Reading! Self selected reading to be exact!
I have long pondered how to get students more into reading during SSR and I've tried and seen many different things that didn't really work. I hated the fact that students wanted to constatnly change books in a 30 minute period. Pick a friggin' book already! And then I realized that they weren't actually reading the books that they chose.
It hit me. I hadn't been giving them a purpose for reading during their silent reading time! Now, not only do they have a purpose for reading every day, but they know they have to be ready to share at the end! It just keeps them accountable for reading, but I'm sure you already knew that.
Thus, the SSR Menu was born. Here is an sample menu that I used the first time I tried this and there is also a list of activities to use in your own menus. This can be adapted to your classroom, your needs, and your students.
I also decided to start using this time to integrate the Social Studies and Science content, especially before we start a new unit. It is a great tool for giving them some background knowledge before beginning something new.
So, with that being said, here is the link to my powerpoint, where you can see how to set up SSR menus and use them in your classrooms. It will save me a lot of typing!
The thing I love most about this idea is that there is so much student choice, even though you have control over what you want them to read. I do let them choose from their group book baskets 1-2 times a week, but the other days are focused on content that I want them to have schema on for our upcoming learning units.
Let me know if you use these and how they work for your classroom. I've had several teachers at my school try it and they all love it!