Classroom Library Today: I Don’t Like to Read Any Nonfiction Books

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Today one of my fifth graders told me that they hadn’t read any nonfiction books this year, and that she was hoping to keep it that way. Her thoughts on nonfiction books made me chuckle.

I asked her to share what she was interested in, and she looked at me like I was crazy. I asked her if their was a time period she wanted to learn about, a company that she thought was cool, an animal that interested her, or maybe a famous person she wanted to learn more about. She said that she loved the shoe brand Converse. I told her that I thought it was a pretty cool brand, too. Our classroom library doesn’t contain any books about the company Converse, so I pulled my phone out of my pocket and we did a Google search to see if we could find a book. A couple of books popped up, and we read the descriptions together. She said that if I ordered one that she would happily read it.

I bought the book right there on my phone. She seemed surprised and happy. I asked her if she was interested in others brands or companies. She nodded. We have a tub in our classroom library filled with the series “Brands We Know“. I brought it to her table and we browsed the books together. She was excited to see that we had a book in the series about the company Netflix. She put it in her book basket, and told me that she was going to read it next.

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By this time, we had gathered a crowd. Three or four of her friends were circling the “Brands We Know” book like vultures. We invited them to see if they could find a book that they wanted to read. It was wild to see a tub in our classroom that had been collecting dust, all of a sudden, become as hot as the Dav Pilkey tub. Kids left this little meeting with books about Nickelodeon, Nike, and Dairy Queen.

Today, I was reminded how important it is to book talk a variety of books. Often the books in our classroom library that are not being read just need to be brought to the attention of our readers.

 

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Classroom Library Today: I Need Help Finding A Biography To Read

 

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As I try to get back into the habit of blogging regularly, I thought it might be fun to start a series about our classroom library. The classroom library is part of just about everything we do, so it might be fun to share a few times a week how the library impacted our day. 

Today was the first day back from spring break. Each time we come back from a break, I have the kids reflect on how their reading went during our time together. They answer a few questions, and then we discuss what went well and what we need to work on. Since we only have one quarter of the school year left, I also asked the kids to reflect on what genres they have been loving this year, and what genres they still need to try.

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After finishing up their reflections, one of my readers came up to me and asked if I could help them find a few biographies that they might be interested in reading. We talked for a couple of minutes about her interests. She said that she loves Amelia Earhart, and asked if it would be okay if she some books about her. I smiled, and showed her that in our biography section we have a tub labeled FLIGHT. The tub if filled with biographies about people that are known for their work in flight. She got really excited as we flipped through the books. She grabbed 3 Earhart books, and we talked about how after she finishes those she might want to try other books in the tub.

My hope is that our classroom library meets the needs of all of our readers. Today was a reminder that event after 140ish days of school, my readers are still learning how to find the books they want to read.

I can’t wait to see how we use our classroom library tomorrow!

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Thank you for reading this post. I send out a weekly newsletter every Sunday morning. If you’d like to subscribe, please visit my website. At the top of the site is a place to sign up for the newsletter. 

Have More Fun

Get Lost in Stockholm

Before my third or fourth year of teaching, my principal asked all the teacher at our school to write down, on a sticky-note, a goal we had for the upcoming year. Something we wanted to work on, and something she could help us with.

On my sticky-note I wrote: HAVE MORE FUN.

I don’t think that is what she had in mind, but she stuck it up on her office window with all the other goals set by teachers. Each time I was in her office that year, I remember looking at my note and smiling.

I spend the year trying to have more fun with my students. The purpose of school isn’t to have fun, and fun doesn’t equal student achievement, but by golly I know that I learn more when I’m having fun, so I figured if we were all having more fun, that it wouldn’t hurt anybody.

I didn’t try to do anything fancy that year. What I remember is smiling a lot, playing a lot of Four Square at recess, sharing a bunch of books together, and trying to make each project we did a tad more fun than the one before.

I’m heading into the final quarter of my 12th year of teaching. Every day isn’t perfect, but most of them are pretty darn fun. I love teaching today more than I ever have. I probably work just as hard as I ever have, and I love the work. I love figuring out what my students can do, and what they need to take the next step. I love watching them find the perfect book, and I love watching them struggle with the imperfections with our country as we navigate our fifth grade American history standards.

I’m on spring break for the next week or so. When I get back to school, I think I’m going to find a sticky-note, and write: HAVE MORE FUN on it.

I’m not sure what you do, but I hope you have as much fun doing it as I do teaching.

 

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I am a fifth grade teacher in Michigan. My life’s work is getting books into the hands of kids, and helping them fall in love with reading. If you are looking for ways to help increase book access for your readers please check out the book I co-wrote with Donalyn Miller: Game Changer! Book Access For All Kids. Check out my list of AWESOME 2019 Books

The 5 Books Jennifer Serravallo Recommends to New Teachers

I asked Jen to share the five books she things would make perfect gifts for new teachers. Her picks were, of course, amazing! Check out what she had to say about each book in the video below. Underneath the video, I’ll post a link to each book.

The links below are affiliate links.

Kids First From Day One: https://amzn.to/2C7iqc2

We Got This: https://amzn.to/2UoWUGK

Being the Change: https://amzn.to/2H4lE4f

Mindset Mathematics: https://amzn.to/2SK9ZJ3

Reading Strategies: https://amzn.to/2HeBngp