I love when I find amazing lesson ideas, punny literary references, and other sundry teacher goodies. Sometimes I can't find what I'm looking for, so I make it myself. And now I'm sharing them with you!
I love wearing the subtle reference shirts to school on quiz days and asking the students to explain the reference as one of the questions.
All of these items and more are in the SHOP section and in my Etsy site. Purchases help fund my office supply obsession and my classroom library.
How do I get my students to read?
This is a question I ask myself every year and hear other English teachers asking as well. A few years ago I jumped on the First Chapter Friday bandwagon and haven't looked back.
Do I do this every Friday? No. Sometimes when we are in a time crunch, something has to give. The kids are usually not happy we skip FCFs.
Does this method reach every kid? Of course not. There is no magic solution and some kids just aren't going to read no matter what you try. But I do see an uptick in books checked out of my classroom library. So, I'll call that a win.
I first heard about this on Betsy Potash's website Spark: Creativity. You can read all of her amazing tips HERE. But I thought I'd share some things that have worked in my classroom.
I teach in a school near Washington D.C. We have over 50% Hispanic population, 1/3 ELLs, and about 60% FARMs. It's a sometimes challenging group. But also so rewarding.
What Works For Me
I try to find books in different genres and from a diverse set of authors. Some months I'll pick a theme (like The Book Was Better or BookTok Books). Sometimes I'll have the students give me book suggestions.
Before reading the chapter, I use a slideshow to give them the genre, premise, and any trigger warnings that aren't spoilers. I also like to include a quote from the book that sums up the theme. (Get it from Goodreads!)
I always preview the chapter first. Not only to practice any pronunciations, but to make sure there aren't any inappropriate words that I need to alter (because we all know that's when the superintendent walks in...). Whenever the technology isn't giving me a fit, I use my document camera to show the book while I read.
Students have a TBR list (worksheet) that they can add to if they like the book. Every other week, I also have them complete something while I read. Doodle notes, a one-pager, a reaction sheet, a plus-delta... I try to switch it up so they don't get bored.
What questions do you have?
Freebies and Downloads!
After losing my voice one week and the kids constantly asking "What was that book you talked about x-amount of months ago?" I decided to record the first chapters so I can reuse them, post them for absent students, and point students back to them. I also noticed most First Chapter Friday videos online are either all the same books or geared toward elementary and middle school.
You can access my First Chapter Friday Videos on my YouTube channel HERE.
I also post the slideshow for my students on our Canvas page. I just publish to web and it automatically updates as I add books! Easy-peasy.
Download the template I use for my slideshows HERE.
And HERE are some of the activities I have my students do while they are listening. Sometimes I'll make them copies, but often I cut extra copies of past worksheets into 1/2 sheets to use as scrap paper in my room and we'll use those for this.