Friday, 27 July 2012

McKay Books and Your Classroom Library

One final post on this hot Friday night. If you are a teacher, you know that your classroom library is your path into your students' reading lives. In our ESL classroom, our students actually believed that our books were "better" than the ones in the school library. My co-teacher and I made many, many trips to McKay Books to buy books that we used in lessons and for our students to check out. They were always excited to see the table of "new" books chosen just for them, and could hardly wait for their turn to read them. By the time I retired this spring, we had more than 1,000 books on our shelves. On teachers' salaries, this wouldn't have been possible without McKay. With some books as cheap as 25 cents, and many priced from 95 cents to $3.50, this warehouse stuffed with books of every kind allowed us to feed our students' desire for reading in style! You. Must. Go.

Teaching Students to Make Inferences

If you teach inferences, you need to look at this great lesson! And while you're there, subscribe to Byrdseed. While designated as a site for gifted learners, it's much more than that.

Book Trailers

Since encouraging reading is one of my passions, I want to share a great way to catch kids' interest in a new book, in a format they know well. Sell them on a book with a "preview of coming attractions" book trailer or a book talk or author interview. has many! Below is a link to one example - Scholastic's YouTube book trailer for The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (click on his name to view his amazing website). My daughter just bought this book and its sequel, Darth Paper Strikes Back, for her middle school classroom library. She'll make some kiddos happy, for sure, and have them ready for the third book in the series, The Secret of the Fortune Wookie, due out August 7!

In my search for resources, I also found a post all about book trailers at one of Keith Schoch's blogs, Teach with Picture Books. Happy trailer hunting!

Here's my preview: My copies of The Daily 5 and The CAFE Book by "The Sisters", Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, are on their way to me at this moment. Both were highly recommended by Dr. Lori Digisi, a literacy specialist and presenter at my first statewide TAS meeting last week. The books provide a structure for increasing student ownership in their reading and a means for improved differentiated instruction. I'll post a review after I've read them.

A Worn Path

So, my daughter is a teacher. A really, really good teacher. I would like to say that I taught her everything she knows, but it wouldn't be true, even though I was her teacher (twice!) in high school. She also writes a really, really good book blog. You should definitely follow her blog if you like to read. At all.

The Grammar Police

I'm trying to migrate a number of Facebook posts over to the blog, so today will be an unusual one - I normally won't be posting multiple times a day!

If you are on Facebook, and are part of the grammar police (in my country upbringing, that would be said with an emphasis on the first syllable of PO-lice) you need to "like" Grammarly just because its it's fun!  :-)


Today's awesome share is About a year ago, during a search for a template to use so my co-teacher and I could type rather than write in tiny little plan book boxes, I came across this site. With a free, no obligation 30-day trial, we had nothing to lose; at the end of that time, we were more than happy to pay the $12 annual membership. It truly changed our lives! 

You choose your format, enter classes, color-code if you like, and go! Perhaps the best feature of all is that the Common Core State Standards, as well as the Tennessee Curriculum Standards, are right there in a pull-down menu for you to click on and insert!!! You can enter homework and notes, too.

Being able to access your virtual planbook from any connected computer is great, too - no hauling from home to school and back. Enjoy!