Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fourteenth Goldfish

During a Twitter Chat called #Titletalk in Dec I learned about so many great books published in 2014. Some of the books can be seen in my post about my Book a Day for Christmas break. My favorite book from that chat was The Fourteenth Goldfish. I love the strong female character, the connection to science and all its opportunities to introduce and teach The Notice and Note signposts. One of our fourth grade teachers is finding ways to introduce these signposts to her students and she's trying to get the other teachers on board so it seemed fitting to use this book with my fourth graders.

I have to admit I'm not a big fan of doing a read aloud with my students. I only see them 30-40 minutes every other day so it takes a long time to finish a book. However, I felt strongly about this book and teaching the strategies so I decided to give it a try.

I bought a copy of the book for myself. I read it again and again and marked it up with the signposts. Next, I bought a digital copy on Amazon and put the book on six of my iPads. Although I'm doing the reading I'm having the students follow along. I want them to hear fluent reading and keep focused by following along. They are also learning how to use the Kindle app to highlight words as well as find out definitions and pronunciations. I made a Smartboard file with the signposts. I used this bookmark as my guide. As soon as I pause and the kids realize I'm going to talk about a signpost they are looking at the board and trying to figure it out. I explain what signpost I think it is, I read the explanation to them and we all read the question we need to be asking ourselves. Next, I show a sticky note, that coordinates to the color of the signpost, and read my answer to the question. Once I have discussed a signpost three times I will be adding it to our CAFE board as a comprehension strategy and to a signpost bulletin board as well. This week I'll be passing out the above bookmarks for my students to keep in their book bags. I'll be encouraging them to begin to notice these signposts as they read their fiction books.

Here is a link to the signposts I am using, it's nothing fancy. Is it a complete list? I'm sure I've missed some. Is it accurate? Probably not, this is my first attempt at using the signposts.

I'm only on chapter ten but so far so good.

Midwinter Break Book a Day

A few days before break I had all my students think about and write down their midwinter break reading goals on a sticky note. The notes were stuck to a bulletin board in the hall. (I'll update with a picture tomorrow.) Upon returning to school tomorrow the students will grab their note, read it to the group and let us know how their plans went. I did not read a book a day as I had planned and did not read as much as I had hoped. I guess this time I will be a role model for showing that reading plans don't always go as well as we hope. I'll also start to talk about my reading plans for spring break, a mere five weeks away.