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Reading

Ok... I intend to put quite a bit of information on this page, so bear with me!!

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Let me start with Professional Development:
I cannot even begin to guess at how many PD books I've read over the years! Between two Bachelor's degrees, a Master's degree, district-sponsored PD, teaching college classes... I've seriously read hundreds!! I took me a long time to come up with a list of the ten that were most influential to me, but - in no particular order - here it goes!!

1. The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. The message is simple: If you want to kids to be readers, then help them find great literature and LET THEM READ!!

2. Readicide by Kelly Gallagher. I just know that if Kelly Gallagher and I were to meet, we'd be best friends! I've read all his books, but this is my favorite!! Are you committing readicide in your classroom?

3. Reading Essentials by Regie Routman. Regie ROCKS! Read all her stuff (even the older, totally 80's and 90's stuff!! Don't let the big hair and shoulder pads throw you! She knows what's UP!!)... but if you find you don't have time to read them all, then this book will suffice!

4. The Reading Zone by Nacie Atwell. I bow down before this goddess of all reading teachers!! She makes my list twice, but seriously, read every single, book she's ever written! And Google her! Watch her videos. Learn all you can from the wisdom she dispenses!!

5. Strategies that Work by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis. This book is legit! Super practical and right on the money. When you order this book from Amazon, throw a hundred million Post-Its into your cart, as well, because your students will be needing them.

6. In the Middle by Nancie Atwell. I already told you... Go out and get yourself some Nancie! 

7. Notice and Note by Kyleen Beers and Robert E. Probst. This book is one of my more recent reads and I LOVE it! This book will get your students close reading like a boss! Easy to read and practical, teach-it-tomorrow lessons.

8. Reading Without Nonsense by Frank Smith. When I first read this book I thought Frank was the devil (but I had also just completed college were I learned all about how to conduct nonsense in order to get my students reading!). But now, after years of teaching experience, I've come to realize that Frank hits the nail on the head! Stop with the nonsense and just let them read!!

9. Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice. Not only will this make you a better teacher, but a better human being. Read it :)

10. Reading Reasons by Kelly Gallagher. This book is dripping with ready-to-go lessons! You cannot get more practical than this one!

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The 4-1-1 on Reading Instruction:

This video breaks down pretty much everything about my reading period (which is 52 minutes per day):




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Interactive Students Notebooks (ISNs):

Interactive Student Notebooks are my life! They play such an integral part in my reading program! A while back I made a video about how I use ISNs, and I'm reposting it here :)




I do sell several of my ISN products in my Teacher's Pay Teachers store!









33 comments:

  1. I love seeing your notebook in action! Thank you for posting this video!

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  2. What grade do you teach? I teach 7th grade, and although I've been using an interactive notebook, I worry that the interactive notebooks are too primary for 7th graders. (This is my first year teaching middle school after 23 years in elem.)

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    1. Hi Mrs. Wehling! I teach 7th grade. This is my first year in 7th. Prior to that, I taught 6th for 8 years. I agree that there are a lot of ISN activities that are too "primary," but you can find lots and lots that are not! My students never seem to indicate that they feel too old for their ISNs. In fact, I find that they really enjoy the cutting, gluing, and coloring (it's quite calming!).

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    2. P.S. Hope you are enjoying your move to middle school!!

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  3. Thanks for posting these! This is my second year teaching 6th grade and 3 year teaching overall so I'm still learning! How do you do literature circles? What do you keep track of while the students are reading and you are conferencing?
    -Jodi

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    1. Hi Jodi! So, I have a few different ways of doing literature circles... sometimes I do something nutty, like have students work with other kids in different locations via Skype! And other times we just use the tried and true traditional role sheets. If I am conferencing with someone during reading time, I'm mostly checking on their silent-reading comprehension. Often times middle school students are able to trick us into thinking they are decent readers because they can read, or "call," words aloud. But, when left to read something silently on their own, their comprehension falls apart. If I find a student struggling, then I mostly work with him/her on comprehension strategies to help them improve. Hope that helps! Thanks for reading :)

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  4. Hi Jen!
    I currently teach 6th grade, it is my first year teaching this grade, and am wondering if you used interactive notebooks with 6th grade and if you are currently using them with your 7th graders? I have always wanted to find a more solid readers notebook system but am not sure if something like this makes older students feel like they are being "babied?" Thanks!

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    1. Hi Vanessa, I do use an ISN with my 7th graders and they don't seem to feel babied at all! They are actually pretty proud of their notebooks. As the year progresses, the notebook turns into a really great tool that they use all the time. It's an impressive final product, as it's not only useful, but fun to look at! Many of my kids still use them the following year :)

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    2. I am about to be teaching 6th grade ELA for the first time. I have a daughter who will be going into 7th grade this new school year. I just wanted to chime in here and say... I have made it a point in my new classroom to kind of 'baby' my kids. This may blow up in my face, I sure hope not. I fully intend on using your ISNs simply because it was like a huge slap in the face to my daughter at how much she had to ALL THE SUDDEN GROW UP. I think the ISNs can be FUN, but still very informational and beneficial to big kids. My daughter misses getting to color and cut and paste. I am doing it! But, I wanted to share because I have a child firsthand who would have loved the opportunity to be more creative in ELA this past school year.

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    3. Brandi, I am a huge believer in emphasizing the ARTS in ELA! For me, reading and writing and creating are all dependent on each other :) Thanks for sharing!!

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  5. Hey!
    I have been reading your blog for a while and love it! Definitely love your writer's notebooks! I do have a question (not about the notebooks), but do you have any reading strategies for students with dyslexia? I'd love to hear any ideas!

    Thanks!

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    1. Hi Jessica! Thanks for writing. I wish I had some advice to offer you, but I am not a special education teacher and I don't want to point you in the wrong direction. I know that in my district, we use Orton Gillingham programs. Any readers have any advice?

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  6. Hi Jenna!
    Do you incorporate any technology into your lessons? Currently, I am a 1:1 iPad classroom, but next year instead of iPads, I will have Chromebooks. Our district is very passionate about incorporating technology and having a digital classroom. I was just wondering if along with your INBs, if you also incorporate any digital lessons?? Thank you! Your stuff is amazing! (I also use the roller coaster image to teach plot map :) )

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    1. Hi! We do use the computers frequently. We have Chromebooks (our team shares two carts) and all my kids are set up on Google Classroom. But, I am pretty adamant about keep my ISNs digi-free. A while ago, blogger Erin Cobb wrote about why having students create the notebook is so important. I agree so much with her argument. You can read her post here: http://imlovinlit.com/2015/12/05/the-problem-with-digital-interactive-notebooks/

      But, a lot of the written work students do is submitted digitally.

      Thanks so much for reading :)

      ~Jenna

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  7. Hey! I know you have mentioned reading short stories in your seventh-grade class. If you have time and it's not too much trouble, could you mention a few of the titles that you use in your classroom? Thanks!

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    1. Hi! So, we use the Holt Literature anthology and our short stories come from that, but many (most actually!) can be found with a Google search. Some of my favorites are:

      "Seventh Grade" (Gary Soto)
      "Charles" (Shirley Jackson)
      "What Do Fish Have To Do With Anything?" (Avi)
      "The War of the Wall" (Toni Cade Bambara)
      "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" (Rudyard Kipling)
      "Thank You, M'am" (Langston Hughes)
      "A Retrieved Reformation" (O'Henry)
      "The Scholarship Jacket" (Marta Selinas)
      "Dirk the Protector" (Gary Paulsen)
      "The Amigo Brothers" (Piri Thomas)
      "The Crush" (Cynthia Rylant)
      "Dark They Were, And Golden-Eyed" (Ray Bradbury)

      As I said, you can find most (if not all) available online. Later this summer, I plan to put out the mini-units that I do with each story (even though we have an anthology, it really just comes with a bazillion worksheets to do with each story... not my cup of tea at all!!). So, if you decide to use any of these stories, stay tuned!!

      Hope that helps :)
      ~Jenna

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    2. I can't wait for your reading units. We have a reading series, but I just don't feel that it is working. This summer I plan on planning out some new units, and this will be a great help!

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  8. Thanks so much! Can't wait for your mini-units! Love all of your products!

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  9. Hi! So I use the same Holt anthology in my school. I'm also in NJ! I just watched your video and was interested in how often you had students practice the skill in junction with the stories from the Holt anthology. Do you have specific products for sale on TPT that go with works from the Holt Literature anthology? Also- I think it would be really cool if you could do a blog-post of ISN photos! Just as I'm curious to check out other teachers' classrooms, I'm also curious to check out other ISNs. I mostly use Erin Cobb's graphic organizers, but add some of my own materials (especially for writing). I would love to see your take on the ISN!!

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    1. Hi!!

      So, everything that you'd find in my ELA Interactive Notebook-The HUGE Bundle (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-ELA-Interactive-Notebook-The-HUGE-Bundle-1693852) was designed for my Holt Lessons. In a school year, I cover units 1-4, 8, and then if there is time, we do 5-7. Pretty much what I do is spend 2-3 days on the Text Analysis Workshop (the Bundle includes the notes that I give) and then we read mostly the ECOS stories (though I do add a few non-ECOS stories into the mix) and practice the skills we learned in the Text Analysis Workshop.

      This summer I plan to put out more detailed mini-units to accompany the short stories that I use, so stay tuned :)

      Thanks!
      ~Jenna

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  10. Wowzers. Your blog and TPT store are amazing! I just finished teaching year 10, our family moved, and now I'm teaching at a new subject at a new school. Thankful to have found a job, a bit terrified to be starting over! So glad I found your blog and products this early in the planning game. I will be teaching 7th grade ELA (75-minute-ish blocks). I LOVED using ISNs in social studies and am so excited to implement them in my class again this year, but I'm torn about how to do this logistically. I want the reading ISN to be a little more content/fact-focused and the writing ISN to be more creative and choice-y. :) Do you combine reading and writing into ONE notebook, or do you have your students maintain TWO notebooks simultaneously? Do they store them in your room? If so, does this get cumbersome for you and/or the students? I'm just having a tough time translating all my ISN experience into the ELA world. Any help would be SUPER appreciated!
    Thank you!
    Sarah

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    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thanks so much and best of luck on your new home and position :)

      My kids have one ISN for reading and then one writer's notebook for writing. And, yes, they are stored in my room (you can see a picture of how they are stored here: http://musingsfromthemiddleschool.blogspot.com/2016/02/practicing-what-you-pin-duck-tape.html)

      Hope that helps,
      Jenna

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    2. Great question Sarah, I was curious too. Do you teach grammar and punctuation as well? I've been doing a Reading and Writing ISN, but I can't seem to decide where to fit in Punctuation/Grammar, as well as their Progress Monitoring and Bellringer sheets.

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  11. Hello and Help!
    My 3rd grader had a very lax year, not a lot of writing or reading (at home at least), it took her over an hour to get a 9 sentence journal entry done here at home. Any tips on what material(s) to use to help her speed up her thought process and execution. PLEASE.
    I'm on here like a chicken without a head looking for what I can do to help her recover and prepare for 4th grade.
    THANK YOU!!!

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    1. Hi Rosa!

      Are you letting her pick her own books? And not just books... magazines, newspapers (even 4th graders like newspapers!), online materials. I find it's a huge motivator when they get to pick their own reading!! Also, did you give her the journal entry, or was that from her teacher? If you are trying to get her to be a reader, save the "reflection" part for school assignments. At home, she should hopefully just be reading for the joy of reading!

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  12. Hello!

    This maybe a loaded question...but I was wondering how you conducted novel studies in your classroom? I'm prepping to start a novel next week and have executed them many different ways, but was wondering what was best for you? I have you reading comprehension foldable that I plan to use before/during/after reading. But do you read chapters then do the activities? Or read one day and do activities the next? Just curious!

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    1. Hi! So, usually I read one day, then we work with the text the next day. I find that works best :)

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  14. Jenna,

    I love all of your reading and writing lessons! I was wondering, how do you incorporate grammar into your lessons?

    Thanks!
    Jessica

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  15. Hi there! What do you use or have you used to teach poetry?

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  16. I'm finishing up my MAT in ELA, math, and science, and I just got hired as a 7/8 ELA teacher for next year. I found your blog this morning and am really excited...I love all of your ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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  17. I just got hired as a fifth grade ELA/SS teacher, and I stumbled upon your blog this morning. Thank you for sharing all of your thoughts, strategies, and wisdom!

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