Click 2018 50th Anniversary Reading Conference to register and view conference resources.
The New Year is here and also the chance to reset my reading goals for the year. I have accounts on many sites that allow you to keep track of the books you have read. Today in my email I got a reminder from GoodReads to set my reading goals for the year. I keep track more on Shelfari for that so went in today and set a goal. I am breaking it up into shorter time periods this year. I found that last year I had to set new goals in the middle of the year. I like that I can set them for shorter time periods. Like when I set a goal for summer reading.
So have you thought about your reading goals for the year? Do you do a certain number of books, or do you following something like what came across my feed from Follett Learning? That you try to read books with certain criteria? Whatever it is remember to keep reading and broadening your reading circle. There are great books out there to discover.
Exciting things have been happening at NCRC and we want to share!
Downtown Minot has been undergoing a major facelift, it has impacted many of the businesses and even made our kickoff night - A Night on Literacy Lane interesting! Due to the construction, The Taube Museum's basement was flooded, more than once! The Museum does so much for our schools and community, we as members knew we needed to help! During our classes we had a donation jar and before our EdCamp class we had a pizza fundraiser dinner.
Our council is VERY excited to announce that we were able to present Margaret Lee of the Taube with a donation of $230!
Next - this year as a council we decided to give back to our members! We offered four $250 grants! Our members had to submit an application on how they would use the grant to improve literacy in their classrooms/schools. We were able to share the news via a fun video featuring our officers! We hope to continue this in future years! Congratulations to all of our winners!! Stay tuned to updates with what each member spent their donation on!
Our next class included in our Reading Connections class was a Parade of Rooms. This was a new adventure for our council and we weren't quite sure how it would work. We tied in a Scavenger Hunt, so the members would be looking for something specific in each classroom. We traveled to 3 different schools and went to 4 classrooms in each school. We usually get to see classrooms in our home schools, but rarely classrooms in other schools. Our members were excited to roam around and explore each classroom, it turned out to be a huge success and something we would like to do every year!
Here is what some of our members had to say about the evening:
I really enjoyed the Parade of Classrooms! It was so fun to see how teachers used their classrooms to make cozy reading nooks & math stations! I loved the creativity I found in each classroom and found myself taking lots of pictures so I could remember all the great ideas! I especially loved how teachers throughout the district had the same standards posted. It was nice to see the follow through from school to school. Great opportunity to see colleagues at their best! -Amy Larson
This September, I had the chance to participate in NCRC’s Parade of Classrooms. As a middle school teacher, I appreciated the elementary teachers who opened their classroom doors to permit others to peek into their learning environment. I saw many rich and exciting things that I could easily adapt to my level. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to see and reflect on what others are doing! -Lora Rochholz
Hello, NDRA members! I had the pleasure of attending the ILA conference this summer in St. Louis! It was a fabulous conference and I wish every literacy educator could get the opportunity to go at least once in their career! It kicked off with speakers Shiza Shahid and Shaq!!! I was so excited to just see Shaq for his size but little did I know the impact Shiza would have! She is from Pakistan and is involved with the Malala Foundation that promotes education for girls. It made me realize how fortunate we are in the United States and I have taken my education for granted! I'm currently reading "I Am Malala" for pleasure and am astonished as to what other girls have to go through just to get a proper education! Both Shahid and Shaq spoke about the impact their own teachers and parents had to get them where they are today!
The rest of the conference was packed with ideas for incorporating close reads, writing, and learning about new up and coming books from the different vendors! The speakers I had the pleasure of listening to were Ruth Culham, Lori Oczkus, Timothy Rasinski, and Kate Messner just to name a few! One idea I took away was using a fiction and nonfiction text on the same topic to do a close read! I also enjoyed hearing how Ruth Cullam is "The Writing Theif" and uses mentor text to enhance her writing instruction! A prereading strategy is to put on a witches finger and scroll it down the middle of the page. Then talk to a partner about any words you see! We tried it and it really did get some good discussion about what the passage would be about!
It is a wonderful conference and next year it's in Boston! I encourage anyone to try to find the funds to go!!!
Reading Carousels are GREAT ways to hear what other teachers are doing effectively in their classrooms! As a council we try to have at least 2 nights of Reading Carousels, because they are that popular to our members! This year we switched it up a bit and had a Family Reading Carousel too, you will hear more about this later!
This year during our Reading Carousel, our members spent the evening learning about:
1. ELL/ESL students in our classrooms- We invited Kathy Haskins and Christa Ondovich, two of our ELL/ESL teachers, to come and discuss what teachers can do to help our the english learners in our classrooms.
2.Make and Take foldables- Kari Thompson, a third grade teacher from Bel Air, taught us how to make many different types of foldables to use in our classrooms. What a great way to take notes and make information memorable to our students!
3. Nonfiction Research Writing- Kaley Chick, a first grade teacher from Edison, discussed how to get nonfiction research writing started in our classrooms, even at the early elementary level! Kaley showed our members some useful tips and tricks with QR codes and even a way to record our own stories!
4. Math Talks- Members from our district Math Committee came and talked to us about the importance of Math talks in our classrooms! We also learned about fun ways to increase number sense. Early Elementary members made rekenreks to take and use in their classrooms!
NCRC's kickoff was a Night on Literacy Lane. Even though all the construction in Downtown Minot created some challenges, we kept up with tradition and partnered with downtown businesses to create yet another memorable night!
We started our night quickly discussing all of the upcoming events, reminding our members about our amazing Literacy Grant and then we split into groups.
Members traveled downtown visiting Main Street Books to check out the latest and greatest books, as well as some oldies, but goodies! Val Stadick, amazed our members with some original Dr. Seuss prints and we learned about Dr. Seuss' secret artwork!
Another stop along Literacy Lane was The Taube Art Museum. Unfortunately due to construction we weren't able to get to the Taube, but we were able to move the art lesson to The Parker Center. So we had Taube Art at the Parker! Members worked with acetate paper and created art projects to go with children's books!
Members were able to refuel, refresh and reflect with a quick little appetizer and beverage. They were also greeted by a local author and had the chance to purchase her book!
Literacy Lane is one of our favorite events and keeps our members coming back year after year (even with construction hassles)!
As the weather changes, so does my thoughts of what to do with my free time. This summer I tried the book-a-day challenge. I did not make it. I tried to read a book a day during the summer to catch up on all the children's and young adult literature that is available.
As we enter fall, this morning it truly felt like fall, I am again thinking about reading and how easy it is to find other things to do instead of pick up a book. With being back in the swing of school for most of us, we are getting into the routine. It is time to schedule our reading time. Do you do this? I try to turn off the TV, stop working around the house, or doing the work from school I have brought home and read for the last half hour to hour I am up in the evening. This routine just helps me to unwind.
So think about your routines, is reading part of it? What are you reading now?
What defines the successful relationships we as teachers have with parents? How do we cultivate a positive, trusting, working relationship at the start of the school year? We know when parents feel a friendly and comfortable relationship with their child’s teacher, the overall relationship between teacher, parent and child excels. Those friendly, comfortable, trusting relationships come with explicit planning and effort on the part of the teacher. The sooner positive relationships develop between teachers and parents the better.
Teachers give parents the basic information at the beginning of the school year – contact information, projected classroom activities during the year, and student’s expectations for schoolwork and behavior for both classroom and school building or district. But some of the most important information teachers give parents isn’t necessarily written down. This needed information may be given in the form of an encouraging smile or empathetic look. Letting parents know that we are their partner in the education of their precious child helps parents learn to trust us faster. We can also teach parents how to work with their children at home. I’ve found many who had difficulty in school themselves had no idea how to help their child be successful. This idea of showing parents how to reinforce school learning with practice at home really only takes a few minutes, but it is amazing the results it provides – especially in self-esteem of both parent and child. There are so many more ideas teachers are using to help develop a successful relationship with students’ families. The key is to find what each family and student need and try to the best of our ability to meet those needs. This is an exciting time of year! We are starting fresh with new faces, with new hope, looking to work our magic.
What a great way to start the school year, celebrating literacy. International Literacy Day is Sept 8. This year the focus of the International Literacy Association's is the country of the Philippines.
Another focus is using the home to combat illiteracy. That is where all learning begins, so naturally so do literacy skills. Helping families to find time to read and listen to stories is a great way to encourage literacy in out communities. Partnering with the local library and schools is another way to help encourage reading time at home. This is when we all learn to love stories and books, and isn't that the foundation of literacy.
So what are some things that can happen in your schools. One of the schools I work in is celebrating Literacy Week. We are starting with some DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time. Having a dress like a book character day and parade, writing our autobiographies, and having buddy reading time when older students read with younger students. We are looking forward to a fun week of focusing on literacy. We have many of the tenants, reading, writing, speaking and listening.
So what are you going to do this year to celebrate and encourage literacy not just on International Literacy Day September 8, but all year long.
If you are a member of NDRA you can add your comment to this post by logging on to this website with the email you used to register and the password you created.
This last spring our local reading council, Prairie Reading Council, did a book study on The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. The author is a 6th grade teacher that darned to set a high bar for her students to engage in reading, love reading, and challenge them to read more, 40 books a year more! Her 40 book requirement also includes varied genre. As educators we know the more you read the more insights, practice, and background knowledge you have.
As educators we are bombarded with performance standards and assessment goals that we fail to see that lifelong learners are nurtured in reading and not over skilled to the point that reading is killed for the student rather than enriched. Donalyn Miller allows students to choose what they read and helps them set a goal for themselves to focus upon their interests and independent reading. She reverses the order of using books that students select so she also meets the instructional goals. Her use of Interest Surveys to allow students to communicate with their teacher. The students’ interests assists the teacher to help them make decisions about what books they would like pursue to read. She follows key components of A Reading Workshop approach (Nancy Atwells, 1998.) She also gives her students permission to decide which books they want to read for the year.
When you stop to think about making choices and getting your pick of what you want to do in life, whether it is the food you eat, the outfits your wear, where you live, and what article you read in the newspaper. If you have a vested interest to make the decision it is a powerful means to feeling autonomous and liberated. Reading more allows for more practice and understanding. As an educator giving students an opportunity to make a choice is a very collaborative exercise in decision making and very effective.
Freedom is what our country was founded upon and allowing that freedom with reading choices truly allows for a positive, respectful, and responsible attitude toward becoming a lifelong reader and learner.