Which texts have influenced you?

Textual Lineage Charts.  Ever heard of them?  I hadn’t until teaching the Fantasy Book Clubs unit of the 5th grade LC Reading Units.  (Session 7)  Your Textual Lineage includes the books that you have read that have influenced you.

I loved this idea and I needed more information than was in the curriculum.  The most helpful resource I found was from Teaching Tolerance.  So, I provided several of the prompts from the graphic organizer from Teaching Tolerance to my fifth graders.

I got mixed results…

From the very goofy, ready for summer responses…

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To the thoughtful responses I had hoped for…

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I’ve been thinking about my textual lineage ever since I first read about the concept and this is what I have come up with…

Top 10 Must-SeeTravel Destinations

Falling Up by Shel Silverstein

This was not the first or favorite book of my childhood.  There were so many.  But this is the one I read over and over.  The one that I talked to other people about and that led me to Shel Silverstein’s other masterpieces.  Even though part of my love of books has always been the solitude, there is still enjoyment to be found in sharing them.  This is the text that solidified that books are fun.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

I’m not sure exactly when I first read this book, but I think it was sometime in middle school?  And then again in college.  I love this book and it helped me realize that there is no such thing as a “boy book” or a “girl book.”  And if we put these labels on our favorites, a whole group of young people will never read a book that may change their views of reading and life in general.

Furiously Happy:  A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

This is one I just read last year and posted about here.  It helped me see that I am not alone and there is nothing wrong with me.   Self-acceptance is a long road, one that I am still traveling down.  However, the message I found in this book sure helped with the journey.

Which texts have influenced you?

Summer Reading 2016

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I’ve finished six books so far this summer and have many more on my summer reading list.  The books in the pile on the right are up next.  Plus, I am reading all of the fifth grade LC Units of Study for Writing and Reading to prepare for my grade level move.

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Me Before You

I planned to read this one before seeing the movie, but it just traveled in my purse for ever and I never got past page three.  Instead, I read and finished about eight other books!  Sometimes I’m just not ready to read a book – it isn’t the right time.  I am always reassuring my son that it is fine if he isn’t interested in reading a book right now.  Just put it on the shelf and eventually, when the time is right, he’ll read it.You’ve had this issue before, right?

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Ready to read it now!

 

 

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Thank you, Jenny Lawson!

I listened to the Furiously Happy audio book read by the author, Jenny Lawson.

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I laughed. I cried. I realized that I may be crazy – but I am not alone.

I laughed out loud at the absurdity of her train of thought. (In part, because it isn’t far from what happens in my head.)

I mumbled, “What the…” to myself more than a few times.

Then, all of a sudden, chapter thirty hits me. And I’m bawling in the car, driving down the expressway.

Yes.  That’s exactly it.  THAT is how I feel.  It’s not just me.

This is how it feels – this is what I have never been able to put into words – will never be able to put into words even in my head. 

I’m not sure that I ever truly understood.

And then I heard her words echo through my car.  I heard her explain to her readers what my life feels like some days.

Tears fell.

But, instead of sadness, I felt relief.

So, thank you Jenny Lawson.  Thank you!

 

 

Win!

My co-teacher, Christina, is a competitive person.  She likes to win!  (How have the two of us, both very controlling, made it this far into the year without killing each other?)

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Yesterday, she was subbing in another room.  The kids and I started trying to read Fox in Socks without making a mistake…not as easy as they thought.  I got to page 12 and most of the brave souls who tried got to 7.  One young reader tied me and stumbled on page 12. 

Today a few students wanted to try before we started our read aloud.  When I explained that we did this yesterday, her hand automatically went out for the book.  She NEEDED to get past page 12.  I knew it, and reluctantly handed over the book.  I did not want her to beat my page, but she just might…

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Anxiety built in my stomach…page 5…6..7…8…9…10…11…12

YES! She messed up on page 12…on the same word as I did!  I’m pretty sure I jumped up and down in excitement.  She, however, was not excited that we tied.  And that is why I win!

Random Slice Plus a Thought

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hI listen to audio books on my commute.  This morning I plugged my headphones into my newest Playaway and…it was a narrator with a British accent!  I can’t put into words how excited I was by this discovery.

I love books, but a British accent just adds to the magic of the text.  It just does!

So my thought about this slice of my life:  Libraries should organize their audio books by the accent of the narrator.  Yep.  Life changing.

One Right Answer

Growing up, there was always just one right answer in school.  I had to know that one right answer, but that isn’t how I teach.  Sometimes there is one right answer, 2+2 is always 4.  However, sometimes there can be more than one right answer, if you can defend your answer with evidence.  This especially applies in reading.

For a week and a half, we focused on fables in reading.  We taught students the characteristics, practiced sequencing events, and modeled inferring morals.  When we got to inferring morals, we found that students didn’t always get the same message we did out of them.   Students saw a different message and were often able to support their opinion with evidence.  It made sense.

We not only tell them there can be more than one answer, but we also encourage the idea.  Students have learned that they should share their ideas, but they need support.  This became clear when I was grading summative assessments this weekend.

This is a great answer…

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But is this answer wrong?  Personally, I don’t think so…

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Academic Parent Teacher Teams

Thanks to our Literacy Coach the entire third grade team (three classes) is participating in Academic Parent Teacher Teams.  You can read more about these teams at our coach’s blog, BigTime Literacy.  We decided to focus on reading data and strategies this year.The idea behind them is to share data and give parents strategies to help their kids.

At our first meeting we gave parents their child’s reading level and strategies to help with inference and character traits.  We noticed while doing the initial F&P testing that this was a major weakness across the grade.  You can see our presentation here.

Last week we had our second meeting.  Ten out of our twenty-five families were present.  We shared the student’s reading data, information about Standards Based Grading, and strategies to help students with evaluating texts.  You can see our second presentation here.Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 3.19.57 PM

Parents were able to learn strategies and set goals for their children.  Most parents were able to see that their child met the goals they set in the fall.  So exciting!  Our third meeting is set for May where we will focus on ways for parents to help prevent a summer slump.    We are not getting paid for these meetings, they are not part of our contract, and they require a huge amount of preparation and planning.  However, the fantastic progress students are making is worth it!