Five + One Ideas for Redefining the Whole Class Novel Experience for All

This is MUST READ!!!! I know I have been guilty of doing whole class novels coupled with a packet that I found online. But WHY? Why did I feel the need to have my students answer questions after each chapter? Why did I feel it was necessary for them not to read ahead? I mean when you love a book and can’t put it down, that is what you do… keep reading.

As you read this post, especially if you teach 3rd-5th grade, think about ways you can change the whole class novel experience for your scholars.

Pernille Ripp

I knew I had to teach reading when I was first hired as a 4th-grade teacher.  After all, every teacher teaches reading.  Yet, I didn’t know how to really teach reading.  I knew components of effective literacy practice, and yet, what those actually looked like within my own classroom was a bit of a mystery.  How did actual teachers of reading teach reading to kids who already knew mostly how to read?

My very first answer?  Whole class novel, of course.

Thinking back to my own days of learning how to read, I knew to not go the basal approach, and yet I remembered that shared experience of reading the same novel as everyone else.  Of discussing.  Of trying to find meaning within its pages as we drove each other to deeper levels of understanding.  Of even finding a few books I never knew I could love (For Whom the…

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Great Picture Books to Discuss Identity and Character

Pernille Ripp

For our entire 4th quarter, we are diving into identity and how it fits within our social comprehension guided by the work of the incredible new book from Sara K. Ahmed, Being the Change.  As we start to look at how our identity shapes our actions, I thought a safe spot to start with would be within the pages of picture books.  After all, some of my students are not yet ready to share parts of their identity and so looking at the lives of others before we turn inward is a more welcoming path.

I was thrilled to be able to pull so many great nonfiction picture books to have the students read, discuss, and reflect on.  The questions we will use to spark conversation include:

  • What can you infer about their character traits based on their actions?
  • What can you infer about their identity and what they value?

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SC READY 2017 Data Review Report ELA Grades 3-5

If you haven’t taken the time to read the SC READY 2017 Data Review that was posted in the February Elementary Newsletter, I highly recommend you do. This report does an excellent job at helping us examine the progression of standards (kind of what we started looking at Monday, March 12th) and the types of text we are introducing at each grade level.

As you read the report, think about what the text says and what instructional shifts need to take place in order for this to happen.

Debate Boxing – A Way to Get Kids Thinking Fast

Pernille Ripp

December is a fun month to teach if you know how to use the inevitable energy that the students bring in.  While I may long for my fireplace and a good book, my students are eagerly awaiting snow, break, and perhaps even Christmas.  To say that our classroom is loud in the afternoon is an understatement.  Knowing the energy level of the kids, my smart colleague Reidun, therefore, proposed doing debate during the month of December, and boy was she right.  The energy is infectious, the kids are committed, and the engagement is high.

While the students have successfully completed their practice unit, we are now gearing up for the big one; the summative debate where they must find their own articles, research reliability and also try to prep for whatever their opposing team will throw at them.  This is why thinking on their feet is so important, as well as being able…

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Jennifer Serravallo’s Writing Strategies and Reading Strategies Book

By now, grades K-5 have received 2 copies of The Reading Strategies Book and The Writing Strategies Book. Below I have included 2 short videos that were created by Jennifer Serravallo herself that will assist you in getting better acquainted with the two books. I can’t wait to hear your success stories on how these two resources help enhance the teaching and learning taking place in your classrooms.


Great Picture Books for Small Moment Stories

Check out this blog post for must add mentor text to your personal library.

Pernille Ripp

As we dive into our first fictional writing unit, I am reminded that sometimes kids don’t know how to move their story along.  So of course, what better time than to read some more picture books to remind them of the amount of action needed for a short story.  I dug through my shelves today and pulled a few favorites.  Here they are.

Product Details

Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank.

Plot Description:

Market is very crowded.
Mama is very busy.
Baby is very curious.
When Baby and Mama go to the market, Baby is so adorable that the banana seller gives him six bananas. Baby eats one and puts five in the basket, but Mama doesn’t notice. As Mama and Baby wend their way through the stalls, cheeky Baby collects five oranges, four biscuits, three ears of sweet corn, two pieces of coconut . . . until Mama…

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