Independent Reading Time

Managing Your Independent Reading Time

Independent reading time is vital to helping students grow as readers.  Find out how to get kids to read and reflect upon their reading with R5.

I know CAFE and Daily 5 are very popular now, but I used a different independent reading system in my classroom.  The ideas came from a book called R5 in Your Classroom by Michelle J. Kelley and Nicki Clausen-Grace.
 R5 review on Good Reads

I tried the Daily 5 and loved the concept but found it to be a lot to manage and difficult to fit into my choppy schedule.  Then I found this book and loved the way it got my students involved in their reading and talking about their reading.  When I was working with small groups or doing individual conferences the students would be readingrelaxingreflectingresponding and rapping.

The book explains in detail how to implement each step in your classroom, but briefly, here are the R5 steps;

Read and Relax:  Students find their designated reading spot and read.  They are responsible for having enough reading materials, their journal, a pencil and sticky notes.  Their reading materials might include books at their level from the class or school library, e-books on a reader, magazines or nonfiction texts, or assigned texts from literature groups.

Reflect and Respond:  Students take a few minutes to think about what they've read that day.  They may have sticky notes to look at again, or notes in a margin if they've read a printed article.  Then they write a reading response in their journals.  

Rap:  This part was different from any other independent reading process I've tried.  During Rap students sit with a partner and talk about their reading.  The partner listens and makes appropriate comments or asks questions.  Then they reverse roles.  We also chose a few students to rap with the whole group.

I feel strongly that students in grades 3 and up need to be given more time in class to read.  By implementing R5 in my classroom I knew my kids were reading at least 30 to 60 minutes every day.   The time depended on their stamina and our daily schedule, but I never skipped R5.  If the day got complicated with crazy activities I always made time for R5. 

Whatever program you use in your classroom, Daily 5, Cafe, literature studies or a basal series, give your students the one thing they need the most....uninterrupted time to read!

 These Reading Chat Cards, from my TPT store,  worked well when my students were discussing their books or writing in their journals.
These cards are a great way for students to sit with a partner and discuss a story.  They also work in a center for reading reflection ideas.

How much time do your students get for independent reading? 


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Building a Positive Community

At the start of a new year, chances are some of your students are new to your school.  Other students were not in the same class last year and everyone is new to your classroom. Let your students know that great things happen when they all cooperate and work together.  During the first week of school, you should spend some time on team building activities.  Here are a few ideas I found around the web:

-Floating Hula Hoop, This activity sounds simple, but it’s great for communicating and working together.  Divide the class into groups of 4 or 5.  Have the group form a circle facing the center.  Ask then to hold out their index finger. Place a hula hoop on their fingers.  Their job is to lower the hula hoop to the ground without dropping it. They have a tendency to go up instead of down.  It will take some communication to get the hoop to the ground.

-Hula Hoop Pass,  The object of this activity is to pass a hula hoop all the way around the circle.  You can have kids stand in one large circle or divide the class into two circles.  Students face the center and hold hands.  Choose two people to open their hands and place the hula hoop there to start the activity.  The kids have to move the hoop over their bodies and pass it on to the next person.  Others can give encouragement and suggestions if the hula hoop gets stuck.

-Balloon Caterpillar Race,  Have students form 4 lines with 5 to 6 students in each line.  Students should all be facing forward with the lead students behind a start line.  Place an inflated balloon between each person.  When you say go, the entire line must cross the finish line without dropping any balloons.  If they drop a balloon they need to go back to the start and begin again.

Another way to begin building a community is to brainstorm what it takes to be a positive classmate.  Use a chart like this to brainstorm the characteristics of a positive team member.

Freebie!  Anchor chart for characteristics of a positive classmate.

 You can download a copy of the blank chart here.  Since it is a pdf file you can print it poster size.  I made mine 200% of the original.  Then I glued the six pages together to make the poster for our class discussion.  I also make a single page copy for every student so they can make their own chart along with you.

Once the students understand what makes a positive classmate tell them the class will earn a reward for showing all these characteristics.   Using the letters SPARKLE, which stands for Students who are Prepared, Attentive, Respectful, Responsible and Keep Learning every day!  Put up one letter every time the whole class is following the guidelines for being a positive classmate. When they earn all 7 letters the class has earned a special reward.  You can choose the reward or let the class brainstorm a possible list.

For more ways to help your kids SPARKLE, check out the entire product in my TPT store.



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Classroom signs with mini traffic cones

Thrifty Thursdays are here!   

If you're like me (and most teachers around the world) you probably spend quite a big chunk of your paycheck on things for your classroom.  It's time to stop!  Instead, let's start sharing ideas that will keep some of that hard earned cash in our wallets instead of in our classroom.  (Then you can treat yourself to grande iced mocha latte during your next mani-pedi!) 

Every Thursday I'll share an idea for something you can make or use in your classroom from bargains I've found at dollar stores or thrift markets.  I'd love for other teachers or homeschoolers to link up blog posts  of ideas they have for saving money in the classroom. 

Thrifty Thursday Idea for June 5, 2015
Mini-Traffic Cone Sign Holders
These mini traffic cone from the dollar store make the cutest sign holder.  All you do is cut a small slit in the top and then they can hold small signs.  Perfect for tables and center areas.

 I found these super handy little traffic cones at the Dollar Tree.  The store I visited had 4 different colors, so I bought one of each. They're about 3  1/2 inches high and made of a sturdy, but flexible plastic (or maybe it's rubber???)     

These mini traffic cone from the dollar store make the cutest sign holder.  All you do is cut a small slit in the top and then they can hold small signs.  Perfect for tables and center areas.

To make them into sign holders all you have to do is cut a slit in the top with a sharp blade.  Go slowly so you don't cut too deeply.

  Now, what can you do with them?? Here are a few ideas:
-use as center signs
-table names
-on student desks to designate the captain
-on student desks to indicate class jobs
-write directions for work stations
-steps for group activities
-hold birthday greetings
-give special recognition to students
-label areas around the room.

 Signs for mini-traffic cones--Crockett's Classroom

If you like the little signs, you can download them here.  They're in PowerPoint format so after you download the file you can click in the box to add your own label before you print.

What money saving ideas do you have for your classroom?


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Currently June, 2014

Currently June, 2014

I’m joining another Currently Link-Up with Farley’s Oh’ Boy 4th Grade.

 I'm in a little bit of a rush this morning so I'm listening Pandora playing with my favorite tunes, a mix of country, Broadway tunes and those oldies from the 60's!

These longer summer days.  I'm so regulated by daylight.  With more daylight hours I stay up longer and can get more accomplished through the day and still have time to relax in the evenings.

I'm headed down to see my Dad today.  He has a trunk full of family pictures.  We're going to start sorting through them.  I'm excited to not only get them organized but to hear all the stories that go with them.  Something we should all do with our parents before their memories fade away.

Really need to find that balance!  My TPT products are always first on my to do list, but how do you find the time for blogging, pinning and Facebook????  Now, I've joined a Fitbit group and want to keep up with my steps. I'm retired and there still aren't enough hours in a day!

My house is pretty cluttered right now.  I've been spending so much time on the computer I need to learn how to step away and get this house clean.  I think I need to set up a weekly schedule and promise myself to clean at least one room every day!  Funny how cleaning house is always at the bottom of my to do list?  Does anyone else feel that way?

Summer Bucket List:
I don't really have a summer bucket list because I'm not going back to work in fall.  But I do have a few things planned for the summer... sitting in the pool, going to a Diamondbacks baseball game and flying to KC to visit my cousin.  We're planning a trip to Hawaii next summer to celebrate our 60th birthdays!

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