Saturday, February 2, 2019

Beyond Dr. Seuss: Ideas for Celebrating Read Across America

Are you looking for ideas for celebrating Read Across America without focusing on Dr. Seuss? This post includes activities that you can use for the whole week to celebrate reading with your elementary or middle school students. Fun themes, bulletin board ideas, and activities that share the joy of reading with kids! Are you considering moving beyond Seuss for Read Across America? You may have come across  this article from the Conscious Kid that is moving you to try something different this year.

While many of us have celebrated this event with Seuss-themed activities and books (March 2nd is his birthday),  you can definitely celebrate the love of reading in a million ways that don't involve Seuss! After all, he is one of thousands of authors! This annual event is a great opportunity to celebrate reading with students expose them to something new in the world of literature.

If you're looking for new ideas to try out at your school, read on! You'll find tons of activities and theme suggestions to help you plan a fun schoolwide event!

#1 A Read-a-thon

When do you have time to just read? When do your kids have time to just read? The best way to grow the love of reading is to spend time reading! A read-a-thon is a fun way to encourage all-day reading. There are a few ways you can do this:
  • Schedule a day of reading across your school. Everybody reads, all day in their classrooms
  • Schedule guest readers throughout the day. When there's a reader, kids listen to them read. When there's not a reader, kids read on their own or with their friends.
  • Guest teacher and faculty readers. Rotate teachers from one classroom to the next to share their favorite read alouds.
  • Read with stuffed reading buddies. Each child can bring a stuffed animal, or the teacher can supply some, to read with!
  • Read with human reading buddies! Schedule older students to read with younger students. 
  • Make it into a contest: have kids keep track of their reading by # of pages or books read. Each class can have a thermometer and, at the end of every hour, you can check and see how many pages or books have been read. Color it in to keep track!
  • Everybody reads. This means that, for a certain amount of time, everyone on campus will read. Principals, coaches, office staff - everybody reads in a visible place so kids can see it. You can have each person join a different class to make sure the kids know that everybody reads!
Are you looking for ideas for celebrating Read Across America without focusing on Dr. Seuss? This post includes activities that you can use for the whole week to celebrate reading with your elementary or middle school students. Fun themes, bulletin board ideas, and activities that share the joy of reading with kids!

 #2 Book Battles

This would be a month- or week-long event. Choose several books and have classes read them. Have classes vote on them to determine a winner! If you do a Read-a-Thon (like suggested in #1), you can ask teachers to read the books during the day and have classes vote on them in the afternoon!

We did something similar with Dr. Seuss books a few years ago, but you could easily do this with any books you'd love kids to read! We provided each class with a tally sheet. Each book title was listed and students voted on their favorites. Then we used this data to make a bulletin board to represents which books we loved the most!

Are you looking for ideas for celebrating Read Across America without focusing on Dr. Seuss? This post includes activities that you can use for the whole week to celebrate reading with your elementary or middle school students. Fun themes, bulletin board ideas, and activities that share the joy of reading with kids!

#3 Have an author study week

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of authors who your kids would love to get to know. Choose a great author and feature their books and activities around their books all week! You could also do this with a book battle (which I describe above in #2!) Here are a couple of great suggestions with books that could appeal to a range of ages.

Jacqueline Woodson writes about things that kids can relate to, while, at the same time, broadening their cultural experience and awareness. Books you could use to feature this author include The Day You Begin, The Other Side, and Each Kindness. Read about how you can use The Day You Begin here!

 Peter H. Reynolds would make an INCREDIBLE featured author for Read Across America. His books are accessible but powerful to a wide range of ages! Books by Reynolds that kids will love are The Dot, Ish, and The Word Collector. Just think of the visual arts connections you could make!

Allen Say teaches us to value our stories. Spending some time reading Allen Say books and having your kids share their stories would be an amazing way to spend the week. Books you could use to feature Allen Say include Grandfather's Journey, Tea with Milk, and The Bicycle Man.

Other fun authors could be Andrea Beaty, Kim T. Griswell, and Tad Hills.

Looking for some diverse children's authors to feature? Check out this list!

    #4 Create your own theme!

    You can choose an awesome theme of your own and build book experiences, crafts, and engaging days all around your theme! Here are a few ideas:

    Reading Adds Color to Our Lives: feature crayon activities and books like The Day the Crayons Quit, and Red: A Crayon's Story.

    Blast Off to Read Across America: use fun space-themed books like Rufus Blasts Off! and Mousetronaut, and meaningful books like Mae Among the Stars, or Hidden Figures.
    Reading Changes the World: Include books about changing your world like I Walk With Vanessa, Let the Children March, and Rosa. 

    Reading Helps Us Grow: Use books like The Gardener, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, and Grandpa Green.
    Are you looking for ideas for celebrating Read Across America without focusing on Dr. Seuss? This post includes activities that you can use for the whole week to celebrate reading with your elementary or middle school students. Fun themes, bulletin board ideas, and activities that share the joy of reading with kids!

     #5 Host a Bookmark Contest!

    It's pretty easy to host a bookmark contest! We hosted one to celebrate the Grand Opening of our Reading Lounge! Here's how you do it:
    1. Create a template. We contacted our school district's print shop because we planned to have the winners of the contest printed and distributed to kids. They provided us with a template they wanted us to use. If you're printing and cutting in-house, you can use whatever size you'd like!
    2. Distribute the template to students who are interested in participating in the contest. Provide some basic rules about content, if it needs to be related to a theme, and what kinds of materials they used. Our theme was "Reading Helps Us Grow" because our reading lounge was garden themed. As for materials, we said pencils, colored pencils and/or crayons were fine.
    3. Set a due date, a place to turn in their entries, and remind students frequently about the date.
    4. Choose the winners. Once all entries are submitted, have a group of teachers get together to judge the bookmarks. Select as many winners as you'd like and have them printed, or print them on carstock and cut them out yourself!
    5. Distribute the bookmarks to the kids! We had trouble choosing, so we had a winner from each grade level. Students were able to choose which bookmark they wanted from the eight different choices!
    6. Feature the winners somehow: we made a bulletin board and announced it on our campus TV news. 

    Found an idea you like? Pin it to remember!

    Are you looking for ideas for celebrating Read Across America without focusing on Dr. Seuss? This post includes activities that you can use for the whole week to celebrate reading with your elementary or middle school students. Fun themes, bulletin board ideas, and activities that share the joy of reading with kids!
     
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    Saturday, January 26, 2019

    Coastin' into Family Literacy Night: Amusement Park Theme Family Night!

    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities
    Are you planning your first family literacy night and you're feeling overwhelmed?

    Or maybe you're planning your fifteenth family literacy night and you're tired of doing the same thing, year after year! 

    Either way, this post is for you. I've got some fresh, fun ideas that will help you spice up your event and help your faculty, students, and their families have a special night full of literacy memories!

    The theme of my latest Family Literacy Night? An amusement park!

    Amusement parks (or theme parks) have it all: excitement, suspense, terror, and lots of family bonding...just like a good book!


    Planning a Family Night Event
     
    When I plan a family event, I start with a theme and I try to build in these types of activities all around that theme:
    • parents and kids reading trade books
    • reading a partner play
    • making a food craft by following directions (sometimes with a writing response)
    • creative writing
    • something fun to build or craft
    • listen to a read aloud and write a response
    • build a word work game to play and take home
    • play a hands-on word work game
     Sometimes this varies, but that's the general structure!
    To get organized, I use a four-square planner: Need to Do, Need to Buy, Need to Copy, Need to Email. This helps me sort out the tons of tasks that have to be done and keeps me from going nuts... for the most part.

    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities


    I send out the flyers to parents about two weeks before the event, have it announced over the loudspeaker and on the marquis, and then I often send out a half-sheet reminder the day before.

    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities


    To encourage kids to visit several stations before they leave, I create a punch card. They get a hole punch at each station, and after they've completed four stations, they can turn in the punch card to get a free dress pass! Free homework passes work, too. (I mean, I'd go to a family night to get a free homework pass, and I'm a grown woman.)

    Students and parents also complete a reading pledge. These are displayed in the hallway to remind students of their promise! For this family night, I decided to do a fun flag bunting for the reading pledges!
    Literacy Stations

    Here are the eight fun stations for this family night that help kids and parents share reading and writing experiences!
    Read Around the Carousel
    Students read books from different genres by moving from carousel horse to carousel horse. You can choose to have them record the titles they read or not!

    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities
    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities
    Bumper Cars
    I can guarantee that this is one of the most memorable stations. Kids use candy to build a tiny bumper car by following printed directions.

    Everything is edible, so when they're done, they can eat their tiny candy creation (which is really all they're concerned about). Then they brainstorm onomatopoeia to fill out a response sheet!

    Families always have fun doing this sort of an activity; it brings out the best ideas from the parents!












    Balloon Pop!
    Students build a fun compound words game to play with their parents. They can take it home, too, and play it again!
    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities


    All Around the Park
    Kids write a short story about visiting an amusement park. They write each event on a different strip and use it to build a sequential chain of events!

    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities

    Snapshots
    In this station, students listen to Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee and create three snapshots of them riding a roller coaster: in the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. Then they write about the way they felt at each point.

    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities

    The Concession Stand
    For this activity, students draw a card from a bag full of concession stand snacks. They use that snack to create a graphic organizer full of related words.
    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities

    Up and Over the Coaster
    Possibly my favorite station: kids and parents read a fun partner play together about riding a roller coaster! I find it best to provide two different levels of difficulty for different levels of readers.
    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities

    Duck Pond
    Ok, maybe this is my favorite station. It's so much fun to watch kids play hands-on word games! There are two different versions for different levels of difficulty.
    In the primary version, kids match rhyming words.
    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities

    In the upper elementary version, they match synonyms!
    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities

    Get Help Planning Your Event

    Are you planning a family literacy night?
    Looking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivities

    Want to get the complete, ready-made resource? You can find my entire Coastin' into Family Literacy Night resource on TpT!

    https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Amusement-Park-FamaLooking for ideas for a family literacy night? Check out these eight amusement park themed stations complete with the materials you need for hands-on activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking! There’s even a make-and-take word game activity, a partner play, writing activities, a fun food craft, and even more fun ways for parents and kids to interact around literacy. An editable flyer to invite parents to the event plus other editable materials are included! #familyliteracynight #familyliteracyactivitiesily-Literacy-Night-editable-4317019

     
     
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    Saturday, December 22, 2018

    Resolutions don't work. Do this instead.

    As an instructional coach, setting goals with teachers is an important part of the job. But sometimes we set goals without a realistic plan to achieve them! Grab a free goal setting printable to help you facilitate teacher goal setting and create a workable plan. It's an easy-to-use worksheet that will help you make your resolutions into a reality. Click to read the post and download your step-by-step guide complete with a planning template for 2019!Tell me if this sounds familiar.
    Every year, we'd sit in a room and set goals as a faculty.

    "We're going to get 90% of our kids to the "Meets Standard" level!

    "We're going to get 20% more 4s in writing!"

    "We're going to have 94% of our kids reading on level by the end of the year!" 

    And then?

    Everybody went back to class and did the same thing they did the year before.

    Some tried out new strategies, some did independent research and figured out a new approach, and some hit the xerox button and duplicated the last ten years of their careers.

    Goals without plans are really just wishes.

    We talk a lot about what happens if we don't meet our goals, because it's commonly understood that we often don't meet our goals.

    We say we'd like to accomplish something, and then if we get even anywhere near the ballpark, we can pat ourselves on the back and say we gave it the old college try.

    But that's not how education changes.

    If you're a coach, and you're ready to make a change, here's how you do it in three (ok, maybe four) easy steps (and it doesn't involve a resolution).


    As an instructional coach, setting goals with teachers is an important part of the job. But sometimes we set goals without a realistic plan to achieve them! Grab a free goal setting printable to help you facilitate teacher goal setting and create a workable plan. It's an easy-to-use worksheet that will help you make your resolutions into a reality. Click to read the post and download your step-by-step guide complete with a planning template for 2019!

    1. Make a decision.
    2. Make a plan.
    3. Do it.

    That's it.

    You use these three steps to help yourself make a change happen, and you can also use them to facilitate a grade level or a vertical team in making a change happen.
    Here are the details.
    1. Make a decision.

    Decisions are actions. They're things like, "I'm going to meet with two guided reading groups every single day." This might be in the same vein as the goal of "95% of my students will reach grade level by the end of the year," but it's an action.  

    Actions either happen or they don't, and you can check in on an action. Every day and every week are opportunities to see whether the action happened or not.

    2. Make a plan.

    So there are obviously reasons why teachers aren't currently taking that action. Maybe classroom management is getting in the way. Maybe there's too much whole-group instruction. Maybe teachers aren't prepared with lessons every day. Maybe they don't know enough about the strategy or method to implement it.

    If teachers think that wanting to have two guided reading groups a day is enough, they're setting themselves up for failure. Instead, figure out what needs to change in order for that to happen. Do you need to create a schedule together? That's part of the plan. Do you need to reteach management strategies? That's part of the plan. Do you need to model a lesson with their kids? That's part of the plan. Figure out when things happen and what will happen. Dates are important because that's how you get action.

    3. Do it. 
    This one is easier said than done, but once you have a plan, you're ready to carry it out.

    For coaches, I'm going to add another little step that's really really really important.

    4. Check in.

    Take a copy of your plan and check in with teachers. Are they doing what they said they would? If not, what can you do to support them in the plan that they created?

    To help you get started, I've included a handy dandy planning freebie below! It includes some great tip for coaches to help you facilitate something better than setting goals with teachers! It'll give you a place to start when you're communicating with teachers (or even yourself) about how things will be different in the new year.

    Because wishing things would change doesn't change a thing.

    As an instructional coach, setting goals with teachers is an important part of the job. But sometimes we set goals without a realistic plan to achieve them! Grab a free goal setting printable to help you facilitate teacher goal setting and create a workable plan. It's an easy-to-use worksheet that will help you make your resolutions into a reality. Click to read the post and download your step-by-step guide complete with a planning template for 2019!If you're a coach who's facilitating teachers in setting goals and making plans, I've got the perfect guide for you. And it's FREE! You can sign up to get it in your inbox below.

    It's got tips for coaches and a step-by-step guide to getting teachers to create a plan (and to carry out the plan, too).  Check it out!
     
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    Saturday, November 3, 2018

    How to regroup when you feel like an unproductive instructional coach

    Being an instructional coach is a daily challenge. Some days you feel like time just slipped through your fingers and you didn’t accomplish anything. Learn how to manage this challenging role by reading these four strategies to help you regroup and get back on track!
    Add caption
    Are you an instructional coach or a a professional plate-spinner? Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference.
     
    In one, you're responsible for keeping things spinning while constantly having your attention pulled in a million directions. 
     
    And in the other, there are plates.
     
    I know how hard it is to spread yourself so thinly. You're trying to reach so many teachers and so many needs. 
     
    You get one plate spinning and direct your attention to another. You get that one going, and realize the first plate is wobbling, so you head back that way. 
     
    Then you spin that plate and realize you've dropped another. 
    As you pick it up, someone calls out, "Hey! I know your specialty is plate-spinning, but we really need you to learn about lion taming, because it's a district initiative this year."
     
    Face palm.
     
    Coaching is demanding. Sometimes you feel like you're on top of the world, making a difference, and impacting so many teacher and kids. And the next day you feel like you're accomplishing next to nothing.
     
    This is normal. But it's not fun to feel that way. So I have a few things you can do to make sure you're not beating yourself up when you're working so hard.

    Way to feel better #1

    Feel Better Fridays.
    To feel better on Fridays, take a few minutes every Friday afternoon before you leave, and think. Think about this: Who have I impacted positively this week? 
     
    This might be a teacher who you supported during planning or helped discover a new strategy to try. It could be a student who needed a little extra support to be successful in the classroom. It could be your principal who needed a sounding board. It could be any of so many people you've interacted with during the last week. You're communicating with and impacting so many people! Stop and think about the impact you've made, and you'll remember why you're a coach.
     
    Being an instructional coach is a daily challenge. Some days you feel like time just slipped through your fingers and you didn’t accomplish anything. Learn how to manage this challenging role by reading these four strategies to help you regroup and get back on track!
     

    Way to feel better #2

    Reflecting on goals.
    You undoubtedly started this year with some goals in mind that you wanted to accomplish through coaching. Perhaps you wanted to share student engagement strategies with teachers, or encourage teachers to use manipulatives. You may have planned to help teachers integrate technology into their lessons, or utilize more project-based learning strategies. Need help setting goals? Read about it here!
     
    Whatever your goals are, write them down and stick them in a visible place. On your laptop, by your light switch, or on the cover of your notebook.
     
    Once a week, stop and reflect on those goals.  What have you done this week to reach them? Identify tangible steps you've taken towards accomplishing them. Reflecting on the actions you've taken to get where you want to go will help you see the impact you're making.

    Way to feel better #3

    Talk to somebody who gets it.
    Pick up your phone, or open up a new email window. Hearing someone or seeing someone is great, but sometimes virtual buddies are your best buddies. 
     
    Talk to someone who feels or has felt the way you do right now. Talk to your principal who used to be a coach, or your coaching friend from another school. Or send me an email at chrissy@buzzingwithmsb.com. I love to hear from coaches and I'm happy to empathize :) This very post came from an email someone sent me about feeling like she was unproductive. If you're feeling a certain way, I can guarantee someone else is, too!
     
    Being an instructional coach is a daily challenge. Some days you feel like time just slipped through your fingers and you didn’t accomplish anything. Learn how to manage this challenging role by reading these four strategies to help you regroup and get back on track!
     

    Way to feel better #4

    Sign up for coaching emails from Buzzing with Ms. B. 
    I send out coaching tips, resources, and the feel-good messages that help you coach with confidence! One of the best parts is that you get a great free resource, too. Sometimes having something new to use can re-energize you! Just enter your email address below to be on your way to confident coaching!
     
    Being an instructional coach is a daily challenge. Some days you feel like time just slipped through your fingers and you didn’t accomplish anything. Learn how to manage this challenging role by reading these four strategies to help you regroup and get back on track!
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    Thursday, October 11, 2018

    Celebrating Diversity with the Mentor Text: The Day You Begin

    One of the most important ideas we can share with children is to appreciate and celebrate diversity. The book The Day You Begin is the perfect read aloud to help children make connections with each other and understand how they are similar and different. This post includes lesson to use with this mentor text and a free printable graphic organizer!When you look across your classroom, what do you see? Are your students from similar backgrounds and cultures and do they have similar experiences?

    Or do you see a diverse group of kids who come from different places, speak different languages, and struggle to find a place that feels like home?

    Either way, as teachers, we have two responsibilities for kids when choosing books: to reflect their experiences with books that serve as mirrors, and to expose them to different lives, with books that serve as windows.

    The Day You Begin is an absolutely beautiful book that can serve as both a window and a mirror, depending on your students' experiences.

    If you haven't read this book yet, it's definitely a must-read.



    The Day You Begin is a lyrical book that shares the experiences of students who have moved to a new, foreign place, and how they are struggling to feel like they belong. The children in the book have come from different places, and their experiences, lunches, names, and languages are different. They feel that "no one is quite like you." And it's not a good feeling.

    Over time, they realize they can share themselves and find connections between themselves and other children and "the world opens itself up a little wider to make some space for you."

    I dare you to read this book without crying. Seriously, I read it three times in a Barnes & Noble and got choked up each time.

    One of the most important ideas we can share with children is to appreciate and celebrate diversity. The book The Day You Begin is the perfect read aloud to help children make connections with each other and understand how they are similar and different. This post includes lesson to use with this mentor text and a free printable graphic organizer!


    The language of this book is incredibly moving and flowing, engaging the reader from the beginning and asking them to make connections to their own experiences or to people they know. It demands empathy.

    And that's exactly how I would use this book. Making connections to oneself, to another text, to the world, and even to each other is a beautiful homage to the intent of this book. Here's what I would do:

    1. Read the book, several times. 
    Talk to students about your experiences and notice the beautiful language of the book together. Point out the way the author describes feelings and ensure that students understand the meaning. Have real conversations about the book. There's a lot to talk about, despite the short lines.

    2. Student-to-Student Connections
    Assign students randomly. Give each pair a Venn diagram. Have them brainstorm the things that make them similar and different. This freebie below is a good way to get them started, as it has little categories across the bottom that can help them think about how they're alike and different. Then have them use the sentence starters to write about their similarities and differences!

    One of the most important ideas we can share with children is to appreciate and celebrate diversity. The book The Day You Begin is the perfect read aloud to help children make connections with each other and understand how they are similar and different. This post includes lesson to use with this mentor text and a free printable graphic organizer!


    3. Text-to-Self Connections
    Not everyone has had the experience of moving from another place to land in a new home, but most of us have felt like we don't quite belong. Encourage students to talk about a time they have felt like the characters in the book.

    4. Text-to-Text Connections
    Have students think back to other texts you have read with them or that they've read on their own. What makes this book similar? If you need a few ideas for titles, check out the other titles in this Celebrating Diversity Link-Up and add to your collection!

    5. Text-to-World Connections
    There are more than enough stories in the world that we can connect this text to. Have students think about things that are going on in the world and use those things to connect the book to the world.

    You could actually do one of these things each day for a week and reread the book each day. By Friday, students will have done many different levels of thinking and this experience should follow them as they grow!

    One of the most important ideas we can share with children is to appreciate and celebrate diversity. The book The Day You Begin is the perfect read aloud to help children make connections with each other and understand how they are similar and different. This post includes lesson to use with this mentor text and a free printable graphic organizer!


    Download the Student-to-Student Connections Venn Diagram here on Google Drive!
    And head to Amazon to get The Day You Begin with my affiliate link!

    One of the most important ideas we can share with children is to appreciate and celebrate diversity. The book The Day You Begin is the perfect read aloud to help children make connections with each other and understand how they are similar and different. This post includes lesson to use with this mentor text and a free printable graphic organizer!


    The Reading Crew is sharing so many great diverse books today! Click below to learn about some more diverse books to add to your library!


    Self-hosted Wordpress: [inlinkz_linkup id=801311 mode=1]
     
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    Saturday, August 18, 2018

    Beyond your first year: How to take stock and grow as a coach

    Focusing on your own personal growth is an important part of instructional coaching. To help you reflect on your coaching work and figure out which direction you plan to move in, I’ve created a free printable worksheet! Start reflecting and make a plan today!Recently I had an email. It read, "So I just finished my first year of coaching. Now what?!"

    I totally get that. You've made a tough transition from the classroom to the coaching room, and you are slowly becoming more comfortable in that role.

    You've worked hard, developed relationships with teachers, and got some great initiatives started at your school. But now what do you do to continue to grow?

    The first step to growth is reflection. If you sit back after a year of hard work and say, "Wow. That was awesome. I can't imagine how that could've gone any better," you're not setting yourself up for personal growth.

    (Also, you might be a megalomaniac because I've never met an actual person who thinks that!)









    So here are six questions you can think about that will help you reflect and take action for next year!


    1. What went really well?

    2. What didn't go well?

    3. In what part of my work did I feel uncomfortable?

    4. Where are students showing instructional gaps at the campus level? grade level? teacher level?

    5. What are my teachers' needs?

    6. What are teachers excited about?

    Grab these questions on a recording sheet here so you can stop and reflect!

    Focusing on your own personal growth is an important part of instructional coaching. To help you reflect on your coaching work and figure out which direction you plan to move in, I’ve created a free printable worksheet! Start reflecting and make a plan today!

    Once you've answered these questions, it's time to think about next steps. Read over your answers and think about how you can turn them into action.

    Notice that you were uncomfortable co-teaching? Read a book about it! Read a blog post about it! Create or buy a tool to help you prepare for it! Are your students struggling with writing responses about their reading? Prepare a PD about it! Create or find some resources to help them roll it out in their classrooms! Offer a book study! Teachers excited about flexible seating? Build a Pinterest board to help them find resources and ideas easier! Email some teachers and ask if you can participate in rolling it out in their classrooms!

    Reflection is the start, but action is the goal!

    Want to read more about goal setting as a coach? Check out this post from the first Instructional Coaching series: Setting Goals as an Instructional Coach

    What are your plans for your next year of coaching?

    **GIVEAWAY ALERT!**
     
    Focusing on your own personal growth is an important part of instructional coaching. To help you reflect on your coaching work and figure out which direction you plan to move in, I’ve created a free printable worksheet! Start reflecting and make a plan today!I am so excited to offer this giveaway again this summer!
    Coaches work hard. Which tools will help you do your job? Well, obviously tools with pineapples on them. Pineapples mean "welcome," so flaunt your pineapple gear and people will know you're approachable!

    One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Must-Haves Kit (over a $165 value)! This kit
    includes...
    * Inbox tray
    * My favorite notebook: Eccolo
    * My favorite daily planner with a monthly view
    * Frixion Ball Erasable pens
    * Handmade pineapple pencil pouch
    * Rae Dun "piƱa" mug
    * To-do notes and assorted sticky note set
    * Thank you cards
    * Pineapple notepad
    * Fancy pineapple thumbtacks
    * Erasers
    Focusing on your own personal growth is an important part of instructional coaching. To help you reflect on your coaching work and figure out which direction you plan to move in, I’ve created a free printable worksheet! Start reflecting and make a plan today!* Lotion
    * Hand sanitizer

    Four more lucky winners will get the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle, over $50 worth of coaching resources!

    Enter using as many of the options below as you like! You can enter again with every blog post in the series. 


    But wait! There's more!
    Hee hee
    Focusing on your own personal growth is an important part of instructional coaching. To help you reflect on your coaching work and figure out which direction you plan to move in, I’ve created a free printable worksheet! Start reflecting and make a plan today!
    You can sign up for my all-new Start-Up Course for Instructional Coaches!
    It's a free email course, right to your inbox, that will give you the essential steps for getting started as an instructional coach. You'll get videos, links to posts, and even a free resource or two, and follow-up emails to help you along your coaching journey!
    Just enter your email address in the box below. You'll also be signing up to receive periodic emails about instructional coaching as part of my mailing list!
     
     
     
     
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