Saturday, November 22, 2014

Movie Themed Bulletin Boards and Displays!

I love a good theme, don't you? Two years ago, my school did a camping theme for our Camp Read-A-Lot Family Night. Last year, we extended our theme - Reading is Our Super Power - into bulletin boards, our Family Night, and our 25 Book Campaign. This year, we're having a BLAST with our latest theme! Movies! 
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To start our year off right, I made this display in our glass display case in the front of the school. I took pictures of the teachers with their favorite books and asked them to write about why that book was their favorite. I added the little stars and copies of the books to the inside of the display.

Pop Into the Library and Read a Good Book

My librarian buddy and I made this book recommendation board outside the library. We added covers of books that have been made into movies!
Lights, Camera, Read!

This Book of the Month board is a simple display that I update each month to feature our new schoolwide book of the month! It's hard to read the letters in this picture - they read "Book of the Month."
Meet the Reading Stars of the 25 Book Campaign

Here's our 25 Book Campaign Wall! We recognize the students who participate in the 25 Book Campaign each month!
Roll Out the Red Carpet for Literacy Night

And this display features the student products and pictures from our Fun Family Literacy Night: Roll Out the Red Carpet for Literacy Night.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Roll Out the Red Carpet for Literacy Night, Movie Style!

  It's Saturday morning and I am absolutely beat. I've fitted my tush into the grooves in the couch and already zoned out to two episodes of Law and Order SVU (both equally traumatizing). 
I'm on cup of coffee number one, about half-coffee and half-cinnabon flavored creamer. The season is changing into the time of year where I will eat anything with a Halloween/turkey/Christmas wrapper, anything cinnamon, anything brown sugar, anything apple or pumpkin. 
I plan to spend the next three months being incredibly nostalgic.
Why am I so pooped? Last night was one of my favorite school events of the year. Every fall is our schoolwide Family Literacy Night. 
I LOVE Literacy Night. In the week leading up to it, I am a psychotic nutjob, creating, copying, cutting, stuffing, stacking, and shopping. 
The day of I compulsively organize and tape, set up, and assign. And the day after I want to crawl into a little hole and sleep for a month. 

This is what we did for our Literacy Night this year, which was movie themed. 

The day of Literacy Night, some of my awesome teachers helped me hang up butcher paper "curtains" and roll out a "red carpet" of butcher paper and black masking tape. We decorated the doorway to the gym and the doorway to the cafeteria; both of these locations were hosting events.

When kids arrived at the front doors with their parents, they received a bag with a bookmark with reading tips, their reading pledges, and a ticket with the time marked on it "movie showing" in the cafeteria. Each student received a free book, too! 

Every single person also received a ticket for a free bag of popcorn! Our lovely office ladies popped and bagged 400 bags of popcorn earlier in the day!

After they collected their popcorn, our guests could move through seven different and fun stations to practice important literacy skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing!
Puppet Buddies

In our puppet buddies station, kids and parents listened to Curious George Goes to the Movies read aloud and created puppets of George and the man in the yellow hat to retell the story.
Actin' It Up

I wrote a couple short Reader's Theater scripts for two parts. One of them (for the big kids) was Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, and the other was a little story of a mother duck and her baby duckling. The kids and parents got to make a little headband with their character on the front, and then they read the play with the two parts.
Sight Word Pop

This one is a classic! Like the Bang Bag activity for sight words, families made a paper bag full of sight words and cards that said, "Pop!" They took turns drawing cards from the bag and reading the sight words. If they drew a card that said, "Pop!", they had to put all their cards back.
Concession Stand Creations

This station was made into a contest. Students received a piece of white cardstock and used it to create a candy bar wrapper of their own creation. Then they wrote their name and grade on it and put it in a stack with other wrappers from their grade level. These posters are available in English and Spanish so you can host your own family night red carpet event!

The next day, we judged the entries, chose a first place winner from each grade, and gave them a fun popcorn tub full of snacks, a book, and a deck of cards for a family night!
Lights, Camera, Read!

This is the easiest station! Our stage had been decorated with stars and gold fringe for an awards celebration we'd had the week before, so we didn't have to decorate! We just set up cozy furniture, rugs, and lamps, and let kids and parents choose books and read together!


At this station, teachers read aloud the story, Amelia Makes a Movie. Then the students used a cute storyboard format to "make" their own movie!

Movie Night
This was the biggest challenge to set up. 
The week before Literacy Night, I stuffed little zip plastic bags with food that has holes in it! Fruit Loops, pretzels, lifesavers, and a cookie with a hole in the middle. Each student received one bag and a length of yarn that the kids could make into a "Movie Snack Necklace." How fun is that? 

My wonderful hunny, who does video and photo for events, helped me create a fun movie with previews to watch. I used book trailers I found on youtube and he created a cute screen before each one that said, "This book preview has been approved for all audiences. You can check these books out from your school library!" After three or four book trailers, we showed our "feature presentation". It was this video of Strega Nona, read by Tomie DePaola.

These are some of the great book trailers I found on Youtube:

And these are some of the great books read aloud I found on Youtube:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

We had almost 200 kids and 400 people attend our Literacy Night! We had a blast, and even though we were exhausted afterward, it's worth it to get kids and families talking about reading!
Want to learn more? Check out my How to Plan an Awesome Family Night video!
Want to host a fun Red Carpet Literacy Night event yourself? You can get the materials to host a fun movie themed Literacy Night at your own school at TPT! And now it's available in English and Spanish!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Four reasons to use reader's theater scrips in the classroom *Freebie!

I LOOOOOOOVE Reader's Theater scripts. They were a staple in my classroom, and I always found a way to integrate them into at least a few units throughout the year.

1. Building fluency and expression
This one's obvious. Repeated readings build fluency because our decoding becomes more automatic and we can think about expression, intonation, and phrasing!
2. Integrating content I want students to learn and recall
I love to use Reader's Theaters to build up content in math, science, or social studies! I do this by writing my own scripts that include the information that students need to learn in a story format. 
One easy way to develop your own reader's theater scripts is to adapt books. I have adapted several Magic Schoolbus books into scripts by assigning roles to each character, adding in a narrator for the backstory, or assigning the backstory to a character. It's easy to do and really helps make the content engaging and suitable for rereading!
Inspired by my students, I wrote these math Reader's Theaters: Goldilocks and the Three Angles, and Parallela and Her Wicked Stepsisters. We had a blast with them, reviewing lines and angles in a fun story!

3. Engaging students in enjoyable reading

This one's kind of DUH! We want reading to be enjoyable and reader's theater is a great way to do that! Look at how engaged these readers are!

4. Encouraging students to create and perform using their own unique skills
The first three reasons are pretty academic, but the fourth, bringing out what students have inside, is probably the most important. This story shows one of the many reasons why I love Reader's Theater scripts:
One year, I had a student who struggled to control his behavior. Let's be honest - it wasn't just one year. But that's the one I'm writing about today! He had anger issues and had seen a lot of violence in his home. He had a severe stutter, especially when he was agitated, and it was very hard to reach him. He had his positive moments, but on average, it was a struggle. Let's call him Philip.
That year, I had my students practice a Reader's Theater script I wrote for the book The Giving Tree. I love Reader's Theater scripts and frequently wrote them and used them in my classroom. I divided up the parts by difficulty and then "randomly" distributed them - it was still pretty much random, except for a handful of more simple parts that I reserved for my kids who needed something more simple to read.
Well, you may guess where this is going. When I handed out the parts, I - completely honestly randomly- handed Philip the part of the tree. Oh, my Lord. The tree. The one who keeps giving. The one who says, "Here, boy, come and play on my branches." The one who loooooves the boy so much.
So I wasn't so sure if this was a good idea. For one, he didn't seem that excited about it. I pretended like I didn't see what was wrong with it, and I said, "You're going to do a great job! Just practice, and think about what voice the tree would use!"

He did. He practiced, and practiced, and he learned those lines. And on the day we performed, after the narrators had introduced the plot, Philip opened his mouth, and in a high, loving, woman's voice, said, "Come, Boy, come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy."

No one dared laugh. The other kids looked at me, wide-eyed and wondering. We all kind of sat there, stunned, for a second, until the next reader realized is was his part to read. It was incredible. I almost cried (and I almost laughed). This script brought something out in Philip that I would never have seen otherwise. He continued the voice throughout the whole play.

So that's why I love reader's theater scripts.

This Thanksgiving, I decided to create some Reader's Theater scripts for two readers. They're suitable for partner time, such as Buddy Reading or Read to Someone. They're written specifically in two parts!
One of my good friends took the scripts and laminated them. They're each two pages long, so she used a large piece of construction paper and put the pages side by side. Each student receives a copy. 

Then she put the scripts in her Read to Someone station. Are these readers adorable or what? 

Want to see a play in action? Check out my poor, abused hunnybun in our Easter Partner Plays video!

 You can grab my Winter Partner Plays at TPT

Thanksgiving Partner Plays at TPT.

Christmas Partner Plays at TPT, too! I got a little excited - love the holidays!

And Easter Partner Plays!
 You can get all the holiday partner plays in one bundle for a great price!
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bright Ideas: A Blast From the Past!

November's Bright Ideas post is very unique. Instead of being a million brand-new bright ideas, we're giving you a change to browse through some of the great bright ideas from the last ten months that you might have missed! 

The Bright Ideas posts are great places to get interesting and useful tips and ideas to use in your classroom without having to download anything! No freebies, no products, and no hard drive space involved! Just good teaching and great tips.

These are my Bright Ideas posts from the last year. Check them out and maybe you'll find something new to try out!

I was extra-excited about this Bright Idea. This fun Creative Writing Response for Any Book! is a good way to get kids to respond to text while encouraging them to develop their writing vocabularies, too!

Setting Behavioral Goals  is a great way to get kids thinking about their own goals for behavior while encouraging teamwork, too!

 I love my color-coded Response Rings for checking for understanding. I hope you love them, too! 

Personal Editing Checklists are a differentiated tool to help individual students develop a sequence for editing their own writing!

 My first Bright Ideas post was about Special Delivery Book Bags, a fun way to get kids excited and engaged in reading new books you introduce to the class!
I hope you've found some useful tips here! If you see something you like, follow my blog Check out some of the other Bright Ideas Posts below!
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Because I'm SUPER thankful! Link-up

Primary Powers is hosting a superfun thankful link-up!

I'm super excited to participate. I love these holiday link ups! 

We've been married for just over a year, and I'm so thankful God put him in my life. He blesses me every day with kindness and love.
My family is the best. They are fun and they do whatever it takes to help each other out. 

My colleagues are incredible. We have a beautiful team, full of people who always say, "Yes, I can help!" and "Yes, we can do it!" They're such a blessing.
As I was looking for pictures to add to this slide, I realized I have a problem. I found all of these pictures in my iphotos from one week of our honeymoon. ONE WEEK. I love coffee. It don't need it but I sure do appreciate it. I've been going a little crazy with the creamer lately, though. I can't turn down those holiday flavors.
I binge-watch all sorts of shows while I work. This year, this has included: Bob's Burgers, Once Upon a Time, The Walking Dead, and Orange is the New Black. (Arrested Development and 30 Rock are the old stand-bys)

Books, books, books, books, books. Need I say more?
I met some amazing people last summer in Vegas. They've really helped me on my way!

They have made so many things possible in our lives. Thank God for the teachers who spend their hard-earned money on products I've made!
What are you thankful for? Head over to the link-up to see what the other primary powers bloggers are thankful for, or to link up your own thankful post!
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