Friday, February 27, 2015

Coming Soon- World Read Aloud Day

"Every year on the first Wednesday of March, World Read Aloud Day calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories."


This upcoming Wednesday, March 4th is World Read Aloud Day.  To celebrate, we've invited a guest reader to visit our classroom and read to us from our read aloud, Fish in a Tree.  Our guest reader loves to read, she has read both Fish in a Tree and One for the Murphys, and she was  instrumental in getting our class copies of both...we'll reveal who she is on the big day!

To prepare for World Read Aloud Day, we've been looking literacy statistics from around the world. 

Global Literacy Statistics

  • Reading aloud to children every day puts them almost a year ahead of children who do not receive daily read alouds regardless of parental income, education level or cultural background. (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)

  • According to the latest data (2014), 793 million adults – two thirds of them women – lack basic reading and writing skills. (UNESCO)

  • Since 1985, the female adult literacy rate has risen 15%, which is about double the growth of the male literacy rate in the same time period. (UNESCO)

  • On tests involving 4,500 to 10,000 students in 43 countries, half of the girls said they read for at least 30 minutes a day, compared with less than one-third of the boys. (UNESCO)

  • Even though the size of the global illiterate population is shrinking, the female proportion has remained virtually steady at 63 to 64%. (UNESCO)

  • Among the youth population, female literacy rates have been rising quickly. Nonetheless, three out of five youths lacking basic reading and writing skills are young women. (UNESCO)

  • If all children in low-income countries left school literate, 171 million people could move out of poverty. (World Literacy Foundation)

  • Poorly-literate individuals are less likely to participate in democratic processes and have fewer chances to fully exercise their civil rights (UNESCO)

  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five than a child born to an illiterate woman. (UNESCO)

  • A literate and educated girl is three times less likely to acquire AIDS, she will earn at least 25% more income, and she will produce a smaller, healthier family. (UNESCO)

  • Illiterate people earn 30-42% less than their literate counterparts. (World Literacy Foundation)
UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Browse

Today, we went to the library for a book browse.  Our Librarian, Mrs. Neal, put together tables of books that were rated the Best Books of 2014.  Students spent 4 minutes at each table, previewing, and looking through books.  After looking at the books and chatting with each other, students made a wish-list of books to read in the future.

Mrs. Neal demonstrates strategies to preview a book
 During the book browse, many students were whispering excitedly over the materials in front of them.  Here's some of my favorites that I overheard:

  • "Ohhh, this sounds like a really good book!"
  • "Ms. Gould, this is the author of one of the other books we read for the Asian Choice unit!"
  • "Ohhhhh Chris, I think you would really like this book!"
  • "Oh, Callie, have you seen this one yet?"
  • "I already have three books on hold!"
  • "I can't wait to read this!"
Take a look at the fun we had!

 Thanks for setting this up, Mrs. Neal!  To see the list of books we looked through, check out the "Book Browse" on Mrs. Neal's website.

2015 Youth Media Awards

American Library Asociation Youth Media Awards

Looking for a good book?

Each year the American Library Association releases a list of award winning books for children and teens for the year.

This year's list is full of amazing books, many of which are perfect for middle schoolers!  Take a look at the list by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Warlords Wrap Up

Note: Sorry for the delay!  This post was originally from December, at the end of our warlords unit.

The Revolution

In Social Studies 9, students ended our Warlords unit with a non-violent protest, that resulted in a government coup.  A group of insurgents organized a demonstration, in which students surrounded Empress Lau and chanted, "Empress Lau must Go!"  Empress Lau was exiled to Mongolia.

Students wore robes to protest Empress Lau's Kimono, a symbol of her power.
The Tools of the Revolution:
 Students held bags of rice (Koku) in protest of the empire's unfair distribution of wealth and wore buttons that read "Empress Lau Must Go."
Unity Flag-
The different castles combined their colors to show they would not be pitted against one another.

After the coup, anarchy persisted for a short amount of time, but the rebels quickly organized and set up democratic elections.  Using this system, the rebels elected a president and cabinet members. 

The leaders of the Rebellion.  These students set up community meetings several days proceeding the overthrow to plan a strategy for dismantling Empress' Lau's regime and implementing a new government.

Students created posters and platforms to run for President.

The Elected President (right) and Vice President (left) of the new democracy.

The elected Cabinet Members.

The Shogun winners- These students kept their position as Shogun as figureheads in the new government.
The class under the new democracy.

Shogun Wrap Up

In Social Studies 10, we wrapped up our simulation by announcing the new Shogun.  Students celebrated with their castle groups.

Class Read-In

After reading a blog post by Pernille Ripp about adding fun back into our classroom last week, I stopped and asked the class, what are we looking forward to this week? That's when we came up with the Read-In.  

Last Friday, we set aside the entire class period to celebrate reading.  Students brought in blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals, and we read!  We had independent reading, a book sharing time, and we started our new read aloud, Fish in a Tree.

During our sharing time, our school librarian, Mrs. Neal, joined us to eat snacks, give a couple of book talks, and listen to the students swap book recommendations.  Take a look at our festivities below:

Mrs. Neal gives book talks to our class.

Students gather in the classroom library for our new read aloud, Fish in a Tree.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fish in a Tree


Today, we began our next read aloud, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.  Hunt wrote One For the Murphy's, one of our all-time favorite books and the book we read for Global Read Aloud.  Fish in a Tree was just released last week, and our entire class was so excited to start it!  Here's the summary of the book from Goodreads:

"The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.
'Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.'
Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike."

Our Favorite Books So Far

Today, I asked students to write down their favorite book they've read so far in sixth grade. Below, I've included the list we came up with, sorted by genre.  Looking for a good book?  Take a peek!

Realistic Fiction
  • If I Stay
  • Holes
  • See You at Harry's
  • One For the Murphy's
  • Stargirl
  • TFIOs
  • Deep, Dark, and Dangerous
  • The Cake Pop Crush

Realistic Fiction- Sports
  • The Contract
  • The Keeper
  • Underdogs

Historical Fiction
  • The Watson's Go to Birmingham
  • The Book Thief
  • Lions of Little Rock
  • Kite Fighter
  • All the Broken Pieces

  • Heros of Olympus
  • The Serpent's Shadow
  • Series of Unfortunate Events
  • The Boy on the Porch
  • Peter Nimble
  • The False Prince
  • The Runaway King
  • Divergent
  • Allegiant
  • Four
  • The Warlock

Science Fiction/Dystopian
  • I am Number Four
  • The Hunger Games
  • Mocking Jay

  • Driven
  • Bomb

Graphic Novels
  • Hugo Cabret
  • Cardboard
  • Ghostopolis
  • Bad Island
  • American Born Chinese
  • Amulet
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid- Long Haul