Monday, January 30, 2017

Authentic Classroom Discussions for Learning

 Welcome to my fifth-grade classroom! Read aloud is one of my most treasured time of the day. The anguished cries of "NNNNNNOOOOOOO" when it is time to move on and your students want nothing more than for you to continue reading, is music to this teacher's ears. There are days when I have to catch myself from saying "I got you"! The read aloud in my classroom, span across the genres with the intent of giving my students a "taste" of many. My hope in doing this is to help them find a writing style, author, or book type that they individually enjoy. Sometimes it just takes being exposed to different types of books to find the "good fit book".

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Currently, I am reading one of my all time favorite books to my class called Because of Mr. Terupt. This book opens the door to conversations about point-of-view, friendship, loss, and bullying just to list a few. Daily discussions connected to the current read aloud has led to authentic classroom discussions. One such conversation was about how people in our lives influence our choices that can lead to change in an individual. Over the length of the book, the discussions flowed smoothly from one learning moment to the next. It also allowed me to incorporate mini- lessons including parts of a story and how the climax of a story or a big life moment can change a character and/or person in real life. These discussions have led to greater personal connections a higher level of comprehension.

Another fun activity connected to this book is "Dollar Words". This is a fun way of bringing math into the mix! Students will use the letters of the alphabet that have been given a value of $0.01-$0.26 to form words that add up to $1.00. This is much harder than it sounds and students are encouraged to use strategies like adding prefixes and/or suffixes to help add up to the goal amount. 

What are some of your favorite read alouds and connected activities for upper elementary? I'm always looking for ways to capture the interest of my students and make reading fun!