Day of the Reader Event With Author Kathy Goosev Howell

kathy goosev howell med

The Day of the Reader event was put on through the collaborative efforts of Felicia Gonzalez, Terry School Library Technician and Jeromy Winter, Teacher Librarian and with the support of the great teaching staff at Terry Elementary School. We are also thankful for the support our head librarian, Maria Petropulos, gives us in putting together these types of activities for students. As part of the events we also made and served breakfast and lunch to our special guests and all of Terry Staff. These efforts of the library staff, teachers, and community members are to get children excited about reading, writing, and learning. 

kathy goosev howell-2 med

Kathy Goosev Howell, was able to get the students excited about reading, through singing and dancing with the students, reading her books to them, and even doing a bit of magic. She is a highly energetic presenter who tailored her presentation to each grade level. All students learned about writing through her motivating presentations. Kathy discussed the process of writing, editing, and publishing a books. She spoke about and showed examples of a book before it is bound. She generously gave each teacher either a CD or one of her books. She also had a drawing for each class where she gave away books and CDs to students. She did a fantastic job at getting the Terry Elementary School students excited about reading and writing. 

Our guest readers also did a fantastic job at motivating the students. They not only read books, but spoke about the importance of reading and becoming educated. The guest readers went into classrooms to read a variety of books to the students. After reading, the student were able to ask the readers questions about their jobs. We really appreciate these readers for the valuable time they spent with students.

Some students who won books during the drawing came back the next day and said they read the entire chapter book. They couldn’t wait to tell us about the mystery behind the story Skoob. This excitement for reading shows us that the collective efforts of everyone involved was well worth while. 

Special Guest Author:
Kathy Goosev Howell - Author of the books The Perfectly Purple Sneakers, Skoob, and Skoob Revisited and coauthor of the music CDs Rock Out with Spelling and Rock Out with Spelling Volume 2.

Special Guest Readers: 
Matt Zulim - CHP Officer
Jeff Cipolla - CHP Officer
Maria Petropulos - SUSD District Library Media Coordinator 
Teresa Wood - SUSD Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Personnel
Jennifer Winter - SUSD Board of Trustees Member

Summer Reading

As each summer approaches I begin to worry about that ever increasing issue of the “summer reading slide”. I am sure this is a big concern for many teachers, especially with the Common Core Standard’s increased rigor in the area of reading. I researched some summer reading programs that teachers might be interested in introducing to their students. Also, I have included some articles about the issue of summer reading loss. I will add to this list as I come across more ideas and articles.  Feel free to respond to add to this list.

Summer Reading Program Links:

SC-LOGO-plainRocket - Paws to Read


iREAD Reading Programs

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 11.21.28 AM

Barns and Noble

Collaborative Summer Library Program

 Summer Reading Challenge


Pottery Barn Kids

Summer Reading Program Information:
California Library Association
American Library Association
Institute of Reading Development

Summer Reading Programs by State/City:
To find reading programs at your public library simply Google your state/city: 
2014 summer public library reading program State/City

Teachers, consider taking ELA 925 from Fresno Pacific University to learn more about teaching reading.

Teaching Research

Watch this short Animoto about how my first grade class researched frogs to produce a 4 paragraph research paper. 

Some examples of their writings (click the image to take a closer look).

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 12.06.09 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 12.07.55 PM

Some examples of the Tagxedo’s they created from their writings (click the image to take a closer look):

Tagxedo Navea FrogTagxedo Aniaya Frog

Consider signing up to take ELA 925 Reading and the Common Core from Fresno Pacific University. Click here to find out more.

Common Core and Social Studies

Infographic from:

Find out more about my social studies courses for teachers at Teacher’s Learning Connection or at Fresno Pacific University CPD

10 Ways to Use Instagram in the Classroom

Some great ideas from We are Teachers on 10 Ways to Use Instagram in the Classroom.

Flipped Classroom

In my effort to try something new I have flipped my classroom to give students more power over their learning. In my first grade class I have no homework, no desks, and few teacher led lessons. I do have many opportunities for group work, small group instruction at tables, and provide instruction at differentiated learning levels. When walking into my classroom it is not quiet. You can find student are sitting around tables, on the floor, in our small library, and I am usually with a small group. 

Using this method of learning, I have noticed a huge increase in student understanding of math concepts. During our math time students work together in pairs. They use manipulatives and help each other. I provide assistance as a facilitator. 

During ELA time I provided small group instruction as explained in this previous blog:

Some resources I found helpful are:

IMG 2013 IMG 2012

Response to Literature

My 1st grade student spent a couple of weeks listening to Pete the Cat stories, viewing videos, and discussing and comparing the stories. They wrote their own version to Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. I recorded their readings of the page they wrote for their version of the book. To make this an authentic activity we invited our Superintendent, Principal, Program Manager, Librarian, a Board Member, and other school support staff to the debut of the video. It was an exciting and productive way to show off their work. 

Center Rotation Schedule

I have recently been asked by several people how I set up my center rotation schedule. This rotation schedule is set up with 20 students. If you have more than 20 you can add more students to each group. The only thing that moves on this chart are the top cards. Listening center will go to the next spot and Poetry will take the first spot on the next day and so on.

These top cards coordinate with the day of the week. They will move everyday.

Center Rotation Schedule

Color meaning:
Red: Low Achieving Readers
Orange: Medium Low Achieving Readers
Blue: Medium High Achieving Readers
Green: High Achieving Readers
I match Low Achieving Readers with Medium High Achieving Readers and Medium Low Achieving Readers with High Achieving Readers. This grouping is done this way as to not have too much of a gap between the readers. Students are partnered to give each other help during independent centers: Listening, Computers, Word Building, Spelling, and Poetry.

9:00 - 9:30
Teacher - All Red Students
Book Making - All Blue Students
Independent Centers - Listening Center Orange 1 and Green 1, Computers Orange 2 and Green 2, Word Building Orange 3 and Green 3 (Notice, on this particular day no one goes to Spelling or Poetry.)
Seat Work - Orange 4 and Green 4, Orange 5 and Green 5

9:30 - 10:00
Teacher - All Blue Students
Book Making - All Red Students
Independent Centers - Listening Center Orange 4 and Green 4, Computers Orange 5 and Green 5 (Notice, on this particular day no one goes to Word Building or Spelling or Poetry.)
Seat Work - Orange 1 and Green 1, Orange 2 and Green 2, Orange 3 and Green 3

10:00 - 10:30
Teacher - All Orange Students
Book Making - All Green Students
Independent Centers - Listening Center Blue 1 and Red 1, Computers Blue 2 and Red 2, Word Building Blue 3 and Red 3 (Notice, on this particular day no one goes to Spelling or Poetry.)
Seat Work - Blue 4 and Red 4, Blue 5 and Red 5

10:30 - 11:00
Teacher - All Green Students
Book Making - All Orange Students
Independent Centers - Listening Center Blue 4 and Red 4  Computers Blue 5 and Red 5 (Notice, on this particular day no one goes to Word Building or Spelling or Poetry.)
Seat Work - Blue 1 and Red 1, Blue 2 and Red 2, Blue 3 and Red 3

IMG 0857

Math Vocabulary

2013-08-16 12.53.13

One of the first math lessons I did was teaching the students counting, writing, and spelling numbers from 1 - 10. I am trying to get away from using traditional worksheets to provide this type of practice. This year I am having the students write in Math Journals to record vocabulary words and computations. As you can see in the first picture all of the students are writing in their journals. They have 10 math unifix cubes to practice showing each number's value.

2013-08-16 12.53.31

Students wrote the information from a chart paper we worked on together. I wrote the number, asked the students how many dots to draw, and asked them to tell me what the beginning sound of each number word started with. This not only provided number sense, but some phonics as well. We did each number one at a time. I did not move on to the next number until the students finished writing the information for the one we were working on. Those who finished quickly could write the next number and draw the dots for that number. 

2013-08-16 14.37.49

Having these number words in their journal will allow for easy access when they are writing and need to use a number word. As with all chart paper created by the students and myself, I will post it for the year on the wall. 

To find out more about using vocabulary and teaching to the common core visit my site at: You can sign up for my course ELA 925 Reading: Common Core and Curriculum mapping at:

Listening Center Journals

IMG 1711

My goal for this year is to drastically reduce the number of copies I make. Not for environmental purposes, although important to me, but simply because copies are not necessary. Under the Common Core State Standards students will be expected to be in charge of their own learning with the teacher acting as the facilitator. This listening center book report idea is one way teachers can slowly teach students to become responsible for creating their own response to reading; another big CCSS standard. 

Imagine doing a listening center without copying class sets of book report pages each week; a practice I have done for years. What if instead we used journals for the students to write their responses? I plan on giving students a sample of what is expected during the first month of school. Through this activity, I will train students to become more independent at writing their own responses to literature. I decided to simply use a chart paper to write directions for responding to the book they hear. I will change the responses out with each new book. As the year progresses I will provide less support. 


For the "picture" area I can use sentence strips to ask the students to draw things like: Draw the front cover/back cover/title page of the book. Draw your favorite part of the book. Draw the characters in the book. 

For the "write" area I can ask the students question like: What did you like best about the book? Who are the characters of the book? What is the setting of the book? What was the problem? How did the problem get solved? 

I will save the money from not making copies for other important things, like purchasing more journals. 

I hope to post more center ideas and copy saving ideas in the future. 

Today I tried this lesson out. It was difficult for some students to follow along. I am maybe being over zealous thinking that 1st graders could do this on the first day of school. I am sure with practice they will be able to produce quality literature responses. 

2013-08-15 11.09.292013-08-15 11.10.54

If your interested in teaching reading using the Common Core go to my website course page at: or my Fresno Pacific University website at:           © Jeromy Winter 2011