Saturday, February 21, 2009

Get Out of the Reading Rut!

Are your students stuck in a reading rut? Reading the same author or genre over and over? Are they bored with the books in your classroom library? Are you looking for a way to infuse your independent reading time with energy and excitement? Find out more about an approach developed by teacher Andrea Smith when she decided to create a classroom ritual to share, read and enjoy nonfiction texts with her students every week.

Simple in nature, Expedition Monday incorporates the workshop elements of sharing, time to read, independent choices, and community. Our intention is to discover the unlimited supply of nonfiction resources that surround us. Children are simply given time to explore self-selected topics free from the guidelines of our content studies. The effects of this routine and ritual have been far reaching, and just like Poetry Friday, have made a significant difference in the lives of my students. - Andrea Smith

To learn more about Expedition Mondays and how to integrate it into your Reading Workshop read Expedition Mondays: Launching the Week with Nonfiction by Andrea Smith at Choice Literacy. Rekindle your students' passion for reading and learning with nonfiction!


Nonfiction Book Lists:

NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children

Through The Looking Glass Children’s Book Review

Informational Texts Using the 3-2-1 Strategy

Lesson Overview
Being able to effectively read informational texts is a fundamental quality of successful readers. In this lesson, students learn to use the 3-2-1 strategy, which involves writing about three things they discovered, two things they found interesting, and one question they still have. After teacher modeling, students read a magazine article independently and use the 3-2-1 strategy to comprehend what they read. This strategy can easily be adapted for use with Expedition Mondays.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Creating a Video Slideshow with Animoto

Animoto is a cool online tool that lets you create short animated videos from digital pictures. It takes just minutes to produce a video and is really easy to use. First you upload the images you want to include, then choose the music, and the program does the rest. You can email or embed the videos into your blog or download them to your computer for in-class presentations! Registration as an educator is required.

In one of my literacy groups we were reading a play about fairy penguins. Both the students and I wondered if fairy penguins were real or if we were going to be reading about magical creatures. Non-fiction or fantasy? A quick internet search helped us locate photographs and links to lots information about fairy penguins.

We learned that they are the smallest penguins in the world, they live in New Zealand and Australia and they are endangered. We also read about an effort to protect fairy penguins using sheepdogs!