Content Differentiation

  • Thematic book sets
  • Create mini magazines (teaching w/ a mountain view blog)
  • Variety of material that addresses the same topic
  • From Scholastic, Trumpet, or Creative Communication, Inc., order a classroom copy of stories & poems written by students
  • Create the same product with student choice for topics. I.e. research paper but children choose what to research.
  • Include art: movement, music, visual arts, theater
  • Be aware of multicultural perspectives surrounding seemingly innocuous books
  • Give general topic-students pick a subtopic, research, become an "expert," and share knowledge

Promoting Good Student Book Choices (Hot Reads, Peer Recommendations, etc.)

  • Shelfies for book recs.
  • Book Talks by teacher & once students have learned, they can conduct book talks
  • Book stacks on interest for students
  • Readies
  • Preview stacks
  • Do student interest inventories to help them begin/have a starting point when selecting books
  • Book Trailers/YouTube Book Trailers
  • Hero book talks from school athletes (admired) to younger students to encourage and build relationships
  • Teach students how to preview books
  • Peer recommendations
  • The power that a recommendation by a teacher has
  • "Shop" for books for each student in the school library
  • Idea-Hot Reads Bulletin Board; Teachers drop pic of or paper cover of book in clear page protectors
  • Encourage students to try outside of comfort zone by getting to be on "First Read By" note in a new book

Demonstrating the Value of Student Choice through Research

  • Slide shared by Donalyn (looks at minutes of reading and test scores)
  • Jim Trelease book

Organizing and Promoting a Classroom Library

  • Go to church yard sales and Goodwill to buy cheap books. Color-code according to genre or topic. (Colored duct tape on spines works well.)
  • Make a public wish list on Amazon and share vs. social media-Parents, friends, etc. might buy you a book
  • To those books, add that/a bookplate "Donated By" or "Just for You"
  • Discard books that are outdated, old, or are not culturally sensitive
  • As a school librarian it was painful to hear (years ago) that the most important place to have books was in the classroom proximity. I aided this process by trying to deliver a tub of books to classrooms on a specific topic that that grade was studying.
  • Too Many Books-great store in Roanoke (Grandin)
  • Share your thoughts and needs with parents-they can donate for a gift
  • Do you have your library always available to your students? Out in class? How displayed?

Process Differentiation

  • Tiered Activities
  • Tic-Tac-Toe/Student choice

Read Aloud

  • Absolutely!
  • Not just for K-3
  • Important Art that shouldn't be forgotten
  • Dirt Boy
  • Let older students read aloud to younger students once each quarter
  • ~20 minutes a day
  • Don't force kids to follow along as you read
  • Engaging
  • Weasel (out of print but worth it)
  • Do often!
  • Guest readers (Central Office, "Book Buddies," city/valley/county librarians, parents/grandparents/aunt/uncle, storytellers, authors, Dare Officers, Bus Drivers)
  • Mentor texts
  • Never to be outgrown!
  • Models fluency and expression, voices and diction
  • Pre-launch & launch is important
  • Hook the students early
  • Start when you can devote multiple days to reading aloud
  • Wonder
  • Number the Stars
  • Gives many kids a chance to "travel" & allows kids a time to escape

Student Ownership & Responsibility

  • Choice is important
  • Student-created goals
  • Allow students to recommend books for classroom library
  • Love giving tasks lists/choices because more work is done, motivation increases, etc.
  • Students lead book talks (recommend)

Schoolwide Reading Initiatives/Collaboration

  • One School, One Book (Make it fun! Great way to unify a building & get siblings talking.)
  • How can I convince my principle to get rid of AR?
  • Like a schoolwide emphasis on the importance of reading and scores
  • Book Doors
  • Hot reads-Are they effective if some teachers participate but others don't?
  • Fall Into Books (<--What about winter? <--Cool Winter Reading)
  • Spring: Read-Across America Day or Week
  • Author visits-students should read the book/books before the author comes & allow students to generate a list of ?s before the author arrives

What to Do for Students Who Lose Reading Logs & Books Over and Over?

  • Many times Reading Logs just give parents a reason to lie
  • Let kids "earn back" book borrowing
  • Buy more books
  • Staple inside their planner
  • Interactive Notebook that includes logs, responses, "someday list," etc.
  • Worry about school more than home for logs
  • Have students record books they have read during class time
  • Provide weekly copies (M-Th)-collect on Friday

The Dilemma of Reading Incentives?

  • Causes lack of intrinsic motivation
  • Reminds low readers/special ed. kids what they can't do or struggle with
  • Needs to become a bigger reward each year in order to continue to be effective
  • Instead of material incentives, offer "incentives" like "Book Clubs"
  • Too much to keep up with
  • Students often rush through books just to receive prizes
  • Assists in widening the gap between readers & non-readers
  • Does it cause intrinsic motivation to fade? When do we discontinue?
  • External rewards (temporary) diminish intrinsic (lasting) motivation
  • How about a "shelfie" wall with all photographed and posted?

Leveling Books vs. Leveling Kids

  • Rethinking F&P levels listed on report cards
  • Works if kids understand reading above/below their levels serve purpose... BUT it is a scaffold
  • Scaffolds are designed to come down
  • Leveling is necessary
  • Non-fiction is often above students' reading level, but it can spark interest in reading other literature
  • Gives a starting point, but leveling should not be "required"-a guideline
  • Sometimes kids just need to enjoy being at a level. Some schools push kids moving up levels too much
  • Leveling is needed for novels more so than story/picture books
  • Introduce books in a way that makes the "level" of the book clear to students ("it may be more/less challenging than _______") but allow them to choose based on their interest
  • Motivation/challenge is still an impt. factor

Learning Environment Differentiation

  • Provide non-traditional furniture (soft, comfortable, Goodwill) 
  • Theme related/topic
  • "Living room"
  • "The beach"
  • "Tree house"
  • Using moving furniture "balls" to help with breaks
  • Take legs off tables so students can sit on pillows
  • Use WalMart crates, cut board with batting & fabric stapled to make cute stools
  • Making options for kinesthetic/A.D.D. students to stand, move around without distracting others
  • Camp chairs
  • Head lamps
  • Soft music
  • Virtual fireplace
  • Book displays
  • Lighting

Product Differentiation

  • Give choices sometimes
  • All forms of literature (fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, house plans, game instructions)
  • Menu of ways to respond to books based on "multiple intelligence" strength or preferred learning style
  • Give students the opportunity to show what they learned in different ways (reports journals, skits, etc.)
  • Vocabulary Choice Board
  • K/1st also need this
  • Teach them how to create products-don't just assign -"Layne"

Additional Comments

  • What was most impressive to me was how much/hard Steven and Donalyn work to making their students successful