I've just got to share the good stuff I read.

I love to read. I read every chance I get. If I read something really good, I want to share it with my friends and co-workers. I make copies of magazine articles, read aloud to my students, tell others about good books I'm reading, and keep a book with me at all times.

I love teaching and learning new things. I need a place to share some of the lessons and what my students and I learn. Since my teaching situation is different from everyone else's in my school, I would like to tell all of you in the blog-o-sphere about these great lessons.

Feel free to share what you are reading, teaching and learning with us in the comments.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Borrowers: a book and movie experience

My fourth and fifth grade group recently read The Borrowers by Mary Norton. The book was published in the early '50s. It tells the story of a family of little people, Borrowers, who live under the floor of an old house. We read one or two chapters a day. As I read the kids read along silently in their copies. I try to model fluent reading and use different voices to indicate the various characters. We write a simple summary after each reading, sticking with 5 W's or less.

After we finished the book we made two circle graphs about two of the main characters. I modeled the first one and got them started on the second one. All of the students took the AR test on the book. First they took the test orally as a group. Then they took a practice test in pairs. Delfina really did well on the test and offered to help everyone take the practice test. Even the two beginners did well on the test. One boy did not listen to the instructions to wait and take the practice test. He took the test in his language arts class and did not make a very good score.

To extend the story I asked the students to write about which main character they would like to have as a friend. They could use the circle graphs to find supporting details. The fourth graders were just days away from taking the state writing test. Most of them copied sentences from the graphs in no particular order but they did write more than usual.

Now the movie part of the experience. I had a recent movie version of the book but it was not at all similar to the book. I found an old BBC version available on amazon.com and ordered it. It turned out to be a great three hour movie of the first two books in the Borrower series. We watched the first half the movie and then had to stop to take 9 weeks tests. Finally we finished watching the movie. The kids really enjoyed it. One of the fifth grade girls checked out The Borrowers Afloat from the school library. I love it when they want to read more.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Redbuds are blooming again

I know I've written about redbuds before but just this morning I noticed that they were blooming again. Most of the woods were still bare and brown, yet here and there were soft smudges of fushia. By this afternoon the spring blooming trees were covered with flowers everywhere I went.
The white flowered pear trees were the showiest. But I still love the redbuds the most.
I'm reading two books that are quite good. The mystery is cute and pretty much like watching TV. I have a hard time putting it down. The other book is an easy read but has so much that I want to remember and so I read it in bits. I bought it for Emily. It is an interesting true story called Bringing Up Bebe. I like reading it and looking at our culture through another culture's lens.
Well, that's all I've got for now.