Saturday, April 12, 2014

Reading Night: A Student-Led Book Tasting


Each year, we host a reading night and math night. The purpose is to bring parents and their children together for a night of fun that is geared toward reading or math. Our reading night was a great success this year. Because our grade level is huge (8 teachers when you count our TAG and special education teacher), we split in to three groups and I worked with two of my teammates to host a student-led book tasting in my room. I had initially found this idea at Mrs. Lodge's Library, so I had a general idea formulated in my mind. Here's what we did:

  • I bought checkered tablecloths at the Dollar Store. 
  • We selected 5 student volunteers and made chef's hats for each. (tissue paper and construction paper is all that you need)
  • We borrowed aprons from a local restaurant.
  • We tied red bandanas around each chef's neck.
  • We pushed desks together and then covered them with the tablecloths. We set up chairs around each table, with a stool at the head of each "table" for the student reader. We had four tables in total.
  • We set up each table based on If you liked…you might like… We chose Poetry by Shel Silverstein, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the I Survived series, and 11 Birthdays to base our recommendations off of. I typed up recommendations for each one and then sent my librarian a lengthy list. Our librarian has an awesome assistant, who pulled all of the books for us and had them ready for me to use! We set up the books at each table, which looked like this:

  • Each table had a student chef. To prepare for our night, each student was asked to choose one of the books off of the recommendation list and read a passage or two to their table of guests to pique their interest. We chose students who were animated and social, and they really blew us away! 
  • We left a book tasting notes paper in front of each chair with a pencil, so that students could write down the names of any books they found that they would like to read. We were sure to tell them that all of the books came from our very own school library! 
  • We held three, 20-minute sessions. Within each session, students were able to taste from two tables (10 minutes at each). As parents entered, we had a host outside handing out welcome papers, and we (the teachers) explained to parents to select a table with books that might interest their child. As they sat down with their child, they were greeted by the chefs. Once the table was full, chefs began their presentation, which included a greeting and a sharing of their passages. I typed each of them a script, but they really took it on as their own, getting better as each session went on. I have to say, and not just because I was a part of preparing it, that it was by far the best reading night activity I've ever done. When the student chefs finished sharing their passage, they would  allow the parents and students time to explore the books on the table. Parents were reading with children and talking to children about books. Everyone was engaged. It exceeded my expectations. We even received a compliment from our superintendent! Hooray!
Here's a couple of other shots from our highly successful student-led book tasting:







It really was an absolute blast and I'd love to do it again! 

Happy book tasting!




Monday, April 7, 2014

April Currently

I've been on a serious hiatus. Right around February, I started to get sick. Then I felt a little better for a couple of weeks. Right around my birthday in mid-March, I got really, really sick. I can't remember ever being so sick. It wasn't anything serious per se, I just happened to get a cold virus and stomach virus at the same time and it completely wiped me out. Needless to say, I got behind at work, then we were in the middle of state testing, and so I'm just now getting back to blogging, creating, and having spare time again! Thank goodness for spring break, because I really need it! Sleeping in this morning was AMAZING!

Anyway, now that I missed March completely, I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the April Currently. I love these so much and I can't believe I missed one. That's how you know I was really under the weather!

Listening: To CNN at 8:30 on a Monday morning! That means that it must be spring break! Sleeping in rocks! I'm a bit of a news junkie so CNN gets a lot of play in our house! 

Loving: I feel so accomplished! Though we spent our first day of break wine tasting, my husband and I did some serious spring cleaning yesterday, like 9 hours worth! I cleaned all the windows, cleaned out closets, etc. It's amazing how great it feels to know your house is squeaky clean! I really wanted to get it over with at the beginning of the break so it wasn't looming over me later.

Thinking: It's rainy and gloomy so it's the perfect day for shopping. Though we need to do the not-so-fun grocery shopping, we also need to shop for some items for the home. I'm all about changing our decorative schemes, so I'm showing my age when I say that I am terribly excited for a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond this afternoon!

Wanting: Though we cleaned the house yesterday, our office was not taken care of. This is because I have massive piles of teacher papers everywhere. I started a binder system this year, where I put the resources I use in a binder in order for easy access this year, but I ran out of sheet protectors, then ran out of space in my binders and so now it looks like a paper bomb exploded in our office. But not to worry, binders are on our shopping list today! 

Needing: Sandals. It's finally nice outside and I'm in need of cute sandals. My feet are wide, so I am a woman who doesn't want shoes, but needs them. Usually the super cute shoes are too narrow for my feet, which makes shoe shopping a lot less fun for me, but I hope to find a couple of cute pairs to enjoy now that winter finally seems to be gone for good! 

Hours and last day: We don't have to be there until 7:45, but I always get there early since I do a 5:30 workout each morning and get ready at the gym. The students arrive at 8:00, and leave at 3:00. I only leave at 3:15 if I have an appointment, otherwise I tend to be there until 4 or so. I don't spend hours there like I did when I was a new teacher, mostly because I've gotten better at managing my time and using our amazing PTO to get my copying done. June 13th is the last day for kiddos. Teachers still have to report on the 16th, though I've heard rumors that it could be a "work from home" day, which would be pretty awesome!

For those on break, enjoy! I hope to get posting more often now that I'm feeling like myself again! For those back to work this week, we're almost there!