Monday, January 25, 2016

A Blizzard of Books...A Book Report and Craft Idea

The Blizzard of 2016 came and left.  
Left us with mounds and mounds of snow and another snow day to savor and enjoy. 
It is breathtakingly beautiful. I spent some time outside in awe just marveling at the splendor of it all. 
My jack russell can't stand being cooped up inside. I can so relate! He is meant for speed and action and despite his small size and lack of warm fur, he tore through the snow. 
He's my example of how to have a good time!


As I am grading my rather large stack of student papers, I am wondering what my kids are doing with all their free time. I am hoping they are doing some reading. I should have loaded them down with books before I sent them off last Thursday.  
Here is our classroom library.  Too much time on my hands has me thinking about my book organization.  I have them organized by genre in these baskets.  I recently read a post from a blogger who has gone to shelving books rather than putting in baskets.  

How do you organize all your books?  Would love to hear!


Along with lots and lots of reading, we are doing lots and lots of writing. 
It has become a way my students communicate to me about what they are reading and what they are thinking. My mantra is "reading is thinking"  and books need brains, so it is important for them to share what is going on in their minds as they are turning those pages. 


. Whether it is reading for information or for pleasure, I want my kids to respond to what they are reading.
Here was a Fall reading response they did that we called: 
"Here's a Book to Gobble About". 
They told me about about a book they were reading during book nook time 
(independent self choice-stamina building reading time). 
This response sheet works for fiction and nonfiction.  My students LOVE nonfiction and I love that they love it.  It builds background knowledge and helps develop Tier 3 vocabulary.
Many of these responses were nonfiction based. 

We enjoyed reading each other's book responses. 

This writing activity helped me to assess how deep they were going in their thinking. 
I asked them to use the skills we have been working on so far:
identifying the main idea, visualizing and making connections. 
Then they got to be show their artsy, creative side by making a turkey to go along with it. 
I gave them all the same exact template, yet the turkeys were all so different. 
Love the way they make it their own!

I'm doing that again once we get back into the classroom.  
I'm calling this one: "It's a Blizzard..of Books!"

We've moved onto writing summaries, so I want to see if my students can sum up their book by just identifying the most important parts.  We are hitting vocabulary hard, so I also want them to find an example of a pizzazzy word in their book. They will write it down and share its meaning. 
How will they know what it means?  Using context clues of course, and then they will confirm by using a dictionary. 

I am big on having students share their "mind movies' with me...aka..visualizations. 
They have a spot to draw the **most important** visualization of the entire book. 
We'll see if they can narrow it down to that one scene. 
The "cool connection" box gives them a chance to share a text to self, text to text or text to world 
connection.  Even those who struggle to read and getting the hang of connecting to the text. 


I have added this set to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. 

Click this link to check it out: 

Would love to hear what you have been spending your snowy days doing?
Planning for first day back?  Please share!
Comment below or...
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  1. Love this book report idea! It would be a great reflection piece after their independent reading, and they would be super excited about doing a craft!

    I organize my books mostly by genres and author, but I have a few shelves of miscellaneous chapter books. I wish that I was better about having my books leveled, but I really just want my third graders to choose the books that they are truly interested in reading). Your organized library is impressive!


  2. I would love to know more about the rationale of not putting books in baskets. My experience with it has been that only certain shelves with the newer, more attractive books got looked through, and the older rattier books were left gathering dust, even though some of them were the same titles! Putting them in baskets lets kids choose a favorite author or genre, or find ones they may not have tried before.
    I love the book report! We're dressing like our favorite book characters this Friday for spirit day, and that would've been a great tie-in. I'll have to remember it for next winter. :)


  3. I've been creating reading intervention materials for my students not reading at benchmark. We got about a foot in Chesterfield, VA... still trying to dig out but the high temps have definitely helped! Thinking of starting a three part blog series on the writing traits: Voice, Sentence Fluency and Organization.