Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to get your students pumped about reading!!

Today has to be a favorite day for my students; not only is it Friday but, it's Flashlight Friday! 🔦 Wahoooo!

Rewind back to August 2015, I had recently read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. (BTW, if you have not read this book, you are missing out!!!). The book introduces the 40 Book Challenge; where you challenge students to read 40 books during the school year from different genres (future post in that later). 
As a special education teacher, I often have very reluctant readers because it is often a challenging task for most of my students.  I was determined this school year to get my students to love reading! But how?! 

At first, my class of third graders were not happy to hear of this challenge and thought one book was a lot to read during the school year. So... I did some brainstorming for activities we could do to get the kids excited about reading. Well, the number one activity on the list that we do is Flashlight Friday.

There is just something special about getting cozy in your classroom, turn out the lights and reading with a flashlight! The students love to go under their desks, go in dark corners, and just READ... Ahhhhh! I found some good quality mini- flashlights at Marshall's and a pack of four finger lights at the Dollar Tree that students love just as much! 

My co-teacher and I do other activities too. We do a snack and chat where the students share the book they're reading and provide a synopsis for their small group of classmates.  This is for other students to explore different books that they might not normally pick out on their own! If their peers recommend a book, then it becomes a must read! The teachers provide the snack and allow time for the kids to chat about their books! Students also provide book commercials for their books; another way to get other students intrigued about a story! This "sells" the book to the students without giving the entire storyline away! My students even love reading to me; which totally makes this heart smile. I love what this challenge has done for my students. students that struggle, I have created a template for students to follow which you can find here

Even the simplest of ideas, can get students EXCITED to read! For younger kids, you could have students bring in a stuffed animal, doll, or action figure to read to aloud. You can also pair up varying grade levels for Buddy Reading. Contests are always fun too! Students certainly love a bit of competition.

Back in January, my co-teacher and I decided to ask the students how they now feel about the 40 book challenge; and we were so happy and surprised how their feelings towards reading has changed! 

I hope this post inspired you to try some new things in your classroom to get your students excited to read. Do you have other ideas that you would love to share?! Please comment below! 

Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Flash Freebie

Hope everyone's weekend is off to a great start (and snow free...)  I am in the sharing mood; so I have a flash freebie for today!  I am sharing my Multiplication Word Problem: Winter Edition.  The word problems all relate to the winter theme; hot chocolate, ice skating, snowball fights, etc....  I truly made this for my students to use and practice their multiplication skills, but also working on their reading skills.  Numbers in the word problem are not always in standard form, but also word form and they must truly understand the question.

You can use this product for centers, practice with the skill, an early finisher, etc.... Let me know your thoughts!  I would love your FEEDBACK on the product on Teachers Pay Teachers too!  Below is the exact link to the product on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Inside Snowball fights????

With the upcoming snow tomorrow, I figured it would be the perfect time to play one of my favorite review games! It's a favorite of the kids too! I have adapted it for all subject areas; so you can too. It's a SNOWBALL fight!!!! A perfect review game for the kids to get up and moving around the room; especially since we have had quite a few inside recess days lately! It has F-U-N written all over it!

Today's skill was math.... Adding and subtracting three digit numbers with regrouping! All you need is scrap paper (who doesn't have a ton of that around?!). For this Math review, I had students solve different regrouping problems. After they solve it on paper they rolled it up into a ball. They can do any number of problems you would like. The more problems solved; the higher the number of "snowballs". I have kids spread out to the corners of the room and start their "snowball fight". They love getting each other. They love "hiding" behind desks, sneaking up on people, and then some... After a few minutes of fun, students have to get the same number of snowballs they through in the snowball fight! Chances are; they will get different problems!

 Students will have to check one another's work and explain how they are correct or how to fix it and explain what they did wrong. The students don't know who it is from but it is a learning experience; since we review those problems as a class! They explain it to the class under our document camera. A lot of my students love playing teacher and this is the perfect opportunity for that!

There are so many ways to adapt this game... Vocabulary review, spelling practice, writer's notebook activity such as adding on to sentences to create a group story, etc.... Be creative! 

I would love to know what you do for review that your students love?! I know grudge ball is another favorite of ours. Please share what works for you or other indoor activities that are perfect for the dreaded cold weather inside recess.