Saturday, September 17, 2011

Teaching Discovery!

I think I have uncovered a teaching goldmine. This could be the key to turning my reluctant readers, who make various trips to our library and rarely commit to a book, into kids who can't stop reading. It might also be the key to helping guide my die-hard realistic fiction lovers into the world of science fiction and fantasy. What is this precious gem you ask? Graphic novels!

I was skeptical of the idea at first. “Aren't those just longer versions of comic books?” I asked myself. After a lot of reading (see links to articles supporting their use at the end of this post), and perusing some great teaching blogs, I have decided I am going for it! I even bought my first one today:

I am particularly excited about reading this myself because I never actually read the book. I think it will be neat to suggest reading both this and the original to my students, and hearing their thoughts about the similarities and differences between the two. I am also curious to see which they prefer.

Of course, I will probably need to do a mini-lesson on how to read a graphic novel correctly (like how to follow the panels and speech bubbles). It might be fun to read a portion aloud while displaying it under the document camera in my classroom just to draw some interest. However, I still need to build up my stash before I start introducing them in my library. So...I have been searching endlessly for as many kid-friendly graphic novels as I can find!

In my search for appropriate graphic novels, I have used several sources. First, I found a lot of recommended graphic novels for the age group I teach on a great blog called "A Year of Reading." Check out the September 2011 Posts for some awesome reviews of graphic novels. I also started perusing the reviews in the "Kids" section on These are really helpful because they are thorough and there are a TON of graphic novels listed that are specifically made for younger readers. Finally, I also look at what the reviewers on have to say. Of course, I will be looking through and reading a great deal of these myself (mostly because they are so cool!).

I am really excited about getting more graphic novels for my library and I am curious to see if anyone else is already using them. I am currently stalking the web to find a good deal on the first two books in the Amulet series, as well as an adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. There are so many out there that I could use to pull my kiddos into reading...I'd be crazy not to try it!

Links about using graphic novels in the classroom:

Friday, September 16, 2011

The First Few Weeks of School

This year is already a whirlwind! I am at work late everyday, and when I get home I am constantly doing something else related to teaching. As tired as I am, I don't feel burnt out by it...I feel invigorated! I have never felt so passionate about my job. It's wonderful!

So here is what's been going on since my last post (as a get into a routine I will post more, and hopefully people will actually start reading!):

My classroom setup went really well, and I keep meaning to take and post pictures of it. But, alas, something always comes up! The owl theme is cute, but not as prevalent as I would like it to be. Am I the only teacher who has a hard time pulling off the put-together look? I feel like I need to redo everything in my room to really pull it off. Slowly but surely I'll get there. Guess I just need to stick with this theme for a while...

The first week has come and gone. Actually, it was two days late thanks to Ms. Irene (the hurricane if you weren't sure). We were kind of in a holding pattern for those days, not knowing if we would go back or not, so that was kind of stressful. Now we are rocking and rolling in full swing!

That's it for now...hopefully I'll get used to this blogging thing and post more frequently. :)