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5 MORE Fun Ways to Encourage Reading in School or at Home


   

I thought it might be time to share a few more ways to encourage reading in school or at home.

When you have taught as long as I have, you always have a few tricks up your sleeve to motivate kids to read!

So, without further ado, here are 5  MORE tried and true ideas for encouraging your child or students to read and to make reading more fun and engaging!

1.  Magnifying Glass Reading:

Have you ever given your kiddos magnifying glasses to read books?
This can be done with partner reading or independent reading. Big sister reading to little brother or kids reading to their pets. 

It really doesn't matter who they are reading to as long as they are reading and the detective approach using a magnifying glass just adds to the fun of reading!

The more you read, the better you read!


2.  Reading Buddies: 

When I taught first grade, we had "Reading Buddies" hanging out in our reading area and also one very large pet dog who has since gone to my daughter's kindergarten class for a permanent home. The first graders loved cuddling up with a reading buddy and loved when we had bring your "Reading Buddy to School" days.       
 The kiddos always loved when their classroom job was "Station Janitor" because they loved straightening up our reading area and LOVED to line up all our "Reading Buddies' on the bench.  Five Below for the score on these cute "pet pillows" AKA "Reading Buddies".






AND..."BOOMER" our "class pet" always sat patiently waiting for a "Reading Buddy". In my classroom, he sat by the door, which led to the "bump out" reading area.  In my daughter's classroom, he sits right in the reading area.








3.  Volunteer Reading or, in my room...Miss Mary Reading: 

Miss Mary was almost like having a classroom grandmother!  

She was a retired librarian from a local university and she came every Tuesday and sometimes Tuesday and Thursday to read with my kiddos.  She even shared some history with the class when we learned about school long ago. She was a dream come true.  She did not have any children and was never married so these little cherubs were hers for a few hours every week! 

I would give her a list of students to with whom to work and she would even take notes on sticky notes jotting down little things she noticed about each student's reading.  The kids LOVED reading with her so I would rotate the students to make sure she read with every student within a certain timeframe.  SHE WAS THE BEST! She stayed with us for about 10+ years reading with children. 

The takeaway is...if you can find a retired teacher, librarian, or any retired person to volunteer with reading to your students...EVERYONE benefits!  If you are at home bring in the neighbors and relatives for a reading party!! 

In my Teaching career, we had Miss Mary, Mrs. Mauze ( a retired Comedian, who was on Vaudeville and wrote jokes for Joan Rivers) and  Dr.  Winters, a retired Superintendent, who was so understanding and fabulous with the kids and they all took notes that were so helpful!

Yes...this was a fun way to support reading with my students, but they also learned many life lessons that only this experience encourages.  When Miss Mary had knee surgery, she came in with a walker and it filled my heart to see these little children ask if she needed help and telling her to just sit and they would come to her!!!

4.  Read the Pictures, Then the Words:  BUDDY READING with a TWIST! 

Have you ever used this chart in your classroom: 3 Ways to Read a Book:  Read the Pictures, Read the Words and Retell the story?  I had a poster like this set up in my reading area. (This is introduced in Daily 5™, by Gail Boushley) 

So my idea is to have partners read or buddy read with a friend and JUST look at the pictures and "read the pictures" using words that the student can determine from the the pictures as if the book were wordless.( they can cover the words with a piece of paper if necessary) The partners can take turns reading each picture on a page or simply each take a turn "reading" with a different book.  

There are some really fabulous books out there that are only pictures that would work as well.  Here is my favorite one:





After they read the pictures, they can then read the words and compare and contrast their ideas about the book.  This works best with picture books that have less words per page.

They can determine if the book tells the whole story through the pictures or if the words are important to gain meaning from the text. Were their ideas on target or not?  
If you ask your kiddos to read a wordless book, they can add words on sticky notes.
Actually a great idea would be to have multiple wordless books available and have partners write words to go along with the pictures and then have partner groups share their ideas.  What was the same or different and why do you think that happen or why did you write different words to explain the pictures?(meaning different individuals can read or look at the same book and come up with different ideas...Schema!)
I am willing to bet that you can come up with so many creative ways to make this work during your reading block.  Oh...don't forget that you can have them retell the story to each other after they read together or after an independent read and then partner to retell (Beginning, Middle and the End of the story) and chat about it!

5.  Student Guest Readers: 

This idea evolved one day when 4 children wanted to read a book for our "Student Guest Reader" time. So, as was always our practice, we had a class meeting or discussion about this dilemma.  The outcome was that each week, up to 4 students could read a book to the class..."now that would take a really long time" they all decided so what we did was divide the class into to small groups around the room and each reader read to a small group of students. They all decided that they could choose a helper to sit with them that would not tell them the words but rather give them strategies to figure out the "tricky" words.  This worked beautifully.

So each week different children would sign up to read through the week and on Friday afternoon toward the end of the day, we would use our "picking sticks" to choose groups for each reader.  After the reader completed the book, if there was more time, they could ask the students questions or simply discuss the story.
On a beautiful warm, sunny day, you might even want to take them outside to read!

The benefits of these reading groups were priceless. It built confidence, supported decoding not to mention fluency and also built classroom community in that everyone worked together to support each other. Even my early readers would volunteer to read to a small group. Sometimes i recommended a Guided reading book that was more on their level. The class recognized each individual for who they were...it was truly a family of learners.  As a side note, one of my most difficult students was a great reader. When he took a turn reading to a group of peers, they were amazed and began to go to him for help during stations or simply to help read a word. Talk about building confidence...well that was evident!!!

FYI: before our Student Guest Readers came to fruition, we had parent guest readers, who would sign up to read on Friday afternoons before the end of the day.  So...that's another idea to tuck away.

I would love to here some ideas that you have used at home or in school to encourage reading in a fun way!  

Please leave your ideas in the comments below! AND....Happy Reading!




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5 Ideas for Teacher Self Care to Start NOW!


As a retired teacher I am well aware of the burn out that all teachers feel. Whether at the beginning of the school year, during conferences, the week before Winter or even Spring break as well as the end of the year aaaannnnnnddddd let's not forget SUMMER...Summer you question??? YES Summer! Do Teacher really relax or are the spending their summer thinking about a new class of kiddos...YOU DECIDE...I know the answer...been there...done that and every vacation seems to disappear like magic...POOF and it is time to teach!!!

Well...I am a firm believer that YOU need to take care of yourself every chance you get or you will burn out before you even start...
Who's with me...think of this...Have you ever felt like September comes and you never had a BREAK!

So Here are 5 tried and true Ideas that I have used, when I taught...WELL actually still use, to make sure my engine is running in top notch condition:



🌻Surround Yourself with Positivities:

That means:  Read positive quotes:
Post a positive or inspirational quote in your classroom, office or anywhere you can see it everyday...Remember there will be days that are harder than others.






Make a list of everything you love about everyone and everything around you. I have kept a small journal and take a few minutes every so often to count my blessings and think about what I love about each of member of my family.


Take a minute and jot down a positive moment or an accomplishment...Little or Big that made you feel blessed to be present with your family.  I love this idea of a gratitude or blessing jar. It is quick and simple to create...add a little of your personality and personal notes, then on New year's Eve or a designated day, sit and read the notes in the jar.


It may bring some tears, but happy tears are always good for the soul!!




🌻Take Time for Yourself and I MEAN ALONE TIME:

MOMs.. Eat lunch or take a coffee break or even an afternoon snack by yourself once a week or once a month.

I used to take these breaks in my classroom during a prep time or even during my lunch break just to regroup and have a bit of thinking time. 

I had a friend who used to ride the school elevator to gain a minute or 2 of quiet time and destress!! Not a bad idea if you have an elevator in your building!



🌻Get Rid of that STRESS! 

The list of Ideas to destress and relax is infinite...BUT...you have to try one to get started. Find what works best for you and your schedule and JUST DO IT!!!

Here are some Ideas that I have tried and they might also work for YOU!
  • Yoga:  Every Morning rise a bit earlier and simply do about 7 minutes of yoga poses. Check the internet or have a book handy.  You can always sign up for a class, but 7 minutes a day will make a world of difference!! 
  • Walk at lunch time with a friend, colleague or alone. It is even better when it is cool out! When I taught full-time(I'm retired now!) we used to walk around the school neighborhood about 2-3 days a week. It was one of the best activities I did and made a world of difference for how I faced the rest of the day.  
  • I also used to walk with a friend to school everyday...sometimes even in the snow...my friend and i would solve all the school issues as we walked and felt great even if the problems did not go away, we still chatted about it and got it off our minds. We lived about a mile and half away from school and would meet on the corner.  We were assigned the title:"The Walking teachers" and i would even see someone in a supermarket who would say, "Don't i see you walking everyday to work?"
  • Go to the gym (exercise) and bring the kids. I know our YMCA allows kids to walk the track with an adult or they have a Kids Room with Kids Activities.
  • Play with the kiddos. play hide and seek, catch outside, a board game, anything you know will take your mind of off school and bring you back to where you are...in the present!
  • Read a non educational book. 
  • Get a massage, facial, nails done or a pedicure once a month or so!
  • That's right PAMPER yourself...don't wait for someone else to do it!!! UMMM...it might not happen. You are in charge of YOU!!

Now...please note...I am not saying to do all of these...I mean....you would have more stress to life than you had before you started!!!

Simply pick one or two to try for a while and see if it makes a difference in your daily life!

🌻Prioritize or Set Priorities:

  • Make a list of Have To's or Must Do's, Can DO's or Can Say No To's and start to listen to your list and cross off and prioritize that list. 
  • Make a list each week perhaps Sunday night or a night that works for you and write everything that you have that week.  Then evaluate each item on your list.  Add a key something like this:  Green is MUST Do or Have To; Yellow is Can Do and Red is I can say no to or can postpone to another time. 
Download this list and Print.

🌻 Eat as Healthy as you Can:

I say as healthy as you can because I know how crazy hectic life can be.
For example; make one change. Something like I am going to switch to breadless sandwiches this week and stick to it. Plan that type of lunch for the week and make it each night or ahead of time. Add all the ingredients except for the heavy bread. Add a light bressing and that change will come naturally the more you do it.

Here is an idea to get you started on your healthy journey:





Another idea might be to start your morning off with a healthy fruit or vegetable smoothie each morning or even bring it to school for break or lunch.

Check these out to get you started:


I am sure there are many small changes you can make in your diet that will make a difference in your life.
The last one that you NEED to absolutely add to your diet is water!


Just remember every day is a new beginning with new possibilities. If at first you don't succeed, just simply start again and again...Remember: you might not be there YET...but you will!!
Try your best to focus on the Blessings you have not what your neighbor has...Positivity is a choice...a choice you have to make every single DAY!  If you feed your brain positive thoughts, you brain will be reconditioned to think that way, which will lead to a less stressful life.

Allow yourself to make a few mistakes because we learn life long lessons from our mistakes and PLEASE, PLEASE, don't be hard on yourself...NO ONE IS PERFECT!

They say if you can do something for 30 days straight, then it will become a habit or second nature!! 

Let me know how you do...I'll be waiting!!








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Happy New year 2019

I thought this would be a great quote to start the NEW YEAR!

A teacher is a blessing to all those she/he teaches...sometimes you have to retire like I did to realize just how much of an impact you have had on the children you have taught.

It seems that retirement allows you the opportunity to stop, slow down, unplug and remember all the little faces of the past and just how blessed you are... to be a teacher!!

( I used the present tense because one thing I have found out is... once a teacher...always a teacher!) 

I hope you all have a Happy Healthy New Year and a fabulous 2019 with all your students!!!

Remember...you DO make Difference!







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Fun Educational Days to Celebrate in November



Wow! I blinked and it was November....where did October go annnnnnddddd everyone is forgetting November because Michael's had Thanksgiving items for 50 % off and the entire store was decorated for December Holidays on October 31st same for Home Goods!!!

I can't even think about December yet...November just started...this is cray cray!!

With that being said, I want to quickly give you some fun days in November you can celebrate at home or with your students. I am not including Thanksgiving because that is a well know holiday!

So...Here we go!  4 Fun Days to  Celebrate in November!

1.  Did you Know that November 8th is STEM/STEAM DAY?

Here are a few ideas from a post I created for Educents a few years back that gives y'all some great ideas to use with Music and general questions to support STEM/STEAM learning!  






Everyday activities at home or in school can be fun and transformed into STEM challenges with the right questions to motivate STEM thinking!

Use of the correct questioning technique can encourage your kiddos to think outside the box!



Most children love music and when they are encouraged to create their own musical instruments STEAM learning is ignited and your little ones or older ones will be take off and create their own beats and songs that will make everyone want to get up and dance!




2.  I am pretty sure that most of your classrooms have a set or 2 of Dominoes.  Guess what?  November 10th is Domino Day!

AND......I am willing to guess that you might have more than 2 sets depending on the Math program your district uses...am I right?

I am sure your brain is bursting with ideas for Domino Day, but just incase your brain is fried from teaching all week, here are a few ideas:

I thought this was a bit different in that the sums are provided and the kiddos have to find the part/part that equals the sum to complete the puzzle or game.


This Domino resource is exactly one of the ways that I used Dominoes in my classroom to learn math facts. The Kiddos loved it and it became a popular choice activity after our "Have to" math was completed!  



Another fun idea might be to play dominoes exactly the way the kids love to play them and we all know what that is...simply line them up and knock them down. You might even want to time them and see if they can arrange the dominoes in a different way to beat the clock or who has the longest run of dominoes knock down. Here is a fun one I found that is just fun to watch!

Any way you decide to celebrate Domino Day will be fun for everyone...oh and before I forget, here is a Wikipedia about dominoes. You can pick out a few ideas to share with your kiddos: Dominoes


3.  Veteran's Day is celebrated on November 11th!  Why not teach your students about the meaning of Veteran's Day? 

Here is a great video that explains Veterans Day


Here is a cute and easy idea for your little learners or not so little learners:
Tissue paper crumbled flag and a cute poem you can copy to use.

For the flags simply use white
8 1/2 x 11 cardstock.  If you are doing these with an older class, you can create the flag with the correct amount of stripes, but with 5 or 6 year olds, I would just worry about making sure there are red stripes with white between them.

The blue tissue won't really matter as long as it looks proportional. Older children can try to fit 50 stars, which are simply small silver sticky stars.
The poem is an easy one that is written in kid friendly language.  You might want to use it as a morning message and look for rhyming words, 1-2 or 3 syllable words and any skill you are working on with your class.

This is a great anchor chart for Veteran's Day that really summarizes the day!




Here are a few Great books about Veterans Day:



4.  We can't forget World Kindness Day!

Teaching kids kindness is so important for building community and character education.
I firmly believe that we should celebrate kindness every single day of our lives.  
Here is a post that I wrote last year that I thought would be perfect to share with you here:  

5 ideas to Create a Culture of Kindness in your Primary Classroom That Will Make you Smile

5. OOPS! I almost forgot about Button Day! 

Yes in 1938 November 16th was set aside as National Button Day to celebrate those who collected buttons. Here is a cute craft with some math and ELA ideas to have a little fun with buttons!

So there you have it...a few awesome days with educational ideas to integrate into your daily learning to bring a little fun back into education while still teaching Common Core Standards.

What other days do you celebrate in November?



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3 Special Days to Celebrate in October

We all know a few days in October that are fun to celebrate in our classrooms. Obviously, if you are a primary teacher, you can find lots of days to celebrate in many ways. With Common Core coming our way, it is a bit more difficult to bring fun activities in to our classrooms. BUT...I think and I am sure you will agree that there are a plethora of ways to have fun with Common Core and there are definitely some Special Days to celebrate in October besides Halloween.


Sooooooo what days can be celebrated in school during October? 


Here are some ideas and activities for Special days to celebrate in October and still have a bit of fun learning in your classroom:

🎃 Did you know that October 4th is Taco Day?  

here is a cute book and craft to celebrate this tasty taco treat.


  • Before reading the story, you can access prior knowledge to find out what your students know about tacos, what their favorite taco is and maybe where they like to buy or eat their tacos.
  • During reading stop every so often to have your students think, pair, share as you ask questions, have students make predictions or inferences as well as answer some questions about the text. Here is a fun interactive Reading Resource with ideas for use that you might want to use for shared reading for this text or any text!

  •  

🎃 We all know that this year(2018) Columbus Day or Indigenous People Day, as it is referred to now, is celebrated October 8th.

Here are a few Ideas to Celebrate Christopher Columbus that focus on Exploration:

Here is a way to bring out the Explorer in your students.

What would you explore and why?  Then...turn them into explorers.  

Be an Explorer

They can create the craftivity or turn themselves into explorers by making an explorer hat and add a telescope. 
Explorer Telescope to Explore like Christopher Columbus











🎃 Another Fun Day to celebrate is PUMPKIN DAY.


Did you know that National Pumpkin Day is October 26th? 


Let's take a look at a few ideas for Pumpkin Day which is celebrated right before Halloween...perfect Timing!

This pumpkin resource includes everything you need to celebrate pumpkins from facts to opinions, measuring, graphing and more.  check it out Right here

Need some Great Books to go along with Pumpkins? 

here are 4 of my faves:  

1.  How Many Seeds in a Pumpkins works fabulous with Pumpkin "Fun"tivities. Read it before you do the measuring activities. it is super for making predictions and works great with the interavtive props and ideas!

2.  Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie is great text to use to learn about how pumpkins grow and for facts and opinions about pumpkins.

 
3.  The Biggest Pumpkin Ever is another great story that is fun to use as a shared reading and the kiddos LOVE it!

4. My all time favorite book is the The Little Woman who wasn't Afraid of Anything.


I used this as an interactive shared reading with props and you could hear a pin drop as we shared the story and acted out the parts with  real items! 












Here is a link for Ideas to go along with this book!
Let's Get Interactive!

Well...there you have it! 3 Special Days to Celebrate in October...NEXt uP Some fun days to celebrate in November!

have a great October!

make this October the BEST EVER!




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