Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fancy Sticky Notes

I am so excited to use these new sticky notes this week!  I found them at Family Dollar...only $1 for a pack of 3, so I stocked up! I think they will fit perfectly with our character jottings. The heart ones can be used for empathy jottings.  The t-shirt sticky notes can be used to record character traits or envisioning.  The arrows can be used for making predictions and they can point towards the details in the text that support the predictions. 

The jottings parking lot after Block I...the new stickies were a hit!

nice use of empathy

didn't use the heart for empathy, but great character description

she included the empathy label

more empathy...I think the fancy sticky notes are a winner

she'll need a little discussion on irregular verbs

this student is physically disabled with no verbal communication, but she still makes jottings with her aide writing as she points to facial expression pictures that demonstrate character traits

envisioning and character traits

character traits and empathy

empathy and envisioning

I found these sticky notes at Dollar Tree.  I am going to introduce them during our nonfiction study.

My lowest reader (level A) uses the skinny, pointed sticky note tabs to mark his pages when he wants to talk about that part in book clubs.

My students started using their sticky notes during Writing Workshop as well. This student revised the first sentence of a writing piece by writing a new beginning on her sticky note.

STEM and Literacy Connection

I have been using the book Because of Winn Dixie for my Reading Workshop minilessons in the Lucy Calkins Unit 2: Following Characters Into Meaning.  My students have been using evisioning, empathy, predictions, and character traits to better understand and comprehend their books.


My school is a STEM focus school so I try to integrate my students' literacy learning into our STEM activities.  For those of you not familiar with the acronym, STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics.

Each Friday my students use engineering materials to build.  They can work in groups or individually. They use K'Nex, linker cubes, Unifix cubes, dominoes, attribute blocks, and anything else we happen to get out!


Last Friday we discussed all of the places Opal and Winn Dixie have been to in their town of Naomi.  The students used their engineering materials and designed some of the buildings that these characters have been to so far.  They envisioned the town and landmarks.  Some students made the Pick It Quick where the preacher had his church services.  Some children created Miss Franny's library. One made Opal's trailer and another made the Winn Dixie grocery store. See if you can look closely enough and see how some of the students even created the characters!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Reading Notebooks

I've been wanting to use Reading Notebooks for years, but I wasn't able to figure out how to organize them or what to include in them.  I wanted a way to keep my students' responses in one place, but I wasn't for certain how to use Reading Notebooks for an exact purpose. 

This summer I received training in the Balanced Literacy framework from Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. I spent time on Pinterest and reading other teaching blogs. I compiled my ideas and combined them all together into a template that meets my teaching needs. This is the Reading Notebook I have designed for my students to use.  They actively use it and so far so good!

I organized it into 3 sections: Independent, Read Aloud, Minilesson. Students put their jottings on sticky notes in the Independent section after they finish a book. They put the book title at the top of the page and then the jottings underneath. During Read Alouds students can stop and jot, stop and sketch, make predictions, and record other responses. In the minilesson section I can have students draw Thinking Maps to display information about the book, they can glue templates for activities, or they can write responses or questions.

This library pocket is on the inside back over. Partners can write notes to each other about their books. They can also put questions in there. I also use this pocket as a way to differentiate between the two literacy blocks that I teach.  My inclusion block does not have this pocket in their Reading Notebooks.

This pocket is on the inside front cover.  If students see a book they want to read but someone else has it they can write it down and put it in the pocket. The student's reading level is also written on the pocket.

As the culminating lesson of Unit 1 "Building a Reading Life" in Lucy Calkins' Reading Workshop, students decorated their Reading Notebooks to reflect their new reading lives. They used clip art, photos from home, and old Scholastic book order forms!

They listed their favorite book topics.
fluency tips

student self-assessment and goals foldable in the independent section of the notebook
empathy and envision reminders in the minilesson section

high five retelling in the minilesson section

envisioning jotting in the read aloud section

well, the spelling needs work, but these are jottings in the minilesson section after learning how to revise a mental movie after reflecting on characters' actions
I used a story wheel during one of my read aloud lessons and afterwards these students sat in front of the anchor chart and recorded one of their own in the Reading Notebooks in the read aloud section. I got the story wheel lesson from the Better Lesson website (click here to visit this extremely resourceful site).
During our character study students added a list of character traits to the minilesson section.  They also added the template for a biopoem--a more rigorous way of describing a character.
I will add more details and photos from our Reading Notebooks as the year progresses.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Where Do You Keep Your Information?

These three notebooks keep my anecdotal records and group lessons organized.  They are simple but extremely useful.

In the colorful notebook I keep my skills groups organized on a weekly basis.  I use my students' jottings, written responses, and conferencing notes to put them into groups for the week.  Sometimes it is a reading strategy or skill.  Sometimes it is a word work skill. 


The other two notebooks are where I keep my individual records for my students.  I have a list of the students at the front that lists their Grade Equivalent for Accelerated Reader (no comment please...this is a required program at my mind has been changing on how AR fits into the balanced literacy framework), their Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading Level, and their partnerships. Then each student has a page where I record conferencing notes.  These notes could be individual conferences, student work samples, or small group skill/strategy tips.
names are hidden for privacy

this is an old lesson plan book...the lined squares are perfect to record info

for more info on how I use address labels read my blog post How Do I Use All of These Jottings to Help My Students

word work skill (open and closed syllables) this student has mastered
I keep a schedule for when students can go book shopping in the classroom library. I spread them out throughout the week and split them up by levels to keep the books circulating.  I teach 50 students a day and each child gets 3 to 4 books a week from the classroom library. They can also check out 4 books a day at the school library so their baggies are always full.
Here are notes added throughout the year. I make sure to date all of my anecdotal records.  I collect jottings to back up my notes. I make note of skills I work on with students. I reflect on if the student is using my suggestions and showing growth.