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Getting ready for the end of the year with this freebie!

I am so excited- it is officially May and we have only 4 weeks of school left- woohoo! The warm weather this week has really made summer feel that much closer. 🙂

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Freebie Fridays

Common Core Alignment:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.1 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is…).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
1. Favorite Book Freebie: We are getting ready for the end of the year in our classroom with this fun freebie.  We read SO many books in our classroom throughout the year, so I had my little friends choose their favorite book of the year and then fill out this fun graphic organizer.  They drew a picture of the book and identified what the book is about and their favorite part.  They loved that they got to look through my bookshelf for the perfect book! 
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How funny are some of their book choices?? It just cracks me up that some actually chose our guided reading books instead of what I consider a way more fun read aloud book.
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 And don’t get me started on this little boy’s choice of our WWE book- all I have to say is, if it gets my boys to read, then I’m happy! (and let me tell you, it gets them super interested in reading) 🙂
I’m thinking of doing a version of this year-round next year (maybe on a monthly basis) so that we can have a “Books We’ve Read Tree” to encourage reading all year long and to emphasize just how great it is to spend so much of our time together reading. Click here or the pic below to grab your own copy! (there are 2 versions included)
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2. The favorite book freebie goes well with our End of the Year Think, Draw, Write Journals.  I am just so very impressed with how far my little friends have come since we began this Think, Draw, Write journals way back in December.  Their answers have become so much more detailed, are actually sentences (for the most part) and so much easier for me to read because of their knowledge of letter sounds and sight words! 
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Before doing this Think, Draw, Write journal entry, I read Huggapotamus, which is such a cute story.  The story is all about this hippo who keeps bombarding his friends with hugs and his friends get so very mad at him.  It then talks about how the end up forgiving each other and playing together, so it was a great way to lead into our Think, Draw, Write question: What did you do this year to be a good friend?
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Of course we could still be using our Spring Think, Draw, Write Journals too, but as soon as May hit, we were ready for our End of the Year questions instead! The year is really winding down for us now, and one thing I love about these journals, is that I can easily send home their journals at the end of the year and my little friends can continue to write their responses over the summer to any questions we have left over. You can check it out here or by clicking the pic below.  
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3. Sparking Student Motivation! One other idea that I always pull out around this time of year to keep my little friends motivated to keep on reading- and enjoying it- is our fun Super Readers Awards.  This can definitely be used all year long, but for my little friends I wait until the end of the year since this is when they are really reading!  Basically you introduce the “Super Reader” concept with the poster explaining that you will be looking for someone who you see doing all the “Super Reader” ideas. Since I do this at the end of the year, I pick a daily winner for my variety of groups, but if you did it year round, you could spread it out to have a weekly winner.  
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After the student wins the award, they get presented the award, we all cheer for them and then they add their name to the little super reader badge and then also get a “what super readers do at home” apple or badge to take home along with their award.  Of course I also take the super reader’s picture next to our super reader wall which makes all my little friends very happy.  

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Oddly enough my little friend who doesn’t necessarily LOVE reading by any means was the first friend in his group to receive this award and he was thrilled to say the least! Trust me, the days are few and far between for this little friend to show any excitement toward reading, but there was that ONE day where I was floored by his excitement- he kept saying “can i read it again?” in reference to our guided reading book for the day so I was like ok, now is my chance to keep this going! I’m still not sure if it was because the book we were reading was about money and maybe he likes math more than reading or that it was just perfectly at his level so he felt confident, but regardless I made a huge deal about how awesome he did that day by presenting this award to him and he was SO excited.  He even said, “I get to take both of these home?” referring to the award and the badge. He was so thrilled, he even went back to his class and showed them off to Amanda (his classroom teacher). 🙂  

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To make this an even bigger deal to my little friends to attempt to keep them excited about reading, I let the winner of the day read a book of his/her choice to our group. (My one requirement with this is that they choose a book at their independent level so that I know they will get through the reading smoothly.) Nearly all my students love pretending to be the teacher, so this is a VERY big deal! (I always ask my super reader if they want to read a book to the class- if they say no, I let them choose a book for me to read to the class instead because the whole point of this is to build their confidence and motivation, so forcing someone to read in front of the class who doesn’t want to would not go over well.) 
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I’m happy to say that our super reader wall is overflowing with super reader badges because my friends have all been super motivated to be the winner! You can check this pack out here or click the pic below!
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4. Testing, Testing, Testing- I’m sure this is happening right now at your school too…or it will be happening very soon. We are in the midst of what we call “mass” AIMS testing- it takes 3 days to test every single K-5 student at our school (which is a little over 500 students).  Each teacher has a scheduled time to bring their entire class to the library and then we have our reading specialists, ESL and bilingual teacher, accelerated coach, etc. all help out with the actual testing.  This is our first year doing it this way and it has made a world of a difference in regard to getting testing done in only 3 days and not needing subs.  
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We do our AIMS testing on the computer so we no longer have any individual student booklets which has been so great in regard to copying less paper and having less papers to file away.  AIMS recently (I think in the last year or so) added an “Assess Now” button to their page which allows you to just click that link and it takes you directly to the assessment that you are currently doing, does the 1 minute counting for you AND scores it all immediately.  It seriously saves SO much time in the entire testing process.  Plus the teachers can look at the results for their class immediately after we are done testing their class and who doesn’t like instant feedback?? Anyway, happy to be nearly done with AIMS and next up will be Fountas and Pinnell testing to find all our students’ end of the year reading levels! 🙂
5. Man oh man has it been so nice running outside this week- 80+ degrees in April/May is not a regular thing here in the Chicagoland area, so being able to run outside in this weather a few times this week has been very nice! Although it did kinda throw my body off and make me feel like I was running uphill each run from the heat, but I’m not going to complain!

Have a great day!
Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

0 Responses

  1. I was in Chicago this summer for a teaching workshop and it was really hot. The Chicago half marathon (I don't think it was the full marathon) was going on while we were there and I felt so bad for all the runners. Glad you have been able to enjoy the warmer weather!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  2. We love the Super Reader award! What a great way to motivate kiddos! The one in the pic looks so proud! Yay for making good progress through EOY testing. We're starting some next week…hopefully it will be painless! Have a great weekend!

    🙂 Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  3. I really enjoy your posts! I get a lot of information and very cute ides to incorporate into my room. I love the Super Reader Award. Having them self select a book that they feel confident reading is wise. Thanks for inspiring!

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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