Tag Archives: Clare and Tammy

Blog Tour: It’s All About the Books


Screenshot 2018-04-29 at 5.40.51 AM.pngAdapted from “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor
“Because you know I’m all about the books,
‘Bout the books, everywhere
I’m all ’bout books, in the bookroom, and classroom

I’m all ’bout books, in the bookroom, and classroom

I’m all ’bout reading, ’bout the books,

Because you know I’m all about reading,
‘Bout the books, Read Alouds too
I’m all ’bout independent reading, ’bout book sets.
I’m all ’bout book clubs, ’bout, partners too
I’m all ’bout the books (books)
I’m all ’bout learning, all about growing,
I’m all ’bout poetry, all about the series,
I’m all about adventure, and mystery
We gon’ read fantasy, historical fiction, and nonfiction too.
We know that books save lives
We know they make you feel
We know they take you places
We know they open up the world
We know they are a must
We know that readers have to read
We know…”
This book is a treasure trove of ideas to help teachers, buildings and districts increase student access to books and ultimately with the generosity of the authors to fund elementary and middle school classroom libraries through Penny Kittle’s #BookLove foundation.  I’ve already written about the book here before I’d finished reading the book and here after the #G2Great Twitter Chat (and when I was done reading the book).  This week, posts are also available at the sites listed above.  In the book the color pictures from classrooms and bookrooms are so detailed that you can immediately begin to think of new ways to reorganize your own book collections. Tammy and Clare talk about the need to have school libraries, classroom libraries and a bookroom.

Do you have a bookroom? 

What is the purpose of your bookroom?

There is no “ONE” right way to set up a bookroom.  Tammy and Clare suggest that you can use a closet, a room, a portion of the school library for a bookroom or “book annex”.  The initial step is to inventory your books and the forms that are available from the Heinemann Publishing online resources.

 

Screenshot 2018-04-29 at 3.25.36 PM.png

Mulligan & Landrigan. It’s All About the Books. (p. 41)

 

I’ve been reviewing these bullets as I’ve studied book rooms ever since reading this book (p. 37- 54).  Is your bookroom essentially a “guided reading library” or is it a bookroom in the sense that Tammy and Clare refer to?  Access is a key.  Easy access is even more important.  Design involves the physical aspects of the bookroom space: shelves, baskets, labels, and location as well as the uses of the books. How accessible are your books?

Do all students have enough books to read (volume) to both grow and be inspired to be a life-long reader?

Students need daily access to more books than they can read so they can have choice.  If students are to be reading independently for 30 minutes each day, they need choices from a “limitless pool” of books.  That’s the purpose of the bookroom.  Choice involves considering a redesign or redeployment of current book inventories.  Considering how to meet multiple instructional needs may require changes:  some books in six packs for guided reading/small group instruction, some books as singles for independent reading and some books in 2s/3s for book clubs.  All.without.purchasing.more.books.at.this.time!

Live dangerously.  Check out your bookroom.  Are there some books that are starting to collect dust because they haven’t been read recently?

If those are six packs of books in zip-lock baggies, Tammy and Clare suggest that you may want to consider having them redistributed as singles for independent reading.  This is especially true for the beginning levels where students will need a high volume of books to read daily.  To Consider:  Maybe not all of the books need to be in sets of six in the bookroom.  Is that a novel thought?

What are some other possibilities?

What are the key topics that your students are interested in?  If it’s animals and you are a kindergarten teacher, you may want some A and B books in a basket labeled “Animals”. The label will NOT say A/B  This may even be a basket with a mixture of fiction and nonfiction books (my thinking).  If your first grade students like animals, you may need an E/F basket of animal books or  an I/J basket of animal books.  Again, the label will be the topic. The labels might be topics, authors, or general like “Laugh Out Loud”. Think of how easy it might be to “use” these books in your classroom if the books are already organized into baskets of approximately 20 books that you would be ready to check out and go!

What books do you need more of in your classroom?  Books for independent reading?  Books for book clubs?  Books for small group instruction?  Your classroom needs and student interests can help you figure out additional ways to organize books that may include your science and social studies curricula support as well. Sharing and redistributing books will keep the dust off and provide more reading for more students! What if you were able to reorganize your bookroom with a variety of combinations of books in order to enhance the readerly lives of your students?

If students are going to read a lot and become readers who love to read, they need access to books.  A lot of books. Single books for independent reading are needed in many classrooms because “rereading” the guided reading books are boring after awhile as are the Xeroxed books at the low levels, and perhaps FEWER books are needed for guided reading, especially after Level K.  (Moving to “strategy groups” for instruction allows the teacher to use the same mini-lesson for all students and provide practice in a text that shows they fully understand the strategy.) Practice, practice, practice in texts allows the student to build confidence and a skilled teacher can also consider how to close the gap for striving students.  That means fewer books will really need to be stored in groups of six.  Instead, baskets of books could be set up in the bookroom so teachers are able to rotate baskets to provide “new” titles for classroom libraries without depleting the school library. Independent student reading books can be refreshed and reinvigorated for immediate access in the classroom. (And it books are reassigned, perhaps the school book budget can now include some “new” purchases as new titles are published!)

Check out this April 29, 2018 Facebook Live session with Tammy and Clare here.

What ideas about bookrooms have intrigued you? 

What books could maybe be read more often if some changes were made in your current book collections?

Are you using your books in the most productive ways for students?




Heinemann has graciously donated a copy of It’s All About the Books for each stop on the blog tour. To enter, comment below and either post a picture of some part of your classroom library or your bookroom with the link in a comment or write about your thinking or your questions about bookrooms.  At the end of the week (Friday after 8 pm),  a random winner will be chosen to receive a copy of this fabulous new book!

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Focus: Informational Mentor Texts


Mystery_clip_art

What are informational texts?

The Common Core State Standards include the following in their definition of informational texts:

biographies and autobiographies; “books about history, social studies, science, and the arts”; “technical texts, including directions, forms, and information displayed in graphs, charts, or maps”; and “digital sources on a range of topics” (p. 31).

That’s a broad range so what does that really mean? Sources that can inform your work include:

Research and Policy:  Informational Texts and the Common Core Standards: What Are We Talking about, Anyway? by Beth Maloch and Randy Bomer

6 Reasons to Use Informational Text in the Primary Grades – Scholastic, Nell Duke

The Case for Informational Text – Educational Leadership, Nell Duke

Where can I find lists of Mentor Texts?

Award winning lists include:

Robert F. Sibert Medal and Honor Books

Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12

Notable Social Studies Trade Books For Young People

Mentor Texts to Support the Writers’ Workshop (Literature and Informational Texts)

This list supports writers’ workshop.  Others are readily available on Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers.

What about professional books to help me with Mentor Texts and Informational Writing?

There are many books that you can easily access.  Some of my favorite “go to” books are here. nonfiction mentor texts the writing thiefWrite Like This mentor author mentor textsFinding the Heart of Nonfiction

Nonfiction Mentor Texts: Teaching Informational Writing through Children’s Literature K-8 by Lynne Dorfman and Rose Capeli (website)

The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing by Ruth Culham (Chapter 3)

Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts by Kelly Gallagher (Chapters 3 and 5)

Mentor Authors, Mentor Texts: Short Texts, Craft Notes and Practical Classroom Uses by Ralph Fletcher

Finding the Heart of Nonfiction: Teaching 7 Essential Craft Tools with Mentor Texts by Georgia Heard

and many grade level texts in the separate Units of Study of Writing by Lucy Calkins and friends at TCRWP.

What do I do with the books that I am considering as mentor texts?

Your number one task is to Read informational texts that you also like.  And then your second task is to  read these books from the lens of a writer.  Identify techniques that the author uses very successfully.  Third, talk with other teachers about the techniques and goals! To get started consider these helpful blog posts: A brilliantly written blog post on the use of a mentor text during a co-teaching instruction session by Melanie Meehan can be found in this post “Slice of Life Exploring a Fabulous Mentor Text” on the Two Reflective Teachers blog. Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris list “Our Top Eleven Nonfiction Books for Teaching . . . Everything!” here! Clare and Tammy at Teachers for Teachers also have a post titled “Two Great Nonfiction Mentor Texts”. Tara Smith writes routinely about texts.  “Mentor Texts” is a recent one. Two Writing Teachers:   mentor text archive (You can also search any of the above blogs for additional posts about Mentor Texts!) And three from my blog archives: Reading and Writing Instruction – Paired Mentor Texts #TCRWP Day 3:  Information Mentor Texts (based on Alexis Czeterko’s (@AlexisCzeterko ) Closing Workshop “Five Mentor Texts for Information Writing  – and Ways to Use Them with Power”) #SOL14:  Writing Techniques and Goals

This was a Topic Focus:  Informational Texts; Not a Compendium of all available resources . . .  Do you have a better idea of the “types of writing” included in the informational category? Did you find some new ideas?  Or revisit some old ideas with a new purpose in mind?

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