Ten Picture Books I Shared with My Fifth Graders in October

This has been a wild month. Most of it was spent teaching in a hybrid model, but when COVID came to Parma we had to go 100% virtual. The plan is to head back to the hybrid model next Thursday. If I’ve learned anything in 2020, it is that COVID doesn’t really care what we want, so we shall see!

Below you will find a video of me talking about 10 awesome picture books I shared with my kids during this wild month.

Here’s a list of the books I talked about in the above video:

I’m Sad: https://amzn.to/37XH27Y

Big Mooncake for Little Star: https://amzn.to/2TBmzgP

Most People: https://amzn.to/34MtWbL

Above the Rim: https://amzn.to/3oKXZsi

The Very Last Castle: https://amzn.to/3kHWOr7

We Are Water Protectors: https://amzn.to/34Ije64

Drawn Together: https://amzn.to/35NgTpI

Lift: https://amzn.to/35SFSaY

The Old Truck: https://amzn.to/31YxHJ1

I Talk Like a River: https://amzn.to/3kIBamD

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Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids: https://bookshop.org/a/4866/9781338310597

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp (ME!) https://bookshop.org/a/4866/9780316507813

Places to find me:

Website: http://www.mrcolbysharp.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/colbysharp

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/colbysharp

All book links in this posts are affiliate links.

Always Finish the Read Aloud

We got to the point in Tom Angleberger’s The Strand Case of Origami Yoda last week, where I had to make an executive decision as a teacher. Our read aloud was progressing magically, but we were approaching a point in the story where I either had to wait until the next day to finish the book, or I had to move some things around so that we could go all-in and read the rest of the book before the day ended.

One of the things that I love about read aloud is how we can use it as a vehicle to teach kids about the habits that live in the hearts of readers. I do not know any reader that hasn’t loved a book so much that they haven’t stayed up way past their bed time finishing a book. This was a staying up past our bedtime moment. Instead of giving up sleep, we were going to give up some of our math block.

Sorry, Math.

Watching the kids cheer for Tommy and Dwight as the book came to a close, I knew that I had made the right decision. We not only got to finish a wonderful story, but the kids also saw that readers sometimes need to find a way to keep reading.

With about an hour left in the day Ms. Allen, a retired teacher, came into my room and let me know that I needed to head down to the office for a meeting with my principal. Ugh. I hate unexpected meetings. I tend to avoid meetings whenever possible. Right before I walked out of my room Ms. Allen said, “I hope you’re not in trouble.” Famous last words.

When I got down to the office, I realized that this wasn’t about me. It was about our school. I wasn’t the only one at the meeting. My principal, Ms. Haney found someone to cover each classroom, so that we could all meet together. It was eerie. She let us know that we had some positive COVID-19 cases in our district. We one hour left with our students, and then the next two weeks of school would be 100% virtual. The look on the faces of our staff was of heartbreak. We were all completely in shock. I think that we had developed this false sense of security during the first nine weeks of the school year, and on some level I think we felt like the year would just sort work without any interuptions.

We were wrong.

I got back to my room after the meeting, and took my kids outside for our afternoon mask break. It was weird knowing that we were about to be virtual. The kids had no idea.

Once we got back to our classroom, I was able to tell them the news. For some dumb reason, I thought that they wouldn’t think it was a big deal. It’s just two weeks, right? I was wrong. They were shook. Lots of tears. I didn’t really know what to say, so I said, “It’s okay, fifth graders. It is only for two weeks.”

That was the wrong thing to say. A fifth grader looked me dead in the eye and said, “That’s what everyone told us in March.” Her words just hung in the air. She was, of course right. We hope that it is safe to return in a couple of weeks, but the truth is nobody has any idea what is going to happen.

I’ve been thinking a lot the first few days of distance learning about finishing The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Some of my readers have been reading the second book in the series Darth Paper Strikes Back. I feel drawn to sharing stories with them about kids in school. I’ve always loved “school stories”, but the normalcy they bring right now feels important.

We’ll continue to find extra time to read, and I’ll continue to be the teacher that tries to get them to fall madly in love with books. In a year of unexpected endings, I’m thankful that we were able to finish our read aloud together, on our own terms.

I hope everyone out there is doing well. These are some pretty wild times. Please stay safe, and always finish the read aloud.

Chapter Books I Love To Read Aloud | Volume 2

Please let me know in the comments what books you LOVE reading aloud to kids? In this video, I talk about five books that I have loved reading aloud to my elementary students.

Below you will find the first video in this series. Reading aloud is so much fun, and I’m finding this little series as a great way to talk about some older books which I REALLY love doing. I think that I probably focus WAY too much on the shiny new books her on my blog and on my YouTube channel.

I share a lot of my thoughts on read aloud in the video below. In the video, I talk about the who, what, when, where, why and how of read aloud.

Thank you so much for tuning in!

Books I’d Like to Read Aloud Someday

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:

Check out my list of AWESOME 2020 books:

https://www.mrcolbysharp.com/2020

Check out the list of books I have read my students during the 2020-2021 school year. 

https://bookshop.org/lists/mr-colby-sharp-s-2020-2021-classroom-read-alouds

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Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids:

https://bookshop.org/a/4866/9781338310597

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp (ME!)

https://bookshop.org/a/4866/9780316507813

Places to find me:

Website: http://www.mrcolbysharp.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/colbysharp

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/colbysharp

I started a newsletter! Click below to sign up.

http://eepurl.com/c_gMYT

Thanks for watching. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

colbysharp@gmail.com

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone | Book Talk

Wow! Nic Stone’s Dear Justyce totally blew me away. I don’t read many YA novels, but I am so thankful that I decided to read this one. It totally blew my mind.

Check out my two books below!

Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp (ME!)

Places to find me:

Website: http://www.mrcolbysharp.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/colbysharp

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/colbysharp

I started a newsletter! Click below to sign up.

http://eepurl.com/c_gMYT

All links to books in this post are affiliate links.

Chapter Books I Love Reading Aloud | Volume One

Please let me know in the comments some of your favorite books to read aloud to kids.

In the video below, I share 5 of my favorite books to read aloud to kids. I had a lot of fun talking about these books, and the impact they have had on me and my students.

I LOVE READ ALOUD!

Check out my two books below!

Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp (ME!)

Places to find me:

Website: http://www.mrcolbysharp.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/colbysharp

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/colbysharp

I started a newsletter! Click below to sign up.

http://eepurl.com/c_gMYT

All links to books in this post are affiliate links.

Finding More Time to Listen

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.