Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Starting A Book Club

One of the most fun groups I have done this year is a fifth grade boy’s book club. I had been wanting to start a book club for a couple of years but hadn’t been able to find an appropriate book that I thought was a perfect fit for my kids.  I “previewed” several books, but each one seemed to have inappropriate language or an inappropriate theme for elementary kids. After attending an NCCAT (NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching) seminar in Cullowhee, NC that was focused on themes of diversity, I finally found the PERFECT book:  Gifted Hands by Gregg Lewis and Deborah Shaw Lewis.  The book is a Zonderkids biography of the famous neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson.  Along with highlighting Dr. Carson as a tremendous role model who showed PERSEVERANCE, SELF-DISCIPLINE, RESPECT, and RESPONSIBILITY, the group is working on improving literacy.  Each student is in charge of specific information such as biography timeline, characters/setting, page number tracker, and plot summaries (2 students).  I also consulted with one of my fabulous Title I teachers who gave me some reading strategies to incorporate into our sessions.  I always read aloud while the students are eating lunch, but we have a silent hand signal that serves as a cue for choral reading.  This reading helps the students practice their fluency without being singled out.  I often have students who volunteer to read paragraphs and want to read aloud, but I don’t want anyone to feel like our group is another class or that there is any pressure to read.
I am also enjoying bringing special treats to share with the group, although I do not bring something each time we meet.  Next week, I am bringing special gummy worms, which is an idea I found on Pinterest.  Check it out:
I don’t know if my fifth grade boys will think they are as cute as I do, but I’m sure they will enjoy eating them either way!
For all of you who are about to go on spring break, enjoy! I know you deserve this break and hope it is restful for you.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Taking An Interest in "Pinterest"

Most people have discovered Pinterest by this point, an online visual pinboard  that covers everything from home decorating to fashion to EDUCATION resources. I have been on Pinterest since last spring but was mostly using it for home projects until the end of the summer.  Then, I began to discover what a great resource it is for my job as a school counselor.  I am now officially obsessed and am finding fun and helpful ideas for all aspects of my  job:  classroom lessons, Student Support Team ideas, behavior management tips, and  the list goes on and on.  Here is a brief glimpse into some of the ideas I have been using recently.
In first grade, I am teaching a classroom guidance unit on being a successful student.  My first lesson focused on the character trait of Perseverance.  The students inferenced about what the word Perseverance means by discussing different characters from popular movies:  Flynn from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Winter from a Dolphin Tale, and Bethanny Hamilton from Soul Surfer.  After they had a solid definition, we applied the character trait Perseverance to not giving up at school, even when learning something can be difficult.  The students then created a project that I found on Pinterst, which had been pinned from  — so cute!               
This picture is from her project, and she used it to discuss lots of different character traits that students used.  My students created “Perseverance Frames” and wrote all the different academic skills they have been able to learn in first grade by NOT GIVING UP. I plan on applying this idea in lots of different ways next year.  That’s why I love online collaboration because you can put your own twist on great ideas!
I also borrowed behavior management ideas from and, which I found on Pinterest.           
The sticks each have brain break ideas on them like “Do 10 jumping jacks” or “Stretch”. I gave them to a teacher so that she could direct students to them when they needed a brain break after finishing classwork.  The idea is to take a couple of minutes to have a movement activity so they can refocus for the next lesson.  The stop sign is a visual reminder to refocus.  I laminated a whole sheet of the stop signs and then gave them to teachers.  They cut them apart and are placing one stop sign on the desk of any student who is in need of the reminder.  It is inconspicuous and also saves the teacher from interrupting their lesson over and over to redirect students verbally.
Blogs and other online resources such as Pinterest have truly taken educator collaboration to a new level, which brings nothing but GREAT things to our students. I hope I will also have ideas that others can use as I move forward with my blog and other professional development.  Feel free to follow me on Pinterest at Angela Poovey and happy pinning!
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