Things are about to change, I'm moving from 5th grade to 1st grade this fall! There are so many differences between the way a 5th grader and a 1st grader works and thinks, am I prepared? I'm moving into a (gorgeous and huge) new classroom, which means the cabinets are empty (a blessing and a curse).
During this past school year we celebrated Read Across America Week. The first day had a theme of "Bring a Book Buddy" for D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read). I was surprised of the amount of 5th grade friends that brought a stuffed animal or baby doll from home to read with during D.E.A.R time. Sometimes teachers forget that, as big as our 5th graders are, they are still children. I want to bring play and fun into my new classroom as much as I can, Book Buddies are an easy way to incorporate reading and fun at the same time! Here are some Book Buddies that I found at Kohl's this week. The proceeds raised benefit children across all of our communities (which is a great reason to explain why I needed ALL of the Mo Willem book characters). I also lucked out by finding some of the old Dr. Seuss Kohl's care line at a clearance price!
All humans can be readers, if they find the right book! Harry Potter opened up the world of reading, magic, and possibilities for me. Being a classroom teacher, spending 30+ hours with young minds, it is my job to expose students to their type of book.
With testing and curriculum, how do you find time to do a read-aloud? Easy, reading aloud is learning and curriculum! Reading together allows GREAT class discussions on important topics in addition to exposure to vocabulary, quality writing, fluent reading, new text structure, genre books, author studies and more. As we read we monitor comprehension, make predictions, and connections! So I ask you, with testing and curriculum, how can you NOT do a read aloud?
Certain days allow more time to invest into a novel as a class, but when we are doing a class novel we take some time every day to read together. Sometimes this is as they are unpacking in the morning, as transition from recess, at dismissal, or taking the time to read as we relax to soak up reading.
Turn off the lights, close the curtains, shut the door, and READ! This is the first year I have tried flashlight reading! The students LOVE it! We usually work to earn this as a reward over the course of a week in our reading blocks. Students can earn minutes towards flashlight reading by meeting our small group expectations (6inch voices, on task, keep teacher time special...). It's so catchy to say flashlight Friday, but our schedule makes it easier to work into on Wednesdays when we don't have RTI reading (Response to Intervention).
The Children's Book World is a locally owned business, that may love books just as much as I do! Through their shop and author programs, I have had the opportunity to meet many beloved authors, hear them speak about writing, and get signed books for our classroom library. (It is also a GREAT way to get student motivated to read a new book or genre!)
Bulletin boards are great way to encourage community and school spirit. They can be educational, motivational, or just pure decoration. Either way, when the kids see something new they get excited (especially when their name or face is on it)!
Pottermore is a fantastic addition to the traditional book experience! Students followed along with the Pottermore story lines to explore additional information about the characters, setting, and plot that was revealed to them by the author, J.K. Rowling!
After being sorted into Hogwarts houses and purchasing school supplies in Diagon Alley, students explored the rest of the magical world of Harry Potter. They were able to practice potions and jinxes, just like book characters, to earn house points towards the Hogwarts House Cup! We created a Google Sheet to track our own house points to see who could earn the most points within just our school houses!
English Language Arts
During our regular school week, students read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with their ELA teacher and class. Although, on Fridays students had an opportunity to combine with another grade level to take part in a book clubs across grade levels! Students had reading roles throughout the unit to help lead their own book discussions. They were able to make predictions, connections, inferences, as well as generate discussion questions and visualize the setting and/or plot!
Art and Physical Education
Miss Derrickson and I are lucky to work with a supportive and flexible faculty! Our physical education teacher made the last 5th and 6th grade gym class extra special.
The 5th and 6th grade students were able to play Quidditch together! They were able to adapt the fictional sport of Quiddidtch to our gym class. While we were unable to find a magical snitch to fly around the gym the whole time, we were able to have a student be the snitch! The snitch would have various bases to remain safe on during the game, but would "fly" across the field at any point trying to avoid the seeker!
During art class the 6th grade made two creations related to Harry Potter. At the start of the literature unit they were able to envision their own magical owl, like Hedwig. We found our inspiration from Art Dish with MJ. We used charcoal and pastels to create a feathered or textured effect for our owls. I find anytime we use pastels it is best to laminate the student work before hanging it so it does not end up on clothing as visitors walk by.
Towards the end our our Harry Potter unit we had one book that was read so much it fell apart at the seems. We took this as an opportunity to make some creative Sharpie Art Wizard Poetry! Student took any page out of the novel and drew a magical image. Then within the image or across the page they picked out key words to compose a muggle or wizard poem by illustrating over the other words.
Students ordered their books through our classroom Scholastic Book Clubs! While we anxiously awaited our book deliveries, the teachers began to built excitement across the classrooms for the novel. Our four homeroom teachers went to Pottermore and took the official test to see which houses we would be sorted into. It just so happened, we each represented a different house, building a connection to the book and healthy book based competition among all those on the middle school floor.
We set the stage for reading by creating a few Hogwarts themed classroom decorations. I wanted to build enthusiasm by recreating some of the environment we were reading about in school. I was blown away by my previous students offering to come in at recess to help create the magic for my current class!
The 9 3/4 platform was made using butcher block paper, a large sponge, and mix of brown and red tempra paint. Our "floating candles" are made from recycled paper towel/toilet paper tubes, fishing line, felt, tissue paper, and paint. If you look closely, before painting our tubes we dripped hot glue down the sides for a drippy wax effect!
Current 5th grade teacher and former middle school educator trying to be techy, Reading Specialist, Science Coordinator, Student Government Coordinator, life long learner, and avid reader