Top Ten Favorite Professional Development Books

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Hi friends! It's officially summer break for me and I cannot begin to describe my level of excitement! I always love to have the summer to recuperate from the previous school year and plan for the next one! I also love to catch up on some professional development books as a way to motivate myself. I thought I would share my top ten favorite professional development books today. Be sure and stick around to the end because there just might be a giveaway! 

The Megabook of Fluency by Timothy V. Rasinski and Melissa Cheesman Smith 

I discovered The Megabook of Fluency last summer and fell in love. This is my FAVORITE reference tool for fluency. It's full of passages that you can use in your classroom to have your kids practice fluency. It also contains strategies to use and ready to print fluency examples. It's amazing. 

This one is an oldie, but I LOVE Strategies that Work. It's one of those books that you can just pick up and use because its filled with strategies. It's especially good for nonfiction strategies-which y'all know I struggle with! :)

Two summers ago I read Reading Magic, which changed the way I viewed read alouds. If you are an upper grade teacher (or even lower elementary) and you're worried that you're wasting valuable instructional time by reading aloud to your kids, read this and you'll never doubt yourself again. It teaches you the benefits to reading aloud to students. It is a classic that everyone should read. 

Last summer I did a book study on Disrupting thinking. You can read the posts here. I ended up stopping with the blog posts halfway through because everything got so busy with building my house, but I did finish the book and I LOVED it! It talks about how important it is to really analyze how our students are learning and how to change your teaching when something isn't working. 

I read The End of Molasses Classes right after my first year of teaching and I remember thinking how much I wished I had read it before I started teaching. If you're in a rut and feeling defeated or uninspired, this book will motivate you and make you want to be the best teacher ever. It's absolutely amazing. 

This book I read every single summer. This book will change the way you teach reading and make you strive to create a reader in every single one of your students. It's amazing and brilliant and inspiring and motivating. If you pick up one PD book to read this summer, let it be this one. 

Another oldie, but Comprehension Connections contains some classic lessons like the handbag drawing conclusions lesson. You will find some great ideas to use in this one. I promise! 

Debbie Miller is my go to for lower elementary specific PD books. Reading with Meaning has so many great ideas for literacy stations. I can't wait to reread it and get some new ideas since I'm moving to second grade next year :)

Another great one from Debbie Miller. This one has sections specifically for different important elements of a successful classroom like creating a sense of family, or making good use of your class time. 

My number one favorite PD book of all time is The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo. This book is FULL of simple strategies that you can use in your classroom. It's one of those books that isn't packed with research and other info that, while important, gets in the way of what you want to know and use in your classroom. I have a copy for home AND one that I leave at school because I was carrying my one copy back and forth so many times. It's that good. There's also one for writing strategies that fabulous too!

And that brings us to our giveaway! I am SO excited to work with Scholastic Professional again and share about this new PD book that shares tips and strategies from 50 expert teachers. I love how this one is broken down and how each strategy/activity is divided into sections (what, where, why, how) because it makes it very easy to follow and understand. Plus it has tons of pictures, which always helps me! The giveaway is happening over on my Instagram, but you get a bonus entry if you go to my newest Youtube video and leave a comment :) 

Happy Tuesday, friends! :)

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National Endangered Species Day

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Did y'all know last Friday (5/17) was National Endangered Species Day? It's not too late to celebrate, and I have the perfect picture book for the occasion:

This new book from Chelsea Clinton contains 12 animals from all over the world that are endangered. Some of the species that are endangered really surprised me! The book talks about:

-blue whales
-giant pandas
-whale sharks
-polar bears
-sea otters

I especially love that each section gives the level of endangerment and the reason. 

This one is a great nonfiction picture book that gives a ton of info in an easy to read and understand way. You can grab your copy here

You're Missing It! Screen Free Week Blog Tour

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Happy Thursday, friends! I'm super excited to share a brand new book with y'all today that is not only gorgeously illustrated, but also contains such a relevant and important message. I'm talking about Brady Smith and Tiffani Thiessan's (yep, Kelly Kapowski!) new book, You're Missing It!

This book tells the story of a little boy who goes to the park with his dad. The only problem is the dad is too busy on his phone to pay attention to everything around him. Throughout the book, the little boy sees amazing things and tries to share his discoveries with his dad, but the dad is too busy. This is such a great story for theme. 

You may not have known, but this week is actually Screen Free Week- yep the irony isn't lost on me LOL. This book is the perfect way to talk with kids about being present and actually living life. 
Our schedule is jam packed every day, but we sometimes have days (especially here at the end of school) where we have a school event or some kids have a field trip with clubs and we don't have a regular class setting that day. On those days we usually have some free time and I hate to just let my students sit and "play" on their Chromebook. 

I've created a short list of ways to disconnect from the screen if this is a problem in your classroom. I know it is in mine at times. A few years ago, whenever we had free time, my kids would always beg to play interactive class games or draw or have "Storytime." But now, they just want to "play on the Chromebook" which is a term I loathe! I always like doing something as a class because it allows for myself AND the kids to be in more of a relaxed setting and develop a sense of family. 

Here's a few ways I have found to get kids to put down their screens and be present whenever we have a little free time in class:

* Go on a nature walk* 
Our science teacher does this and has the kids walk around the campus and simply observe their surroundings. Then they come back and do ABC's where they recall something they saw/smelled/felt that started with an "A" or a "B" or so on.

 This incorporates teamwork as well as speaking and listening standards. A huge plus in my book! If you google charades for kids, you can find examples for the kids to do. 

 Another highly requested favorite

Start off a story by saying something along the lines of "Once upon a time" or "One day, a boy named _______ went to ______" Then pick a student to continue your story. They will say a few lines, and then call on another student to add to the story.  

*Reverse Read Alouds*
 I build time into our schedule each day for a read aloud, but that doesn't mean if we have some free time we can't read another! Switch it up and have the kids be the teacher. Have a student pick a favorite book and read it to the class just like the teacher would. 

* Directed Drawings*
 We LOVE doing directed drawings and they often times result in some funny conversations and drawings LOL You can find tons of directed drawings online and you can even tie it back into whatever topic y'all are learning about at that time. 

What else can you think of to do during free time in your classroom to promote being present and screen free? Leave a comment below so we can all get ideas!

Thanks so much for my copy of the book, Penguin Random House Children's Books.

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