Stage B Blog

All-Star AwardsStarting off 2012 in the READ 180 Classroom!
by Andrea Barnes on January 16, 2012

Remember to nominate your most deserving student for the READ 180 All-Star Award! My student won the award last year, and you may have the winner sitting in your classroom right now! Start off the year by building a student’s confidence by believing in their success! You have the power to change a life!!

Alyssa_Stage BAlyssa
Aragon Middle School, Houston, TX
When Alyssa enrolled in Aragon Middle School, her reading and writing skills were weak, and she feared she would never catch up to her classmates. Her lack of success in school and inability to articulate her thoughts were compounded by a life-long struggle with bipolar disorder. School administrators decided to enroll her in READ 180, hopeful that its non-traditional classroom would be a good fit. They were right. Not only did Alyssa manage to pass last year's state reading exam, but her high score earned her special recognition! Today, Alyssa is a happy and self-motivated student who loves to read "thick chapter books." She is currently writing a book about growing up with bipolar disorder, which she hopes will serve as an inspiration to other students struggling with the disease. "Because of READ 180 I had the confidence to play basketball without worrying I might not be good enough. I never would have had the courage to do this before READ 180."

The Scholastic All-Star Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of READ 180 and System 44 students who have overcome reading challenges to succeed in school.

Stage B Blog
Have your students review and admire all that they have accomplished in the rBook!

After looking through the Workshops and sharing their opinions have them turn to the back of the rBook.

  1. In the Stage B rBook, start on Page 270, have the students look over the Keep Track of Your Success graph. Students should marvel at the Scholastic Reading Inventory success they have made through out the first semester.
  2. Moving forward to Pages 266-269, the Student Book Logs, have students look over all of the books they have read this year. Students may decide to share their favorite books in a Small-Group or with partners.
  3. On Pages 264-265, students can review their Topic Software Log.
  4. Finally turn to Pages 262-263 and have students review the rBook Workshop Log.

 “The Onion Peel”
by Andrea Barnes on December 22, 2011

Layers of fun for everyone!
1. Write nine questions on nine separate sheets of paper.
2. Take one question and crumple it up.
3. Take another question and wrap it around the first question. You are now growing your onion.
4. Continue this process until all of your questions have been wrapped into the onion.
5. You and your students are now ready to peel the onion.
6. Toss the onion to a volunteer student and have them un wrap one paper. The student stands and reads the question aloud. This student may answer the question, or they may pass it to the student on their right to answer.
7. The student answers the question and then passes the whole onion back to the teacher, but keeps his/her question.
8. When the onion has been peeled, the students that have papers crumple them up and throw them in to a basket the teacher is holding.
9. The students are just as excited to end the activity because they like to throw paper.

Example questions and sentence starters from Scholastic Stage B Workshop #5 “Under Pressure” could be the following:

1. If an accident happens at school, you should call a …
2. It’s hard to say “no” because…
3. I think peer pressure (is/is to) to blame for Eric’s death because…
4. Do you agree with this statement-“Peer pressure led Eric to do dangerous subway stunts with his friends.” I (agree/disagree) with this 5. statement because…
5. The quality I value most in others is…
6. I like ___________________ best about my self because…
7. Give an example of a problem and then a solution. A problem could be __________ and the solution could be…
8. Why is it so hard to stand up to peer pressure? It is hard to stand up to peer pressure because…
9. A problem that can come from the pressure to fit in is…

Make Your Students Feel Like a Million Dollars When They Walk Into Your Classroom!

by Andrea Barnes on December 14, 2011

Barnes’ Notes
I use hotel stationery, photographs, and colorful paper to write to my students. Complimentary notes are a HIT with my students! I call them “Barnes’ Notes.” My students collect these notes and share them with their families. When a student collects ten notes and has a parent/guardian signature, they receive a little prize from me. When students collect twenty notes—two prizes, thirty notes—three prizes, etc.

I ran in to a former student yesterday at a school function, and she told me that she had just re-read all of her "Barnes’ Notes"from four years ago. She told me that she just sat and smiled as she looked through her notes from me.

Another parent wrote: "As I was looking through her things with my daughter and husband,  I noticed that she had kept all of the notes that you had written to her while she was your student. Thank you so much for caring for her on a daily basis while she was in your class. You have no idea how much she loved it!”

Learn More About the Students In Your Classroom With the Activity Below:

All About Me
1. Where are you from? What are one or two things you like about it?
2. What is the best book you’ve ever read? Why?
3. What hobbies, sports, or other leisure time activities do you enjoy most or are really good at?
4. What do you want to be doing ten years from now?
5. What is something new you want to learn?
6. How many people are in your family? Name them.
7. What is your favorite all time TV show?
8. What is your greatest achievement?
9. At a young age, if you could have chosen any profession to be the best in your field, what would you have chosen to do for the rest of your life?
10. What is one thing about you that you have not yet shared that others would find interesting

SkateboarderDaniel is one of my students and he is an avid skateboarder. He brings videos of his skateboarding tricks to share with our class weekly. We would also like to share them with you. Please click here to view Daniel's video

Have the students turn their answers in to a banner for your classroom!

Building Knowledge and Confidence at the Same Time!
by Andrea Barnes on November 28, 2011

Dr. Mark HenryHow about building your students knowledge of READ 180 and their Confidence all at the same time?  Read to find out how.

1. My students love it when we invite guests to our classroom. Our first special person,  Superintendent of Cypress-Fairbanks I. S. D., Dr Mark Henry, came and spent 35 minutes with my READ 180 class. This was quite an honor considering we are the third largest district in Texas.

2. Students volunteered to greet our guest by shaking hands and making eye contact.

3. Students took him on a tour of our READ 180 classroom and showed off their class assignments, posters, and projects.

4. Other students showed him the READ 180 Instructional Software and walked him through the program.

5. Another team of students showed him the Independent Reading area and all of our book selections. Individual students shared their rBooks and “Passport to Success” folders.

Ms. Jan AragonResults: During the entirety of the visit(s) the students were sharing their successes, on the program, and honoring their class and themselves. Their smiles and enthusiasm for our class was evident!

The namesake of our school spent the day with my students. Ms. Jan Aragon was put into one of our class rotations so the students could spend twenty minutes visiting with her. We all felt like a movie star had joined our class, because a person with their name on a building was in our room! The students again shared our class and themselves with her with pride.

After reading, “A Mountain Fire” by Emily Costello in our Stage B rBook, one of my students invited her dad, a volunteer firefighter. Mr. Wisniewski brought his fire suit and let the students try it on all the while sharing about being a fireman. He too encouraged the students to stay in school, study, and get a great education!READ 180 Workshop Firefighter

We can teach the same message as our guest, but how reassuring for the students to hear the same message from other successful adults. We can all work together for the betterment of our society.

My students wrote thank you notes on hotel stationery to our guests after they spent time in our READ 180 classroom. To me, this is a great way to teach students how to show gratitude and manners!

“Barnes’ Building Background Knowledge Fridays”
by Andrea Barnes on October 24, 2011

Stage B BlogWhether you have traveled around the world, vacationed vicariously through the computer and travel brochures, or relaxed in your own backyard… you can make a  “Build Background Knowledge Friday” box or spiral notebook!

Just sit back, relax and learn how! (Play this video of my simulated flight  to tie in with this theme).

1. Students can work by themselves or they may choose a group to work with on this assignment.
2. Have the students bring in a shoe box or spiral. (I asked my faculty for donations, and donations poured in!)
3. The students choose a city, state, country or any place around the world.
4. Their job is to fill the box or spiral with information, pictures, souvenirs, celebrations, music, etc. of the country or place so we can learn about it when we open the box or spiral.
5.The student is becoming the “Expert” of the place, and in turn, they are teaching the rest of us about it.

Stage B BlogThese boxes and spirals are displayed in the room for everyone to enjoy. Students may add to the boxes and spirals through out the year.

I prepare a survey for my students to take at the beginning of the year. Through the survey we all get to know one another and share the places we dream of visiting and/or living. This survey allows me to find out their interests and how they could participate in the success of our class. Each student answered the questions and shared them with me. Students also volunteered to share answers with the class, too.

We will look back on these surveys through out the year so we can make adjustments, answer questions, check student participation and make sure everyone has a special place in the classroom.

Passport to Success
by Andrea Barnes on October 11, 2011

We all know that reading is the ticket to success in school and life. Many of my students have never traveled before, most have never been outside the state of Texas, and majority have never experienced a trip on an airplane. I want my students or as I call them “travelers,” to see there’s a whole world out there for them.  That’s why I call my classroom the READ 180 Passport to Success.”
Stage B Blog
The “READ 180 Passport to Success” classroom brings the faraway places from my travels to life. I take my students on a simulated flight by showing a video I recorded from an airplane window.  Through pictures , videos, and artifacts (like volcanic rock from Pompeii) from my trips, the students experience what it’s like to travel the world and experience different cultures.

After our flight and our arrival at the destination, each student receives a pair of wings from the airline marking their trip and they record the destination in their “passport.” The kids make passports and albums of places they’ve traveled. They make comments and even rate their favorite places. I want them to have whatever they want in life. They now know that travel costs money and if they want to go to the places we’re learning about; reading can go a long way toward getting there. I say to the kids, “If you want to go places in life, you need to be a good reader.”

We will travel to China and the Great Wall this week. For our appetizer (warm-up) we read about China and the Great Wall and I show them video clips from my travels to China. My classroom of “travelers” will visit the Great Wall, a cloisonné’ and jade factory, and the First Emperors Tomb in Xian, China. My students will receive fortune cookies and chopsticks, will hold the Chinese Yuan in their hands, and fill out their travel passport. This helps to bring the world closer to their reality.

Watch Andrea's simulated flight!

Welcome to the READ 180 Stage B Blog
by Andrea Barnes on September 20, 2011

As the 2011-2012 school year begins, I am so excited to employ the ideas and techniques I learned at the READ 180 National Summer Institute in Orlando, Florida! Because of great teachers and classes, the conference always rejuvenates me and gets me ready for a new school year! I have been teaching reading for the past 23 years in Texas, and I am beginning my 5th year of Scholastic Stage B READ 180. I was honored as the 2010 Scholastic Stage B Outstanding Educator, and one of my students won the 2011 Scholastic Stage B All-Star award. I love READ 180 and so do my students!

My classroom theme this year is “Soar into…life, fun, reading, sports, etc.”, so we have kites and hot air balloons around the room. I want all of my students to strive to have the best life everyday, so I encourage them to make daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and life time goals. The students write them down on an index card to share with me. Students can share what they hope, dream, believe, and want to achieve with each other if they so desire.

I believe…
I dream…
I will achieve…
I hope…

These are the sentence starters I give them and then they soar into their lives!

Students work toward these goals all year, and they are so happy when they achieve one. This is a comment from my 8th grade student this year:   “You are very inspiring, you give children hope that their dreams will come true.”

Each student has a kite that they record what they would like to “Soar into…” this year on the wall. We attach bows to the kite when the following is completed:

When you finish a book that you have been reading, please complete the following activities.

1.    Complete a Quick Write on your book.
2.    Review Quick Write answers.
3.    Take a book quiz on the computer and use your text.
4.    Fill out a bow with your title of book and rating on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best).

  • Thank you for the great compliment! You are welcome any time in our classroom!

    Scholastic has the link on the Community News. I am so sorry I didn't see your note before now. I apologize for my tardiness. Did you nominate one of your students for this award? Will you be attending NSI?

    Andrea, Your blog is insightful and inspiring!  I'm so glad we have such an amazing teacher here in Cy-Fair :)  I look forward to your open house so I can see all the great things your students have been up to this year!

    When I clicked your link for all star awards to find out what an entry entails, i found the info on last year's winners, but no information about how to nominate a student for this year. Am I looking in the wrong place>?

    So glad that you were able to include the video as well as the pictures.  Giving hope is a vital strategy for striving students.  It's been well validated in research.

    Thank you. We are going to start your theme "Travel Across America" in my classes this week. My students will love touring around the United States! Happy Traveling and Reading!


    I love your theme and the way you're using it!  My team has done, and will do again this year, a Read Across America project where we log "miles" for pages read.  We "travel" in "cars" across a large map of the United States and complete research projects on the places we visit.  Your ideas have given me some new, creative ways to use this project and freshen it up!  I especially love your passport! 

    Thank you for your compliments! I hope you are having a great year, too!

    Love the quote!  Wonderful to see how you set up for the year.