Archive for the 'Reading Workshop' Category

Mar 24 2011

Author Keith Baker Visits!

We were very lucky and honored to have author Keith Baker visit the Elementary school this year! You may know him the most from his Mr. & Mrs. Green series (4 books).

He started off his hour with us by explaining how he was really an illustrator first before an author. He loved all aspects of art and went to college to study it. He showed us some of his ‘old’ drawings from when he was younger. Boy, is he talented! He drew 9 blank faces on a piece of chart paper and quickly explained how he gives emotion to his characters–he showed us happy, sad, angry, mad, laughing, thinking, and more! Check out the photos below to see what I mean!

He did an oral retelling of The Magic Fan, and how the idea for the book came to be. I’ve included the youtube video below of this. Mr. Baker explained to us that a lot of thought goes into his character. For instance, in his book Who Is the Beast? it took him several tries to get just the right drawing of what he wanted the lion to look like. He looks at photographs to help him draw.

He also told us some secrets about how he likes to hide animals in each of his pictures. Look carefully the next time you pick up a Keith Baker book!

He told us he’s really into sketching penguins at the moment and will probably create a penguin character for a future book.

Overall, a fantastic visit! We wonder who will our next author visit be?


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Mar 15 2011

Social Issues Rap!

Published by under Reading Workshop

As our Social Issues unit has ended, the students in Room 230 got creative and wrote and performed their very own musical raps! Some even wrote songs! Click on each group below to hear their group projects on a social issue of their choice. Can you tell what social issue they are rapping/singing about?







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Feb 24 2011

Who Has the Power?

Published by under Reading Workshop

Today our class is spending time learning about a reading strategy in our Social Issues unit.
The strategy is : Readers think about who has the power in the story and its affect on the other characters.

We are following 4 steps to do this:
1. Identify which character has the power.
2. Ask yourself, “How do they use this power?”
3. Think about how the other characters view this character’s actions.
4. Stop and Jot your thoughts.

When thinking about ‘who has the power’, I couldn’t help but think back to my childhood and the fabulous cartoon called He-Man. Watch this clip from the introduction of the cartoon and you’ll see what I mean…

When using this reading strategy, I am not talking about which character has a magical power like He-Man, but rather, which character has the ability to influence others–this could be in a negative way, OR positive way!

We recently read Your Move by Eve Bunting and there is definitely a character in this story that uses power in a negative way. If you haven’t read the book, be sure to check it out at your library!

Happy Reading!

Miss B.

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Nov 26 2010

Learning to Read Like a Teacher: Nonfiction

It’s not easy to read like a teacher does. Primary teachers, in particular have perfected this seemingly innate skill.  Today, we learned how to read a part of a nonfiction text by reading OFF OF the text, not reading all the words on the page.

We had to make decisions as to what was important to share with others, what were some questions we had that we wanted to share, connections, and so on.

We also learned the importance of using a loud, clear, teacher voice, expressive face and hand movements and how to hold the book so others held their interest in what we were saying.

Teachers make it look so easy!  In the picture below, Max is doing a great job of trying out the skills we learned today.

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Oct 05 2010

How Great is Nate?

Big Nate is a popular read these days at the Elementary level.

Miss Tara, our librarian, has recently purchased 6 more copies of it

for the library because there was a waiting list of 29 students who wanted to read it!!


Today during our library time, Ms. Tara introduced us to a really fun website for the Big Nate book. It even allows you to read the

first 4o pages of the book…for FREE!

How cool is that?

What other websites do you know about that offer FREE chapters or parts of chapters?

I personally know that Canadian authors M & L Wade’s popular series called And Then It Happened offers free chapters online!

Please comment below if you know of any other websites where we can read parts of books for free.

Be WARNED, however– you might end up really liking what you read and then have to get the book to finish what you started!

I look forward to reading your suggestions!

Miss B.

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Sep 29 2010

Character TimeLines

Published by under Reading Workshop

Grade 5s,

As you know, we’ve been looking more closely at how a character can often change over time.  We’ve spent some time as a class, examining Sahara in the book Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell and how she does indeed change throughout the book.

For Monday, be sure to come prepared to discuss with your reading partner some evidence of how you think your character changes in your book.  Later in the week, we will spend some time putting together our own timelines in class.

Have a great LONG weekend!

Miss B.

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