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That time is almost upon us ….
What about some ideas for students who may need some extra encouragement to keep reading over the summer?
BigUniverse Learning provides great books that could be used with many of these activities:
Summer Reading Activities for Struggling Readers (from Imagine Learning)
- See a movie that’s based on a book. Then, read the book together.
- Encourage your child to read for fun by reading entertaining books, newspapers, and magazine articles together.
- Have your child read the recipe as you make something fun, like a favorite family dish.
- Read stories out loud, either to your child or with your child.
- Encourage your child to explore new interests by signing up for a sports team, summer camp, or even a fun summer class.
- Then, find books and magazine articles about his or her new interests and read them together.
- Have older children read out loud to their younger siblings.
- Make reading together enjoyable by focusing on the meaning of what you read rather than focusing on reading accuracy.
- Talk to your child about things he or she has read in school or at home.
- Play board games that involve reading, and include siblings and friends whenever you can.
- Ask your child’s teacher to recommend books.
- Have your child watch reading-focused television programs on PBS.
- Make reading a family event by having 15-30 minutes of family reading time every day.
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What do you think about Character Analysis?
Does listening of seeing how your students understand and analyze characters provide a method for you to access their concept of the story?
Once I saw this infographic, I could not stop thinking about it!
Although this was created to help one create and develop characters, I see many ways it can also be used to provide ideas for analyzing characters:
photo credit: Olaya B via photopin cc
Here are some Big Universe Learning titles that might be of interest especially around the time of Mother’s Day:
- A Mother’s Journey Acclaimed nonfiction author Sandra Markle presents the daring story of a mother emperor penguin’s struggle to reach the sea, find food, avoid predators, and make her way back to her mate and their newborn chick before they starve. Alan Marks’ luminous illustrations highlight the harsh conditions and stunning landscapes of Antarctica.
- A Zany Zoo Day Mom is in for a surprise when a trip to the zoo brings out the animal in everyone!
- Grandma’s Feather Bed Upbeat, funny and irresistibly singable, this song was made famous by John Denver and now made doubly delightful by Christopher Canyon’s illustrations. Especially if you listen along with Denver, kids will say, play it again! It is all about the cousins, the chicken pie, four hound dogs and a piggy, but as the song says, the best darn thing about Grandmas house was her great big feather bed.
- Emma’s Question A question scritches and scratches at the back of Emma’s throat.Emma is a curious kid. She loves to ask questions,and she loves the silly answers that her grandmother always gives. But now Emma has a very important question, one that she is bursting to ask, one that scritches and scratches at the back of her throat. Her grandmother is sick and has to stay in the hospital. Emma wonders if Grandma will still be able to read to her kindergarten; if she will still make up funny stories over bagels on Wednesdays; if she will still be able to watch her after school.
- We Like the Beach A girl and her mom go for a walk on the beach. They see some of their favorite things.
- Animal Mothers and Babies This book helps children learn to read with descriptions of animal mothers and their babies.
These are just a few of the publisher books about mothers. There are also many Member Books that have been created for and about mothers.
Just as all mothers are unique, each of these titles represents an individual and interesting book to read …
Maybe you will choose to read a book or a poem about mothers …
Maybe you will choose to write and create a book or a poem about mothers …
Find a way to celebrate and share!
Do your students like to watch cartoons or animated movies?
Do they like to read comic books?
Have you student tried reading a graphic novel?
(There is a whole category full of graphic novels in Big Universe Learning)
Do you have students who like to draw?
Do you have students who doodle on papers, desks, books ….?
Using those interests may be a way to engage those students in learning!
Even the reluctant readers …
Even the struggling readers ….
There are so many visual clues t,hat can be used to help determine the words and the story …
I heard a teacher talking the other day about something interesting that was happening in her classroom.
She is a fan of Wonder Woman comics and her students know that.
Whenever students have time, either at school or not, many of them find ways to find things related to Wonder Woman or other comic strips they enjoy. The teacher was even showing comics students had created in their own time.
In these comics, we found fully-developed characters, settings, and plot lines.
And these creations were not from the students in her class who always exceeded …
By using different forms of expression, students were using various parts of the brain to really demonstrate what they had learned …. and many times without even realizing it!
By taking the time to create the comic images and add details, students were able to really focus on the story they were trying to tell …
Many found drawing a picture while thinking about or planning a story, writing a story became an easier mountain to climb …
Generally when people discuss literacy, they think of reading and writing, which are two things supported and encouraged by Big Universe Learning.
There are different types of literacy too.
Did you know April is financial literacy month?
Financial Literacy Month … ????
What is financial literacy?
Why does it have its own month?
Financial Literacy is the ability of one to make appropriate decisions in managing his or her personal finances.
Does that mean counting money?
Does that mean making and sticking to a budget?
Does that mean being able to compare prices?
Does that mean just making smart decisions when it comes to money?
It means that and so much more!
Financial literacy is an important life skill.
Sharing personal finance lessons with students will prepare them to be financially responsible adults.
The Financial Educators Council is just one of many places providing resources and helpful tips.
They are resources, ideas, and lessons for kids, teenagers, and adults. They also have some interesting PSA posters (that is where the one with this post came from).
Big Universe has some books from Marshall Cavendish Benchmark Books about money. The nonfiction books from this publisher are known to be visually appealing and authoritative. They strive to meet the needs of readers from kindergarten through high school.
Here are a few of the money-related books:
Thinkfinity also offers many finance-related lessons and interactive games.
Here are a few of their resources:
Big Banks, Piggy Banks
EconEdLink | Lesson Plan | K-5
Understanding the basics of savings and savings institutions.
Exploring Cost and Savings Using Children’s Literature
ReadWriteThink | Lesson Plan | 3-5
Students make sense of dollars and cents when they study the importance of saving and budgeting in this lesson.
The Cost of Being Late
Illuminations | Lesson Plan | 6-8
Learning how to calculate the impact of an outstanding balance and interest rates.
Buying vs. Renting
EconEdLink | Lesson Plan | 9-12
Learn about the basics of buying a home versus renting.
What do you think of when you hear the word rocket?
What images come to mind?
What verbs are associated with rockets?
What do they do?
Where do they go?
If you could design your own rocket, what would it look like?
Can you imagine what you would do if you were a rocket?
Have you ever built a rocket or know someone who has?
I searched Big Universe Learning for rocket …
Danny’s Rocket by Mia Coulton is the one I found
And I got some ideas …
This story would not be the same without the pictures it uses for illustrations.
Do you think the story was written to go with the pictures or were the pictures created to go with the story?
Different images would totally change the meaning of the story. I wonder if you and your students could create images to go with the story that would add an interesting twist to it?
There is a difference is just taking pictures and creating pictures …
How about starting from scratch?
Could your students write a story and then create images (either by drawing/paining/computer-generated or photographs) to go with the story?
What about if you threw in a twist and asked them to create the images first and then compose a story?
Look at this and the other Danny books and get inspired!
Danny is quite a character and featured in many other books from MaryRuth Books on Big Universe Learning :
Danny even has a facebook page!
Since April is poetry month . . .
What is a poem?
What is a poem to you?
Can you think of a poem?
Does it have to rhyme?
Does it have rhythm?
Does a poem paint a picture with words?
Can a poem be a song?
Since Dawn Publications is in the Publisher Spotlight this month, let’s look at one of their books!
There are lots of nature books to choose from . . .
Can poems be about nature?
Do you think A Swim Through the Sea could be a poem . . . an alliteration one?
Do you think Ancient Rhymes, A Dolphin Lullaby could be a poem . . . a mysterious and magical one?
Do you think All Around Me, I See could be a poem . . . one full of gentle rhymes and imagination?
Do you think Around One Cactus, Owls, Bats and Leaping Rats could be a poem . . . with attention seeking repetition?
I think I see another book from Dawn Publications that I think might fit in the poetry category . . .
Have you ever heard or read Grandma’s Feather Bed?
From reading these, what characteristics can you use to describe poetry?
Here is an activity for you to do (it can also be done with children, but I would encourage you to do it first):
Make a list of 10+ of your favorite books …
Look back at your list and really pay attention to the titles of each book.
Do you see any similarities?
Do you notice any major differences?
Can you sort your list by genre?
What does that tell you about your reading habits?
Do any of the book have the same author?
Are the characters in the books alike or very different?
Do you think the characters in one book would be friends with the characters in another book you listed?
Would you have a party and invite characters from more than one of the books on the list?
Do you notice a common theme?
What does asking these questions about your list encourage you to do?
Does it encourage you to think about your thinking?
What else could you do with this list?
You could make a word cloud using something like wordle.net (If you put this symbol ~ in between the words, the words in the title will stay together).
Creating a word cloud or some other project using the book titles in your list may help you realize even more about your list and/or the possibilities ….
What kinds of questions are being asked?
What kinds of questions can be asked to support reading?
What kinds of questions can be asked to support reading skills?
Who is or should be asking the questions?
What would happen if we started keeping track of the questions being asked?
… how many are being asked?
… what types are being asked?
… who is doing the asking?
In The Case for Curiosity by Susan Engel in the February 2013 ASCD Educational Leadership magazine, it is stated that “simply by counting questions, teachers will begin to be more aware of them, which thereby encourage more questioning.”
Think about the possibilities of what could happen if there was more questioning ….
As a classroom teacher, one of my favorite times of the day was the time I spent doing a Read Aloud for my students.
We developed as a community of learners as we listened to the wonderful words that took us on amazing journeys of imagination.
We learned ways to express ideas and paint pictures with words.
We learned story structure and extended our vocabulary. We also summarized and paraphrased along the way paying attention to the difference in main ideas and details.
We asked questions to help us discover why the author composed the story in a certain way and why specific words were used. We talked about the characteristics we thought would make the character a good friend to have or someone to avoid.
As we returned to our seats, our thoughts went beyond the words presented in the story as we made predictions for the future or changes we would make if we were the author. We also pondered how stories and characters within the same book were connected as well as ways they were connected to other things we had read.
We used this time to not only develop as listeners, readers, and writers but also as thinkers ….
As I now look at the Common Core, I realize how many of these things I was already doing …
As I look at the English Language Arts Standards for Reading:Literature , I notice how many of the things I did fit into the first 3 main areas:
- Key Ideas and Details
- Craft and Structure
- Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Think about the things you already do that fit into these categories …
Think about the ways the books you find on Big Universe can help you with these three categories …
I think the stories on Big Universe are great for read alouds, modeling strategies, comparing characters, and many other skills …
photo credit: Kathy Cassidy via photopin cc