Thursday, August 23, 2007

7 Resource Books I'd Never Be Without

1. Graphic Organizers...Helping Children Think Visually by Kris Flynn has over 75 classroom ideas that span the curriculum and 29 reproducible forms. A wide selection of open-ended, creative organizers, including story boards, sorting circles, and building plans, offer students unique ways to brainstorm, classify, map, evaluate, and more!

2. The Big Book of Reproducible Graphic Organizers by Jennifer Jacobson and Dottie Raymer is just what the cover says….50 great templates to help kids get more out of reading, writing, social studies, and more. See the table of contents here, but it only lists just a few of the organizers found in the book. Worried about copies? Most of these are so simple I re-create them on the board and we complete them together in class or students draw them and complete them on their own for a quick assessment. It’s a great way to get inside student’s heads to see how they are connecting things.

3. 10 Ready-to-Go Book Report Projects by Rebekah Elmore and Michael Gravois
This book is written by two fifth grade teachers, so they know what they are writing about. The projects detailed in this book challenge and motivate students. They are great. Here's a link to the table of contents.

4. Quick and Creative Reading Response Activities by Jane Fowler and Stephanie Newlon.
Sometimes you just feel like you can’t ask students to complete one more essay or drawing. You need to change it up every now and then and the ideas in this book certainly have recharged my asssignments from time to time. Many of my unmotivated readers suddenly get excited to complete their book once they know they have a choice of some of the activities in this book. You can use these activities with books or stories you have assigned or with books that have been read independently. For example, when students are studying fact and opinion students can complete French Fry Facts. If the assignment concerns analyzing problem and solution students can use Light Bulb Lab. Want more ideas? Purchase the book!

5. 40 Rubrics and Checklists to Assess Reading and Writing by Adele Fiderer
I’ve purchased other books by Fiderer and I’m always pleased. This book includes reproducible forms for reading and listening comprehension, story character analysis, content-area research reports, personal experience essays, letters, and more. Instead of photocopying some of the student pages that give easy directions, scoring tips, etc. I write this information on the board. Here's a link to a page.

6. 3-Minute Reading Assessments by Timothy V. Rasinkski and Nancy Padak
This link takes you to the version for grades 5 and above; however, I actually own the version for grades 1-4. While I always pay attention the state assessment for reading I don’t use it exclusively when I am trying to get a picture of a child’s reading ability. I try to use as many tools as I can throughout the year to assess my teaching and student learning.

3-Minute Reading Assessments is a great resource because the passages are leveled with ready-to-use assessment pages. I can screen students for low word recognition, poor fluency rate, and inadquate comprehension. The book also includes rubrics and grade-level norms that make interpreting the data simple and easy. The record-keeping forms benefit documentation.
there is also a version for grades 1-4

7. 75 Language Arts Assessment Tools by Mary Sullivan
This resource contains rubrics, checklists, rating sheets, evaluation forms. Here's a link to the FIRST page of the table of contents. There are over 160 pages in this book and I refer to it often when I need some sort of of check off list. Rather than waste time reinventing the wheel I’ll find exactly what I need in this source.

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