This summer is so CRAZY for me!
- I finally got my things moved to my new building and am dying to go in to get the lay of the land and unpack some things.
- I had a mini-reunion with a few good friends from high school last week.
- This weekend is my in-laws 50th anniversary party - guess who the party planner is!!! If I can make it to Sunday, I will be having a very long nap!
- A friend is getting married next weekend and my class reunion in the last weekend in July.
- Also toss in a staff development for unit writing and two that I am teaching in early August.
- I am trying to make heads or tails of a curriculum I haven't taught in eight years too!
- Oh, did I mention that I start classes the week we go back to school - the last week in August? Am I crazy or what? I'm not sure how much I'll be posting, but I am hoping I will be able to keep up.
Without further ado, here is my post for the D5 Book Study! This post is HUGE!
Read to Someone
I didn’t really use Read to Someone much last year. I just wasn’t right for that particular class.
- EEKK is a perfect way to teach students buddy reading behaviors. I also took picture of my kids reading with their buddies and posted them on a board when we did buddy reading to remind them of what it looked like and how they worked as a team.
- With my first graders, I set up readers theatre folders – on play copied for enough students to read the play. I limited the number of parts to 6 – the number of students who would potentially be in that center. I kept all the plays in a basket.
- For third graders, I think that readers theatre angle will still work well, with plays for older kiddos. I also think that poetry will be really important, as it supports the new CORE standards.
- The "”You’ll Read to Me, I’ll Read to You” series by Mary Ann Hoberman would be great to put in for Read to Someone.
- There are also several great books and teacher resources that support partner reading of poetry.
Finally, I think that sometimes it is all about the gimmicks for the kids – the little things that make a task motivational. For partner reading, I allowed my first graders to use ”reading glasses.” These are just the cheapo classes from the dollar store with the lens popped out. They were all the rage!
Listening To Reading
I love using my classroom computers for the Listening Center! We have 6 computers in our classrooms for student use and they are fantastic for setting up listening centers.
There are a few free sites out there with stories for children. Some that I have used in the past have added a subscription fee and others have so many ads that I am worried about using them in the classroom. Storyline Online is fantastic! However, I caution you about the Tooth Fairy story. Check it out and see if you want to use this site. I have used it more for a whole class listening activity rather than me reading a story aloud. The Magic Keys is also a good site, but a bit limited.StoryNory, Tumble Books, and Speakaboos have all gone to a fee-based format.
The Magic Keys
Children’s Storybooks Online
Next, I have 2 sites that are subscription sites. Our library has subscribed to both sites for classroom use and they are indispensible for most of our classroom teachers. They are great to use with the Promethean Board. Pebble Go is a non-fiction database on animals and the world around us. The kids love to read and listen during centers. It is great for research. Bookflix is another site that I have mentioned before. It has a fantastic collection of fiction and non-fiction books for students to listen to and read.
Listening Center Board for the Promethean
The Promethean Board allows the create of pages where you can lock in a link and an image on a page. For example, I have a Listening Center Chart that is anchored to my student desktops. Students click on the chart and it opens a page with all of the links students are allowed to access during centers. That way, I can give them access to a few choices and it limits what they can do – no Legoland allowed!
MP3s or iPods
I also have a listening center that is not computer-based. I struggled with the old tape-deck players and cd players for years and finally decided to go with MP3 players when I saw a good deal through Scholastic. There are a few great MP3 players out there for children, but they can be pretty pricey. I have seen some good deals on Ebay, but have stuck with my old players at this point. They were $8 on clearance at one point and I bought 8 with my bonus points. I can’t find my picture of them right now.
iPods would also be a great option, if they are available to you. I work in an area where we can access them through a regional loan program, I just have not been able to get them yet.
I have gradually acquired books with cds through Scholastic. This is a nice system because I only need one copy of the book and students have their own listening tools. I load the cds into my computer and transfer one story to each MP3. With 8 players, that gives each child 2 centers for 4 weeks. So, I have them use the MP3s twice a week and the computer twice a week. I store the MP3 player and the book in a baggie and put the stories in a basket. This gives my students a bit of choice during this center.
I bought earphones from the dollar store a few years ago, one for each student. They are stored in baggies with student numbers on them. I have toyed with the idea of putting them on a supply list too, because mine are starting to break at this point. The earphones are stored in a Sterlite container with magic numbers 1-7 in the top drawer, 8-14, and 15-21 in the next two.
I store my listening books in a crate with a hanging file for each month. They are filed by month so I can pull appropriate theme and content books for the month. Once the books are loaded onto my computer from the cd, I organize them the same as the crate so they are easy to transfer to the MPs when it is time. Once the system is set up, it takes 15-20 minutes to switch them out each month.
I love this system because it allows students to work independently and make choices. It also cuts down on the behavior issues that occur when students don’t know how to use the players and argue over things – you know how that goes.
You can also break out the old cd players. The nice part about this is that you can pick up cheap players at thrift stores or families can donate used ones to the classroom. The other nice feature is that you can check out cds and book from your local library. Again, I live in an area where 4 counties have teamed up to loan items from any of the libraries and they are transported to your local library. Awesome resource when you are on a budget!
Online Resources for Audio Books
There are a few places that you can access books for the computer, MP3s, or iPods. Amazon, Audible.com, and iTunes have books that you can purchase and download for a fee. I have not gotten into these for the classroom yet. It is just too much money for me to spend.
Free options are author sites and your local library. Some authors, such as Robert Munsch, read their books on their websites. Others, like Todd Parr, read their books on YouTube. My library system also have a nice selection of kids books that can be downloaded for listening. They can be used on a pc or some can be burned onto cds. The collections are growing very quickly!
To find out more about books read on You Tube, check out my past post: You Tube to the Rescue!
A couple years ago, I created a program for my classroom where I had adults in the school system read a book and record themselves. I pulled several books that matched themes, had people sign-up and choose a book, then record themselves reading on my computer. We have a microphone available through our library, but there are some really inexpensive choices on Amazon.com. I had the teachers record using Audacity and could then save their reading for the MP3s. The kids loved trying to figure out who was reading!
Last year I began to incorporate Leap Pads into my classroom. Now that the prices have gone down, I found 3 on Ebay and have found the books and cartridges on Ebay and at thrift stores and garage sales. I put these in as a listening center once a week. The books are not always pure listening, but it works. I store the Leap Pads in a Sterlite file box – 3 fit nicely. The games go in a second one.
Whew! That was a lot of typing!!!