I struggle between what I know are TRUE balanced literacy practices and what is required by my state to measure comprehension with common assessments and standardized testing. So I try my best to meld the two together.
In December my students were practicing inferencing as they read a poem about a cat laying under a Christmas tree and looking up at the ornaments. Instead of just having them read the poem and answer the questions on the back, I had them "turn and talk" and "stop and sketch." Then they had to make a jotting on a sticky note about the poem. Some students made predictions and others explained having empathy for the cat because they have laid under a tree outside and looked up.
After reading the jottings, I printed off three main comments that the students' responses fit into. I print my conference notes on address labels so I can stick one in the student's Reading Notebook and another in my Conference Notebook.
Then I called the students back and used the printed comments to give students compliments and things to work on to improve.