Reflections on Reading Nominees

So, it is just about February.  My book nominees should be just about read by now, and I should be getting close to gearing up students to vote.  And while that will happen, I realize I will need to change the way I do things for the younger readers next year.

I think the Building Block award nominees are the most difficult.  Not for text complexity or anything, but the fact that they have to be completely read and voted on by the end of December.  That leaves very few months to get Kindergarteners learning how the library works, how storytime works, and basically overall how to act like the young students they are.

With the Show-Me nominees, I have until the beginning of March.  That is 1st-3rd graders, so that does allow both more time and more comprehension of text overall.

Here’s what I found.  If I don’t read the same book all week to each class, my plans get all messy and discombobulated.

So, first thing I need to do next year is start off with a plan.  I have a chart on my wall, thank goodness, where I know what I’ve read to which class, but I have a sincere feeling that it is incomplete.  If I actually allowed myself the time to plan properly, I would know exactly what I read to each class as I would have it planned out beforehand.  The chart is great for everyone else to see, but not so much if I’m trying to honestly keep track, as I’m not always remembering to put the stickers on (and the fact I started the chart way after I started reading, so there’s that…).

Secondly, I think I will only read these nominees during full weeks.  When we have days off and half-days, they just throw the schedule off.  Now, there is the obvious snow/bad weather day that ends up in a day off that cannot really be planned for, but if I know weather is coming the weekend before, I can change things around.

I think I want a full-out plan for when I’m reading what next year.  I have read each Show-Me, as I was a reader-selector, but I think to really plan it out better would be best.  I don’t know what Building Block books are selected just yet, as they haven’t been announced, but I think a big master calendar with what I’m reading when would be best.  That way it will be planned out much clearer, and I will also be able to plan around short weeks.  Then, maybe my poor lesson plans won’t be all crazy looking and I will actually have an idea of what I’m reading and doing.  Does anyone else do things like that?

Plickers – My Obsession

plickersHello, my name is Jamie, and I’m addicted to Plickers.  I can’t help it.  They’re so easy to use, and great for a non-BYOD school!

I was first introduced to them in my library classes.  We used them for various quick assessments to find what we knew and so forth.

Since then, I’ve introduced them to my students.  Many of them like when I pass them out, because they get to “win” when they get an answer right.  Even though I never have them assigned to specific students, I tend to watch which numbers I give to certain students to see whether they are struggling to answer or not.  We all have those students we know either gets it or doesn’t, and gives us a pulse for the whole class.

I have used them for a variety of general assessments, such as seeing how well my students understand and can conceptualize the Dewey Decimal System, library terms, and now for media literacy.  To say I love using them is really an understatement.