Celebrations aren’t always about planning and hosting a party. Oftentimes in our classroom, we celebrate by learning the “how” and “why” behind important holidays or recognize student achievements. The lessons housed within this unit showcase work completed on a variety of “celebration days.” Several include reproducibles that were made with graphics from Kevin and Amanda’s Fonts, Teaching in a Small Town, and Melonheadz Illustrating.
Each year our school celebrates Read Across America by holding week-long Seuss themed dress up days and inviting special guest readers into each classroom. This year, I wanted to hold an old fashioned read-in. While I couldn’t bring in sleeping bags or have students come in their PJ’s, I did want to provide a laid back atmosphere and clear our whole block to do nothing but read.
Before students arrived, I set out dozens of books I checked out from the library. Each book had at least four copies so that more than one student could read each title at a time. Books were of various levels and topics and a few were well-loved texts from studies throughout the year.
I asked students to pull out their binders and pencils and turn their attention towards the back counter. I explained that today we would do nothing but read. Students would begin by choosing a partner and then going together to select their first book. They will read it together however they choose – paragraph by paragraph or page by page. When finished, they will record the book on their reading logs and return it to the counter. Then it’s time for a new partner and book! They will repeat this process as many times as they can in the time we have. If they cannot find a new partner once they finish a text, they can visit the book area to pick a couple of titles they’d like to read next and wait for someone else to finish.
Students find their first partners and a place to read together. In order to keep the chaos at a minimum, I only have a few partners select their books at a time. However, since everyone will finish reading at different times, there shouldn’t be a need to limit the number of students in the book area as we go.
While students read, I take the opportunity to catch up on conferences. I listen to students read and ask questions as necessary. If I see that a student is in need of a partner, I jump in and read with him.
To close the period, I ask students to complete a book recommendation form on the best book they read today. When finished, I ask that students return to their desks and share their forms with the students at their tables. After everyone has shared, I collect the forms and post them to our wall.