Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 7.16.14 and #cyberPD week 2

NF PB 2014     

We know that a big part of the CCSS is to include more informational texts into ourstudents' reading.  I quickly discovered I had a "gap" in my reading diet - the genre of informational texts!  To help me fill the gap this year, I am going to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesdays!  This is a great link-up hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.  Please visit this website to see other educator's link-ups.  My goal is to read at least one informational text each week and post information on the blog.  The more books and subjects I read, the more I can encourage (my #OLW for 2014) other teachers to use in their classroom! 

I'm reading what you're reading!  Part 3:  The buzz on bees

I love this weekly post because it has added to my nonfiction reading.  But sometimes it takes me seeing a book a couple of times in a post before I pick it up.  All of the books I'm spotlighting originally were reviewed on someone else's blog or their Goodreads post.  I'm showing them again because maybe for you, seeing it here will be what gets you to read the book!

Bee Poetry

UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings
unBEElievables by Douglas Florian
Florian shows his unbelievable (or should I say unBEElievable?) talent by writing these poems and illustrating them in his unique way.  Each page has a poem detailing the bee community - the queen, the drone, the worker bee, etc. There are even some on beekeepers and about how many bee communities have been disappearing.  Each poem has some accompanying facts about the poem topic.  The poems are written so even our young readers will learn something new and enjoy the rhythm and fun word play in them.

Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More!: Poems for Two Voices
Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! by Carole Gerber
I read this book in particular for the bee poems.  One in particular would be great to share if you are a doing a bee unit - "Honeybee Dance" is a sweet poem that shares with the reader the importance of the dance a honeybee does and the purpose of it.  The poems in this book are told in 2 voices which begs young readers to have fun reading with each other!  At the end of the book, the author ties together all of the topics from the book by explaining how each rely on the other in order to grow!

Narrative Informational Text

Flight of the Honey Bee
Flight of the Honey Bee
 by Raymond Huber

Great narrative informational text about the scout bee and the important work it does for the hive.  I think narrative informational texts have an important place in the learning for a young reader.  They still aren't ready for some of the cut and dry nonfiction reader and they are most comfortable with fiction texts.  This one is great for teaching information while reading a story.  And if that's not enough, the author adds bits of information on each page to add to the learning!

Informational Text

The Buzz on Bees: Why Are They Disappearing?
The Buzz on Bees:  Why Are They Disappearing by Shelley Rotner
I read this book awhile ago but reread it for this post.  This is the first book I read that looked into the missing bee epidemic.  I really like the question/answer format of this book.  Sunday Cummins also has a great close reading activity for primary students on her blog using this book.

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery
The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees by Sandra Markle
Another fantastic text that gives a variety of explanations as to why honeybees are disappearing.  The first book I would use in a K-2 classroom, this text is a bit longer, goes into more detail, so I would use it in 3-4 classroom.  It's been very interesting reading these books and since this was a new topic for me, it's been very telling how I kept taking knowledge I had learned in previous books and applied them to my current book.  This book had fantastic photography and the text was laid out in a child-friendly manner.  Great notes at the end of the book, as well.

For even more great bee titles, check out Carrie Gelson's post on bees!

Hope you buzz to your library and find these books :)

It's on to week 2 for #cyberPD.  Last week it was amazing going back and reading everyone's posts about the first two chapters of Donalyn Miller's fantastic Reading in the Wild.  The conversation is mind-stimulating and thought-provoking.  I hope it's given you something to think about!  This week our posts will be rounded up on Laura Komos' blog HERE.  Can't wait to see the conversation!

Chapter 3:  Wild Readers Share Books and Reading with Other Readers

"We must show our students what a wild reader looks like through our example."

Thoughts for teachers:
* "If we want children to read more, we must provide them with classrooms, libraries and homes where reading is the norm."  Again, like last week, I'm thinking that yes we have classroom libraries, but we need to be more explicit about them.  There needs to be more discussion about them, what books are in them, how and when we read, share and talk about those books.
* Start including book recommendations in newsletter and bottom of emails (in the signature).  By sharing what you are reading, someone can pick up on it!
* Show what you are reading:  signs on doors (made by you and students), kids can put signs on their lockers to show what they are reading.
* During morning announcements have a student share what they are reading or a recommendation.
* Let kids bring home books from the classroom library, not just the school library!
* Re look at homework... what homework is necessary?  What is beneficial?  I liked the idea of a "page log" - kind of like Status of the Class.
* Think about how you can make a community of readers in your class.  Donalyn shares benefits of a reading community including:  connecting with other readers, increasing how much they read on their own, peers challenge each other, they suggest titles to each other... 
* Think about what you do when you read a book... do you make a diorama?  Write a book report?  What authentic, organic ways can kids share their reading?
* I loved the idea of taking pictures of kids holding up a recommended book and putting it in a digital frame.

Thoughts for parents:
* "If we want children to read more, we must provide them with classrooms, libraries and homes where reading is the norm."  I think families are so busy nowadays, that reading has taken a back seat to so many other activities.  While other activities are important, it's imperative that families figure out where reading can fit in.

I thought most of this chapter was geared more towards what we can do at school to help promote sharing and talking about books.  However, what we do at school, will help this wild reading behavior increase at home.

I thought these quotes based on research were important:
"The most effective reading teachers are teachers who read."
"Teachers who read for pleasure are more likely to employ best literacy practices in their classrooms than teachers who do not read for pleasure."

Chapter 4:  Wild Readers Have Reading Plans

"The difference between readers and nonreaders is that readers have plans."
"Planning for future reading provides students with direction and purpose, reinforcing that they are readers today and will still be readers tomorrow."

Wow.  Powerful statements.  But how many times do we stop and talk to our students about this?  I started doing this more last year after reading this book the first time.  It was a start and I'm hoping to build upon that this year!

Another big statement for me was thinking about this statement:  when students are always told what to read... which leads to this question:  how do students develop ownership for reading when they are never given ownership?  Who are students reading for?  

Ideas for teachers to help students make plans:
* make plans for reading over break and then follow up with students upon return.  Make sure they have books to read - let them take books home!  Make lists of books to read.  Set goals for over break.
* Talk to students about their reading.  Ideas for older students:  book challenges, book gaps, goals, must-read list, book-a-day or 40 book challenge.  Ideas for younger students:  genres, book-a-day (reading or listening), reading series.
* Encourage students who read the same book at some point in the year to talk to each other about it - encourage conversation!  It leads to community!

What keeps coming back to me over and over is being explicit with our students.  We cannot expect all students to have a readerly life, or for them to even understand their reading preferences.  By explicitly talking about them and making them known, kids will understand more about themselves as readers - a book identity!

What stuck out to you this week?  Can't wait to see your thoughts!


  1. Michele,

    Thank you for not only sharing your #CyberPD thoughts, but your non-fiction book challenge. I teach pre-service teachers and this is a great example of how public blogging can be used to network with others, motivate to complete goals, and as a repository for learning. When I asked them to complete their text sets on a topic of choice, many wondered if they would ever use it again. I'll be happy to show your blog to illustrate a dynamic use of blogging.

    I also appreciated your bullet points of take-aways from the chapters and how you will implement them in your classroom. This envisionment process is really important. I look forward to seeing how things go in your classroom in the fall.

    Best wishes,

  2. Michele,
    Book identity! I love it! Yes, we need our students to learn about their book identities ... the ever changing identity, but at least they are reflecting and aware of their identity!

    The word explicit came to mind too as I was reading your thoughts. We need to be more explicit in our conversations with our students. I don't think I have ever asked the question: "What are you planning on reading next?" Readers need to have a plan! Then that leads to more conversations about books or allows other students to step up and share a book.

    As a reading specialist in your building, do you send out a newsletter? To your resource students? To the school? Can you share more? :)

    Another idea to share books that students are reading or books they recommend, try the Flip-a-gram app. -- shared on Twitter by Laura Komos! Download the app, snap some pictures,create short videos with your photos set to music and share! Students could eventually take the lead on this too!

    Thanks for joining in again this week. I'm glad we connected!

  3. I have been thinking about doing a honeybee post. I love these choices. I have been looking at a number of books including most of what you have here. Thanks for sharing and for the #cyberPD too.

  4. I send a monthly newsletter to the staff, but am now thinking I should expand this to somehow do a second one for parents. I'd love to reach them more. Thanks for all the bullet points, Michele. I missed some of those when I wrote, so I appreciate the reminders. And I'm grateful for the bee books. One of the classrooms at school keeps bees & I will share your ideas. I did share the Florian book with them last year-want a beautiful & clever book it is!

  5. I really like your point about making things explicit. Some readerly behaviors that I think are too obvious to even mention (for example: if you read a book and like it, go find another book by the same author) weren't obvious at all to my college students. I really have to think about all of the things I do as a reader in order to develop curriculum for my classroom. It's challenging to make explicit all of these strategies, habits, and behaviors that have been second nature for me since I was a small child!

  6. You touched upon many of my chapter take aways, Michele. The question about homework looms large, I think, it's something that we must recognize as being a hindrance to reading at home time. Those building wide discussions are so necessary.
    PS. Thanks for the wonderful collection of bee books!

  7. I'm enjoying reading all the thinking that came out of #CyberPD. :-) I also love your nonfiction theme this week - bees! :-)

  8. I'm enjoying all the reading that came out of #CyberPD! I also love the theme of your NF post - bees!!

  9. So fun to have the many bee books. Those are some fun poetry books and I will look for the informational texts to pair with them.

  10. Michele,
    It looks like you have a plan to fill your book gap. Nonfiction picture book Wednesday!

    Thanks for sharing the list of suggestions Donalyn makes for growing our reading communities. In the fall, Choice Literacy shares a series called focusing on one little change. The idea is one thing you know you are going to change in the coming year. As I consider this list you've shared, it seems there are a few small changes that might make a big difference. I'm going to commit to one - or two - of these in the coming year that seem to have the most potential to create great change.

    Like you, I also want to consider more ways to include parents in these important conversations.


  11. LOVE the bee theme! Thanks for sharing all of these!

  12. Wow! This is quite the collection of books! I love your bee theme, too! Thanks for sharing these with us!

  13. Yes, I need to read more NF! Thanks for some great titles.

    I appreciate how you separated your thinking for teachers and parents - I need to be really clear with my parents this year how I need them to be part of our reading community. Great ideas here.

  14. Great bee books, fun! As for #cyberPD I agree with you that the idea of making plans for larger school breaks is a great way to help students build that as a personal skill. I also loved her discussion of how frenzied everyone got making sure they had enough books for winter break!

  15. I'm going to have to go back through your post and take notes! You have shared some fantastic strategies that can be used in any classroom. I also found some new nonfiction books I might have to add to our 4th grade classroom library. Thanks!

  16. Thank you for all the great reading ideas!

  17. I loved reading your highlighted sections from Reading in the Wild and the fact that you have made mention of reading communities - it demonstrates quite clearly how reading is not a solitary activity as most people think. And that wild readers have a reading plan! Which is precisely the reason why we have a blog in the first place, to keep track and document our progress with our reading lists! :)