You know what makes my teacher heart go pitter-patter? Sitting in the front of the classroom, students all around my feet (with that one student who is always fascinated by your toes or shoes and keeps touching them nonetheless), reading a good book while having a captivating conversation with little minds. I don’t think that will ever grow old. Fortunately, as elementary teachers we get to indulge in picture books on the daily. While I love reading a good book, I love digging into that book even more. I love seeing light bulbs go off, hearing deep thinking, and watching my students make meaningful connections. Let’s take a step-by-step look at how we make this happen in my classroom.
Reading, Reflecting, Crafting, Discussing, and More
To start, I get my bulletin board all ready for the week with vocabulary cards, questions to facilitate our book talks, and the books we will focus on together. During this week of Rooted in Reading, we start with our fiction book called Rosie Revere, Engineer. After reading and discussing, students reflect on the main character and brainstorm character traits. Now we can make a connection to our main character by reading a nonfiction book about Amelia Earhart. This nonfiction reader is read in partners so that students can now have book talks with a classmate. To bring the information to life, my students make an airplane that represents their learnings about Amelia Earhart. They also use the nonfiction reader to organize the information from the text. We put the graphic organizer and the airplane together to show what we’ve learned. It’s now important that we tie our fiction and nonfiction books together by having a discussion about our leading ladies. We use an anchor chart to brainstorm as a class. Having students write on sticky notes enables me to save the chart for the following year! Throughout the week, we’re also working on grammar. This week, my students focus on irregular past tense verbs. Rooted in Reading allows our grammar to tie into our book or theme so that it’s an easy transition from one subject to the next. And, that’s how the magic happens! My students’ minds are filled with new knowledge that can now overflow into the rest of the week. They’ve been exposed to quality literature, and are actively engaged in their learning because the books are fun. They get to talk about their thinking and represent their learning in new and exciting ways!
Amy Lemons is a 2nd grade teacher from Texas and a teacher-blogger at Step into Second Grade. Over the past 10 years she has taught 4th, 1st, and 2nd grade. Amy has a passion for creating math and language arts lessons that are engaging, interactive, and learner-centered.