Celebrating Read Across America, Dr. Seuss, and Our Community

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March 2nd is always a special day for our school. We have a long tradition of having guest readers for all classrooms in honor of Read Across America and the birthday of Dr. Seuss.  The goal is to have two readers for every classroom. This allows more connections to the community, more books to be heard, and also more people in case we have people who are unable to come.

Courtney Tobin is a parent volunteer at our school who organizes my library volunteers. She also creates a Signup Genius for events like this one.  She puts 2 slots for every class, and we start sending it out asking for readers. The link is put in my library newsletter, library facebook page, and grade level parent representatives send it out to lists of parents.  I invite district leadership including our superintendent, public relations, and board of education members.

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As the event nears, we always have empty spaces still left, so we repeat sending out the link and send it to additional places like the UGA Athletic Association. Usually be the day of the event, the list is full and we have people who show up who didn’t even get to sign up.

It takes a whole community to pull off 2 readers in every class.

We gather in the library, and readers check in with Kim Ness, another wonderful parent volunteer. She does this while I’m helping with morning broadcast. Readers select a Seuss book from our library collection and my personal collection and socialize and practice reading. We gather for a group picture and a huge thank you for taking time to celebrate reading with our students.

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It’s always fun to race around the school to try to catch a glimpse of the smiling faces in every class and the community readers having such a great time sharing stories.

For the remainder of the day, we continue our Skype connections with other schools around the country. This is a continuation of our World Read Aloud Skypes.

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Today, we connected with:

  • Shannon Hyman in Glen Allen, VA and her 3rd grade students to read Be a Friend and Mother Bruce. Their teacher was a big UGA fan!
  • Lisa Lindeman in Babylon, NY and her 5th grade students to read Snappsy the Alligator
  • Terry Freyou in Coppell, TX and her 5th grade students to read Be a Friend
  • Sarah Staudt in Mason City, IA to read Mother Bruce
  • Donna MacDonald in South Burlington, VT and her 1st grade to read Snappsy the Alligator
  • Dana Susko in Santa Barbara, CA and her Prek to read The Day the Crayons Came Home
  • Carol Scrimgeour in Essex, VT and her Kindergarten to read Snappsy the Alligator

It is always a magical day connecting on Skype because the kids share a story across the miles and make connections with another school. I love pulling up a map and talking about how technology not only lets us see and talk to people in other places, but it helps us literally connect the dots between our locations and know in real-time how long it would take us to get there. We’ve talked about tolls, traffic accidents, construction zones, megabus, and alternative routes along with our celebration of great stories.

We’ve also encountered technical difficulties.  One school had to cancel due to the internet being out in their school, but it was a life lesson that when something doesn’t work, you just carry on.  When we connected with Lisa Lindeman, we could not get Skype to connect us.  We tried multiple times but communicated in the chat. We finally decided to give Google Hangouts a try.  She had never used it, but she was willing to try.  It worked like a charm, but more importantly it showed our students and teachers in both states that we weren’t afraid to fail, back up, and try something else. Life isn’t smooth, and things don’t always work out, but we can’t just give up easily when something is frustrating or hard.

Thank you to everyone who read in our classrooms and connected with us. Happy Read Across America Week and Happy Connecting!

Happy World Read Aloud Week!

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We have been planning and building excitement for World Read Aloud Day for the past 2 months, and it is finally here!  It’s just too much fum to pack into one day, so we connect with classes around the world on several days.  Monday and Tuesday of this week, we had 8 connections via Skype and Google Hangouts.

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On Monday, Ms. Haley’s 3rd grade class connected with Ms. Word’s 2nd grade class at Episcopal School in Baton Rouge.  We read the book Snappsy the Alligator. We learned that they wear uniforms at their school and have a salad bar at lunch.

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Ms Em’s 3rd grade class connected with Ms. Dickerson’s 6th grade students in Missouri. We read aloud The Day the Crayons Came Home. Ms. Dickerson’s students took turns reading the voices of the different crayons.  We learned that they have unpredictable weather in the winter.  We also learned that their school only has 300 students and only 6th grade.  We had a great time sharing weird places we have found our own crayons including an underwear drawer, the pantry, and melted in the car cup holder.

Mr. Weaver’s 4th grade connected with Ms. McCoy’s 1st graders in Kansas.  We shared the books Snappsy the Alligator Did Not Ask to Be in This Book.  We learned that they start school much later than us at 8:40AM.

Ms. Brink’s 2nd grade class connected with Ms. Potter’s 3rd grade class in Maine to read Snappsy the Alligator.

On Tuesday, Ms. Kelly’s Kindergarten connected with Ms. Mendrinos and her Kindergarten in North Carolina to read the book Snappsy the Alligator. We had fun learning that there school has science and computers as specials.

Ms. Wisz’s PreK connect with Ms. Dawson and her 2nd grade in Maryland to read Same Same but Different.  They greated us in multiple languages. After reading, we made some connections to what is the same but different about our schools. For example, we both have breakfast but we had yogurt and granola and they had chocolate bars and juice.

5th grade ELT class connected with Ms. Stepp’s 1st grade class in South Carolina to read Snappsy the Alligator.

Ms. Ramseyer’s 2nd grade class connected with Ms. Cook’s 1st grade class in Missouri to read How to Read a Story. We loved sharing some of our own strategies for choosing stories and reading them. We even had a chance to share some favorite titles of books in the hopes of finding some new reads.

Snappsy the Alligator has been our favorite read aloud of this year’s World Read Aloud. It is fun to have one of the schools be Snappsy and the other be the narrator. I particularly liked being Snappsy because of his humorous personality.  If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to try it out for one of your own Skype’s.

As we connected, we made a map and summary of our connections in Google Tour Builder so we can revisit all of the places that we connected with.

We have many more connections to go this week and next.  Happy World Read Aloud Week and Read Across America.

 

Be Courageous and Share Your Voice on our Courage Week Flipgrid

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Each week leading up to World Read Aloud Day (February 24th) we want to join our voices around the world to celebrate one of the strengths of reading aloud.  During the week of February 7-13, we celebrate how reading helps us have the courage to stand up for our beliefs. Many students have already contributed their voices to talk about Belonging, Curiosity, Friendship, Kindness, and Confidence.

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We have created a Flipgrid for you to share your responses to the following question:

When did reading give you the courage to stand up for something you believe in?

We hope you will share this Flipgrid with other educators, students, and families around the world and record your responses which can last up to 90 seconds.  Wouldn’t this be a great way to practice some informational writing in classrooms?  Wouldn’t you love to hear stories from the families that you serve?  Aren’t you curious about the perspectives on this question from around the world?  Let’s join our voices and contribute responses all week long.  By sharing our stories of courage, we are supporting one another’s courage to read aloud the books we love all around the world

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In addition, you might also consider coming up with your own posts in response to this week’s theme on your own blog or site.  You might have the courage to speak up this week and share something that you believe in with your followers and ask them to do the same. You might post a video of yourself talking about a character who gives you courage. You might be courageous enough to dress as a character for a day and share the experience through social media.  Whatever additional ways you choose to celebrate “Courage Week”, please tag your posts with #wrad16 and #courageweek as well as mention @litworldsays (Twitter) and @litworld (Instagram, Facebook).

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At our school, we’ll be sharing many stories that demonstrate courage. A few of our picks will be Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson, Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, Max the Brave by Ed Vere, Precious and the Boo Hag by Patricia McKissak, and Nana in the City by Laura Castillo.

It’s not too late to share your schedule for World Read Aloud Week on our shared Google Doc and find someone to connect with around the world.

Let’s empower one another this week by having the courage to stand up for our reading beliefs throughout our global community.

Join Your Voices for Confidence Week Leading Up to #WRAD16

Each week leading up to World Read Aloud Day (February 24th) we want to join our voices around the world to celebrate one of the strengths of reading aloud.  Many students have already contributed their voices to talk about Belonging, Curiosity, Friendship, and Kindness.

LitWorld 7 Strengths

During the week of January 31-February 6, we celebrate how reading helps us be confident and proud to be who we are. Reading the world empowers us to own our strengths.

We have created a Flipgrid for you to share your responses to the following question:

What stories make you confident and proud to be you?

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We hope you will share this Flipgrid with other educators, students, and families around the world and record your responses which can last up to 90 seconds.  Wouldn’t this be a great way to practice some informational writing in classrooms?  Wouldn’t you love to hear stories from the families that you serve?  Aren’t you curious about the perspectives on this question from around the world?  Let’s join our voices and contribute responses all week long.  By sharing our stories of confidence, we are supporting one another’s confidence in the power to read aloud.

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In addition, you might also consider coming up with your own posts in response to this week’s theme on your own blog or site.  You might write or record about a book or character that feels personal to you.  You might strike a confident pose with a book that gives you strength and post that picture to social media. You might read in a place that you normally wouldn’t and take a picture to share.  You could dare others to do the same.  Whatever additional ways you choose to celebrate “Confidence Week”, please tag your posts with #wrad16 and #confidenceweek as well as mention @litworldsays (Twitter) and @litworld (Instagram, Facebook).

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At our school, we’ll be sharing many stories that demonstrate confidence. A few of our picks will be One Green Apple by Eve Bunting, Ish by Peter Reynolds, Star of the Week by Barney Saltzberg, Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen, Firebird by Misty Copeland, and Bridget’s Beret by Tom Lichtenheld.

It’s not too late to share your schedule for World Read Aloud Week on our shared Google Doc and find someone to connect with around the world.

Let’s empower one another’s confidence this week throughout our global community.

Add Your Voice to the Kindness Week Flipgrid

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Each week leading up to World Read Aloud Day (February 24th) we want to join our voices around the world to celebrate one of the strengths of reading aloud.  During the week of January 24-31, we celebrate how reading shows us examples of kindness in the world.

LitWorld 7 Strengths

We have created a Flipgrid for you to share your responses to the following question:

What kindness role models have you met through reading?

We hope you will share this Flipgrid with other educators, students, and families around the world and record your responses which can last up to 90 seconds.  Wouldn’t this be a great way to practice some informational writing in classrooms?  Wouldn’t you love to hear stories from the families that you serve?  Aren’t you curious about the perspectives on this question from around the world?  Let’s join our voices and contribute responses all week long.  Can we show our own kindness by contributing our voice?

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In addition, you might also consider coming up with your own posts in response to this week’s theme on your own blog or site.  You might write a post about a fictional character who has been a model of kindness and post on your blog or other social media. Better yet, have your students write these reflections and share them with you.  You and your students might perform random acts of kindness during the week and take photographs to post to Instagram or other social media. You might create a special display of kindness related books in your classroom or library.. Whatever additional ways you choose to celebrate “Kindness Week”, please tag your posts with #wrad16 and #kindnessweek as well as mention @litworldsays (Twitter) and @litworld (Instagram, Facebook).

I know two of the stories we will read during Friendship Week are If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson and Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, but we will read many other kindness stories during the week as well.

It’s not too late to share your schedule for World Read Aloud Week on our shared Google Doc and find someone to connect with around the world.

Let’s share how we show kindness as well as find kindness in our global community.

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Add Your Voice to the Friendship Week Flipgrid for World Read Aloud

LitWorld 7 Strengths

Each week leading up to World Read Aloud Day (February 24th) we want to join our voices around the world to celebrate one of the strengths of reading aloud.  During the week of January 17-24, we celebrate how reading connects us and makes the world a friendlier place

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We have created a Flipgrid for you to share your responses to the following question:

How does reading help us connect and make the world friendlier?

We hope you will share this Flipgrid with other educators, students, and families around the world and record your responses which can last up to 90 seconds.  Wouldn’t this be a great way to practice some informational writing in classrooms?  Wouldn’t you love to hear stories from the families that you serve?  Aren’t you curious about the perspectives on this question from around the world?  Let’s join our voices and contribute responses all week long.  Can we find a new friend by contributing our voice?

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In addition, you might also consider coming up with your own posts in response to this week’s theme on your own blog or site.  You might read aloud a book with a friend and post about it on your blog or other social media. You might post a book of your best book friends which might be actual people or covers of books. Whatever additional ways you choose to celebrate “Friendship Week”, please tag your posts with #wrad16 and #friendshipweek as well as mention @litworldsays (Twitter) and @litworld (Instagram, Facebook).

I know one of the stories we will read during Friendship Week is Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, but we will read many other friendship stories during the week as well.

It’s not too late to share your schedule for World Read Aloud Week on our shared Google Doc and find someone to connect with around the world.

Let’s share how we are all friends who are part of a global community.

What kind of reading makes you feel curious and fills you with wonder? #WRAD16

LitWorld 7 Strengths

Each week leading up to World Read Aloud Day (February 24th) we want to join our voices around the world to celebrate one of the strengths of reading aloud.  During the week of January 10-17, we celebrate how reading makes us curious about our world.

We have created a Flipgrid for you to share your responses to the following question:

What kind of reading makes you feel curious and fills you with wonder?

We hope you will share this Flipgrid with other educators, students, and families around the world and record your responses which can last up to 90 seconds.  Wouldn’t this be a great way to practice some informational writing in classrooms?  Wouldn’t you love to hear stories from the families that you serve?  Aren’t you curious about the perspectives on this question from around the world?  Let’s join our voices and contribute responses all week long.

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One of the things we plan to do at Barrow Elementary is weave the theme of curiosity into the 4th grade PACT time (Parent And Child Together).  We will use a book such as Rosie Revere Engineer that embodies curiosity, have the families explore something together inspired by the book, and then have families reflect together on the Flipgrid question this week.

In addition, you might also consider coming up with your own posts in response to this week’s theme on your own blog or site.  You might write about 3 things you are currently curious about and invite your friends and followers to do the same in order to expand your list of wonderings.  You might share pictures of books that embody the theme of curiosity.  Whatever additional ways you choose to celebrate “Curiosity Week”, please tag your posts with #wrad16 and #curiosityweek as well as mention @litworldsays (Twitter) and @litworld (Instagram, Facebook).

It’s not too late to share your schedule for World Read Aloud Week on our shared Google Doc and find someone to connect with around the world.

Let’s share how we are all curious readers who are part of a global community.