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For any seasoned teacher, they will tell you that building a community within your classroom will help not only with discipline but also with achievement since students who feel comfortable and engaged in a classroom will be more successful. Here are some tips for helping build rapport and community within your classroom:

Spend Time

Spend some time at the beginning of the year getting to know your students. I know this seems like a no brainer, but you know that your curriculum map always yells at you to get started. However, students are going to do better in your classroom if they feel like it is a place they want to be and learning about them will help you make the classroom that place.

Inventory

Have students fill out interest and book inventories sharing about themselves and read them! After receiving them and reading them, write each student back a letter. The letter can be quick, but make it personal. Take it to another level by recommending books based on their interests!

Allow Input

For rules, for procedures, for texts, for lessons… let students have input! What is the easiest way to get buy in? Allow students to feel ownership of what is going on in the classroom.

Share

Don’t forget to also talk about yourself! Show them you are human.

Collaboration

Part of making community is students trusting and respecting each other. The only way to do this is to allow students to get to know each other through group work.

Greet

Greet every student, every day. Show them from the minute they walk in that you care and are happy they are there. It is such a small thing that will make a huge difference.

Listen

Remember, these are kids we are teaching. Don’t jump to conclusions. Listen to them; they have a story to tell. This will show them that you respect their stories, and giving respect leads to receiving it.

What do you do to help build community in your classroom? 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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Tuesday: Student Voices: Visual Reflections on School Shootings by Two of Kellee’s 2017-18 Middle School Students

Wednesday: Hazardous Tales: Raid of No Return by Nathan Hale with an Educator Guest Post

Thursday: Review and Giveaway!: Who Eats Orange? by Dianne White
Giveaway open until Wednesday!

Friday: Picture Book 10 for 10: Our 4-Year-Olds Share Their Current Ten Favorite Books

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee

Whoa! Last week was our planning week before students start today, and it was REAL! Which means, that other than over the weekend, not a lot of reading was done. Back to the school year!

I checked out every Vet Volunteers e-book that my library has, and I really love them. They’re like that healthy food that is your comfort food–they are great books that make me so happy when I read them.

The Duck, Duck, Porcupine! books by Salina Yoon are HILARIOUS! I’m so glad that these are Trent’s book of choice this week!

Ricki

My son and I are running out of Sara Varon books that we haven’t read! This one is called Bake Sale and is from 2011. It was delightful. We love reading Varon’s books. They are funny, and the characters make us smile.

The sixteen hours of this audiobook were purely magical. Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone is worth the hype. It is a stunning story on its own, but it also connects to the stories of our contemporary world. This one offers much to discuss in the classroom.

My toddler loved Who Eats Orange? by Dianne White. The illustrations pop off of the page, and it integrates the learning of colors and animals beautifully. I particularly like how the author didn’t use the typical animals that we see in picture books. This made the reading very exciting.

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Kellee

I’m so sad! I have 2 of 8 parts left in my Dumplin’ audiobook, but it is going to return tomorrow, and I don’t think I’ll be done. I’ve requested it again, but I am #3 on 2 copies… I guess I’ll listen to a short audiobook while I wait to get it back. I am also continuing the two series I’ve been reading: Heroes of Olympus and Vet Volunteers.

Ricki

My older son and I are still reading The Super Life of Ben Braver. We are having so much fun reading it. We read three chapters per night, and occasionally, we check out a chapter in the morning.

I am reading The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani. So far, it is excellent.

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Tuesday: Teaching Tuesday: Small Things to Build Community and Rapport in Your Classrooms

Wednesday:  Book Tour with Review and Giveaway!: It’s Show and Tell, Dexter! by Lindsay Ward

Thursday: It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus! by Jody Jensen Shaffer

Friday:  Blog Tour with Reviews and Teaching Tools: Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell & Corinna Luyken

Sunday: Author Guest Post!: “How a love of language and travel influenced The Magic of Melwick Orchard” by Rebecca Caprara

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Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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On August 10th each year, the 10 for 10 community celebrates picture books! Check out #pb10for10 on Twitter to see other posts.

Our 4-Year-Olds Share Their Current Ten Favorite Books

These are the five books each that our sons chose when we asked them for their favorite books. We also asked them to say why they love the book.

Trent

Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths by Graham Annable

Peter didn’t want to go because he was scared. He was scared because he would have to go to the ocean to get Ernesto. Peter wanted to go on an adventure and see the whole sky, but that would take a long time.

Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin

Baby Monkey saves the day and finds stuff for everyone. And he eats snacks, and I like snacks, too, like Baby Monkey Private Eye. He tries to put his pants on but he does it upside down on his head and that is funny!

Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana by James Dean

Pete the Cat is so silly, and he wins the race. The banana race. There are bad, bad, bad, yucky, mushy, black bananas, but not all bananas are bad. All bananas are not bad, but some are. He ate a bad banana, so he tried other food. Like hot dogs that he had for dinner. For breakfast he couldn’t have a hot dog since he just had one, so he wanted a banana.

Kellee’s note: Trent actually wanted to put multiple Pete the Cat books on the list, and I had him pick his favorite. He loves Pete!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I love that he turns into a cool butterfly. I like rainbow butterflies. And I like caterpillars, and very hungry caterpillar is a caterpillar.

Race Car Count by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

We count race cars. I like to count just like race car count does. It also says GO and STOP. I like how the cars look. I like the green one because green means GO!

Henry

The Super Life of Ben Braver by Marcus Emerson

I love it so, so much because he has the powers! He is super with his powers. I like it also because Ben Braver has the same name as my brother.

The 78-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

I love the tree. I really like how there is a cow on every page. The book is so funny.

You Choose by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart

I like to choose all the things that I like. I really like to choose really good things. I like reading it with my mom and dad and Benny because I like choosing with them.

New Shoes by Sara Varon

All of the books by Sara Varon are really cool. The characters are so, so fun.

Harbor Freight Catalogs

I really like them because I like doing some picking. A lot of good things in these. And how did you get that picture? Can I read that one, too?

What books did (do) your 4-year-olds love?

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Who Eats Orange?
Author: Dianne White; Illustrator: Robin Page
Published August 14, 2018 by Beach Lane Books

Goodreads Summary: Who eats orange—a chicken? A bunny? A bear? Find out in this unique exploration of colors and animals’ favorite foods.

Animals eat a rainbow of different foods. Gorillas in the mountains eat green, octopi in the ocean eat red, and toucans in the canopy eat purple. Young animal enthusiasts will love digging into this lively journey around the world to explore the colorful diets of many animals, from the familiar to the exotic.

Review and Teacher’s Tools for NavigationThese is a clever book! It teaches about animals, colors, and foods simultaneously. Each page offers a lead into the next page which makes it a great read-aloud. When I read this with my son, I loved pausing on each page and asking him to make predictions. There are also great opportunities for teaching complex vocabulary through this text. The animals the author selected aren’t the typical animals we see in picture books and board books, which caused my son to ask a lot of questions. It made reading the book all the more interesting. We spent some time, for example, looking up quetzals on the internet and exploring the food and habitats of this interesting bird. I found this book to be very inspiring. It made me want to write, write, write! It would be a great resource for teachers to have in their classrooms.

On a more personal note, this book is a great resource for me as a mom. It offered space for my kids and me to discuss the different colors of the foods that he enjoys and how he might try to eat more colors. Who Eats Orange? offers so much for caregivers seeking to diversify their children’s diets.

Also, isn’t the cover amazing? My toddler giggled when I pulled it out of my bag.

Check out fun activities for the book here.

Discussion Questions: Which color foods are your favorite to eat? How might you incorporate more colors into your diet?; Which animals were missing from the book? Can you think of one more animal for each color?; How do the illustrations add to your appreciation of the text? What did you learn from the backmatter?

Check Out a Few Spreads from the book!:

Read This If You Loved: Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin; Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

 

Giveaway!:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Recommended For: 

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About the Author and Illustrator:

Dianne White has written several picture books, including the celebrated Blue on Blue, illustrated by Beth Krommes. This summer she also released Goodbye Brings Hello: A Book of Firsts, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman. She lives in Gilbert, Arizona, with her family.  For more information, and to download a free activity kit, visit diannewrites.com.

Twitter @diannewrites

Robin Page has written and illustrated several picture books, including the 2003 Caldecott Honor recipient What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?, which she created with her husband Steve Jenkins, and A Chicken Followed Me Home! and Seeds Move!, which she both wrote and illustrated. Robin and Steve live in Boulder, Colorado.

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*Thank you for Barbara from Blue Slip Media for sending along this wonderful book!*

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Hazardous Tales: Raid of No Return
Author and Illustrator: Nathan Hale
Published November 7th, 2017 by Abrams Books

Summary: A top secret mission needs volunteers.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States joined World War II. And soon after that, young pilots were recruited fro a very secret – and very dangerous – raid on Japan. No one in the armed forced had done anything like this raid before, and none of the volunteers expected to escape with their lives. But this was a war unlike any other before, which called for creative thinking as well as bravery.

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales are graphic novels that tell the thrilling, shocking, gruesome, and TRUE stories of American history. Read them all – if you dare!

About the Author: Nathan Hale is the #1 New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. He also wrote and illustrated the graphic novel One Trick Pony. Hale lives in Provo, Utah. Learn more at hazardoustales.com.

Praise: “Harrowing and no detail is left out . . . Hale’s tendency to incorporate character commentary, infographics, and fun facts will draw readers. Give this title to readers interested in action-packed graphic novels.” — School Library Journal

Review: The Hazardous Tales series is the series I use when kids say that nonfiction is boring AND when teachers say that graphic novels aren’t complex because this series, and this book, is complex, interesting, well crafted, funny, and just everything you’d want from any book, much less a nonfiction graphic novel.

And I am so happy to have a World War II Tale because so many students ask for it, and this is a new story for me, so I know it’ll be new for my students as well. Also, I think this specific mission will lead to many discussions because the idea of volunteering for a deadly mission is something that so many of my students struggle to understand because it isn’t something that they need to even consider, so to look at these men’s decision-making and willingness to fight for their country.

Other Hazardous Tales reviewed in the past here on Unleashing Readers: Alamo All-Stars and The Underground Abductor.

Hazardous Tales tip: I recommend starting with the first book, One Dead Spy, then you can read any of the others in any order.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I’ve written in the past how I would incorporate this series as well as written a teaching guide for the first six books, but I wanted to allow another voice to share the brilliance of Hazardous Tales, so today my colleague, Kaleigh Gill who teaches 8th grade U.S. history, who started reading the series this summer and has read almost the whole series! I wanted to let her share why she loves the series and how she pictures it being part of her classroom:

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales opens up a world of American stories that are often overlooked. With multiple books focusing on big topics, like the Revolution, Civil War, Alamo and Westward Expansion, Hale is able to give students (and teachers!) an engaging and realistic depiction of the experiences of American heroes and villains. With his humorous and relatable characters, he is able to connect with young readers on an unprecedented level in regards to nonfiction novels.

One of my favorite attributes of Hale’s series is the way he inserts side stories filled with background information and informative detail on corresponding events and individuals. He has the ability to make these often dull stories, come alive with his animated and entertaining illustrations. His stories are sure to captivate readers of all ages and interests.

Every history teacher in the United States should read this series! Even if you feel you wouldn’t have enough time to teach the entire book, it would be a great visual to provide students when discussing certain topics or figures. Some excerpts in this series would only take about 5-10 minutes to read aloud and discuss with your students, but would definitely leave a lasting impact! This series has even inspired me to design lessons based around historical texts for young readers and has also ignited my love of history again. Leaving these books to simply sit in my classroom library, would be a huge waste for my curriculum and more importantly, my students. Not only will it give insight into little known stories of America’s major events to enhance instruction, but it will intrigue students to dive deeper into historical texts that they would typically overlook.

Teaching Guide for Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #1-#6:

Discussion Questions: 

  • Why did these soldiers volunteer for a mission they knew nothing about and that they knew was very dangerous?
  • Why do you think the part of World War II in the South Pacific isn’t spoken about as much as the European front?
  • How did the planes have to be changed up to be successful for the mission? Why?
  • Trying reading the book the way it was written then switch it up and read one plane’s story at a time–which way did you enjoy better?
  • How did this mission change the course of the war against Japan?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: History, Graphic Novels, Other Hazardous Tales books

Recommended For: 

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After Parkland, school shootings and any topic associated with them was often talked about in my classroom. Students needed someone to talk to about everything that was going on. They also had to mourn, as Parkland seemed too close to home for us, and the lives lost were grieved by all of my students. When I allowed students to write a blog post, these two sixth graders asked if they could write about school shootings and how they need to stop. And I am posting it now as the next school year starts, to keep the conversation going–this needs to stop. Here is how they reflected:

Visual Reflections on School Shootings by Sasha M. and Maelynn A. (6th graders)

Facts found during research:

  • On an average day, 96 Americans are killed by guns.
  • America’s gun homicide rate is more than 25 times the average of other high income countries.
  • Black men are 13 times more likely than White men to be shot and killed with guns.
  • There are nearly 13,000 gun homicides a year in the United States.
  • Seven children/teens 19 and under are killed with guns in the U.S. on an average day.
  • There have been 22 shootings involving schools since January, 2018 (as of the end of May, 2018).
  • 187,000+ students have been exposed to gun violence at school since Columbine.
  • As of mid-March, 2018, 12,752 students have been present at school shootings.
  • There are school shootings in small and large towns.
  • Targeted shootings are far more common than indiscriminate slaughter (64.5% to 22.3%).
  • Our country has about 250 million guns.
  • Students who were victims of school shootings can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder that can be cripling.
  • Black students make up 16.6% of school populations, but experience shootings at 2x the rate of other students.
  • It is now safer to go to war than to be at school (in 2018).
  • Kids SHOULD NOT be afraid to go to school.

Resources:

This poster includes quotes from protest posters and students speaking out. We also put the schools and cities along with the causalities to raise awareness that this is a problem that is occurring way too often.

This is a remake of a poster that somebody made for a protest though we improvised a bit to make our own version.

Thank you to my wonderful students, Sasha and Maelynn, for sharing! This is a topic that is too close to home for all of us

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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Monday: Special Announcement!: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Wins the 2018 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award!

Tuesday:  Student Voices: The Struggles of Writer Wannabes by Two of Kellee’s 2017-18 Middle School Students

Wednesday: The Kid’s Awesome Activity Book by Mike Lowery

Thursday: Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Friday: Maximillian Villainous by Margaret Chiu Greanias

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee

We are back to a pretty regular schedule here at the Moye house which means that there is more consistent reading time at bedtime.

  • We finished Lucy by Randy Cecil as a family. It is such a wonderful introduction to multiple story lines, prediction, and inferring.
  • We then moved on to a couple of new Pete the Cat early readers (Trent loves them!). Pete is a star in my house right now!
  • Trent also pulled out a couple of books we love but haven’t read in a while: Super Jumbo by Fred Koehler and I Want to be a Lion Tamer (or a Vet… or a Zookeeper… or a Safari Guide…) by Ruby Brown.
  • Lastly, Trent is pretty in love with space (his room has a moon and glow in the dark stars, and he has an astronaut outfit), so when I received A Place for Pluto by Stef Wade, I knew I had to sit down and read it with him, and he loved it as much as I thought he would! It is so good!

  • Finished The Son of Neptune, and I can see why my students love this series! I am very looking forward to reading the next book.
  • Something Rotten by Heather Montgomery is a book like no other that I’ve ever heard of or seen! It is a nonfiction text, told in really engaging narratives, about roadkill and what it can teach us about animals. It is so fascinating!
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers was a book that Haley, of Teachers Who Read, told me to start as soon as possible, so I found it on Netgalley, and I got reading. WOW! I read this YA novel in less than 48 hours while working–that means something. It is told in podcast transcript and first person narrative, alternating. The story focuses on Sadie, a young teen who has run away to find the murderer of her sister, and the podcast that is trying to find her and solve the mystery.
  • Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley was FASCINATING! My teacher friend recommended it to me, and I am so glad she did. I devoured the book while also reading information on Monitcello.org and other websites. I learned so much! It really gives history a voice.

Ricki

Hi, all. I am so sorry I have to bow out this Monday. I hope you have a great week.

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Kellee

Still chugging along with Dumplin’ and the Vet Volunteers series. We’ll see if I get to anything else with preplanning next week.

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Tuesday: Student Voices: Visual Reflections on School Shootings by Two of Kellee’s 2017-18 Middle School Students

Wednesday: Hazardous Tales: Raid of No Return by Nathan Hale with an Educator Guest Post

Thursday: Who Eats Orange? by Dianne White

Friday: Picture Book 10 for 10: Our 4-Year-Olds Share Their Current Ten Favorite Books

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Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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