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15 Picture Books for Lunar New Year

lunar-new-year-picture-books (1)Usually we talk about Chinese New Year but did you know that many other countries celebrate the new year at the same time? In Vietnam it is called Tết and South Korea it is known as Seollal. These new year celebrations are based on the lunar calendar which is calculated using the movement of the Earth around the Sun and the Moon around the Earth.  Because of this, lunar new year is celebrated some time in January or February.  This time of year is a time when families gather, share food and many local traditions. Continue Reading

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Research Skills: Scavenger Hunts

Sometimes students don’t understand how time is of the essence when doing research. They lack the skills to use text features, skim materials and find items quickly.

We’ve been working on this with our students and it’s a struggle year after year.

However, we have managed to find some activities that help students refine their research skills: scavenger hunts. It turns out that making research fun and game-like can have a positive impact on how students complete research. Continue Reading

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Research Skills: The Library

When you want to do research in your school library do you often find your school just can’t afford the resources (or even the librarian) you need? This is why so often we take our students online to do research. In doing this, we often teach students that libraries are not a valuable resource because nothing could be further than the truth.  Continue Reading

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Books for Ramadan

Reading is a huge part of our classroom and it’s important to us to make sure the books and characters reflect all aspects of the lives of our students. That includes books about and including different faiths, backgrounds and cultural beliefs.

Ramadan is an important part of our classroom culture so we searched high and low to find books that our students could use to learn from and reflect on. Here are some of the titles we found and thought you should check out yourself. Continue Reading

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Novels to Teach Students to Face Their Fears

Novels to Teach Students to Face Their Fears Read aloud novels are a huge part of our daily literacy routine. We built in fifteen minutes each day where one of us reads from a novel to our students. It is important (even at the higher grades) to model fluency, self-monitoring and questioning techniques when reading aloud to students and we include these minutes in our weekly Language Arts minutes.

Another bonus to having a novel always as the ready is to use it after transitions like recess or lunch to calm students or to fill those minutes between transitions when you’re waiting for another teacher or moving to another location.

Each year we select a theme for choosing our read aloud novels and this year’s theme was protagonists that face their fears. Our goal was to show students that like real people, characters are not perfect and can be challenged to become stronger. Continue Reading

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Classroom and Library Book Recommendations

Book Recommendations Having trouble getting students to want to try new books? Try having students do the recommending.

We’ve started using recommendations-super simple recommendations-to get students to convince other students to read.

It was so simple, we weren’t really expecting the effect to take off.

Step 1: A student reads a book.
Step 2: The student fills out a recommendation sticky note.
Step 3: The sticky note is placed on the cover of the book.
Step 4: Place the recommended book out for viewing. This could be on a shelf of recommended books or a basket of recommendations.
Step 5: Keep repeating the process as students start recommending more books.

We stepped this up a notch with our junior high students by encouraging them to post about their recommendation Book Recommendation Notes on social media by tagging our library Instagram account. The librarian then printed some of these pictures and added them to our recommendation display. They were quite excited to get the attention causing many more students to take part.

Here are our sticky note recommendations that you can use for free, too. We also have READO in our store in English and French. It is designed to get students reading a variety of genres and we use it as our home reading program.

What are some of the ways your encourage readers in your room or at the library? Leave us a comment below.Love the Ninjas

Book Recommendations