Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Book Study

Because it's a thing now to do these summer book studies, and because I have a brand new literacy curriculum to learn, I've decided to do a summer book study on.........

My new teacher manual. Wawn waw waaaaaaw.

Thrilling I know.

Really this just means that for my own peace of mind I need to read this thing cover to cover before school starts and that I'm forcing myself to blog about it to hold myself accountable. I know I have a handful of readers from the same county as me so it might be beneficial for you. Everyone else will read just to experience my whimsy. Or at least I'm going to tell myself that's what you'll do.

So what am I reading? Good question.
Some of this stuff I think.

Part of my check-out process on the last day of school was to pick up my Teacher's Resource System (which is basically the teacher's manual) and the Toolkit (which is full of everything else you might need) to take to any Professional Development I might attend over the summer. My plan is to read through these materials in the order of how useful I deem them to be until I get sick of it.

So in other words I may not even make it to the first post.

I am notoriously bad at reading teacher-y text books. Actually, make that all text books. The only one I've managed to read cover to cover is the Daily 5. I usually give up after a chapter or two.

So you can imagine how intimidated I am by the mass of text books laying on my bed at the moment. I need a roadmap that says "read this one first" and "skip this one its just full of B.S. ads for our other products" and "only read this one if you want to put yourself to sleep. permanently."

After my initial screening of all these products, I decided these were the ones that would be most valuable to spend time on this summer.
 The two spirals are the "manuals" with all the mini-lessons and pacing for the year so they will be my bible during the year. But they are pretty self explanatory so I'm going to focus on the bottom three texts for the next few weeks.

I'm betting the one that says "Getting Started" in the title is probably meant to be read first so I'm going to start with this one now. As in as soon as I'm done with this post. And my nap. And surfing Pinterest. And another nap.

 I think this one will be pretty helpful so that one will come next. I'm signed up for a training in July that focuses on "the first 30 days" so hopefully reading this ahead of time will help me make sense of what is being said.

 Then this one. I heard this program had a writing component. Me being all Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop Lady was not too happy about that.  But I was interested to see what they were going to do as far as writing instruction. And I have to say, at first glance, I'm really disappointed in this. I mean seriously. It's just a list of prompts that match each of the ten reading units. I'm hoping that there is more to the writing part that I just don't have yet because I'm NOT teaching a year of writing based on prompts. That is a dirty word to me. And not one of those dirty words that are fun to say. Hopefully that's what this stuff is about:

Looks promising.

If I have time, I want to investigate this a little further. I've seen and heard a lot of buzz about Close Reading so I'm interested to see what this is all about. This text isn't actually a manual though. It's basically a blackline master of the texts you might use for Close Reading lessons. I'm hoping there will be more information about using it in the other texts I'm reading.

Something I'd REALLY like to see is the Word Study component. Because in addition to being the 'Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop Lady' I am also the 'Words Their Way Word Study Game Maker Lady.' Don't believe me? Check my TPT store. I told you!

But we didn't get to take the Word Study stuff home. I don't get to look at it until August. From what I've read, it is developmental just like Words Their Way and uses the same stage names. Hopefully it will be analogous with what I'm already doing.

Stay tuned for more text-book related whimsy. And as always, 


  1. Our school isn't even ordering our materials until Just 1st when the new budget hits, so I get to wait to unbox until August. Le sigh.

    Luckily I used those temporary passwords to download everything and will be reading through with you. As far as I know, though, no one in the county is getting the writing portion... which is why I'm glad I, erm, checked it out with the temporary password. ;) I strongly dislike Calkins with my littles, so sue me! :P

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  3. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has good intentions of reading teachery books and stopping after the first few chapters. I even had a few in hand this weekend to read and ended up putting them back on the shelf because I knew I wouldn't get through them.

    We have (I think) a lot of Benchmark nonfiction books in our resource room. While we don't have a full fledged program that we use, the books have a breakdown for small group instruction that is helpful. Good luck with your reading!

    Following Optimism in 2nd Grade

  4. I am glad that I found your blog posts about the Benchmark program. My district is thinking about adopting this program which means that if we do adopt it, I will get my training at the end of August... a few days before having to begin it on the 1st day of school. Talk about a crash course! I teach kindergarten but I think any insights you share will help me plan my instruction before August hits.
    Thanks for sharing!:)
    Kinders on the Block