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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spring to Summer Blog Freebie Hop! Tips to Survive the End of the School Year!

The end of the school year is tough, but don't worry, we can get by with a little help from our friends. Since you are one of my sweet friends, you are in for a special treat. I teamed up with a BUNCH of my best blogging buddies to put together some survival tips and wonderful prizes for you.

Just by hopping along, you have a chance to win:

One of three TPT gift certificates to help you make it to the end of the year and An amazing Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener!

My survival tip for the end of the year is to change up your reading block and offer something different to really excite your students as summer is quickly approaching. I do this by teaching using Book Clubs for the first time. You may use Book Clubs throughout the year, but I usually wait until the last ten weeks of school to introduce them. It takes until about this point of the year to get my students using good reading habits and the independent skills needed for Book Clubs.

In the picture below (from last year), I know it is difficult to see my students' expressions completely but I think you can see the students' overall excitement!  You might be wondering, "What is in the black and white box?"
Answer:  BOOKS for our new book clubs starting next week!
I purchased Laura Candler's Classroom Book Clubs resource.  I really liked how this resource gave me printables and a video guide for introducing the concept of book clubs step-by-step.  This is not your traditional "literature circles" with student roles.  It is a great activity for the end of the year and really get the students motivated to read even more!
I am linking up this idea with my sweet friend Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching and her weekly linky:
This year, I also am going to incorporate some technology centered activities from this pack:
The students complete a survey of their top picks after I discuss each book being offered in the Book Clubs. This year, I will have to be more selective in which books I assign since my students are grouped heterogeneously for ELA (last year they were grouped by ability).  Before writing down their selections, I warned them to not make any gestures or hints to their "buddies" about their top picks.  If they did, they would be sure not to be placed with that buddy for their book club group.  Fourth graders can be very "clicky".  
On the day of the reveal, I place the students in their assigned groups and give each group a box that they were not allowed to open until I gave the okay.  They were SO excited! 
Here are some more pics before opening the boxes last year.  Check out their body language!!

This is what happened last year...I told them that their group could start reading the novel (no more than 20 pages!) over the four day Memorial Day weekend or wait until next week to start.
Guess what?  EVERY group decided to start reading!!  I know my class loves to read in general but I thought there would be a couple groups that would wait!  Boy, was I wrong!
There was only one boy who was reluctant because his group chose to read to page 20 and his teammate told him, "You only have to read five pages a day."  
I was thinking, "Hallelujah!"  The students are going to encourage each other to read to stay caught up with the book club and I don't need to say a thing!

Have you ever used Book Clubs and did you find them motivating for your students?
I would love to hear your thoughts!

Here is a FREEBIE for you with two pages that are editable to use with Book Clubs in your classroom. 

I chose the word in the image above as my secret code because I love my summer naps! After entering my secret code in the above image in the rafflecopter below, continue on the freebie hop by checking out my sweet friend Christy at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Holly, Thanks so much for the Classroom Book Club form. It looks great! (I also bought the Blogging Literature Circles. It looks great, doesn't it.) Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
    Grade 4 Buzz

  2. Love the idea of literature circles, I think I will be starting a few in a week or two. Thank you for the freebie and the giveaway!

  3. Great Idea! Thanks for the freebie! I love Literature Circles and I'll bet my students will love the Book Club as well.