The year is practically over. Tomorrow is the last full day of school, but with an afternoon of school-wide celebrations, we really just have the morning to wrap up the year. Then we have a three-day weekend before students return on Tuesday for one hour to get report cards, clean out desks and lockers, and say goodbye.
As part of my end-of-year activities, I asked each of my students to share with me their personal favourite book they read this year. It could be a book from a reading group, a read aloud, a Battle of the Books selection, or a book that was read independently of any other school activity. Here are the selections that I was told:
- My Name Is Maria Isabel
- Bud, Not Buddy (listed by several students)
- Magic Treehouse: Revolutionary War on Wednesday
- The Lost Hero
- Wonder (listed by no less than seven students)
- Wishbone: The Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
- The Jungle Book
- Death Note
- Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
- Because of Mr. Terupt (listed three times)
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians (all five volumes)
- Becoming Naomi Leon
- The Anne Series (Anne of Green Gables, etc)
- Familiars: Secrets of the Crown (listed twice)
- Explorers: The Mystery Boxes (also listed twice)
- How Tia Lola Came to Stay
- Don’t You Know There’s a War On?
- Heroes of Olympus: The Demigod Diaries
- Dancing Home
- The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)
- The Dead
- Unwanted (I’m not sure which book this is, actually, so I will need to follow up tomorrow.)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- The Cay
We really have become a classroom of readers. Now yes, there are some students in my class who really don’t like to read, but they’ll do it. And there are some who struggle with the grade-level texts we have, but they try. We read every day, we talked about reading, we wrote about reading, we lived and breathed reading. Of course, we did other things in my classroom this year, including all of the core content areas (math, English/language arts, science, social studies, physical education), but all of these content areas have incorporated large amounts of reading. I started the year by telling my students that they were going to read more and work harder than they ever have before. I think we have been successful in reaching this goal.
I am so proud of all of my students! One day more! (And an hour!) We are going to make it!
Throughout the year, my students have gone down to room one to partner with the students in two of the three first grade classes to read for 35 minutes once a week. This has been met with mixed results, but overall has been quite productive. When we started, the students just read with each other, focusing on developing oral reading fluency. Then we selected a few students to work on targeted reading response activities to help foster comprehension, as well. After several weeks, we decided to expand this to all of the students and started preparing a variety of graphic organisers for them to use each week. The organisers covered topics like plot elements (beginning, middle, end), literature features (characters, setting, plot), and summarising.
One of the highlights of the year was when we asked the students to draw a picture and write a short paragraph about their favourite story of the year. As the two first grade teachers and I looked over the work the students submitted, we found that one of the first graders wrote an entire sentence on her own–the first time this had happened all year!
Now, for fourth graders, that is not much of an accomplishment. But for a first grader, learning to write complete sentences is hugely important! It was so awesome to know that one of my students had a hand in helping this particular student master this skill! (Other students wrote entire paragraphs, which was equally awesome for the same reasons.)
Today was the end of our buddy reading program. Instead of just reading or completing graphic organisers, we did something a little different. The first graders were working on reading about different kinds of animals (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, and arachnids) and completing a packet with illustrations and labels. It went really well! What a great way to wrap up a year of reading together!