variety of genres and I believe I've read more this fall than in previous years.
The Book Boot Camp idea has morphed into an opportunity to encourage our teachers and students to read.
We have taken our Book Boot Camp idea and adapted it for the teachers in our district. We combined a few genres in order to fit into the school year and added a book related technology tool each month so that teachers can earn technology credit hours for participating. We're having our discussions on Goodreads instead of Twitter so that we can keep track of posts for earning credit. This is the flyer that Kristen made to advertise the course.
The tech tools include: Goodreads, Netgalley, Your Next Read, Fictfact, book blogs, Youtube channels for book trailers, and Sync YA.

All of the librarians in our district had a meeting and we agreed to create a similar program for the other grade levels too. The three high school librarians called their group the YA Hooligans and they are hosting the chats in Edmodo. Jen Chesney created the flyer. Instead of providing a list of books to read for a genre they selected a few titles for the teachers to choose from.

Our primary group for Kindergarten through 2nd grade called their club Milk and Bookies. They are using Edmodo for discussion. Here is their flyer. Another pretty Kristen creation.

Our elementary librarians are on a fixed schedule so I was enlisted to help put this one together too. I had a blast looking through picture books. The tech tools for this session are: Biblionasium, Day by Day SC, Storybird, book themed online games, reading apps, book bloggers and Youtube channels.  I signed up for this course so that I could read these with my son. We've already read 11 out of the 20 SC Picture Book Award nominees. If you want to see our book lists leave me a comment with your contact info and I'll share with you.
 Our fourth group is for 3rd through 5th grade teachers and they called themselves the Teacher Readers. They are using Goodreads for discussion.  They are using many of the same genres as Book Boot Camp, but adding the SC Children's Book Award nominees.

We just got started and we are already seeing a very positive and enthusiastic response from our teachers. We have several district administrators participating. Each of the four groups is also sharing hot new titles at a staff development day this month. 

Two SC librarians that are participating in Book Boot Camp tweeted to me that they are using a similar model with their student book clubs. I can't wait to hear how it goes.

How do you encourage your teachers to read? Is there a similar program in your district that gives teachers an opportunity to earn renewal credit for reading? I would love to hear about your efforts. If you would like more details about how we created these programs, leave me a comment with your contact information.