Praise Fitness, Running, Reading

A good friend started a Praise Fitness class at our church on Mondays and Thursdays. Tonight was our 1st one, and we ROCKED it. πŸ™‚ Danced to Toby Mac, Mandisa, Hillsong!!


I was feeling frisky (did I just really use that word??) before the class so I ran/walked a mile.

Ummm- I’m feeling it already. πŸ™‚


Earlier today I worked on some school stuff and read. I finished SNAPPED by Laura Griffin. 5 of 5 stars.

And look y’all- she tweeted me back!!!


It was a great day out of school!!!

Read Aloud Time

It’s no secret.

I cannot lie.

The truth is……

Read aloud time is my FAVORITE time of the day!!!

Yes, I read aloud to my 6th graders EVERYDAY.

Our current read aloud is The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.


We have also read:

How to Eat Fried Worms, Out of My Mind, One for the Murphys

After we finish The Boy in the Striped Pajamas we will read The Watsons Go To Birmingham and (maybe) Wonder.

LOVE read aloud time!


Teaching Theme

THEME: The big idea, the message

Have never really done a good job in the past teaching or explaining theme. Changing that this year. Hopefully. πŸ™‚

We’ve been talking about theme during our daily read aloud time. They’ve been identifying in their independent reading.

Today I took it a further step by showing them how to write about it and pull evidence from the text to support it.

They helped me write this. Then I had them copy it into their reading notebook so they would have an example.


Below is revised copy. πŸ™‚


We then color coded it so they could SEE the intro, evidence, and expanding on evidence, and conclusion.

After independent reading, they had to write about a theme from their book.

Oh yeah, before all this, I explained difference between main idea and theme:


How do you teach theme?

Character Comparison Across Texts

Remember my last post? I’m SO tired-I’m overwhelmed-YADAYADAYADA…. πŸ™‚

Well, guess how I got rejuvenated today?

No, not by getting a new student right in the middle of the year. πŸ™‚

No, not when the speakers fell off of the overhead projector in the ceiling VERY close to Emma’s head. πŸ™‚

No, not when I took class time this afternoon to type up an agenda for our common core meeting after school. πŸ™‚

Yes, when Jonathan ( one of my reluctant readers) said as he was reading Babymouse-“Mrs. Shannon, Felicia is JUST like Claire in Out of My Mind!!!”

Oh, YES!!! THIS is why I teach!! πŸ™‚

What an AWESOME comparison of characters across texts!!!

And just so you know:

I have NOT explicitly taught character analysis. I have NOT had my students fill out worksheets on character analysis.

I HAVE read aloud 2 novels so far this year almost daily. And we have done A LOT of thinking and talking about these stories. The characters. Their actions. Events. Our feelings. Our thoughts. In an “informal” way!

And look at the payoff! Better than the lottery. πŸ™‚

Ok. Now you can go back through this post and count the smiley faces. If they total up to more than 3, that means I’m super happy! πŸ™‚

Thank you, Jonathan, for confirming that all of the conversation that has been happening in our classroom this year has been worth it!! Can’t wait to see what the future holds!


A Long Time and a Read Aloud

Has it really been over 2 weeks since I posted?????????? This ALWAYS happens when school starts. It’s my most difficult and demanding time of the year! πŸ™‚

I have so much to tell you, but I don’t want you to get bogged down in a post that reads like a novel…….

So for now I will just say:


SO. FAR. (Disclaimer here) πŸ™‚

Our 1st read aloud (novel) of the year is How To Eat Fried Worms.


The kids love it. Very short chapters. Very disgusting. Winner.

And I would LOVE to have them eat some worms after we finish it. You know-the sour gummy worms. But maybe covered with something that looks like dirt??? Fun stuff!

Stay tuned for more updates to what is shaping up to hopefully be the most fabulous year EVER!

What’s your first read aloud for the year??

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 Β 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! πŸ™‚

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!!! πŸ™‚

We didn’t have enough time for Read to Self. 😦 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. πŸ™‚

1 day until the weekend!! Hooray!



Finally finished The Westing Game

Well, we finally finished The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Let me just start by saying that in the beginning I almost gave up on this as a read aloud! Now I am so glad we stuck with it!!!! πŸ™‚

Here are the things that have to be considered:

1. It is very difficult to follow-I have ordered a class set of this book so that every student has a copy in their hands. Also, I introduced it by having them fill out a predict-o-gram with words/terms that are in the book. We periodically revisited this sheet and made changes when necessary. I also gave them a character sheet and as we read through the book I had them write things down when we were introduced to a character or given more information.

2. There are 40 chapters in this book-I did not start this book as soon as I should have so we really crunched some chapters together toward the end.

3. It is very difficult to follow-Did I say this already? πŸ™‚ I should have taken some time throughout the year to introduce some things so they would be more easily understood as they came up in the book-stock market(definitely!!!!), chess, not sure what else but these are 2 biggies!!!!!!

At first I was frustrated along with the kids because there were so many characters to keep straight, and the way the book is written the scenes keep jumping (quickly). BUT-WE ENDED UP LOVING THIS BOOK!!!!! We finished it today-some of my girls (avid readers) did NOT want the book to end!!!!!

I will definitely keep this on my read aloud list and put it at the end of the year again-BUT will build up to it all year!!!

How to Read Aloud

I only wish that I had been reading aloud to my 6th graders ALL year EVERY day! I love it, they love it, and I just wonder if it would have helped them with their own reading aloud. I am only on the 3rd novel with them: 1st was How to Eat Fried Worms; 2nd was Walk Two Moons; now I am reading The Westing Game. My goal for next year is to read 1 chapter each day for the entire 180 days. Of course, next year I am also going to begin doing reading and writing mini-lessons so I will also be reading picture books, articles, excerpts from novels, etc to them a lot. I know that I will only be able to add maybe 1 more novel (complete novel) to the mix because of time constraints, and I’m wondering which one I am going to choose. The 1st one this year was FUNNY, the 2nd one was SAD, and the 3rd one is a MYSTERY(and it is very hard for them to follow!!). πŸ™‚

I am thinking about adding one of these: Freak the Mighty, Maniac Magee, Number the Stars, something that makes them feel and think and wonder!

Anyway, I consider myself a very good reader in all sorts of ways-especially reading aloud. I have always been an avid reader of books (I LOVE TO READ). I taught Kindergarten for 6 years so I read aloud A LOT! And my 6th graders love the read aloud! πŸ™‚ So I foundΒ these tips on reading aloud and making it magical on Β Mem Fox‘s website. Read and listen for yourself!

Walk Two Moons Book Collages

We completed our book collages yesterday on Walk Two Moons-we also finished reading the book(I have been reading it aloud). This book is so good-my students loved it! Next year I will pace it better though-the book has 44 chapters and I have been trying to finish it up before our spring break so this past week I have been reading 2-4 chapters each day (of course the kids love that, but I would rather read 1 chapter each day). This book will ALWAYS stay on my list of read aloud books for a couple of reasons-1) it is sort of complicated because of all of the flashbacks 2)I don’t think it is a book that most of my students would just pick up and read by themselves 3)it TOUCHES YOUR HEART 4)it is just a great read!

Here are some pictures of the collages that the kids made. NOTE: their homework was to cut out magazine pictures/draw pictures that relate to the story. Most of them did NOT do this as homework and we ended up doing it in class. If I had not REALLY wanted to finish before spring break I would not have allowed them to do this in class!

Reading aloud

We only have 7 more chapters until we are finished with Walk Two Moons (our read aloud). πŸ™‚ This week I am reading about 2 chapters each day-might crank it up to 3 tomorrow and Thursday. We have continued to complete our prediction charts each day on at least 1 of the chapters. This is a 3 column chart-1. What I predict will happen 2. Why I think that will happen 3. What really happened. The 1st 2 columns we fill out prior to reading the chapter and the last column is filled out after reading. I need to do something during reading (that is what the research shows-before, during, and after reading). During reading is probably the most important because it causes the reader (or listener) to THINK while reading which aids in comprehension. I could have them do quick writes like we did with the Scott Foresman stories. This is where periodically we would make visualizations, connections, or ask questions while reading. We would share these. Or I might try and search for another “during” reading strategy that would lend itself to a read aloud. I’ll let you know what I come up with!! The kids are SOOOOO into this book! They moan and groan when I say, “Well, that’s the end of that chapter”!! πŸ™‚ I love it!

We will make our collages this Friday. They have formed groups and are responsible for cutting out pictures/letters/words from magazines, etc. to create the collages. I will take pictures and post them when completed.

I almost forgot to tell you about an after reading strategy that we did today. It is called 3-2-1. It can be done with anything they read. I had them write 3 things they KNEW about the chapter, 2 things they found INTERESTING, and 1 QUESTION they still had. You can make up your own 3-2-1 however you want to. It was quick and showed me a lot about them as a listener. I will definitely use this when they are the ones actually reading something.