Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Bobby is that student who seems to always get himself into trouble. To Bobby, when he looks at Ms. Kirby, all he sees is a green, sharp-toothed monster. To forget his problems with Ms. Kirby, Bobby likes to spend time in the park. Unfortunately, so does Ms. Kirby. Wanting to run away, Bobby and Ms. Kirby strike up an awkward conversation. Suddenly a gust of wind knocks off Ms. Kirby’s hat, and it’s Bobby to the rescue. When Bobby saves the day, Bobby and Ms. Kirby begin to see each other in a different light.
There are several reasons why “My Teacher is a Monster” made me smile. I enjoyed seeing Ms. Kirby from Bobby’s perspective. The expressions on both of their faces were priceless throughout the story. The pictures helped to tell the story just as much as the words do! I smiled as Ms. Kirby transformed from a monster into a “person” before the reader’s eyes. I smiled as the story forced me to revisit earlier scenes that included Ms. Kirby to see these changes. I also smiled at the ending, a true reality for many students and teachers.
You will not be disappointed in this book…a book guaranteed to put a smile on your face each time you read it!
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Recently, my students had to write a district writing prompt as a post assessment to our persuasion unit. The students had the choice of a couple different prompts. Many of them chose the following prompt:
“The fifth grade teachers are trying to decide how to teach reading next year. Some teachers believe students should continue to choose the books they want to read, while other teachers believe the teachers should choose the books that the students have to read. Write a letter to the fifth grade teachers stating your opinion on this idea. Support your opinion with reasons and information.”
When I handed this out to the students, one student said, “Mr. Lewis, you always help us choose books to read. Without your help, I wouldn’t have found several books this year.” Another student chimed in and said, “I like the books you choose for me. I wasn’t a big fan of reading before you gave me a graphic novel at the beginning of the year!” I told the students that there’s a big difference between me helping them choose a book and me telling them what they have to read. I told them that I’ve never told them to read something, but have given all of them many suggestions to choose from.
Every student who chose this prompt supported letting students choose their own books to read. Here are some quotes from their letters.
“If your teacher always picks the books you have to read, you won’t learn how to find books you like to read when you grow up.” Henry
“Choosing books makes kids enthusiastic about reading.”Abigail
“Kids think certain books look good, but we may not get to read it if our teacher didn’t think it was a good book for us. If this was the case, we’d miss out on a lot of good books.” Danielle
“The more freedom kids have in choosing books, the more willing kids would be to experiment with different books.” Abigail
“Reading horrible book after horrible book that our teacher makes us read will make us hate reading.” Danielle
“Many kids and adults don’t like to be forced to read something they aren’t interested in.” Abigail
“Some teachers think their students will like a book because the teacher liked it. It doesn’t always happen that way.” Meghan
“Reading books you choose is like running through the sunset in slow motion with happy and slightly dramatic music playing in the background.” Jacklyn
This prompt took a couple days for the students to complete. When one student passed her work in she said it was hard to write about reading without having as much reading time in class as we usually have!
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Fast forward to last weekend, my first NCTE convention. I was excited, nervous, and overwhelmed all at once! Since this was my first NCTE convention, there were several challenges to overcome. My first challenge was creating a schedule for the four days. It was tough choosing only one workshop for each session. In the end, I was very happy with my selections, being able to take something away from each session. However, I learned that there were other sessions with certain presenters or in different formats that I will want to go to in the future. The second challenge had to do with the exhibit hall. This is where I learned the most! After scanning the pages of author signings, I tried balancing author signings with workshop sessions. However, I later realized I was unsuccessful, sacrificing too many workshop sessions. In the future, I need to make sure I get to as many sessions as I can, and then mix in the author signings. If planned correctly, some of the authors will be at those sessions. The other thing I learned (the hard way) is to stay out of the exhibit hall when it first opens. I was there with the crowd on Friday at 12:00. I had no idea that this would be very much like Black Friday. It was evident that people knew what they were doing, and I was not one of them. A wave of teachers carried me past several vendors as fellow teachers pushed and grabbed free book after free book! I was too busy asking vendors if the books really were free! At that point I realized I was an NCTE rookie!
The biggest challenge I had was coming to the conference by myself when it seemed that so many others already knew each other from previous conventions or came with a partner(s). I made it through Thursday and Friday having several great conversations with fellow educators at different sessions and while waiting in line for author signings. However, it wasn’t until Friday night’s Nerdy Book Club’s get together did I really start to feel comfortable. That night was incredible! Once I was started talking, the night flew by. It was awesome meeting and connecting with many educators that I have been “talking” to on Twitter. It was also mind-boggling to have the chance to talk to so many authors who attended. At one point I was talking to three authors that I am in complete awe of. There were several moments during this conversation that I had to pinch myself. What was really cool was that I ran into many of these same people over the next couple of days and we were able to pick up our conversations from the previous night. I definitely didn’t feel alone anymore!
The last challenge will be staying away from NCTE14! I had such a positive experience, that I’ve already started thinking about how I’ll get to next year’s convention. Several teachers have asked me about the conference since returning to school and I really didn’t know how to answer them. How could I sum up the most rewarding educational experience that I’ve had in fifteen years as a classroom teacher? So that’s exactly what I told them. Something tells me I won’t be the only teacher from my school at NCTE14!