Last week, while make a video about my favorite read alouds, I kept coming across books that I’d love to try reading aloud. I mix it up quite a bit each year, but I’ll never be able to read aloud all the books to kids that I want to.
Since I can’t read every book aloud to kids, I figured that the next best thing would be to make a video where I go on and on and on about the wonderful books I want to read aloud.
Here’s a video that I did about five of my favorite books to read aloud to kids. It seems like most of my videos lately have been about reading aloud. I feel like reading aloud is holding on to its magic during this difficult time.
Check out the first 10 books I read my students this year:
Abby, Tried and True by Donna Gephart is a beautiful middle grade novel. Watching Abby grow as a person for 250+ pages reminded me what a middle grade novel can do. I hope everyone gets a chance to read this beautiful book.
I like to think that I do a pretty good of listening to my students, and giving them opportunities to share what is on their minds/hearts. With that being said, I am also aware that I am often in a hurry to get things done. Some kids do a great job of making their voices heard. They aren’t afraid to share what is on their mind, and if they have something to say, they say it.
Not every kid is like that. Some kids could go most of the year without sharing much of anything. Finding ways to allow them to open up their hearts is something that I think we all strive to be better at. I’m working on this, but I know that I am in no way where I need to be.
This year, my principal has scheduled two masks breaks for each class. In the morning we have 20 minutes, and in the afternoon we have 15 minutes. During this time, we go outside and hang out. It is magical. The kids love having 3 recesses, and the break from wearing a mask is welcomed by just about everyone.
During our morning mask break, I walk around the track that circles our playground. The track is around a fifth of a mile. Sometimes I walk alone, but most of the time, a kid, or two or three walk with me. The crazy thing is, the kids that walk with me, are the kids that are often extremely quite in class. Not on the track. They talk my ear off. Yesterday, a kid talked to me the entire 20 minutes about this epic fantasy world he is working on creating. I did my best to listen and ask him questions about this wild project he is working on. The other day, another kid told me about their menagerie of pets they have at home. I learned all about how they got each pet, how they came up with names, and where the pets ranked from best to worst.
I’m think that some of the conversation that I have on my walks would have happened during a normal school year, but there is no way that I would know these kids as well as I do this year. I’m thankful for this time, and how it is helping me be a better teacher.
I’ve been a big fan of Lauren Castillo for almost a decade. One of the first blog posts on this site was a review of her book Melvin and the Boy. Following her on Instagram is an amazing way to watch the book making process unfold in real time from start to finish.
A handful of years ago she started sharing drawings of a hedgehog. This hedgehog eventually became the book that I want to tell you about today.
Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of us is amazing. After reading it, I immediately added it to my best books of 2020 list. I’ve already read it three times, and I am sure that I’ll read it at least three more before the end of the year.
You can find my full review in the book talk video below.
Reading aloud to my fifth graders is one of the best parts of each an every school day. I thought it might be fun to talk about what read aloud looks like in my classroom, and the impact it has on my readers.
In my read aloud video (below), I talk about the who, what, when, where, why, and how. It was a lot of fun to make!
I love it when a kid tells me that I am their second favorite teacher. It makes me think that they are having a great year with me, AND that they hold a special place in their heart for a teacher they had in the past. I usually follow up this “compliment” by asking them what they loved about their favorite teacher. They almost always tell me a story. There is nothing like the stories children tell about their favorite teachers.
Yesterday, our new math intervention teacher Ms. Allen stopped by to give my kids a math screener. Ms. Allen is working a couple of days a week at our school to help our kiddos out with math. Ms. Allen was an amazing classroom teacher that served my school for decades. Her last classroom of first graders are now my fifth graders.
The joy that Ms. Allen brought to my classroom was PURE magic. The kids were just as excited to see Ms. Allen as she was to see them. When she left, I noticed that a kid wrote this on his desk.
I like Ms. Allen, too. If I can be the second best teacher to Ms. Allen, I know that I’m doing something right.
I think that The Black Friend by Frederick Joseph is going to help a lot of white people, like me, grow into the the type of person that the world needs us to be. The book drops in December. I hope you will consider adding it to your to-read list. This feels like a book that you should own (If you are able to purchase a copy.). Looking forward to hearing how others are impacted by this book. I share my thoughts on the book in the video below.
Yesterday, we reviewed some of the things that we had been learning in social studies using Kahoot!. I didn’t think it was a groundbreaking review, or that it was anything to get all that excited about. I’m not in love with the platform, but I thought it might be a decent way to review things.
Holy smokes! The kids went bonkers. They loved it. By the third question, they were all standing, dancing to the semi-annoying music, and celebrating each correct answer.
If I had more time, I probably could have developed a better review, but I’m glad I didn’t. More than ever, we need to have fun in the classroom. The world is sort of burning down around us, so putting smiles on the faces of my fifth graders is pretty high up on my priority list.
Everything is not going to be as fun and exciting as the first time a classroom experiences Kahoot! together, but I do think that I will try to find as many ways as I can to make our time together this year fun. I have always focused on fun, but it seems more important this year.