Monday, May 30, 2011

Can't Quit Catching Cooties

Alright, so I love using alliteration for titles. But seriously, my students can't get enough of our new cootie catchers for reading comprehension. I made up this cute little product last weekend, and brought it into my classroom at the beginning of last week. I try to allow my students up to 30 minutes of independent reading time each day (in a perfect world there would be no announcements, interruptions, assemblies ... you know what I'm talking about). In previous years, I had always tried to give my students a good chunk of independent reading time, but after reading The Book Whisperer last summer, I was even more determined to make sure it happened every day.

I rarely give my students worksheets to keep them accountable for their independent reading. Instead, I have a 30 book challenge that they work through (another idea from The Book Whisperer). Also, after independent reading each day, they meet with another student for a Pair Share. During the Pair Share, students must tell each other about their reading for the day. Sometimes I have a specific prompt, sometimes they give a summary, and sometimes I have the students come up with the questions. The catch is, when I ask specific students to share with the class, they have to tell what their partners told them. Because they know I'm giving them an oral language mark, they know they have to listen intently to their partners, and ask thick questions to get a really deep answer. Having the students share their partners' answers (rather than their own) is like a safety net for the students - and you wouldn't believe the number of hands I have waving in the air to share. Probably 95% of my students are eager and willing to share. This week we've been using the cootie catchers during our Pair Shares, and there is visible and audible disappointment when I ask them to put the cootie catchers away.

Because the cootie catchers have been such a hit in language class, and because I'm desperately trying to review a full year of math concepts before testing begins on Wednesday, I created a version of my Cootie Catchers for Mathematics. Concepts covered with these catchers are: reducing fractions, rounding, factors and multiples, mental math multiplication, metric conversions, 3D shapes, and converting fractions to percents). Can't wait to break in our new cootie catchers tomorrow.

I've included links to all the products mentioned in this post. Just click on the pictures to bring you to the product at my TeacherspayTeachers Store.

Genre Posters and 30 Book Challenge

Cootie Catcher Comprehension

Cootie Catcher Mathematics

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