5 Ways to Get Your Students Excited About Books

Are you struggling to get your reluctant readers excited about the books available to them?  Are your students losing interest in reading in favor of daydreaming about summer?  Here are some of my favorite ways to get my students excited about books throughout the school year!

Use this time to make some powerful book choices.  Introduce your students to lovable characters or a new book series that they won't be able to resist.  Reading aloud can be for enjoyment.  Model your own love for reading....it's contagious!

I have to admit, hearing the students groan when I stop reading is one of my favorite things about reading aloud!  You could start a wait list for students to borrow a read aloud when you're done, too!

Use those Scholastic book order points and buy some new books for the class.  Introduce each book by reading the blurb and showing the cover.  Then set up a raffle.  You can either set up a system where students earn tickets or give everyone an equal chance and pass out sticky notes.

Either way, you'll be able to hear a pin drop as you draw each name!

Elementary students still value their teacher's opinion, but they are beginning to value what their peers have to say, too!  Tap into this with peer book recommendations.  You can set up a small area in your classroom for this.  Just leave a stack of slips and a basket near the classroom library.  Students can either hand deliver the slips to their peers or you can set aside a few minutes a week to read them aloud to build even more excitement.

Either way, the students will LOVE that a classmate thought about them and students will be curious about the book that was recommended.  I call that a win-win situation!  You can find the peer recommendation slips here.

This is a great way to get students excited about books without spending a lot of money!  Send a letter or invitation home prior to the event explaining the details.  Make sure to clearly state what type of books should be included in the exchange!  If you want all of the books to be new, set a price limit.  If you allow donated books, add photo examples to your invite of books in gently used condition and make sure the parents sign off on the donation (you don't want a family heirloom or something pulled from Mom and Dad's personal reading collection).

For each student that donates a book, he or she can receive a raffle ticket.  You can either do a drawing or allow students to shop with their ticket as their money.  I have thrown in a few books purchased with Scholastic book points or from my classroom library just so every student has some choice (or to replace a donated book that isn't appropriate or isn't in good condition).

Use your Scholastic Book Order points and grab as many free books as you can.  Books make great Christmas gifts or End-of-the-Year gifts.

You can grab these book tags here:

I hope you'll be able to try at least one of these ideas with your own students.

To find more ideas for Reading, check out my Pinterest board:

Happy Reading!

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Monster Portraits & Monster Paths

After receiving a request, two more measurement activities have been added to the Monster Measurement Madness pack.  

First up is a set of Monster Portraits.  There are twelve monster cards.  Each monster's portrait gives a length and a width (obviously not drawn to size).  Students must calculate the perimeter, or distance around the entire portrait and record the measurement.  Here's an up-close look at monster portrait #6:

Also added to the pack are a set of Monster Paths: 

There are 6 cards included, with 2 monster paths on each card.  Students must first measure and record the length of each monster's path.  Then students compare to determine which path is longer.  Finally, students must calculate the difference between the two paths.

If you already own my Monster Measurement Madness pack, head into your purchases and download the revisions at no cost.  To learn more about this pack and the rest of the measurement activities included, click here:

Happy Measuring!

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Scholastic Book Order Activities

Stop! Don't toss those Scholastic Book Orders into the recycling bin just yet!  Here are four ways you can reuse those Scholastic flyers and keep your students engaged in learning at the same time!

>>> Sort it Out <<<
In my second grade classroom, we spend a good chunk of our time on identifying the differences between fiction and nonfiction.  A great way to use those flyers is to have your kids sort the titles on a piece of paper.
Students can also sort by Author's Purpose (to entertain, to inform, and to persuade).

>>> Add it Up <<<
We're a Common Core state.  In second grade, students are expected to add up to four two-digit numbers using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.  You can do that using book orders.  Give your students a book order.  Allow them to choose four items.  Then have students swap flyers and calculate the totals.
You can take it a step further and have students make change, too!  For older students, take a look at the bundles and have your students calculate the price per item.

>>> Make a Recommendation <<<
Are you looking for a quick and easy way to incorporate opinion writing?  Have your students complete book recommendations.  

>>> Take a Vote <<<
If you have a bunch of bonus points you haven't used and want to buy a new book or two for the classroom, let your students have a say.  Cut out the book covers & blurbs and set up a graph.  Students can place a sticky note above their book choice!

I hope you'll be able to use these ideas!  You can grab the activities here.  If you are looking for more reading or math ideas, check these out:

Happy Teaching!

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Math Mazes (Addition and Subtraction)

Math fact fluency has been something my second graders have always needed to practice, but I was tired of them practicing in the same, boring ways.  I was looking for a way to keep things fresh and exciting, but still provide a way for meaningful practice.  I decided to combine their love for mazes with math fact practice.  That's when I created a set of math mazes!

 There are 10 addition and 10 subtraction mazes for students to use.  You can choose the set of facts you want your students to practice.  No matter the page, students must determine whether each math fact is true or false.  The goal is for the students to find their way from start to finish by following the true math facts.
Students can complete these pages in different ways.  The easiest way is to print and give to your students to complete.  They can use crayons or colored pencils and color the boxes in along as they discover the correct path.  This makes the pages easy to use in class or to send home for additional practice.

You could also print the pages onto cardstock and slip inside a sheet protector (or laminate).  One of the benefits to this is that the pages can be reused many times and you can save your copies.  These work great in a center or for fast finishers.

Each page comes with an answer key:

If you choose to use the sheet protectors, slip the answer key into the sheet protector, on top of the student's page.  Then you'll be able to see whether the two paths match or not.

You can find all of these mazes here:

This pack is 20% off today as part of the Teachers Pay Teachers sale.  If you remember to use the code CELEBRATE, you'll save an additional 10%!

Happy Teaching!

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Is Your Wish List Ready?

Teacher Appreciation Week is upon us.  I don't know about you, but I'm ready to show some appreciation to my fellow teachers by making some purchases during the upcoming Teachers Pay Teachers sale (May 3rd & 4th).  I thought it would be fun to join in with some teacher friends and let you know the top wishlisted items from my store. 

First up is Math Mania.  This is a pack that I have used with great success with my second graders at the beginning of the school year.  It could also be used with first graders in the spring.  Included are five math centers that target addition and subtraction facts, telling time, counting coin combinations, and comparing coin totals.  You can learn more about Math Mania here.

My next most wishlisted item is my pack of Book Tub Labels.  The labels in this pack come in four different colors (blue, green, purple, and pink).  There are a variety of labels included for primary classrooms including popular book series, authors, and leveled books, but the best part of all is these labels are editable so you can add any book labels you need to match the set.  You can learn more about my Book Tub Labels here

The third most wishlisted item in my store is the Magic Tree House Bundle for books #1 - #8.  If you teach primary students, they have probably enjoyed reading about Jack and Annie's adventures.  This bundle includes book companions for the first eight books in the series.  Each book companion contains comprehension questions for each chapter, graphic organizers, and other extras.  You can learn more about this Magic Tree House Bundle here

Don't forget to head over to Teaching in the Tongass to see the items other teachers are adding to their wishlists.  So, make sure you are up-to-date on your feedback, load up your cart, and get ready to grab some great deals!

Happy Shopping!

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