Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some Shopping and Reading. That's a Good Day!

It's going to rain Friday.  I wish I could make the most of a rainy day and get in my classroom.  Not happening.  I have to wait until Monday.  But, I am so in back-to-school mode!  Today, I went to Ikea to purchase these magazine storage boxes.  How cute are they? 

I'm going to use them as book boxes for my friends.  They can store their books for reader's workshop in them.  I'm going to put their names on the front and keep them on a bookshelf with their reading binder.  I have these cute little book cut-outs that I think I'm going to use to label them with my friend's names. They were a great deal.  4 boxes for $2.99.  They even have plain white ones that are 5 for $1.99.  What can I say?  I'm all about the cute! ;-)  Originally, I wanted to get the plastic tubs for their durability, but the dollar stores around me just didn't have them this year and I couldn't bring myself to pay top dollar at the teacher's store.

Amazon was calling my name last night!  I made some purchases that I'm really excited about.  I've been reading about The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller on different blogs.  I can't wait to read this. 
Miller is a 6th grade teacher.  As a 5th grade teacher, I'm always on the lookout for books that address the upper elementary ages.  I think this one does!  In addition to giving you ideas on how to spark the interest in reading, the book is full of resources and forms.  I will be sure to do a review after I read it.

I also ordered Practice With Purpose: Literacy Work Stations for Grades 3-6 by Debbie Diller. While I have literacy stations ready to go, I've only used them on and off over the years.  My district is going to require them this year, so I'm hoping to find some new, fresh ideas in this book.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Now, the book I am most excited about!  Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne.  This is a picture book that, I think, will be an amazing resource for my friends. 

Here's a blurb from about this book:
"The author of King Kong and the Willy stories again features anthropomorphic chimps, who provide four unique perspectives: an uppity, overbearing mother and her glum son, Charles; and an unemployed fellow and his cheerful daughter, Smudge. What transpires factually is simple: the two children play together, their dogs do the same, the adults keep to themselves. Yet Browne reinvents and overlays the scene as each parent and child in turn describes their version of the events, altering light, colors and words."
This book should be great for mini-lessons on point of view, perspective, mood, word choice, and voice.  As with most good picture books you find, I'm sure I'll be able to use it for many other different lessons.  The illustrations are bold and interesting, sure to keep the attention of my friends.

Finally, here's what I am actually reading right now:  Day-to-Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop: Making Informed Instructional Decisions in Grades 3-6 by Franki Sibberson and Karen Szymusiak.  I'm only halfway through, but this book has been very helpful so far. 

My district has a very cut and dry report card.   In 5th grade, we use the same grading scale that is used in our middle school and high school.  Students get a letter grade, A+ to F, based on a numerical average. I've been having some difficulty figuring out how to use a reading workshop approach while still getting enough formally graded assessments to allow me to come up with a grade that fits our report card.  Day-to-Day Assessment has been really helpful.  I'm going to do a review when I finish reading and tell you just how I'm making it work for me. 

So, that's what I'm reading and will be reading.  I have a pile of other books I will save for another post.  If you know anything about any of the books above, please share your thoughts!


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