Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A New Year!

I am so very excited to start this school year (my eighth) and this blog. This summer I have been greatly inspired by many people on Twitter, part of an amazing PLN that I have encountered.

I have been Twitter friends with Mr. Schu (an inspiration to many) for a few years - he once helped me create a Google Docs survey that I used to learn more about my students' reading behaviors. I have never been a frequent Twitter user, up until this summer when I began looking closely at the conversations occurring between Mr. Schu and other members of the Nerdy Book Club. I wanted to learn and share - so here I am. A wave of new ideas for improving my classroom instruction has come my way. I feel like I had found my enthusiasm again! It's easy to feel drained with the focus on state achievement results, and the Twitter universe has awoken the passion for doing what I know is best for my students.

I have read so many wonderful books this summer, such as Wonder by R.J. Palacio, The Fault in My Stars by John Green, and many more. I can't wait to share these titles and more with my students and to let the thrill of reading fly loose in the classroom!

I worked hard this year to organize my books by genre and decided (thanks to wise advice from the Nerdy Book Club) to not label reading levels on my books. It is our job as literacy educators to provide the time to independent read and give the students the freedom to choose their own reading adventures.

I thought I would post a few photos of my classroom and bulletin boards. Here's to a great 2012-2013 school year for everyone ;-)


  1. Hey, you are off to a great start. I've been organizing my Kindergarten books this week and it was recommended I not level as well. Better for kiddos to find something that interests them and inspires them WANT to read rather than to pigeon hole them or worse yet, make them feel like reading losers. My presenter at our workshop last week liked leveling to the old SRA stuff. You felt like such a failure if you were one of those yucky tan beginning colors rather than the lovely tourquoise or magentas at the higher levels. Way too frustrating if you couldn't get there to read the "good' stories ( not to mention embarassing!). Looks like your class is in for a great year of reading and discovery in 5th. I wish you all happy reading.

  2. Thanks Chrystal! I agree with you and think that the advice is good to NOT level. I hope this is a fabulous year for you, too and your lucky students :-)

  3. I totally agree with not leveling, however, my school does not. Our school is driving by the Accelerated Reader program which focuses on levels and not reading outside them for fear that the books may be too easy/hard. Sigh...I feel like so much of my college learning/ideas have been squashed in the "real world."