Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Best Part of Teaching~ Learning alongside the kids!

One of the best things about teaching is learning alongside and FROM the kids in my class. I mean how could I possibly think that out of a classroom of 22 first graders (and on a great day 3 adults), I am going to be the one with all the ideas?  If I am being honest, the best ideas in our classroom are not planned and they don't come from me.  The beast ideas, the ones worth their weight in gold come from watching the kids and allowing myself to follow! 

Our classroom follows a workshop format throughout the day. Each workshop ends with an opportunity for students to share work, ask question and gain feedback from peers.  To share our work we gather in a circle and I asks for volunteers or call on students to share. Share time is a powerful part of our workshops.

This year the share routine has taken on a whole new dynamic and the credit goes to the first graders!  As we gathered in a circle following reading workshop the kids began to spread their books out in front of them and conversations began immediately. 

“I have that book at home.  Where did you find that book?  Can I read that tomorrow?  Oh, I love that one, the pigeon is funny. I like when he runs down the street naked!" (Thanks David Shannon) 

The overwhelming spontaneity of their comments made it clear they were already book lovers and they wanted to talk about books!  So I simply asked, “Please raise your hand if you see a book you would like to know more about or one that you want to talk about with your friends. “  Hands flew up and the conversations that followed were natural.  The conversations were about the story,  the characters and their genuine joy of the book. The book talk grew as others built on the questions and comments of their friends.  I didn’t need to remind anyone to speak louder, look at the speaker or think about what others were saying. This was a conversation they owned and they were invested. 
The readers were learning about books, how to talk about books and the satisfaction of being a part of a reading community.  Not only did this authentic conversation show me exactly where the kids are as readers, but it also showed the readers how conversations around books bring books to life and how readers connect through books. Readers also gained insight into the variety of books that live in our classroom and the opportunities read brings to a community of readers. In my quest to develop Wild Readers (not just school readers) I think this is a step in building readers who will continue to seek reading community.



The power of student lead share circle has "leaked" into our writing workshop and  has added another level of learning and motivation for our young writers.  as they gather for writing share they lay their writing in front of them and cross their fingers they are asked to share.  They are learning first hand what appeals to their audience (working to have a friend request to hear their story) and what the readers want to know more about.  When writers hear the questions and comments of their friends they are naturally motivated to add more information to their writing .  The audience gains writing ideas, support and the opportunity to learn from other writers. They are witnessing first hand what it means to have mentor authors and to be a part of a community of writers. 

Working out the Kinks~ 
As with anything there is room for improvement. I am still pondering~
  • How can make sure students who really want to share have the opportunity? (Maybe the solution will be a digital share?)
  • How can I make sure their is equity in who is chosen to share?  I don't want the same writers to share each day, but I do want the kids to push themselves as writers to have their work selected. 
  • I need to make sure kids learn how to comment and challenge friends in a way that makes us all feel valued and capable. 
  • I need to make sure the kids understand we are unique and we all progress in our own time and in on our own way.  (Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a few GREAT books for this kink.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#CyberPD week 3~ Cultivating Wild Readers


Simply Wild About Reading! 
We're reading, Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, @donalynbooks.  #Cyberpd is hosted by @cathymere at Reflect & Refine@laurakomos at Ruminate and Invigorate and @litlearningzone at Literacy Zone.  If you're interested in joining visit any of the blogs for more information! 
~~~

If we value readers, we must value all reading LOC 3026

These words really caught my attention. At first glance I can easily say I do value readers, but do I value ALL reading?  I have to admit when kids visit the book fair and fill their wish list with books from movies and TV shows I cringe! I even take this one step further, I instantly become book commercial for other books (the books I deem to be worthy-yikes) at the book fair! I pick them up off the shelves and announce the title as if I just found a large sum of money and immediately begin reading a page and then quickly place the book into a reader’s hand all to bless MY choices!

I have several practices in place now to allow readers to be independent in book selection~

               Class (and some family) Shelfari accounts to view books of other readers
               Author studies (to learn more about authors and the books they publish)
               Share circle (to share and recommend books, to learn new books)
               Book commercials
               Book Host and Hostesses  (Choose books from home or the library to share with our class for class and home reading)
               Daily book selection in workshop and to take home



It’s my job to cultivate and nurture life long wild readers, not classroom readers. To do this I need to enable readers to find their reading niche. Readers need to read what THEY choose and as Donalyn reminds us it’s important for readers to try everything.  In our classroom this means I need to open my mind to the books so loved at our book fairs.  I find these books challenging to read and teach with in the classroom, which is why I don’t bless them. I think it’s time I open my mind and give these books a chance.  I have to admit I am not optimistic about finding teachable moments, but to be fair to the readers in my room I am going to dive in and read some of these movie and TV based books that the kids so dearly love! After all aren’t these the books kids are reading at home? It's time I understand there needs as wild readers, not classroom readers.


Cultivating Wild Readers in Room 208~

  •  Include all genres to the classroom book tubs combine genres in book tubs.
      Release (myself) and the readers who struggle from daily-guided reading. Allow more choice and independent reading time as readers to discover their reading niche.
      During conferences ask more questions that include habits of wild readers.
      Educate parents and kids about wild reading and edge time
      Add a blog page where all kids can post a book commercial or recommendation- book catalog! 
      Record books kids are reading in my anecdotal notes- watch for trends
      PAY MORE ATTENTION TO READING HABITS
      Book talk nonfiction
    Bless all books by including all genres in read alouds and lessons.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Bash! Celebrate~ this week


Thank you @Ruth_Ayers of Ruth Writes for this wonderful #Celebratelu! It's so refreshing to end the week reflecting on the celebrations. You can read more celebrations at Discover.Play.Build. or follow #celebratelu on twitter.

~~~

It's a Book Bash! 
This week I am celebrating a reading reunion.  I had been toying with the idea of inviting my kids (from last year) to come together to share our summer reading.  When I mentioned this to my oldest daughter she quickly replied, "I would've loved that as first grader!"  This was all I needed to take the dive!

Our Book Bash was held in the neighborhood park of our school. This park was perfect because most families could walk over and it's all green space- not one piece of playground equipment! (I was afraid the playground equipment would have been strong competition.)  It was so nice to see kids walking, biking, or scootering over to our Book Bash.  Some with their dogs, some with  younger siblings and all with parents and books.  As I watched families walk over  I knew that today reading was the topic of the day, families had planned for this, kids had chosen books to bring and we were set up for a successful Book Bash, my heart was filled with pride!





As families gathered hugs were shared, squeals were heard and books were EVERYWHERE!  The kids were eager to share their books and quickly spread out their blankets and gathered with other readers. I flipped off my flip flops and began to go from blanket to blanket sharing and reading with my class, just like readers do naturally.  the kids were so adorable pulling book after book from thier book bags "I can read this one too you Mrs. Frazier, or "Look, I got this one from the library." A few even shared books they had brought because they wanted to share it with a specific reader, "Mrs. Frazier I brought this one because it's a graphic novel and I know you like these kinds of books!"





As I watched and listened to these proud readers impressed with their book choices, talk about stories and characters, strategies they pulled naturally from their tool belts and their excitement in sharing reading with others!   These young readers are well on their way to being life long readers! So what happens along the way that these readers loose this enthuasium for reading!  In Donalyn Miller's book Reading in the Wild she shares startling information about readers loosing this joy and becoming embarrassed about reading and strategies we as teachers and a community can use to cultivate life long readers.  You can help grow readers for life and join our Wild Readers Scavenger Hunt, #letsbringreadingback!

The Book Bash was a success the parents and the kids were excited and many asked if we could do it again before school starts,  I think this was the first annual Book Bash!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wild Reader Scavenger Hunt~ #LetsBringReadingBack

                     I am on a Mission and I Need You!                                               
                  #LetsBringReadingBack the Way JT brought S**y Back~                                                                               (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)



As a part of my summer I am participating in #CyberPd. We're reading Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, @donalynbooks.
(#Cyberpd is hosted by @cathymere at Reflect & Refine@laurakomos at Ruminate and Invigorate and @litlearningzone at Literacy Zone.) 


Donalyn shares these frightening facts with us in her book Reading in the Wild~

Being surrounded by cultural forces that fail to support reading or diminish reading outright erodes students' interest in reading and prevents them from sustaining any reading motivation. (Loc 1779 eBook)
A recent National Literacy Trust Report found that 17 percent of children surveyed would be embarrassed if their friends saw them reading. (Loc 1787 eBook) 


This calls for a community action~ #LetsBringReadingBack

As we know kids begin school enthusiastic about reading and eager to share their new skills with EVERYONE! An enthusiastic  reader is proud, surrounded by books and reading at every corner.  But what happens along the way? Somewhere we are loosing our proud and enthusiastic readers.

Let's show our kids and (parents) reading isn't just for school, reading is fun, reading is a choice, reading is just what we do! Let's show readers reading in "edge times," (those in between times-appointments, in the park, waiting in the grocery line, sitting on a train, riding in a car, I think you're starting to get the idea) where reading is by choice and natural.  Let's bring reading out of school and create a community of readers who are proud and enthusiastic.

Please join our Wild Readers Scavenger Hunt! 

When you spot readers reading in their natural habit snap a picture (avoid faces and when necessary, ask permission) and add it to the Wild Readers Padlet below or at http://padlet.com/debfrazier4/wildreaders or you can tweet me at @Deb_Frazier, (using #letsbringreadingback) and I will add your pix for you!

Soon we will have a collage to share with our kids! We will be creating a community where reading in the wild no longer embarrasses kids (or adults), our readers will be surrounded by a community that supports them and helps readers maintain their enthuasium!  Consider enlisting your youngest readers in the scavenger hunt, maybe they will "volunteer to be found reading!" When I told my "I only in school if they make me reader" about the hunt (and offered a small token for pix) she replied "I am going to starting handing out books to my friends and strangers to get pics!" Hmmm, who's the clever fox here?

Please share this post and help spread the word! (I am sharing this with my families from last year!)


This padlet is public and anyone may add photos. All additions will need my approval before  they appearCreated with Padlet

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#CyberPD Is Going Wild! Week 2

Simply Wild About Reading! 
We're reading, Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, @donalynbooks.  #Cyberpd is hosted by @cathymere at Reflect & Refine@laurakomos at Ruminate and Invigorate and @litlearningzone at Literacy Zone.  If you're interested in joining visit any of the blogs for more information! 
~~~
"Children are made readers are the laps of their parents."  
(Loc 1158 eBook)

A recurring message in Reading in the Wild is that of developing readers who are independent of us as teachers or parents, reader's who self-select books, read in "edge" times and who have a reading community to share and discuss books.  As a first grade teacher my class is made up of (mostly) eager readers, who want nothing more than to learn to read, this seems like a very attainable task.  I pride myself on cultivating readers who are "Wild Readers."  When reader's leave first grade they seem to be right on track for a life of wild reading, so what happens? 


Embarrassed Readers~

Well, certainly no one reading this is guilty of letting reading fall out of fashion or move into the category of embarrassing, but it seems to be happening! 
Being surrounded by cultural forces that fail to support reading or diminish reading outright erodes students' interest in reading and prevents them from sustaining any reading motivation. (Loc 1779 eBook)
A recent National Literacy Trust Report found that 17 percent of children surveyed would be embarrassed if their friends saw them reading. (Loc 1787 eBook) 
Reading this forces me to think beyond my classrooms and beyond my  building when working to cultivate wild readers. The work we do in teaching our kids the value and benefits of being a part of a reading community needs to extend to the families and communities of our kids.  
In Chapter 3 Donalyn list several strategies for building and extending reading education.  

Donalyn's message is one that sticks with me outside of my reading day! I see readers leave our first grade classrooms excited about reading and then somehow along the way lose this joy! WHY?  Is it the over loaded schedules, video games or TV that has allowed reading to become that "luxury we can't afford" or has reading truly fallen out of fashion and become an embarrassment? Are we really doing all we can do to create "wild readers?"

Plan of Action! 

Well, this is a big task and it won't be accomplished alone. We will need to pull together and educate our children, our families and our communities on the benefits and how to be a member of a reading community. 

"Reading in the Wild" (a growing blog post with my class) We are collecting photos of people (yes, even strangers) reading in those edge times. I am amazed at how many people I see with books out and about!  I have also asked parents (via the blog and email) to send me pictures of kids "Reading in the Wild."  This is a small beginning in educating parents about edge time and wild reading, but with a little help we should have a nice display ready for back to school!  If you see "Wild Reading" please send pictures to me @deb_frazier so we can add them to our blog. (Out of respect to the readers, avoid faces and please ask permission ;-))

What's Next? 

@Litlearningzone and @AnnielOrsini plan to meet (virtually) to collaborate on ways we can flood our parents with the same message we teach the kids, I can't wait! If you would like to join us we would love to have you! 



How will you extend the reading community of your readers? I would love to hear your thoughts on educating parents and bringing back the pride in reading! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Celebrate this week!~ Slippery Moments


Thank you @Ruth_Ayers of Ruth Writes for this wonderful #Celebratelu!  I have been absent from the weekly Celebrations for a while and it's time I get back into the swing! As Ruth tells us on her blog Discover. Play. Build,
Celebration is one of those slippery things -- we can let go of it and not even realize that it's missing. We can talk ourselves out of its importance. However, celebration makes the difference between energy and apathy, excitement and disappointment 
***
This week's celebration isn't from this week, or even last week. It's not a small moment, which I feel #celebrationlu is all about, noticing the big moments in the small things. No, this week's celebration has been building all school year and I just didn't realize how big this moment was until I was standing ankle deep in the creek with a young writer. 

This year my class and I joined the Slice of Life 30 Day Writing Challenge. The kids were very eager to accept the challenge, some kids wrote all 30 days, some kids didn't. Some wrote on their blogs, some wrote in their writers notebooks, and some wrote in their folders.  We left the challenge open, open to choice and open to join or not join and all writers were celebrated. In the moments of the challenge I could see the pride and growth in my writers, but the impact on some writers was greater than others. 

One young writer chose to write in her notebook and she wrote EACH DAY.  When the challenge was over she enlisted her classmates in a new writing challenge!  As the year was coming to an end this writer informed the class she had filled her writers notebook by writing EVERYDAY for 100 days and would be shopping for a new notebook! 

It isn't the number of days this writer wrote that has me celebrating today, it's the dedication and write she discovered she found in her writing.  

This young writer found small moments to write and carried her notebook with her everywhere, she was living the life of a writer. This summer I was invited to come see her favorite writing place, special rock in the creek on her property.  She even asked her dad and mom to help make a path  for me to get to this writing rock! 

As I stood their in the creek I realized she was truly living a writely life.  I celebrate the writer she
discovered in herself and look forward to seeing more of her writing.  














These are moments are slippery and need to be held onto, celebrated and remembered! 





Wednesday, July 9, 2014

#CyberPD Is Going Wild! Week 1

It's time for #CYBERPD! 

This years' #CYBERPD is going WILD, simply wild about reading!  Professionals all over the globe are invited to read, blog, tweet, or share creatively as we read Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, @donalynbooks.  #Cyberpd is hosted by @cathymere at Reflect & Refine@laurakomos at Ruminate and Invigorate and @litlearningzone at Literacy Zone.  If you're interested in joining visit any of the blogs for more information!  

~Thinking Differently

The title alone had me ready to think about reading differently.  Donalyn uses two terms "wild reading behaviors" and "reading in the edges"  that grabbed my attention.  As a first grade teacher I find most parents are eager to support their young readers and read at home regularly.  This has been a gift I have taken for granted, but recently I have started to see a change.  Families are busy with sports and other activities that sometimes over shadow the importance of reading regularly at home.  Donalyn explains how this reading interruption- "Reading becomes a self-indulgent luxury we can't afford."  
Readers, and parents of readers, can't afford to adopt this perspective of reading.  As our students fall out of the habit of reading outside of school we need to step in- we need to show kids how to "read in the edges" and develop "wild reading behaviors."  In these first 2 chapters Donalyn shares strategies for creating "wild rendering behaviors". She shares her workshop schedules,  embracing self-selected books and setting up and caring for a classroom library.  


~What's new

As I read I began to reflect on ways I could foster "wild reading behaviors" in my students. I chose a
few ideas that were just unusual enough to to hook my readers and make them wild about books! 
  • As my students are learning to self-select books from our classroom library I would like to extend this lesson/workshop to the school media center a few times a week. By learning to self-select books outside of the classroom kids will begin to generalize book choice strategies and  help them to choose books at the public library and book stores.  
  • Ask kids to sign the end pages of favorite books.  These signatures can serve as an endorsement for future readers and it's just unusual enough to motivate readers to read highly signed books. This will also help me to recall class favorites and see what books the kids are drawn too. 
  • Begin holding book drawings for new books! As new books are introduced to the classroom Doanlyn shares how she shares a book commercial and then ask students to enter a drawing to be the first reader.  The supply and demand of this book drawing creates great interest in the new books. 
~Pondering…


  • How can I teach my readers to read in the edges, finding these little moments where they can steal a reading minute? 
  • How can I help parents understand the importance of wild reading and reading in the edges?
  • How can I help parents support and honor self-book selection?