Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Our Reading Environment

Hello out there! I thought it might be fun to give you guys a little peek into my classroom!
I teach Language Arts in a 5th Grade classroom to two different homerooms. I love my block and am fortunate enough to work for a district that puts a lot of trust into their teachers when it comes to teaching our standards. Here are a few of my favorite places in my room that help me promote and share my love for reading with my kids...

First up, my library!
I moved my IKEA shelves to make more room in the reading area. I like how it looks, but this area is getting a major overhaul this summer. Right now, my two black bookshelves hold "books in a series," and the two tall shelves are separated by genre!

I liked the look of the library more at the beginning of the year:
I will find a solution, I'm going for a minimalistic look, but that's hard when you are trying to build up your library and book selection!

Here is a shot of my Reading Graffiti Wall:
Here we use markers or white colored pencils AND crayons to write quotes that stuck out for us in different stories! Our wall is packed and I fully plan on keeping this a focal point of the classroom next year. The kids LOVE it and it helps them find more books to read!

Here is my latest reading addition to my classroom:
It's so important as a reading teacher that I read. If you're a teacher, you should be making time to read, too. How will you ever pass on the enthusiasm for reading if you. don't. read?? Kids pick up on our attitudes and I think it's just rude to expect your kids to read everyday when you don't. #sorrynotsorry

Share that reading is something you do outside of school, it's something you do for FUN! Otherwise, kids can easily be convinced that reading kind of stinks with all the worksheets and reading logs. BLEH, that's a whole other can of worms I won't open!

Your environment can be very influential! What are you doing to make your room inviting for readers?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

#wecantputbooksdown Giveaway!

I never thought I could meet anyone who loved books more than I do. Luckily, I have! In fact, I have met 8 other amazing teachers who have that real innate love for children's literature. It is goosebumps amazing. Every time I go onto instagram and see they have posted another book I jump for joy. I want you to feel that same JUMP for JOY feeling. We have teamed up to bring you AMAZING, PAGE TURNING ideas. 

Want to follow us, we will be using the hashtag #wecantputbooksdown 

 Are we friends on instagram? If not, you are missing out! Come find me at @literacyforbigkids

Are you ready to JUMP for JOY!??!?! "We" as in the group #wecantputbooksdown have decided to share our love of reading with all of our instagram followers. We are giving away a $115 BARNES and NOBLE gift card for you to spend on children's literature books for your classroom or home library. It gets better, starting TODAY thru April 18th, teachers get 25% off of
all books at Barnes and Noble
In order to win, please do the following ON INSTAGRAM:
1. Follow All 9 of us @ramonarecommends @literacyforbigkids @brownbagteacher @nmotting @miss_griggs @smriggss @msleslieann01 @msaplusteacher @fourthnten
2. Like This Post
3. Comment below with your favorite read aloud
4. Winner will be announced on Monday, April 13th after 5pm PST. 
(BE SURE TO DO ALL OF THESE ON IG, not here!) :)

 Download this cute #wecantputbooksdown club poster. Mine going up on the wall ASAP. Comes in 4 different cuties :)

Be sure to check out some of these other BOOK LOVING TEACHER BLOGS:
 Fourth N Ten
Ramona Recommends 
Ms A Plus Teacher 
Ms LeslieAnn
Brown Bag Teacher

Friday, April 10, 2015

Using Quick Writes in an Upper Elementary Classroom

Anyone else feel like they don't give enough time and focus to writing in the classroom?
There are some weeks that pass by and I think, I could have worked in WAY more writing... I came across the idea of adding Quick Writes into my (almost) Daily routine. Here's how they work.

To start off class, I'll throw up an interesting illustration from a picture book to get the hamster wheels turning. (THE FIRST TIME I DID THIS, CUE FIFTH GRADE FREAK OUT!) "Wait, what? We can just write something? To go with the picture? That's it??" OUTRAGE! Along with outrage comes... wait for it... ENGAGEMENT! They're hooked.

The last photo we used in class was an illustration from The Wreck of the Zephyr by Chris Van Allsburg. Stick around and you'll find out that I'm kind of obsessed with him, almost as much as Roald Dahl... but I digress.

I told the kids that for this particular illustration they just had to compose a short story. It could be fictional (probably should be since boats are floating in mid air) but there were no other stipulations. Be ready to clarify that they have almost free reign for about 3 minutes before they finally trust you.

Here is what happened: I had every kid WRITING. That's right, engaged in writing. Not worried about spelling, making sure it was perfect, but engaged and having FUN writing. This counts for something, right? I think that if this could be added into your routine 3-5 times a week, you would see insane changes in the attitudes of your kids. Give it a shot! You can use anything for a Quick Write, a blog post you found interesting, a commercial that is relevant, pictures, WHATEVER!

This is something that I like also because it requires little to no prep and materials, however, I have made a product (I use a lot of these pictures) and this could be used to introduce the idea to your kids. There are poems, recipes, fantasy stories, fables, and lots of other types included. Pictures come with prompts and without so you can use how you see fit. I think you should give Quick Writes a try.


After a new name change, I decided to just pack up my old blog (Riedmiller's Room) and bring things over here to start fresh. New name, new start, right?

How about a little introduction?
I am a Fifth Grade ELA Teacher in Ohio. This is my third year teaching, each year a new grade! I started in 3rd, then went to 4th and now I'm finishing up my 5th grade year. Next year, I will be back to teaching 4th Grade ELA! I love my job. I get to share books with lots of kids, I get to talk books, read books, show people how to make sure they are understanding books... Did I mention books??

What you will find here:
Look for lots of happenings in my classroom, book reviews, links to great blogs that help me stay in touch with the reading community (like Nerdy Book Club and Mr. Schu Reads), and probably a ton of Instagram pictures. Do you follow me on IG? You should! @literacyforbigkids, What about Twitter?? @RiedmillersRoom. I love to use Twitter for Professional Development. I participate in a lot of monthly chats about reading best practices and spreading the word of getting choice and reading time into classrooms everywhere! If you are a like-minded individual, start following!