While searching Pinterest for ideas on creating library activity centers , I came across a post suggesting the use of stuffed animals as reading companions for students. While scaling this up to work with 24 kindergartners didn't seem feasible, I stumbled upon a trove of stuffed vegetables (don't laugh, I'm serious!) in a basket on one of the library shelves. A quick count revealed more than enough to use with my PTC class, a group of eight students with special needs, and I thought this would be a great way to get them to focus on reading time once we were done with our lessons.
The kids LOVE them. Every week now, when we're done with reading our story and doing any associated activities, the students come up to me and ask, "Ms. Bery, can I have my special friend?" They get a huge kick out of holding them and reading quietly, and they know that the rule is that if they throw their special friend around, it will be taken away. I'd love to be able to acquire more stuffed creatures to make this feasible for my other younger students, because I think it's a great way to positively reward students for good behavior during library (classroom management) and to get them to focus on reading independently before they line up for dismissal.
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also review children's, middle grade, and young adult books on Instagram.
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