Sunday, October 6, 2013

Scary? Not Really

Every year students seem to find a new twist in books they’re interested to read in the classroom.  Last year was no exception as my class fell in love with books that seem scary, but really aren’t.  As our calendar turns to October it seems the perfect time to bring these books out again and see if this class feels the same way about them.

These books led to interesting writing, sincere conversations about things that scare us, discussions about bravery, and of course more books that seem scary. I think students will love these books to read and reread as well as use as mentors for writing.

My Current Top Ten Favorites
Stop by the Scary? Not Really Pinterest board to view my growing list of titles.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket (author) and Jon Glassen (illustrator)

Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta (author) and Ed Young (illustrator)

Open Very Carefully:  A Book with a Bite by Nick Bromley (author) and Nicola O’Byrne (illustrator)

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll (author) and Howard McWilliam (illustrator)

The Spooky Box by Mark Gonyea

Do Not Open This Book! by Joy Cowley (author) and David Lund (illustrator)

A Beasty Story by Bill Martin Jr. (author) and Steven Kellogg (illustrator)

What’s Under the Bed by Joe Fenton

Jumpy Jack and Googily by Meg Rossof (author) and Sophie Blackall (illustrator)

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (author) and Peter Brown (illustrator)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Shelfari: Curating Our Love of Books

Our class shelf on Shelfari is already up and running.  I began the year adding books we had read together across the day to our shelf during our afternoon meeting.  My first graders were hooked from the beginning.  When we started our shelf they wouldn't let me end a day without adding our books.  It wasn't long until we realized we needed someone to be in charge of our Shelfari shelf each week so it is now a job in our classroom.  Each morning our Shelfari friend adds the books we read together the previous day so we can share them with the world.

Families love seeing the books we are reading.  It gives parents something to talk about when students get home from school, helps them find books at the library, and can be a resource when finding that perfect book for a gift.  I've gotten many comments from families so I wasn't surprised when my students, with the help of their parents, started their own Shelfari shelves.  

Our Shelf

Why I Love Shelfari
  1. It's Visual:  Students can easily see the books being read in our classroom.  The book covers on the shelf help young readers to easily recognize titles and books.  
  2. Curation:  Shelfari allows us to collect titles we have read and share them with others. 
  3. We Can Connect:  Shelfari allows us to follow other classrooms and find friends.  We can view their bookshelves and place books we'd like to read on our "plan to read" shelf.
  4. Knowing Readers:  When students and their families start their own shelves I learn a lot about the books they enjoy reading.  This can help me in the classroom with instruction and often requires me to rethink the books in my classroom library.  
  5. Energizing:  Shelfari energizes readers and our workshop.  
  6. Room to Grow:  As we move along in our year we will be able to rate and review books together.

Generating Interest
  1. Twitter:  I often tweet book shelves on our class Twitter account so families can take a look at updates or see new families joining the conversation.  
  2. Class News:  I try to update information from shelves on our class news page to generate interest.
  3. Borrowing Books:  All four of our first grade classes have Shelfari shelves and we often borrow books we noticed on shelves from one another to build interest.  
  4. Mystery Shelf:  Several times each week I project a "mystery shelf" on the large screen in our classroom.  Students try to guess who the shelf belongs to before I show them.  We can then discuss what we know about the person (or group) as a reader.
There are other possibilities for curating books with your classroom including Goodreads and Biblionasium, but I really like the ease and visual appeal of Shelfari.