WHAT'S UP THIS WEEK
Monday February 15
Staff Professional Development/Student Holiday
Tuesday, February 15
6th gr. scheduling in classroom
Wednesday, February 16
LOL mtg. 7:30 am
Choir Pre-UIL @HHS all day
Thursday, February 17
All Day ARDS
Book Bites Special Guest
Friday, February 18
7th gr. scheduling in classroom
Laurie Engelby – YOU are a Rock Star friend. You know why!
Admin and Pizza Lunch team – Thank you so much for the Valentine Pizza lunch. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. ~Karla~
Thank you David Dillard and Stephanie McLaughlin for taking responsibility for returning the library chromebooks after the Math PLC training on Thursday. ~Christine~
Getting Reluctant Middle-School Students Reading
In this AMLE Magazine article, Texas middle-school teacher Leta Simpson says she sometimes notices students choosing library books well below their reading level. Reading too-easy material makes them feel more comfortable and competent as readers, but Simpson knows that if they continue to read this kind of book, they won’t grow as readers. She also knows that research says having students read “just right” or challenging books for 20 minutes a day will improve their reading proficiency, general knowledge, and curiosity about the world. Here are her suggestions for getting all students to be voracious readers:
• Ask students what kind of movies they enjoy and what they like about them. This almost always gets a response and can provide excellent clues for connecting students with books they won’t be able to put down. For example, a student who says he likes Fast and Furious 7 will probably glom onto books about cars and action.
• Organize classroom libraries by genre. Simpson has sorted her books into baskets labeled historical fiction, fantasy, sports, etc., with a note on each label steering students to similar genres. “This type of organization exposes students to books they might not have noticed in the library,” she says.
• Teach students how to “date” a book. At the beginning of each year, Simpson shows her students how to make the acquaintance of a book to see if it’s a good match:
- Look at the title and cover art.
- Read the synopsis on the back cover.
- Open to a random page in the middle and read for two minutes.
- If the book looks promising after these three steps, read the first two or three chapters before making a final judgment.
During the year, if students tell Simpson they want to abandon a book, she asks whether they’re gone through all four “dating” steps, and if they haven’t, she encourages them to keep trying because the book might be one they’ll end up really liking (she says it took her 100 pages to get into The Maze Runner).
• Organize book “speed dating.” Students sit in small groups (with desks pushed together or at tables) in the library or classroom. Books of several different genres and reading levels are scattered at each group – enough for there to be two books for each student. Students have a rating sheet to write down the title, author, and their rating (Yes, Maybe, or No). Students then follow these steps with the teacher calling time to keep things moving briskly:
- Grab a book and write down its basic information.
- Read the back cover in under a minute.
- Open the book at random and read for no more than two minutes.
- Assign a rating and jot down reasons.
- When all the books at a table have been sampled, move to a new table.
Having actually handled and dipped into a variety of books, it’s highly likely that all students will have found one or more “potential dates” they’ll want to spend time with on their own.
“Once students figure out what they like, they have an easier time falling in love with books,” says Simpson. “Some of my most reluctant students have turned into avid readers thanks to these strategies. What’s more, I have had many rich discussions about literature and authors with my students simply by tapping into their sometimes-newfound love of literature.”
In a sidebar to her article, Simpson lists the Association for Library Service to Children’s (ALSC) list of the some of the best middle-school books (ALSC’s full list of books at all grade levels is at www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncb).
- Because They Marched: The People’s Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America by Russell Freedman (Holliday)
- Caminar by Skila Brown (Candlewick)
- The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- The Family Romance: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming (Schwartz and Wade/Random House)
- How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Hadley Hooper (Penguin/Dial)
- The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier (Abrams/Amulet)
- Nine Open Arms by Benny Lindelauf, illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova (Enchanted Lion)
- The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook)
- Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Raul Colon (Penguin/Dial)
- Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic)
- This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
“Ignite the Reading Spark in Young Adolescents” by Leta Simpson in AMLE Magazine, February 2016 (Vol. 3, #6, p. 23-25), no free e-link available; Simpson can be reached at
FUTURE DATES & INFO
Tues, Feb 23 - Spring Pictures through Science
Wed, Feb 24 - FAC Mtg. 7:30 am
Wed, Feb 24 - Site-Based Committee Mtg. 4:15 pm
Thurs, Feb 25 - 6th Gr. Registration for next yr. in lab 303
Fri, Feb 26 - 7th Gr. Registration for next yr. in lab 303
March 2016 - Texas History Month
Wed, Mar 2 - Choir UIL @HHS - All Day
Wed, Mar 2 - Faculty/Gr. Level Mtg.
Thurs, Mar 3 - IKD
Week of March 7 - Public Schools Week/Diagnostician Week
Week of March 7 - TELPAS Testing
Week of March 7 - Special Needs' Adventures in Art Show
Tues, Mar 8 - Data Assemblies
Wed, Mar 9 - Community Breakfast
Wed, Mar 9 - AVID Site-Team Mtg.
Thurs, Mar 10 - Birdville Choir Festival 3:00-7:00 pm
Fri, Mar 11 - Staff Development
TWEETER of the Week:
Thank you to Elizabeth Cumbie for her participation in this week's campus Twitter Chat!!
You can join each Tuesday at 8:00pm. Questions can be found in the Digital Learning News sent by Mark Thomas each week.
Questions? See Tosh or Christine. (@birdville_DL)
***Weekly Winners park in Houston's spot until June!***
(Don't forget to send Ms. Houston your Twitter handle when you join.)