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I am so excited to have the lovely and talented Ashlyn from The Creative Classroom be a guest blogger for Back to School Reads.

 The Creative Classroom

Creative Read Alouds
Teacher read aloud is one of my favorite parts of my school day. I love being able to sit down with all my students nearby and share captivating books that tell such creative stories. I enjoy modeling reading fluency, expression and engaging my students in discussions about the books. The days that we run out of time and we don't get to do read aloud, my students get so upset because we missed such an important part of enjoyable reading instruction. 
Teacher read aloud is a key component of reading instruction. It's essential for students to listen to reading and engage in meaningful conversations. When choosing books for teacher read aloud, I keep in mind a variety of genres, authors, and book levels. As a primary teacher I choose stories that are fun but also purposeful. Sometimes the more serious stories have deeper meaning and teach a lesson that our children benefit from learning. 

 Teacher Read Alouds
I sat down and compiled a list of my favorite read alouds that I love sharing with my students each year! Each of these titles grab my student's attention and build their love of reading by the amazing stories these authors write.

1. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
2. The B.F.G by Roald Dahl
3. The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
4. My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
5. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo 
6. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
8. Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia McLachlan
10. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
Once I captivate my students with an amazing story, I try to engage their understanding by doing something with the read aloud story. I have found creating something meaningful, connects the story and helps build reading comprehension. This summer I created exactly what I wanted to do with my read alouds this upcoming year. I made interactive paper bag novel studies that students can make as they read or listen to stories in the classroom. These paper bag books will deepen their understanding but will also be a culminating activity that will showcase their reading comprehension. 
 Reading in the Bag

Once you've narrowed your title choices for teacher read aloud this year, make sure you come up with creative ways to engage your students with comprehension. Make it a goal to take teacher read aloud to the next level! You can find my paper bag novel studies in my TPT store and also find other creative read aloud ideas on Pinterest! Don't let teacher read aloud be a time where you just sit down and read a book to them. Make the stories come to life and foster a love of reading in your students. 
 Paper Bag Novel Studies

Thank you for letting me share my love of reading and creativity in the classroom!

Hop on over to Jen's blog to read the rest of our list!

Sparkling in Second
I am so excited to be a part this wonderful KINDNESS project with my bloggy friends from all over the United States. We have teamed up to show you how we display kindness in our classroom. Come take a look into my kindness classroom. ALSO, come over to my instagram to enter into our KINDNESS ACROSS THE COUNTRY Insta-Hop. You will have a chance of winning 4 Kindness Books and Ramona Recommends' Kindness Back To School product.

Kindness is one of my key values in my classroom. As I tell my students, Kindness never stops traveling. We can always be kind. Kind does not be to a big thing, it be a little something with a HUGE impact. Here is a sneak peek into my classroom of kindness. After writing my post, I went back through to read it, and I realized something. CLEARLY, I teach KINDNESS through books. See everything can be taught and demonstrated through books, especially for children.

At the beginning of the year I play the song, Power of One by Bombshel. It is a powerful song with a sound message of one person can changed the world.  We spend an entire 2 class hours on my beginning of the year kindness project. 

The books above are classroom musts! Each teach a lesson in kindness. POWERFUL stuff!
I have pledge that I will read Fish in a Tree to my class this year. Want to take the pledge? Click here

Share WONDER's 365 Days of Wonder with your students as well. It is a KINDNESS gem!
Did you know TOMORROW R.J. Palacio is coming out with Auggie and Me.

Then the students receive their own pledge card and place into their binder. We discuss what does kindness look like and how can we spread kindness in the classroom. 

I have a RAK center in my classroom. Students can fill out a RAK card anytime and I deliver them to the recipient each Friday. They may also write where they see a RAK at school or in the community. 

Interested, here is my updated 2015 RAK file

I also have these RAK Mini Sets Too! 

Go Head to my instagram to enter into our giveaway!

Amazon Affiliate Links Were Used 
When students are engaged, learning is FUN. One night, I was sitting my office brainstorming the next math lesson and then it came to me. .... Community Notes!  I have created a community of notes for each math topic. Well not all yet, because I started this in April. But, the kids get 5 minutes to get their community notes cut, glued, and semi colored. It makes note taking much more enjoyable. I have a few different ones in my store. Grab this freebie on Volume to check it out.

Student assessment during a lesson is key in my mind. I use the 1,2,3 method. The kids show on their chin what number represents their learning. I love how the kids just automatically do it when I say SHOW ME YOUR UNDERSTANDING. This is great for students who are new to the English language or students who are shy to ask questions. When I see the 1s or 2s I make sure to hang around them during workbook time.
Partner pairing cards are my FAVORITE. Anytime you need to get the kids up, moving, and talking...these are perfect. Each students gets a card and they have to find their match. Sometimes I will even time them to see how fast they can partner match. This is especially useful at the beginning of the year.
Want to get your students engaged for a lesson? Grab a picture book. Kids love them and they can learn from them as well. Read more about that here.

Do you have a student who struggles to find the right time to share? I created this share cards for kids who need a little guidance on their sharing. Each student gets 4 cards, they can only share 4 times during a class session. For example, Math is from 8:30-9:30, the student has 4 times they can sure during that hour. It works! Once they get the share procedure down, I take the cards away.

Hey Everyone,

For the next couple weeks, I will be taking you through my trip to New York. There will be a few stops: Scholastic, Matilda on Broadway, Teachers Pay Teachers, 9/11 Memorial, Books of Wonder, and FOOD. Hope you enjoy my NEW YORK journal.

Hi, I am Courtney the face behind Ramona Recommends on Teachers Pay Teachers. Little did I know 2 year ago, this adventure would change my life. I have met so many dedicated and thoughtful teachers. Not only do I get to let my creative shine, but my lessons are used all over the world.

 I was able to meet up with my friend Molly from Lessons with Laughter and tour the TpT offices together. We were both on vacation from California and were able to meet up!

Meet Adam- The CEO. Such a nice guy. Great personality! Molly and I had the pleasure of sitting down with many employees including Adam and chatting TpT. It was quite a dream come true. 
Here are some of the wonderful faces behind Teachers Pay Teachers.

Thank you TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS for a wonderful visit. 

Hey Everyone,

For the next couple weeks, I will be taking you through my trip to New York. There will be a few stops: Scholastic, Matilda on Broadway, Teachers Pay Teachers, 9/11 Memorial, Books of Wonder, and FOOD. Hope you enjoy my NEW YORK journal.

Have you read Roald Dahl's Matilda? It a sweet story about a little girl who loves to read, but her parents do not find the same sentiment. I highly recommend you add it to your class and personal library collect.

 So thankful for the man who sold me my shirt. He let on that the performers after the show come out the stage door and sign autographs. Of the actors and actresses were extremely humble, sweet, and outgoing. SUPER impressed!

 The wordful stage. All of the titles had letters that lead to other letters to make words. It was fun trying to find all the words.
Miss Honey! I asked if we could take a picture because I was a teacher. :) She even did it twice because the first one not good!

The musical was so magical and colorful. I have been singing When I Grow Up constantly. :)
My book loving momma!

Now, go read MATILDA!

*Amazon Affiliate Links were used

Hey Everyone,

For the next couple weeks, I will be taking you through my trip to New York. There will be a few stops: Scholastic, Matilda on Broadway, Teachers Pay Teachers, 9/11 Memorial, Books of Wonder, and FOOD. Hope you enjoy my NEW YORK journal.


As I am sure most people know by now, I LOVE LOVE LOVE books. Ever since I can remember, the Scholastic flyer has been in a staple in my life. Whether running home from school as a kid to show my mom or sending them home with my students, they have always been "my thing". Books make my heart full and make teaching 100 times more bookful. When my mom and I decided to take a mother daughter trip to New York, the first thing I did was Google Scholastic Headquarters. My dream was to go to the Scholastic bookstore and tour the headquarters.To my dismay, the bookstore was closed in January, 2015. It was a sad moment...

I put out a few messages on instagram, but no one seemed to have the perfect connect. Then, MAGIC happened. My mom and I were in the backseat of a taxi, and I thought to myself.... I am going to try one more time. I whipped up A Beautiful Mess picture that read:
I put my phone away and started to chat with my mom about our great flight from California to New York. (I am not a fan of flying). I just had to check my phone and then I saw a sweet little message from @scholasticreadingclubs!!! I about died. I literally SQUEALED...yes SQUEALED with excitement. The cab drive asked if I was alright. Heather from @scholasticreadingclubs reached out and told me to email her and she would get in contact with ME! FAST FORWARD 5 emails later, I had an appointment at THE SCHOLASTIC HEADQUARTER TO GET A PRIVATE TOUR! I am still on cloud 9 and so thankful from the bottom of my heart. I can't thank Heather enough for being a gracious hostess. Come see my special visit.

 The front of their building screams CLASS. Scholastic is such a classy company.
 Scholastic's Mission. I love EVERY word in this statement. I believe it! I am going to print this mission up and send it home with my students. READING IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS.

This is the gorgeous view from the rooftop. Scholastic can look over all of New York City. Some employees eat their lunch looking out of over the city; while others plan what the next book order form should include. #mymomloveher

Books FOR DAYS. This was one of my favorite areas. There are WALL to WALL picture books. All of these books have one thing in common. Everyone at Scholastic agrees there is something magical inside each page. These are the golden books. Editors and writers use them as inspiration.

 The employee motto is all over the carpet. I love it. It reminds each employee of the impact they have in the lives of children.

Scholastic came up with a READING resolution campaign last year. Instead of the typical I will read more, the poster gives actual goals for the students to work towards. I am totally doing this in my classroom this year! 
 Love the colorful offices. Each office had stacks of children's literature. It makes my heart so happy to see how many people love to OPEN THE MAGIC!
This is the book hall of fame. All of these books are newbies waiting to come to a bookstore and bookshelf near YOU!

 Original artwork from Reina Telgemeier. She is the author behind SISTERS.

My view from the bottom floor ALL the way UP! I just got done seeing some TOP SECRET stuff! No pictures were allowed. #bookmagicinthemaking

 Harry Potter FANS.... This is the ORIGINAL cargo that brought one of the Harry Potter series to America.

Heather, I can't thank you enough. My trip was incredible. I am so thankful for my tour and the people I was able to meet. All of my students this year are going to be stoked when I tell them I got a tour of THE SCHOLASTIC HEADQUARTERS. You will definitely be seeing many book orders coming from Room 20!

 TEACHERS- Continue share your love of reading with your students. I have a post about that here.

Never Forget to OPEN THE MAGIC!

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