Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Currently & Book Talks! :)

Linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for her December currently!  So here goes...

This past weekend, there was a terrible tragedy in my home community.  Four high school students were on their way back home from a basketball game, minding their own business, when a careless drunk driver quickly switched lanes and rear ended the students car.  The car rolled, and finally came to a stop, but not before 2 of the students, a highschool football star, and softball pitcher were killed.  The 2 other passengers (The girlfriend and boyfriend of the 2 who were killed) were taken to the hospital and are doing well considering.  I'm asking that you please keep the families and friends of these kids in your thoughts and prayers over the next couple weeks as they deal with terrible heartbreak and confusion at what has happened and how their lives are forever changed.  Sometimes God takes people for a reason we will never know, but Chris & Deanna must have been more needed beyond the gate of Heaven than here on Earth.  It just pray the family can cherish all the good times they had with their loved ones and I thank God for every breathe I take.

Ok..now that I got that out...onto a not so sad note.  Have you tried Book Talks in your room?  The Common Core calls for a bigger emphasis on Speaking and Listening skills and Book Talks are the PERFECT way to do it.  Here's how we do it in my class.. This is not my idea but I got this FAB idea from one of my awesome teammates and I just loved it.  

 After we have had a lot of discussion about the elements of a story, talked about predictions, questioning while reading, and author's purpose...we start our book talks!

Students are given a partner that I strategically place them with (Whaaaat? I never do that...) Partners each read the same book and write down their thoughts as they are reading.  THEN, the fun begins!  We talk all about being an active listener and responding to what your partners is saying, how to politely disagree and get your point across, and how to ask your partner questions based on what you thought or what they've just said. We also talk about making eye contact, etc.  It takes a while to get them into the routine of having a conversation about their book, rather than just reading off of their sheet but after some modeling and a few practice rounds, they've gotten pretty good at it.

WAIT, that's not it!! After some practice, we begin TAPING our booktalks!  Yes, taping.  Why you ask?  Well- this way, we can watch the book talk in action, give compliments on what students are doing well, and give suggestions for what they should work on.  It gives the students a GREAT way to reflect on how they are doing.  And they practice their speaking and listening skills.  Awesome right?  Obviously, this doesn't happen overnight.  It takes a lot of prompting, practicing, and learning- but once they've got it down, you can be confident that your students can have a meaningful book talk with someone, which also probably means they'll be a bit better at normal everyday conversation.. MAYBE? :)

Anyway- Click here to get these organizers to use in your room.  If you decide to use this, or a variation.. let me know how it works out!  I'm always looking for ways to make things better!  Only 7.5 days until break..Phew!

Don't forget to link up with Farley!!

Later Y'all!


  1. Hi Ashley- Stopping by from the Currently linky. So sorry to hear of the tragedy in your town. Praying for peace in your area.

    My Life as a Third Grade Teacher

  2. No Elf on the Shelf for you? That stinks! But Holidays Around the World are great for sure!
    LOVING this book talk idea. I will definitely be trying it out. And we just downloaded some great video apps on our iPads and this would be the perfect opportunity to use them!
    Happy to be your newest follower :-)
    Fun and Fearless in First

    1. Glad you can use it!! Hope your students take a liking to it :)

  3. I want some snow too! Thanks for stopping by my blog.