I try to teach direct lessons on book genres at the start of the year because it's just such a basic part of kids knowing about books and discovering what they like to read. My library is organized by genre, we discuss genre every time I read a book to them, we pack our book boxes with a mix of genres...so moving the study of genres to the start of the year just seems to make good sense. Plus it's fun for me to be all dramatic when I teach them how to say "genre".

I have a pretty eclectic mix of resources that I use when I'm explicitly teaching genres, but today I'm going to share a few that I found especially fun this time around. The first was actually something I put together a couple of years ago as part of my formal observation lesson. It worked really well during my observation and my kids begged to "play" it again. To introduce the genres, I created a four pictures-one word type activity to play together as a class. Considering it was the first time they were being exposed to the names of the genres, I used the slide that gave them a few letters in the right place to start. {I created three slides for each genre - one with just the spaces, one with a few letters filled in, and one that reveals the answer}

The cards are pretty versatile.  If projecting them whole group doesn't float your boat, you can definitely print them for a literacy center or even an interactive bulletin board. I've just recently polished the set up enough to add to my tpt shop, so if you'd like to check this out to use with your class, you can see it here.

After we had a basic grasp on some genres, we went to town dissecting some Scholastic book order forms to find examples of them. They LOVED this. And I loved hearing all the discussion they were having about how or why particular books would best be suited to each category. It was during this activity they realized that sometimes a book kind of crosses the lines from one genre to another or has some elements of more than one genre. Learning this through their own discovery was much more meaningful than if I were to have told them. If you'd like the simple form I used for this activity, just click here to snag it from Dropbox. I also included a blank form so you can have your kids write in the genres they find if the ones I had listed don't work for you.

Another resource I love to use with my kids are these genre task cards. Kids read a little scenario about an imaginary book and they have to decide the most likely genre of the book. I love the versatility of task cards and most of the year these live on my Brain Builders wall, but we took them down and used them in small groups for this part of our study. You can find those in my tpt shop as well if they look interesting to you.
Happy Teaching, my friends. Until next time...

So, notice anything different around here? How gorgeous is my new blog design!? Big buckets of love and thanks to Megan from A Bird in Hand Designs. It's like she was in my head throughout the entire design process and what she produced for me was exactly what I envisioned. I'm in LoVe!

To celebrate, here's a little freebie you might like. I made a winter version of this game and my kids went bonkers over it! The key is to play just a couple of games at a time over a few days. As my friend Reagan once said, "Always leave them wanting more!" She was talking about her math rotations, but for some reason that little pearl of wisdom just stuck with me. Also, I'm ALWAYS the caller. I have found that that minute that you turn the calling duty over to a kid, chaos ensues along with a chorus of "what did you say?" being yelled whispered after every word.

The kids create their own game boards by cutting and gluing the words of their choice onto the blank bingo board. I take a little time to let them make the game in class, but if your class time is limited, consider sending it home for homework.  If your class time is super limited, you can just have them write the words in the squares on the blank board. With the winter game, we played each day of the last week of school during that weird 10 minute block of time most of us have that's too short to really do anything with but too long to not do anything with. You know what I'm talking about, right? It helped with behavior management too because whenever something was taking a bit too long because of a severe chase of chatterboxia, I would ponder aloud in my most thoughtful teacher voice, "hmmm I wonder if we'll have enough time to play bingo today?" and like magic, we were back on track.

Now to be fair, I did have some pretty cool prizes up for grabs. I picked up some smelly Crayola markers from Walgreens that were about 39 cents each and some random holiday trinkets from the party store. I also offered up some fuzzies that we use for our reward system and some sweet treats. Since we only played 2-3 games a day, I didn't go through too many prizes.

We don't have an all out party for Valentine's Day. Instead it's referred to as a "treat day" which makes NO difference at all in the way the kids perceive the day. They're kids. They're excited about handing out their little cards and packets of Fun-Dip or what have you. So I try to work in as much fun stuff as I can. Can I tell you how big I smiled when I realized we'll celebrate on a Friday this year? Almost, but not quite as big as I smiled when Halloween was celebrated on a Friday! Now that was Heaven sent...

So, if you'd like to download this little freebie for yor kids, just click here. In the product description you'll also find some links for my other bingo games.

Happy Heart Day!

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