What's in Your Pool Bag? Recommendations for Upper Elementary

13 June 2016
Hello all!

Today is the first official day of my summer vacation.  Last week, I spent days moving out of my 2nd grade classroom and in some really awesome PDs.  So today, I'm spending the day working on my bag of books!

When I found out that I would be moving to 4th grade next school year, I was a little excited at first, and then apprehension set in!  After all, it's been 7 years since I was in 5th grade, and only then, I taught math!!  So many changes had happened in my district- guided reading, Word Study, guided math...and not to mention, 4th grade is a testing grade!  I immediately ran to my wonderful literacy coach and begged asked for some resources that would be helpful in my transition.


Strategies that Work:  Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement


Strategies that Work:  Great resource for upper elementary reading
Stenhouse Publishers
This book is broken down into four sections:  Part 1 is about the pedagogy behind reading comprehension, a great introduction into reading instruction and assessment.  Part 2 goes into strategies and has lessons for all the different comprehension strategies, and also includes nonfiction.  This is the part I am really interested in studying!  Each chapter gives sample lessons and texts to use (perrrrrrfect!!) Assessment options and options for differentiation are also included.  Part 3 goes into expanding comprehension into other parts of the curriculum, including content areas.  That is huge, not to mention a time saver!  There is even a chapter on test reading-- how to prepare good readers to take standardized tests.  Part 4 goes into more resources that support strategy instruction- lists of texts for content areas, magazines, websites, and even newspapers!  But my absolute, no doubt, favorite part of this last section (and possibly book) is the sample anchor charts!  There is an anchor chart for each comprehension strategy (with text!) and is such a time saver!  I cannot wait to delve deeper into this book and get some great ideas for my reading instruction!

Mindful of Words:  Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations 4-8

Mindful of Words:  Great tool for Word Study instruction
by Kathy Ganske

A few years ago, I took a Word Study graduate class and went home so thankful that I taught 2nd grade.  Give me some letter name and within word spellers all day- no problem!  That syllable and affixes sorts, shoooo-wee, I'll be the first to admit, it kicked my butt.  So guess what the first book I grabbed out of my book room?  Yes, indeed!  This book is the word study syllables and affixes cheat sheet.  Not only does it give you the sorts, it focuses on the patterns and meaning/vocabulary behind the words.  A must read/have/reference if you are self-proclaimed SA ignorant like myself.  If you do have Letter Name or Within Word spellers, check out Word Sorts and More.  It's a great resource for these level spellers, too.

Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics:  Developmentally Appropriate Instruction for Grades 3-5

Teaching Student-Centered Math- Great tool for upper elementary math
Van de Walle, Karp, Lovin, and Bay-Williams
So earlier I mentioned that I was in some really awesome PDs last week.  This book was given out in one of the math sessions I attended.  I love math.  I love teaching math.  When I taught 5th grade, I taught math all day.  Should I go to middle school?? While I am a bit rusty on my multiplication and fractions, this book is going to help me brush up.  It has lessons on every strand, tips for differentiation, formative assessments, and even suggestions for some centers.  I haven't had a lot of time to skim through, but after doing some of the lessons last week, I feel like it's a great resource and my math heart will be excited to go through it this summer.

So, hopefully you'll find a great read for the summer!  Continue to check out all the other bloggers' suggestions.  Don't forget to get some fun reading in, too!

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