Reading Aloud to 6th Graders

Reading aloud to my 6th graders is probably one of my favorite times of the day! I think “most” of them love it, too! It’s like I’m able to bring the characters alive for them through my voice and actions. We always talk to our partners about some of what is read. Today we finished chapter 4 of The Watsons Go To Birmingham ย by Christopher Paul Curtis.




Kenny’s brother, Byron, took care of Larry Dunn, the boy who stole Kenny’s gloves. In fact, he took care of him REAL GOOD. We discussed how Kenny’s character is so nice and considerate and actually ended up feeling sorry for the boy who stole his gloves.

We answered some questions from our trucker buddy and sent him some questions. We can’t wait for him to visit us! ๐Ÿ™‚

Our day tomorrow will be FILLED with our weekly tests. One of them is on our Scott Foresman Reading Street story this week-The Chimpanzees I Love by Jane Goodall. Today we finished partner reading the story and used sticky notes to write down what we though was important. Of course, I also went over the study guide so that our grades can be suitable instead of so many failing grades. These tests are HARD!!! For me!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

We didn’t have enough time for Read to Self. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Why can’t I just have another hour in my day???? Even 30 more minutes for each class would be enough. I still need to tweak my schedule to fit this in EVERYDAY!!! And we didn’t even write today! Maybe by retirement I’ll have something figured out for the next teacher. ๐Ÿ™‚

1 day until the weekend!! Hooray!



The Hunger Games Trailers

Read and Write 180

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We FINALLY got to watch the book trailer and the movie trailer for The Hunger Games today!!!! They are hooked! They want me to take them on a field trip to the movies to see the movie on March 23rd. LOL! After watching both trailers (twice!), I read them the 1st 2 pages of the book and then raffled it off. You should have seen them scramble to sign up for the book after the 1st person finishes. I’ll take a picture of what our sign up poster looks like now after 3 days.

I actually gave a copy of the book to one of my students yesterday-she stayed up til 3:30 am this morning to finish it! I guess I’m recruiting other Hunger Games junkies!

Here is the book trailer that I found on youtube-it was created by a student.

Here is the movie trailer we watched.

It’s official. I’m a fan. An addicted fan. Now let me go finish Mockingjay!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Reading Book Wars

Read and Write 180-Day 89: Friday, January 6th, 2012

Can we allow fighting in our classrooms over books? ๐Ÿ™‚

Since we completed our read around the room thing yesterday with our books, I decided to raffle off the “hot books”. Babymouse was the biggest contender with SMILE being another hot one. I actually raffled off all of them-surprisingly there were only about 4 out of 24 that didn’t have to be raffled with only 1 or no students wanting them.

I brought both classes together and I went through each book by holding it up and book talking it again. If they wanted that book they had to write their name on a little slip of paper and put it in my box. Then a student would draw out the winning name. Some of the students weren’t bidding on anything UNTIL Babymouse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They were holding out for Babymouse!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well of course I save that one for last. I saved SMILE and Babymouse for the last 2. You should have heard the groans of disappointment from the students who didn’t win Babymouse!!! But the room went wild when I said that I had a surprise and pulled the 2nd Babymouse book from my desk. Seriously, WILD! So we had a 2nd drawing for that one.

Then since we had to take a computer reading test and had extra time to read while waiting on other people to finish Babymouse was read by at least 4 or 5 students YESTERDAY!! ๐Ÿ™‚ They were passing it around to each other. Oh, I can’t wait to buy the rest of them. With my own money. If that’s what it takes! I might even do some kind of Babymouse reading challenge and celebration party!!! The possibilities!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I had asked them to raise their hands if they wanted to read Babymouse and this ย is the response. From 6th graders! ย  ย  Babymouse, here we come!

Read Around the Room


Thursday, January 5, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It was back to school today. Some people don’t like starting back with just a couple of days because you can’t really start a new unit or anything. But I think it gives us time to ease back into the flow of things.

We labeled our english sentence today and wrote a paragraph from it. And I had a brilliant idea come to me like a moth goes to a light. Really, I had my OWN idea instead of borrowing someone else’s from the internet. ๐Ÿ™‚

These sentences that we have been labeling are just ones that I have been making up, but I thought how cool would it be if I pulled ย a sentence out of a book and used this time to do a book talk each day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aren’t I a genius?? Don’t be bashful-say I am. ๐Ÿ™‚

So this is what it looked like today: Today’s sentence is from Among The Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I think this book talk thing is going to be a good thing.

We caught up on our Truckerbuddy emails.




We also wrote a New Year’s Goal for ourselves as readers and then devised a plan to reach that goal. Most of the kids said they wanted to read a certain number of books. Hey, whatever it takes to get them reading.

THEN-the BIG activity!!!! We did “Read Around the Room”. I did this once with my 6th graders last year and LOVED it. Since we have voted to STOP the madness the worksheet packets and RETURN to read to self, I told them everybody needs a book in their hand. A good book-one they want to read.

They all sat in a big circle (our circle actually went around a long group of desks-small space). Everyone had a book (that I had picked out). I set the timer. They started on page 1 of their book and read until I said stop which was between 1 1/2 minutes-2 minutes. If it was a book they wanted to read in the future they wrote it in their reading notebook on their TBR list. Then we passed the books to the left. Repeat. We did this until all 26 students had read the beginning of all 26 books. Everyone said they had written at least 3 titles down on their TBR list so I was happy. PLUS-each time they were reading-I read. :):):) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins-2nd book in The Hunger Games trilogy which I can’t seem to get enough of. ๐Ÿ™‚ One time I even told them I wish they would stop making ME have to stop reading to fiddle with the timer. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is what we looked like during “Read Around the Room”:






Read and Write 180-Day 87

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hurrah for break, Hurrah for break, Everybody sing-Hurrah for break!

Today was a 1/2 day. We drew pictures to make a Christmas book for our Truckerbuddy-Mr. Bob and Mrs. Barbara. Then the kids played some reading board games (that I really need to pull out on Fridays from now on). Then Mr. Brady was kind enough to take all the kids to his room to watch a movie before lunch which gave me time to blog surfย grade some papers!

We have 15 WHOLE days off!!! I can’t believe it! Everyone was in dire need of a break to keep from hitting each otherย rest, relax, and revamp!

So far I have:

1. watched a movie with my daughter

2. read some of my current book

3. called the drug store

4. scheduled a family gathering for next week

5. shopped at Dollar General

6. sent email to counselor with question about new student’s grades

7. called the doctor’s office

8. gone to the bank

9. checked some emails

10. writing this post

WOW! I feel like I’m on supercharge! Now I’ve got to cook some creamed corn for my monthly BUNCO game night with the girls. I love vacation!! Oh, I’m also waiting on my daughter’s bedroom suit to be delivered before 6pm. Very exciting!

I love vacation! Did I already say that? I’ve got lots of things I need to do and want to do, but I am definitely going to get some r&r!

What are your plans?

Read and Write 180-Day 86

Monday, December 19, 2011

I tried to teach today. I really did. But I gave up! ๐Ÿ™‚ Today was our last full day before Christmas break-tomorrow is 1/2 day. I still had 21 out of 25 show up today (just saying that lots of kids in other grades stayed out!). When I asked them to get out their writing notebooks, you should have seen the looks on their faces! Priceless! Imagine this…..






So, I read them part of The Gift of the Magi by Henry O., but stopped before the ending and had them write their own ending to the story. Some of them shared their writing, then I read the rest of the book. I “think” I had their attention during this time. ๐Ÿ™‚ But, I could see that it was quickly waning so I let them partner up and play a “Roll the” game with a die. It was a Roll a Christmas Tree game. I found it on this website: Little Giraffesย They had a blast-then they colored their Christmas tree! I know, I know, I teach 6th graders, but it IS almost Christmas break! ๐Ÿ™‚

We watched a movie-Prancer Returns, AND we went outside and played basketball for a looooong time. ๐Ÿ™‚

The best part of my day (besides seeing and being with my adorable little angels! :)) was TEACHER SNACK DAY!ย 


Tomorrow is our LAST day before Christmas break, and it is a 1/2 day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Read and Write 180-Day 85

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Party Day. Need I say more??? After PE, we did our 4 performances of our readers theater. I did not get to video them, but I took some pictures.

We had a few parents and sisters show up to watch our performances. What a great way to practice fluency!!!

We watched a movie until lunch, then had our Christmas party which included one of my all time favorite foods-Thin crust meat lovers’ pizza!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YUM! After we finished eating and cleaning up we went outside to play where my co-worker proceeded to THROW UP!!! Poor Mr. Brady!!! I ran and got him a sprite and moved to the OTHER end of the bench AS FAR AWAY from him as possible. ๐Ÿ™‚

He said, “I feel much better!”

I said, “I’m sure you do!”

THAT was our Friday!

Read and Write 180-Day 84

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I AM 41 YEARS OLD AS OF TODAY!!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Here is a picture of me with a snazzy pair of glasses on that one of my students made me today! (Thanks, Austin!)

We took 2 tests today-english and reading. Finished with tests before Christmas break, but now I’ve got these 2 to grade, last Friday’s tests to grade, and MAYBE the reindeer reports-not sure if I’m going to grade those or just read and comment. Anyway, does anyone need a temporary job??????? ๐Ÿ™‚

The fresh read passage/questions come from our reading program-Scott Foresman.

This is what I like about them:

1. The passage is 1 page or less

2. The questions are higher level thinking questions

3. There are 3 multiple choice and 1 open ended

This is what I don’t like about them:

1. The test maker ย gives 4 choices for each multiple choice question and 2 of them REALLY could be the answer!!!

2.ย ย The test maker ย gives 4 choices for each multiple choice question and 2 of them REALLY could be the answer!!!

3.ย ย The test maker ย gives 4 choices for each multiple choice question and 2 of them REALLY could be the answer!!!

Can you tell how much I don’t like that? It’s like they are trying to trick the students, and I DON’T believe in that!!!!! That’s stupid! Yeah, I said “stupid”! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I might start making my own test questions for the fresh reads-maybe use the ones that make sense and make up my own to add to them!

We practiced our Christmas readers theater today-performance is tomorrow. I really hope I can video them and figure out how to convert them and upload to my blog. We’ll see!

I read Santa’s Stuck to them (a picture book-might I add a CUTE and FUNNY picture book!). I had them take a sheet of paper and draw off 4 boxes on the paper. As I read the book to them without showing them the pictures, I would stop periodically and have them sketch what they were visualizing in their minds. I REALLY want them to be able to visualize what they are reading when they read independently because I feel that it is one of the MOST important comprehension strategies. It enables them to see what is going on, to hear what is going on, and to feel like they are IN the story-it makes it so much more interesting for them as they read! Then when we finished I had them share their pictures with their partner. I read the book to them a 2nd time showing them the pictures. It was fun! At least it was for me!

We took them outside again today (it’s that 70 degree weather we are having here in Alabama that’s making me do this!) and lots of us played basketball. Did you know that basketball with a bunch of 6th graders is a VERY DANGEROUS SPORT?????? I only got knocked down once :), and thought I broke my finger once! It’s on tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚ And my swinging earrings were REALLY getting in my way!

Do you remember those work packets we’ve been doing for about 4-5 weeks now because of the not so good reading grades? Well, today I decided to let them vote on whether or not to continue those after Christmas break or return to “Read to Self”-you know since ย I am in such a Christmas giving spirit right now! ๐Ÿ™‚ We voted by secret ballot because I didn’t want to know who voted “against” read to self since I take that so personally! It amazes me how many 6th graders HATE to read!!!! I don’t get it! But I did get this: 42/4. IN FAVOR OF RETURNING TO READ TO SELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now if I can just turn my reluctant readers on to a good book and get them hooked somehow!!!! I truly understand that not all children are going to be as passionate about reading as I am. I get that. But I just want them to enjoy it when they do read. If anyone has any suggestions PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT! I have thought about really talking the books up. Reading the 1st page or 2 of a book to hook them. Reading a certain part of a book to hook them. Showing them book trailers to hook them. Any other ideas????



Read and Write 180-Day 82/83

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I.can’t.catch.up. ๐Ÿ™‚

Short recap of what we’ve done yesterday and today.

Writing-Finished our research for our reindeer(caribou) reports. Did the outline today, and they are actually having to write the report tonight for homework. This is what I’m going to change for next year. I’m going to extend the time that we devote to this report. I started out good and took baby steps with them for the research part. BUT-time got away from me so I zipped through the outline with them today (and my afternoon class REALLY suffered because we took them outside after lunch since it was in the 70s yesterday and today)! I think I would actually need to devote about 3 full weeks to this writing project for the research, outline, rough draft, editing, and final copy. Live and learn. I will also make sure we finish it BEFORE the week before Christmas break! But let me tell you what we did yesterday with our final research that they liked and I liked!!! I had 3 stations that I rotated them through. 2 of the stations had copies of articles, and the 3rd station had encyclopedias. Since I had guided them through the process of highlighting info and taking notes from articles, they got to do these stations by themselves. They had about 10 minutes at each station. You should have heard them reading (some were reading out loud) the articles/encyclopedias and getting excited about new facts AND thinking about what they were reading!!!! IT WAS AWESOME!!! Here are a few pictures:

We finished making our Christmas cards for the military personnel who have been injured and cannot come home for the holidays to be with their families. Here is a picture of our finished products!

Here we are with our cards:

We practiced our readers theater script today-we will be performing it Friday in our classroom. I read it with them today so they could hear fluent reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

We made Christmas ornaments for them to take home and put on their family trees. They turned out so so so cute!

We didn’t put up a Christmas tree in our classroom-I know, I know-I’m a BAD TEACHER! Time got away again!! ๐Ÿ™‚ But my homeroom class made this ADORABLE “book tree” today. One student called it “The Tree of Knowledge” to which I responded that some people don’t seem to partake of it too often! ๐Ÿ™‚

ย Of course I got this cute idea from

Good night! ๐Ÿ™‚

Read and Write 180-Day 81

Monday, December 12, 2011

What a fun day! We only have this week and 1 1/2 days next week before we get out for Christmas vacation SO-we are “reviewing” this week. We are not reading a story out of our textbook this week-we are doing a Christmas readers’ theater-“Goldilocks and the Christmas Elves”. Here is a link to the script:

It is on this website:ย

I have 24 kids in 1 class and 25 in the other. We will have a total of 4 groups performing. The kids were ecstatic about it!!!! It’s a super cute and funny play.

We also caught up with some emails from our wonderful truckerbuddy. If you are interested in becoming a part of this program go to their website and read all about it:ยย It’s totally free, and we have been connected with a super husband/wife team from our own state of ALABAMA!

We worked with our English sentence and wrote our paragraphs and edited. Always fun. For me anyway! ๐Ÿ™‚

We read another article on reindeer for our informational reports and took notes. Tomorrow we will do sort of a rotation in groups to get more information from a few more sources. That will finish up our “research” part, so we will try to put all of our information into an outline on Wednesday and write the report on Thursday. I may have pushed it too close-I hope we finish!

We also made Christmas cards for the military people that will not be coming home for the holidays. First I read them a picture book-“The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy for Christmas”. Then I had them think about what they have asked for this Christmas and then we talked about how what we want is probably A LOT different than what our military people want for Christmas! The cards are going to turn out to be so amazing. I’ll take pictures tomorrow and post.

Good night!