My "Brand New" Classroom

Posted by Christine S on 7:52 PM


      Well, school starts in less than two days!  Where did the summer go?  Here are some pictures of my new classroom.  Check it out!


What reading materials count?

Posted by Christine S on 11:30 PM
     This is something that I have been contemplating for some time. What reading materials count toward meeting the Million Word Campaign/25 Book Challenge? When I taught 2nd grade, as a grade level we agreed that 1 chapter from a chapter book equaled 1 small book. That small book counted as one of 40 books that were required for a single month. When I taught 4th and 5th grade, a chapter book equalled a chapter book.
     However, this is not the aspect of The Million Word Campaign/25 Book Challenge that I found myself wondering about. I have been wondering, how do you count all of the "other stuff" that is read on any given day? I, for example, have been REALLY slacking when it comes to reading an "actual grown-up" book in the past few years. I hate to admit that I have read 3 books a year. (Now bear with me, there is a point to this meandering that is about to follow.)
     I know, that's an atrocity especially considering when I was 12 years old and the ONLY gift I would WANT would be books. At age 10, my mom bought me about 25 of the Hardy Boys Series (the ones I was missing) for a birthday gift. During my tenure at Stanton, I won the Superintendent's Reading Program for the entire school 5 out of the 6 years I attended. I was a true book worm to say the least.
     So, some may wonder, what happened? Why do I no longer read as much? What changed a once "voracious reader" into such a "slacker"? To be honest, nothing happened. In reality, it would be inaccurate for someone to assume that I no longer read that much. Quite the contrary, I read (on average) 2 to 3 hours a day (once the 3 year old is asleep). So, what do I read?
      I read anything from blog posts, websites, newspaper articles, magazines, fiction on the net, wikis, etc... The list could go on and on. That brings me to my dilemma? How do we count what students read in this digital age? Granted, not all will have internet access but what about those that do. How do we count reading a blog post? How much does a MySpace count? What about a wiki? How about an email? How do we count these items in meeting the The Million Word Campaign/25 Book Challenge?
     When I taught self-contained SLD (4th-5th grade) 15 years ago, I was happy when my students read a comic book because it was a battle to say the least when it came time to have them read an actual book. The fact of the matter is, not every child is going to want to sit down and read a book per say. Even in recent years, I have taught students who just don't want to read a book. They will read an email, a blog, a newspaper article, fiction on line (fan-fiction as I have heard it called by some of my former 4th graders), MySpace, etc. How do we count these items towards meeting those standards?
     I have had some teachers say you should not count an email or newspaper article. To me, it should count in some sort of way. Isn't reading a newspaper online still reading? It requires the same comprehension skills that reading that same article in hard copy would require. Shouldn't a story that someone has written online count as reading as well? I had one teacher argue that a story online is not written by a published author? However, isn't it a published author since the story DOES APPEAR online for the world to see? It seems to me in this new digital age, these are the things we need to start considering when monitoring student progress in meeting the The Million Word Campaign/25 Book Challenge.

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