Pin It button on image hover

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tweet! Tweet! A reading response option

In an earlier post, I shared that  I am working to mix up my reading response options for my students.  One of the options that I am giving students this year is Twitter.

I used Twitter in the classroom two years ago successfully, but with last year's craziness, I kind of dropped it.  I am planning to really make it work this year.

I have a class account for Twitter, and that is what the students will use.  Even though all will have access to their own computer, I pull our account up on our classroom computer, and that is where they post their tweet. 

This year, I will recommend that everyone try to do one tweet every two weeks.  When they think they know what they want to say (about a book they are reading independently or one that we are looking at as a class) they will write the tweet into their Reading Notebook.  Once I give it the okay, they will be allowed to put it out there on Twitter.  So that I can keep track of who has tweeted, students will be asked to put their initials at the end of their tweet.

I am even thinking that we may find a way to keep track of retweets, quotes, and responding tweets.  We found two years ago that there are a lot of other classrooms on Twitter.  It was cool to connect with students around the world.  This year, I am really going to encourage our parents to follow us on Twitter, too.

We will also use our account to create class tweets after learning new accounts or to share other things we are doing in our classroom.  It is a great way to focus on main ideas and determining importance!

Do you have other ideas for using Twitter with your class?  I would love to hear them!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Independence Day + Close Reading

I have been motivated by my patriotic spirit....I am so incredibly blessed to be part of this fabulous nation, and weekends like this remind me of all of the great things that our country has to offer.

One of the most difficult things I am finding with all of our new initiatives is being able to find time to teach social studies and science.  Many people are okay with pushing them aside in favor of more reading time, and while I am a huge proponent of reading, I also believe that we need to expose our students to necessary background information in the content areas. 

I think what I have created will help in a couple of ways.  It will allow me to incorporate more exposure to history and geography while also exposing students to more reading of nonfiction.  In addition, the hope would be that kids will begin to pick up on key words in the text to help them solve the question.

What I am attaching is a sampler of what I made for my class.  It is an activity called "What's My Name?"  I will display it in my room by revealing a clue each day of the week and offering students the chance to guess who/what they think it is.  I have seen commercial versions of things like this before, but I think they typically are just people.  In my version, I am also including cities and landmarks.

Feel free to use if you wish.  It is nothing fancy, but it is good information.  I learned some new things preparing these pages.    I hope you and your students enjoy!

Click on the flag for the link to the What's My Name Sampler

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Notebook Connections

While traveling last week, I had the time to read Aimee Buckner's book Notebook Connections.  As I stated earlier, I am really looking to "beef up" my student's reading responses this year.  I have done workshop for a long time, and I have had my students respond to their reading, but not to the level that will help them to meet the CCSS.  This book was a great read and really broadened my ideas!
I am still considering having the students choose from a variety of writing choices as I discussed in my earlier post, but instead of having them choose one response for me to score, I think that I will use Ms. Buckner's more holistic approach and collect their notebooks every two weeks and give them a grade for variety and depth of entries in the notebook.  I will score the notebook and make one response in general to the four-five entries they have written.

Another goal for this year's reading workshop is to do a better job of using the notebooks while conferencing with students.  I work hard to meet with students quite frequently, but I do not do a great job of reviewing and discussing their notebook entries with them.  I want this to be an area where I grow this year.

I am now going to read Ms. Buckner's writing notebook book called Notebook KnowHow.  I am sure that, while it focuses on writing workshop, it will still help me to continue to fine-tune my thoughts on student responses to reading.

Have you read either of these books?  Do you have any ideas to share?