Archive for the ‘Read Aloud’ category

Avoid Teacher Burnout: Learn Something New

March 23, 2015

You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.  Barbara Sher

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There is something about doing or learning something new that is invigorating. Sharing that experience with your students is another way to avoid teacher burnout according to Ben Johnson, in his article: 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout. Johnson suggests sharing a new book you are reading with your students or learning about how the brain learns and sharing that. Here are five things to consider connected to doing and/or learning something new.

  1. Go to a large bookstore and browse through their magazines. Choose a magazine you probably would never even look at, let alone buy. Buy it and page through it; look for connections to your own life and/or work.
  2. Read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink—lots of ideas and suggestions about looking at life differently.
  3. Choose a genre of music with which you have little or no experience. Share some of this music with your students and get their opinions about it.
  4. Try a new recipe every weekend and report back to your students what you tried and whether or not you liked it.
  5. Learn to do magic tricks. Share your magical ability with your students—but no disappearance acts for you or them.

One of the things I did when I was working on a master’s degree in literacy is to share new things I learned about literacy and new learning strategies with my high school students. I would tell my students that I am trying out this new learning strategy with them and after we use it, I want their opinions about how well it worked for them. This was stumbling into magic—students took the new strategy very seriously and then shared their critiques. It was awesome!

I also discovered that students love to learn about their brains and how they learn. There are so many reliable resources online connected to the brain and learning. Recently I pinned an infographic on Movement and Learning that summarizes the benefits of movement in the classroom. As for adding more movement to your classroom, again there are many resources available including brain breaks that are fun and still serve the purpose.

As my colleagues and I create teacher materials for Teachers Pay Teachers, we always include activities that get students up and moving. Check out our store, Surviving to Thriving LjL on Teachers Pay Teachers. Here’s a list of the novels for which we have developed curriculum materials.

Movement and Learning Infographic

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

References

Johnson, Ben. (April 22, 2014).  10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout. Edutopia.

Start Reading Aloud to Your Students Today!

March 3, 2015

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You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.  Dr. Seuss

March 4, 2015, is World Read Aloud Day and it’s a great day to start the habit of reading aloud to your students. Read a news article, the first chapter of a book, fiction or non-fiction, a poem, magazine article, whatever is at hand. Think about starting a lesson by reading a picture book related to your topic or the first paragraph of last night’s reading assignment. Reading aloud to students of all ages is powerful.

When I taught an American literature class to high school juniors, I realized that reading aloud poems, short stories, essays, and novels caught the attention of the students and kept their attention. It allowed me to stop and explain words, reread beautiful or intriguing passages, ask and answer questions, and check for understanding. And, I and the students were always on the same page.

Listed below are some resources to check that support reading aloud as well as tips for reading aloud. At first, it may be a little daunting to start reading aloud to older students, but once you start, your confidence builds, you don’t worry about stumbling over or mispronouncing a word, you start to use your voice differently for characters and/or for emphasis, and you begin to really enjoy reading aloud as much as your students enjoy hearing you read aloud.

So, in honor of Read-Aloud Day, read aloud to someone!

For those of you who are already reading aloud to your students, you may want to look at our Discussion and Activity Guides, designed for reading aloud, for Catching Fire, Son, The Fault in Our Stars, The Giver, and Wonder.

Teachers Pay Teachers:  Surviving to Thriving LjL

Resources–Reading Aloud

http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/

http://www.readwritethink.org/professional-development/strategy-guides/teacher-read-aloud-that-30799.html

https://www.teachervision.com/skill-builder/read-aloud/48715.html

Resources–Picture Books

http://theeducatorsroom.com/2013/08/picture-books-for-high-school-theyre-not-in-kindergarten-any-more/

https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/top-10-picture-books-for-the-secondary-classroom/

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Written by L. V. Neiman

 

Why Read Son?

August 21, 2013

Fear dims when you learn things.     Lois Lowry, Son

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Why read Son by Lois Lowry, the long awaited fourth book in the series:  The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger?  Mostly because it is a good read and because it brings up critical issues that deserve further attention and discussion. Middle and high school students need critical issues to discuss if they are going to develop critical thinking skills.  And, while it is the fourth book in a series, Son stands alone.  It will definitely entice readers who haven’t read the first three books in the series to read them.

Son is an excellent candidate for a read aloud and/or a unit.  As a unit, there are many opportunities for cross curriculum activities.  Check out our Read Aloud for Son and our Son by Lois Lowry Unit Plan.  Both the read aloud guide and unit employ multiple delivery modalities, facilitate students’ cognitive thinking skills, and use a constructivist approach to teaching and learning.  Both are student centered and ready to implement. son1

Resources

Read Aloud Guide for Son by Lois Lowry

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Son-by-Lois-Lowry-Read-Aloud-Guide-798379

Son by Lois Lowry Unit Plan

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Son-by-Lois-Lowry-Unit-Plan-821288

Lois Lowry Website

http://www.loislowry.com/index.php?option=com_djcatalog2&view=items&cid=4:the-quartet&cid=4:the-quartet&Itemid=185

Book Trailer for Son

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfOchuB4hwM&feature=youtu.be

 Conversation with Lois Lowry–Son

http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=aNf_pwgBeOQ

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Teacher Appreciation Week

April 30, 2013

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Quote:  If the heavens were all parchment, and the trees of the forests all pens, and every human being were a scribe, it would be impossible to record all that I have learned from my teachers.          Johann Ben Zakkai

Teaching is a demanding, challenging, and time-consuming job, and those of us who love to teach still think it’s the best job around.  It’s hard to explain to those who don’t teach that one moment where you become aware that you have made a difference in one student’s life.  That moment washes out all the frustrations and exhaustion that teaching can create.  Those moments don’t always happen in your presence and sometimes a teacher never knows the difference he or she has made in a student’s life.

Teacher Appreciate Week, May 7-11, is just around the corner.  Take time to tell a teacher the difference she or he made in your life.  If that’s not possible, tell your family, friends, and colleagues about that teacher.  Let’s make Teacher Appreciation Week buzz with stories about teachers and all that we have learned from them.

Knowing how hard teachers work to engage their students in learning activities that are relevant, meaningful, and fun, we continue to create materials for teachers that are easy to implement.  Check out our Summer Reading and Writing Journal that sustains students’ reading and writing skills over the summer.  Great end-of-the-year gift for your students and their families.  Wonder by R. J. Palacio is a super book to read aloud to your students at the end of the year.  The Wonder Read-Aloud Guide will provide everything you need for the last project of the school year.

Resources

NEA Teacher Appreciation Day May 8, 2013

http://www.nea.org/grants/1359.htm

Save Our Schools:  Teacher Appreciation Week May 7-11, 2013

http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/event/educators-actions-teacher-appreciation-week-and-day/

Education Week:  65 Ways to Recognize Teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week

http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin308.shtml

Reading Rockets:  Ways to Celebrate Teachers

http://www.readingrockets.org/calendar/appreciation/

Huffington Post:  National Teacher Appreciate Day

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/national-teacher-appreciation-day

Summer Reading and Writing Journal

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Summer-Reading-and-Writing-Journal

Wonder Read-Aloud Guide

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Wonder-by-R-J-Palacio-Read-Aloud-Guide

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Find Your Voice!

March 5, 2013

Quote of the Week

When we read a story, we inhabit it.  The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls.  What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story.  And this is possible because the story’s voice makes everything its own.   John Berger

OpenBookThere are so many reasons to read aloud, but the best one is that it is simply fun to do.  As I think about all the stories, poems, and novels I have read aloud to my own children, to my students, and to my husband, I think about the giggles, gasps, and sometimes sobs.  Even now when I read a book I particularly like, I hear a voice in my head reading aloud, changing voices for different characters, getting lost in the music of words.  And, sometimes I read aloud to myself just because.  Find your voice and use it to read aloud to yourself, your students, your children, your grandchildren, other people’s children, adults…

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Uma Krishnaswami

Writer, Author of Books for Young Readers

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