For the past couple of years, I've been working on a curriculum writing committee in my school district. About once a month, I get together with a team of kindergarten teachers from other schools to work on developing new units of study for our Readers' Workshop curriculum. Since I don't get to see these teachers very often, it's a great chance to
The last time we met, we were discussing ways to put some new "umph" into our independent reading times. After three months of Readers' Workshop, we found that we had hit somewhat of a plateau in terms of increasing stamina and focus. We all felt that the kids needed something to give them a little inspiration so they could read "longer and stronger." So, Louise, Cindy (my kinder-colleagues) and I put our heads together to find a solution. We talked about how much our kiddos LOVE to read to someone, especially someone special. When they have some kind of special "audience" to read to, they seem to really stretch themselves as readers. We've tried having the kids bring in stuffed animals from home to read to, but found that some kids just got distracted by their furry friends. So we kicked it around a bit and came up with a
In my best Tom Bergeron voice, "Welcome to Reading with the Stars!" We brainstormed a list of celebrities, characters and other special people (the principal, the Art teacher, etc.) that the kids get excited about. I found pictures of these special people (or cornered them with my camera to get one) and mounted them inside manilla folders. The kids pick a star to keep in their book box for the week, and then during independent reading, they stand up the folder in front of them and voila! - an instant audience. When I started Reading with the Stars a few weeks ago, my class was stuck at 7 minutes of independent reading before they would start to get a little wiggly. I am happy to say that Katy Perry, Justin Beiber, Cinderella and Darth Vadar have helped us increase our stamina to 10 minutes! I've also noticed that the kids are also reading more confidently, wondering aloud about their books and are not as fidgety. Take a look at my little sweeties in action...
If you're looking for a little boost for your workshop time, grab some celebrity head shots and give it a whirl. (I would love to share my picture file but since I just found the pics on the internet, I'm not sure what copyright issues there might be. If you'd like to see the list of the celebs I used, I can post that - just let me know). Reading with the Stars might not have a "mirror-ball" trophy like DWTS does, but with this plan, everyone's a winner!
I'm hoping to expand my A-list so if you have any ideas for some new celebs, I'd love a comment!
Have a great night,