Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#cyberPD: Reading in the Wild (Part 2)

Thank you Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate for hosting this week's #cyberPD.

Last week and this week while rereading Reading in the Wild, I have found myself reflecting on my own wild reading and how I try to encourage wild reading in my classroom.  I am a wild reader and so glad that I am.  According to Donalyn (as cited in Morrison, Jacobs and Swinyard 1999; McKool and Gespass, 2009) "teachers who read for pleasure are more likely to employ best literacy practices in their classrooms than teachers who do not read for pleasure" (p. 106).

One area that I connected with in Reading in the Wild was creating a reading a door.  I heard Donalyn talk about them several years ago at a teaching conference.  Reading doors are a school wide endeavor at Donalyn's school.  The purpose is so "students would see every teacher, not just the reading teacher, as a reader.  Our doors highlighted our school wide focus on reading and kicked off a year of sharing and discussing texts in every class" (p. 118).  

Below are pictures of my own classroom reading door.  The best part of decorating my classroom door with books I read over the summer is when the kids are lining up, they ask me about specific books.  The door provides me with the opportunity to summarize and give a small book talk while waiting to go to recess or at the end of the day.

As I was thinking through my post this afternoon, I thought of the bags of books in the back of my car ready to go back to the library and the books that are ready to be picked up.  I was also reminded of how wild readers plan ahead (p. 137 and 138). 

According to Donalyn wild readers:
  • Keep to-read stacks of books - My husband isn't very fond of my stacks at home.  I also have stacks of picture books at school.  Kids love browsing them and recommending the best that I should read aloud.
  • Keep a to-read list - I have lists of books to read for pleasure, professional and for the classroom.
  • Reserve books at the library - You can only reserve so many books online at one time.  I often reach my maximum in one sitting. 
  • Preorder new releases, books in a series, or books from favorite authors - I often reserve the books at the library, but have a list of books and their release date ready.  
  • Make use of book award lists - We do this as a family when we travel.  We listen to at least one Newbery Award book on CD (depending on the length of the trip)
While I personally do lots of planning and often model my planning for students.  I struggle with having second grades plan.  Last year I tried doing this before our Christmas break.  It didn't go over as I had anticipated.  I think I need to spend more time talking about how growing readers make plans for reading throughout the year.  For example, having them make daily and weekly plans about their reading.  This would probably build up to planning over longer breaks and lay the foundation for future planning.

One thing that I struggle with in second grade is helping children learn to read while fostering wild readers.  I will continue to think and ponder on this as I finish rereading Donlyn's inspirational book.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#cyberPD: Reading in the Wild (Part 1 of 3)

First of all, thank you to Cathy Mere at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community for organizing and hosting this week's #cyberPD!

As I began rereading the first two chapters of Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild, I found myself reflecting on my own reading journey and how that has evolved over the course of my life.  As a young child I remember my mom taking my siblings and I to the library weekly so we could pick out our five books.  What a challenge it was to select just five each week.  I loved the feel of the books in my hands and sitting in my mom's lap listening to her read to me was a special time.  My next memory is first grade.  I don't remember ever being read to, but do remember the blue plaid phonics workbook.  As I progressed through elementary school, I remember reading stories in basal readers, but don't remember one story I read or connected to.  Often times I wouldn't read the selections and would read the questions in the accompany workbook, find the answers and move on.  I also don't ever remember a teacher sharing their love of a book or reading.  I was never taught in school that reading could be enjoyable, connecting and engaging.  The message I received is that reading was a means to an end.  I was a product of a school as Donalyn describes, "the practices of many school reading programs diminish and disregard the development of personal reading habits" (p. 3).  Fortunately as an adult,  I found a love for books and started living a "reading life".  I can't imagine my life without books now!

As I write this, I'm inflight on my way home from a workshop.  I'm reminded of something someone said at the workshop about parents expecting education and today's classroom to look like it did when they were in school.  I think parents  also expect reading to look the same.  As a teacher I hope to engage students unlike I was in school as a reader.  I often WONDER if we all cultivated an environment that values and embraces the development of reading habits, what kind of students and learners we could have?  I think Donalyn's statement sums it up best, "I want my students to see reading as something they do-- not something remarkable or rare.  I want them to read because they enjoy it and feel comfortable in their reading personalities" (p. 3).

Donalyn spends time describing and talking about how you know you are a reader living a "reading life", and so I'll leave you with a short story that I was reminded of when reflecting on how I know I live a "reading life." One day my daughter and I were in the car, at a red light and I pulled out my book.  She said to me, "I bet lots of kids have to tell their parents not to text and drive, but not me!  I have to tell my mom not to read and drive!"

Monday, June 2, 2014

40 Summer Bucket List Ideas To Keep You Wondering

Have you created a summer family bucket list yet?  Below are 40 family bucket list ideas complete with Wonders from Wonderopolis to keep you wondering while you complete your activities!

1.  Catch fireflies.
#1201 How Do Fireflies Glow?

2. Make S'mores.
#277 Why Are They Called "S'mores"?

3. Go to a baseball game.
#751 Where's Your Favorite Ballpark?

4.  Make ice cream in a bag.
#92 Why Do You Get Ice Cream Headaches?

5.  Go on a picnic.
#258 Why Do Ants Think They're Invited To Picnics?

6.  Go bowling.
#1072 Why Are Bowling Shoes Slippery?

7.  Go fishing.
#1213 Do Fish Sleep with Their Eyes Open?

8.  Make root beer floats.
#1219 Why Is There So Much Foam in a Root Beer Float?

9.  Have LEGO building competition.
#639 Who Invented LEGO Blocks?

10.  Go to the zoo.
#643 Where Is the Largest Zoo?

11.  Make a time capsule.
#525 What Time Would You Travel To?

12.  Learn how to play a new card game.
#756 Do You like To Play Cards?

13.  Go see a fireworks show.
#550 How Are Fireworks Made?

14.  Go to a drive-in movie.
#249 What Movie Would You Play At Your Drive-In?

15.  Fly a kite.
#157 Who Invented the Kite?

16.  Make a bird feeder.
#144 Do All Birds Fly South In the Winter?

17.  Make friendship bracelets.
#301 How Do You Make a Friendship Bracelet?

18.  Make homemade bubbles.
#57 Why Do Bubbles Float?

19.  Camp in your backyard.
#27 What Would You Do on a Staycation?

20.  Make a family video.
#1127 How Do You Capture Memories?

21.  Make homemade instruments.
#704 Can One Man Be a Band?

22.  Play tag.
#815 Do You Like To Play Tag?

23.  Have a puppet show.
#574 What Are Shadow Puppets?

24.  Go to a local farmer's market.
#649 What Does Organic Mean?

25.  Have a family talent show.
#684 Are You Talented?

26.  Go on a scavenger hunt.
#359 What Is a Scavenger Hunt?

27.  Homemade family pizza party.
#154 Who Created Frozen Pizza?

28.  Play miniature golf.
#353 Why Do Some Golf Courses Have Windmills?

29.  Make tie-dye shirts.
#385 What Is a Hippie?

30.  Read a book in a hammock.
#658 How Do You Make a Hammock?

31.  Go for a boat ride (canoe or paddle boat).
#855 How Do Boats Float?

32.  Tell ghost/scary stories.
#284 What's Your Favorite Ghost Story?

33.  Put together a 1,000 piece puzzle.
#857 What Puzzles You?

34.  Cook dinner over an open fire.
#640 Do You Like To Cook Outside?

35.  Go stargazing.
#182 How Many Stars Are In the Universe?

36.  Paint self-portraits.
#464 What Makes Art Priceless?

37.  Go to a farm and pick fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
#288 Why Does a Strawberry Have Seeds On the Outside?

38.  Go swimming.
#957 Can Swimmers Get Dehydrated?

39.  Volunteer
#272 Why Would You Work For Free?

40.  Watch the sunrise/sunset.
#1132 Why Is Dusk Mysterious?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WONDER WEDNESDAY - Asking and Answering the W Questions

Happy Wonder Wednesday!

One of the Common Core Standards we have worked on all year in second grade is:
RI.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.  

This is a standard for both informational and literary text.  We have worked on asking and answering our own questions during read alouds, independent reading, while reading poetry, and while reading informational text.  Another great resource we've used to work with this standard is Wonderopolis.

Yesterday's Wonder of the Day was #1188 How Do Crickets Talk?  It was a perfect Wonder to use to continue modeling and practicing our work with this standard.  Students had a lot of background knowledge about the Wonder which helped them answer the questions and write about their thinking in their Wonder Journals before going over the Wonder.  Many had misconceptions about how crickets talk which was cleared up when we read the Wonder. 

My students write their thinking or answer to the question before going over the Wonder and then write new learning after reading together as a class.  Here is an example of a student's thinking and then new learning.

After reading over the Wonder together, I had students write in their journals who, what, where, when, why, and how and leave spaces.  We discussed what we learned and even went back into the text to clarify (yes, I did use that word with my second graders) some of the information we were confused about.  

Here is a student example of the who, what, where, when, why and how of the Wonder.  I took this opportunity to talk about and use highlighters.

I worked with students who are still struggling with the who, what, where, when, why and how.  Here is what we came up with together.

Every Wonder of the Day at Wonderopolis would be great for asking and answering questions.  Here are some additional Wonders that you may want to try:
#129 Why Are School Buses Yellow?
#227 How Hot is Lava?
#274 Who Made the American Flag?
#295 Why Is It Called "Old Faithful"?
#323 How Do You Hula?
#730 What Makes a Ball Super?
#852 Why Do Zebras Have Stripes?
#937 Why Do We Need Trees?
#1146 How Are Pop-Up Books Made?
#1184 Why Do Bats Sleep Upside Down?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wonder Wednesday - Ways to Wonder Video

This week I am taking a break from my normal Wonder Wednesday format to share a special WONDER video.  I'm sharing today because the main child in the video is my daughter Betsy (my proud mom moment).  I'm also excited to share the video on this Wonder Wednesday because all of the other children in the video are from my school, Monroe Elementary and my classroom is featured in the video (my proud teacher moment).  I love that Wonderopolis used real, authentic users of their website to star in the video.  I also love that the new video shares natural ways that you can wonder as family or with your students in your classroom from a kid's perspective.

After watching the video, I leave you with these questions:  
  • How do you WONDER? 
  • How do you share your WONDER with others?
  • Why do believe WONDER is an important component of learning?
Happy WONDERing!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wonder Wednesday - Wondering About Flying

This week's #WonderWednesday inspiration comes from flying across the country yesterday.

Some wondering I have about flying:

  • How many airports are there in the United States?
  • How many flights fly everyday?
  • How many people fly those flights everyday?
  • When and where did the first commercial flight fly?
  • What affects does flying have on your body?
  • How much luggage is lost daily?
Related Wonders from Wonderopolis:
#59 Who Was the Most Famous Female Aviator?
#75 Who Were the Wright Brothers?
#265 Why Do Airplanes Leave Tracks In the Sky?
#809 Does My Luggage Travel First Class?
#886 How Do You Prepare for Takeoff?

What are you wondering about on the is #WonderWednesday?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wonder Wednesday - Wondering About Ice Skating

This week's #WonderWednesday inspiration comes from ice skating.  

Some wondering I had about ice skating this week:
  • Is it harder to skate on indoor ice, or outdoor ice?
  • How is indoor ice made?
  • How much water is used to make an indoor ice rink?
  • How have ice skates evolved over the years?
Related Wonders from Wonderopolis:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wonder Wednesday - Wondering About Snowflakes

This week's #WonderWednesday inspiration came from making snowflakes for a display case in my second grade classroom.

Some snowflake related wonders I had this week:
  • Why is there such a big difference between the snow to liquid ratio when it snows and the impact that has on the amount of snow we get?
  • Does the temperature have an impact on the size and shape of snowflakes?
  • What is the best kind of snow (snowflakes) for sledding?
  • What is a blizzard?
Related Wonders at Wonderopolis:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wonder Wednesday - Wondering About Birthdays

Each Wednesday (#WonderWednesday) during 2014 I will be blogging about something I've wondered about during the week.  You can read more about it and join me here.

My inspiration for this week's wondering came from my daughter's 12th birthday this past weekend.

Some birthday related wonders:

  • Where did the tradition of cake and ice cream at birthday parties come from?
  • Why do we give presents at birthday parties?
  • Who wrote the "happy birthday" song?
  • How do people in other countries celebrate birthdays?
Related Wonders at Wonderopolis:

What are you wondering about this week?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wonder Wednesday - Week 2 - Wondering About #Ion

Each Wednesday (#WonderWednesday) this year I will be blogging about something I've wondered about during the week.  You can read about it here.

This is the scene at the cart corral as I was leaving the grocery store last Friday, and is my inspiration for my wondering this week.  Yes, there are men working on the door in the background, but that isn't why there aren't any grocery carts.  The reason the corral is empty is because they were all in the store shopping to prepare for winter storm #Ion.

Some #Ion related wonders I have are :
  • Why do people (like I did) feel the need to rush to the store when there is an impending snow storm?
  • Who names the winter storms?
  • How did they come up with the name #Ion?
  • What is a polar vortex?
  • How could the weather people be so wrong about the snow in our area, but so right about the cold air?
  • How many schools across the country were closed Monday and Tuesday because of the weather?  How many kids were out of school?
Related Wonders at Wonderopolis:

I would love to have you join me in a Wonder Wednesday Link-Up.  Find out about it here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wonder Wednesday Link-Up

Welcome to Wonder Wednesday!

Would you like to participate in the 2014 Wonder Wednesday Link-Up?  Here are some suggestions for participating:
  • Create a blog post sharing your wonders (could be a simple picture and what you wondered about it).
  • Share how you used Wonderopolis in your classroom (could be a Wonder you shared in class and what your class learned, discovered, or new wonders they had).
  • Sharing the wondering you have done in your classroom.  What are your students wondering about, what questions do they have, what new discoveries have they made?
  • Share how and what you are learning on Wonder Wednesday (pictures are always great).
  • Tweet about your wondering on Wednesday using #WonderWednesday on Twitter.
The 2014 Wonder Wednesday link-up can be either an individual, student, or classroom initiative.  I've started with a personal initiative to model for my students and will expand as the year progress.

I'm looking forward to making many WONDERful connections on Wednesdays as we share and wonder together!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wonder Wednesday - Week 1 - The Rose Parade

Last week I began thinking about a new initiative for modeling wonder that I could do during 2014.  I encourage students to wonder, but often fail to model my own wondering and provide students with the time to sit back and wonder.  I've decided to TRY and devote some time each week thinking and reflecting on my own wondering and share it with my students.  I'm going to take a picture of something that makes me stop and wonder, and then share it here on Wednesdays for my Wonder Wednesday.  I'm also hoping to have my students join me on our class blog.

My inspiration for this week's wondering came this morning while I was watching the 125th Rose Parade.  (I took the picture below as I layed on the couch watching the parade.)

Some wonders I have about the Rose Parade:

  • How many roses are used each year during the parade?
  • Where do all of the roses come from?
  • How is the decision made for what floats and bands are accepted into the parade?
  • How long is the route for the parade?
  • On average how long is spent on each float, and how many people work on each float?
  • How many floats and bands are in the parade?

Related Wonders at Wonderopolis:
#603 Do You Love a Parade?
#920 Does Every Rose Have a Thorn?
#1041 What's the Biggest Marching Band?

I would love to have other bloggers and classrooms join me during 2014!