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 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. 

  • 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?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Celebrate- this week! Trust

Thank you @Ruth_Ayers of Ruth Writes for this wonderful #Celebratelu! It's so refreshing to end the week reflecting on all the celebrations!

This week I am celebrating the thinking of my class and trust in the kids, trust in the workshop & trust in student lead learning! For a few years now I have been refining my math workshop. It's been a tremendously tedious process and all along the way I knew it was the right thing to do.  I had witnessed the power of a workshop in guiding readers and writers and I knew this same framework could apply to math learning.  I searched for resources and support and I followed the learners of our classroom.  I posted more about my journey here.

Well, here we are in May, the year is all to quickly pulling to a close. This is a bittersweet time in teaching. We witness the successes of hard work and the growth of our children, but at the same time we collect data, data, data and MORE data! We rejoice and mourn that the sweet faces in front of us that have bloomed and outgrown our classroom, it's a time of bittersweet good-byes.

I need to get back on target with this post, A CELEBRATION POST- So this week I celebrate trust in the kids, trust in the workshop & trust in student lead learning in our MATH WORKSHOP!

Grace and her partner discovered/explored odd and even numbers.  (This isn't a topic we have discussed in our classroom, but both students have older brothers, maybe they heard their brothers talk about odd and even.)  This is a celebration because of the learning these two discovered independently and the connections they made. When the girls came to share their "Math, AHHA!" they explained that there was a number pattern that repeats in both odd and even numbers. When Grace was challenged by a peer she pointed our that when you have 9 then 19 its a patten because-"Well, if you take the one, I mean ten, away from the 19 you have a 9 and take two tens from 29 you still have 9 and it just goes on with the same ones each time" WOW!
Trust in the kids, trust in the workshop & trust in student lead learning!

 Jonathan wanted to explore "times tables" (again the influence of an older sibling). When Jonathan brought this idea to me I asked him, "How is multiplication like addition?" then I walked away.  I wanted to make sure Jonathan was building an understanding of multiplication and not just reciting facts. Trust in the kids, trust in the workshop & trust in student lead learning!

Another discovery by Grace! Grace took a risk and realized she could do addition and subtraction with 2 digit numbers. Grace's understanding of ten helped her as she added tens and ones. Trust in the kids, trust in the workshop & trust in student lead learning!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Power of Quiet~ Changing Perspectives and Opening Minds

I have learned many things from being a parent.  Some things I expected to learn, like how to make the best macaroni and cheese or how to do laundry, read a book and cook dinner all at once. These are the things parents expect to learn in the throes of parenthood, these are the easy parts. Fortunately, parenting runs deeper, parenting teaches us about sacrifices, differences and perspectives.

Our daughters are perfect replicas of my husband and me. The daughter most like me is alive and happy in the throws of people. Our other daughter who is most like my husband, is happiest curled up with a good book or hanging out with a couple of close friends. I have admired her love of quiet moments, times spent inside books and her ability to avoid drama.  This world has been unknown to me and it's a world I desperately want to understand.

Changing Perspectives and Opening Minds~
My perspective (or lack there of) on the power of quiet became evident one day when my daughters and I were shopping and I saw some cozy bean bag chairs.  I wanted these chairs for my classroom; I knew the kids would LOVE these chairs! Unfortunately, the chairs were $30 a piece and a little on the large side.  As I walked through the store I couldn't stop thinking about the possibilities of these chairs in our classroom. But where would I put them and how could I justify spending $60 on beanbag chairs!  Innocently my daughter asked me,  "Why do you always build your spaces for partners?  Maybe some kids want to cozy up alone."  These words opened my eyes and changed the way I look at teaching, learning and the world.

I bought the ONE chair and I created that cozy spot for ONE in our classroom and guess what?  The kids LOVED this space! They loved this space so much that THEY made a schedule for the space!  Seeing the popularity of this area and the quality of thought and work that was coming from this alone space I created 2 more independent spaces in our room. I was shocked when I noticed they were the first spots chosen as kids settle around the room to work!

New Found Power and Value~
The power of these quiet spaces demanded time for reflection and refining in my teaching practices.  What was it about these "alone spaces" in our classroom and the time my daughter spends reading and reflecting that transforms thoughts and focus?  What was it that I was missing? 
In my quest to understand and appreciate the power of this alone time and the power of quiet I started to listen more carefully to those around me and that's when I found the resource that changed my perspective on the power of quiet.  While talking with @CathyMere and @MaryLeeHahn,  Mary Lee shared a book and a recent post on a Ted Talk that explains the value and thought process behind quiet.  I was fascinated by her conversation and knew this book was moving to the TOP of my list!  

Susan Cain author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking -- Kindle edition is only $2.99, explains that it is only in our aloneness that we can go to that place where we are most challenged and work through our thoughts for our understanding.  Cain discusses the influence of an audience and fear of judgment that can actually change our thinking when working in groups. She explains that we are instinctively mirroring the opinions of the group without our knowledge and suggest we are best to go off and perceive our ideas then collaborate to take the thinking further.

Reflective Connections ~
As I thought about Cain's message I found confirmation not only in what I see in our classroom, but also in the way I work.  In order to feel prepared and to be an active member of a discussion I find I need time to think through the agenda and make notes of my thoughts prior to the group think.

 Cain suggests we allow our student's to be who they are and allow time for kids to work independently and in collaborative ways. She suggests we have time alone with our thoughts to allow them to grow and solidify. Cain encourages us to know ourselves and work to our strengths and share these gifts with the world.

Transforming My Teaching~
As I looked across my day I realized I had built in quiet time and group time in most parts of my day except math.  I have adjusted our math workshop to allow the kids to get lost in their math thinking and already I have noticed improved focus and some kids making shifts in deepening their understanding of math concepts.  

As I observed the power of quiet think time in our classroom I asked the kids to reflect on this time. You can see their thinking here.  It was humbling to listen to the kids openly reflect on their focus, process and learning.  These reflections have helped to shape our lessons, individual conferences and assess student learning.  I have found value in building in time for independent work and will continue to make space (and time) for kids to be alone with their learning. 

You can learn more about the Power of Quiet here~ 

Mary Lee's post- Last Week's Ted Talk