After passing my very last math exam needed for licensing (yaaaaay!) today, I am now thinking I better get started on planning for the year. Now, one might ask why I feel the need to do curriculum planning at 11:30 at night on the 23 of July? Ummm, well… Your guess is as good as mine. Like I said to a teacher friend the other day, “And to think, people say we have summers ‘off.’ Ha!”
In my late night crazy brain, I have decided to organize my primary lessons a little differently this year. Last year I tried to plan my lessons thematically, based on what was happening in the school, as a whole, and what was being taught in the classroom. While I still plan to continue on that path, I would also like to attempt to incorporate regular author studies into my kindergarten, first and second grade library lessons. There are various authors and illustrators that I think all young readers should be exposed to and I thought this would be a great opportunity to create that exposure. But, therein lies my conundrum… There are too, too, too many to choose from.
This is only after one session of brainstorming:
Ezra Jack Keats
Audrey & Don Wood
Margaret Wise Brown
Jan & Stan Berenstain
Chris Van Allsburg
Vera B. Williams
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Mary Pope Osborne
Sigh. Too many books, too little time.
And just because they’re too wonderful not to share:
My latest library bulletin board was inspired by Courtney and her stunning Teaching in Paradise blog. When I was looking for genre posters on TPT (and desperately wishing I could do graphic design), I came across this set from Ginger Snaps Treats (you can also find her on Teachers Notebook). I loved the poster set so much that I bought my own home laminator and now they are shiny and eternally beautiful.
I found a fun ocean-themed clip art set from MyClipArtStore on Etsy and the color scheme just popped! I made some coral using construction paper, tempera paint and a crumpled paper towel and voilà!
I was recently visiting the fifth grade class when I discovered a gem… The kids are currently participating in a book challenge, in which they are required to read a set number of books from various genres. I love this idea because it promotes free choice, while still encouraging students to read outside of their comfort zone (this is particularly great for those kids that “only like _______ books.” It helps them to discover books they would otherwise never pick up.
Well, our wonderful fifth grade general studies teacher has the kids record the books they’ve read in a journal, as well as reflections to those titles. Well, let me tell you how ecstatic I was when I stumbled across the following:
My 5th through 8th grade students are required to read across a range of genres throughout the year. One genre that always prompts a lot of heel-digging is biographies. Our biography section is… Well, let’s just call it a little “dusty.” It’s not a section that I’m proud of. In an effort to not only help the kids fulfill their requirement, but also get them interested in reading non-fiction, I ordered the complete Who Was series. These short, illustrated biographies are great for my middle grade readers. I found there are a ton of great biographies for children and a ton of great biographies for high schoolers, but the ones in between, fell through the cracks. This series is the perfect supplement.
Best of all, when I delivered them to the 5th grade classroom, they went WILD. Now that’s librarian magic.