Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Peek at My Week {5/10/14}

Welcome to this week's edition of A Peek at My Week, my weekly linky party where we all gather to share what we've got going on both inside and outside our classrooms this week.
Before I jump into this upcoming week, I wanted to share that I just had the most amazing Saturday.  I spent the day with 250 other teachers at #EdCampMKE, an "unconference" in the Milwaukee area.  Now, you may be asking....what is an EdCamp and why would I give up a beautiful Saturday to participate?  EdCamps are the newest wave in teacher PD and they are AMAZING!  So amazing that I happily gave up a beautiful Saturday to spend it inside.  I am going to process everything and blog about it on Tuesday so please check back...there is so much I want to share!

This week at school, we are finishing up our Mythology Museums.  The kids were super excited for this project and I learned lots of new things today at EdCamp that I want to try to sneak in to make this project even better.  I was hoping we could finish last week, but we had a MAJOR glitch with our math MAP testing that totally threw my schedule for a loop and got us off track.

In writing, we are working on opinion writing and will write book reviews.  I found this fun lesson on Read Write Think that I am going to adapt.

We are going to begin by brainstorming a list of things we would want to see in a book review to determine if we wanted to read a book.  I'm *hoping* the kids come up with AT LEAST the following criteria (or they may receive a little help from me :)
  • Title & Author of Book 
  • Summarize the book w/o giving away the ending
  • Your favorite part of the book 
  • Why was book different or interesting to read 
  • Give a recommendation (This book would be great for…)
Then we will read some book reviews that were written by kids from the Spaghetti Book Club website.
There are lots and lots of great reviews written by kids FOR kids on this website.  We will evaluate the reviews using the criteria that we chose from the beginning of the project.

After kids write and publish their book reviews that meet our agreed upon criteria, we are going to peer critique them using a rubric we create as a class. This is a really important step, I feel, because it also teaches kids to be more reflective of their own project.

I would also like to find a way to have the book reviews shared electronically.  I'm thinking of recording the kids reading/presenting their review and putting QR code stickers inside the covers of the books (if I can talk our librarian into that :) or some other forum.  Do you have any ideas?  Is there a way I can do this on Google docs to create a classroom catalog of book reviews through the years?  I'd love to hear your thoughts! :)

On Thursday, we are taking a field trip to Discovery World in Milwaukee.  I applied for and received a Kohl's Cares Field Trip grant last year so this trip is FREE for the students.  YAY!!  We will have a great time exploring this science and innovation based museum!

I hope to see you back on Tuesday to read about my adventures in PD at EdCampMKE and on Thursday for Positive Thinking Thursday.  I wish you an awesome week!  Happy Mother's Day!!


  1. I have been trying to figure out some interesting writing ideas, and I just might use book reviews as well! Thanks! I've done book reviews in the past and had students record themselves reading the book review on a FlipCamera and then we uploaded it to the class website. Just another way to publish!

  2. Jennifer,
    I am so jealous you went to edcamp! I have been hearing so much about them on twitter over the past year, and there are none in my area. I am seriously considering traveling so I can go to one. They sound so amazing and inspiring! I can't wait to hear what you thought. :) I'll be back on Tuesday. :)
    Have a great week!
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

    1. .....and I just followed you on twitter. :)

  3. You just have me a great idea - book reviews for summer reading! :) I don't think I know what EdCamp is so I'll definitely be "tuning in"! :)


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