Supporting On Grade Level and Above Readers

     Sooo...somehow this year I have a HUGE gap in the reading levels of my classes.  One class is literally all on grade level or above.  And the other class, not so much.  So this means that I have really had to readjust my teaching style and methods to meet the needs to EACH class. Without holding any students back or accelerating students to the point of frustration.  Kinda tricky.  I have no idea if I am doing this "right." I am just feeling around and trying to make sure all of students are accountable and successful.

                 

                 

Reading Goals

This year I have taken a note from Beth Newingham.  She has her students keep a reading log of all the books that they have read during DEAR time reading.  In my classroom, students (generally)  read when not in guided reading groups.  She has her students keep reading workshop notebooks.  I have created a modified version of this. 

Instead of a binder, each child has a pocket folder.  In the pocket folder students keep their reading log, genre chart, reading goals and notebook paper for taking notes during reading mini lessons.

My reading log is VERY similar to reading log.  I simplify downloaded her log and modified it to suit my classes' needs.

Here is a copy of Beth Newingham's log in Word.

Here is a copy of my modified reading log.

Whenever students finish a book, they record it in their reading log. In order to increase my students reading and differentiate student learning, I have had students create reading logs.  I have also based this upon Mrs. Newingham's wonderful ideas.  Each month students track their reading in their log.  Then at the end of the month, students are given a sheet to record the amount of their reading and set a goal.  Here is how I have set it up so far:

August/ September Set up reading folders, practice using their reading logs and recording their reading.
End of September

 

Students are given their first reading goal sheet. On this sheet is simply a tally chart and an area for goal setting.  I model how to complete the sheet and students complete their own.  As students complete the sheet, they leave their reading notebooks open to this goal sheet.  I walk around and check each students goals and see if they read a reasonable amount.  it is an opportunity for a short conference for each student.  After students finish filling in the sheet, they DEAR time read.  I like to do this on a Friday, because this is a more flexible, "open" reading day.

September Tracking Sheet

 

End of October

Students are given a different tracking sheet.  Because students have now learned how to create a bar graph in math, they must tally their results for ONLY the moth of October (dates that start with a 10 as I tell my kids!!).  Then they graph their results into two categories picture books and chapter books.

I follow the same conferencing routine as above.  However, this time I mark a sheet recording who was able to complete their reading goal.  Then I send up this list to the media center and the students names are read on the morning announcement TV show.

October Tracking Sheet

 

 

End , of November

The November tracking sheet is very, very similar to the October tracking sheet.  The only difference is students will be comparing their fiction verse nonfiction reading, since we have began our nonfiction reading unit.

November Tracking Sheet

 

End of December

 

Students are given a different tracking sheet.  Because students have now learned how to create a pictographs in math, they must tally their results for ONLY the moth of December (dates that start with a 12 as I tell my kids!!).  Then they graph their results into fiction and nonfictions books.  Students will use small smiley face stickers as their symbols.

I follow the same conferencing routine as above. 

December Tracking Sheet

 

This is what I have so far.  I would love to hear from others who have tried goal tracking and recording.   Anyone what to share how they do this? Please????

                 

Literature Circles

Over the years I have tried literature circles, but I have never REALLY figured out a way to use them in which I think are meaningful and actually help the kids.  Especially with assessment- I felt it was all way to willie-nillie (is that even a word?!).  But, this year , I am going to try it again!  This past week I went to a BER conference with Bev Bain on using Guided Reading and Literature Circles in the classroom.  She was WONDERFUL.  I would HIGHLY recommended going to see her if you have the opportunity.  She really suggested using literature circles with on and above grade level students (especially if you are familiar with GOOD children's lit.) because the conversation and text is often more meaningful than the small leveled readers.  I can see that, sooo...I am trying it out after Christmas. I am going to wait because the time before Christmas and break is too broken up.

Here is my plan:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Most Weeks

 

 

 

 

Whole Group Mini Lesson

Guided Reading Group 1

Guided Reading Group 2

 

 

 

 

 

Whole Group Mini Lesson

Guided Reading Group 1

Guided Reading Group 3

 

 

 

 

 

Whole Group Mini Lesson

Guided Reading Group 4 (already a lit circle!)

Guided Reading Group 2

 

 

 

 

Whole Group Mini Lesson

All students meet in literature circles.  For the most part, literature circles will be divided by level (because my kids are so close in level I can really switch up guided reading groups a bit). I will hop around to each of the four groups and listen in. When they finish, they can start their next reading for the circles.

 

Whole Group Mini Lesson

Whole group library check out day

 

Readers Theater

OR

Introduce the book project students will complete when they finish their literature circle book.

 

 

 

 

When not in guided reading groups.... Independent Work During guided reading: prepare for lit. circles and DEAR read when finished Independent Work During guided reading: prepare for lit. circles and DEAR read when finished Independent Work During guided reading: prepare for lit. circles and DEAR read when finished Everyone will be in lit groups, so no time for independent work. Pretty much whole group all day.
The week when we have FINISHED our lit books... When students have finished their lit. books, they will use their independent time to create a book project. Work on books projects. Work on books projects.

 

Meet in lit circles to choose their new books- but not start!  I will take the books up so I can create new roles sheets.

Work on books projects.

 

 

Present the book projects to classmates.

We will do field trips and circles within a circles so it takes less time (basically just present to a few kids, not the whole class).

 I am not a really big fan of roles.  I think that my kids are able to have a discussion (we have been modeling this in guided reading groups for how long?) with the assigned role sheets.  However, I still want students to PREPARE for the groups and bring something to the "table."  I am thinking that I will use a modified version of Laura Candler's role sheets.  If you have not checked out her website, you are really missing out.  Her site is FABULOUS.

In the very beginning I will give each student the Literature Circle Prep forms.  With these prep forms, the student gets to experience every role with each reading.  I think my kids will like this.  Also, there is an area for a teacher question.   I will be able set the amount of page numbers for each reading.  At the beginning, there will not be quiet as much student choice.   I will ease into this.

As far as management, I was thinking of printing out the forms front and back.   I will write the teacher discussion questions and the page number on the master copy and then will create one set per student.  Then I will "bind" the students master copies using a stapler and a sheet of 11" by 18' construction paper.  Each book group will have their own color and can decorate their covers.  I was thinking this might help students from losing their role sheets.

I am still chewing on this, since I am not starting it until January.  I would love to hear any of your ideas!!

                 

Book Projects

This year my students are very artsy-craftsy.  They really like to read and write and draw. I want to tap in on this...because when they are not doing these things, they tend to be REALLY off task.

Once again, this idea came from Bev Bain's workshop.  I cannot stress how wonderful she was!   I am taking her ideas and adapting them a bit.  She had students complete the book projects over their independent DEAR time reading book. Her students were literally reading four books (independent, whole group, guided reading and lit circle book) at a time.  While this is wonderful, I don't think I could manage this.

My thoughts were to have students complete a book project after they finish their literature circle book.  Instead of assessing their role sheets (which I think can be difficult) I will assess their book project.  However, most of my reading grades come from the whole group mini lesson, this just gives me one more grade!

My current thought process is this....

Day One

(usually will be a Friday)

I will introduce the book projects on the Fridays AFTER students finish their literature circle books.   I will share a teacher made example.  Then  as a class we will brainstorm what makes this a QUALITY, PERSONAL BEST project. We will turn this list into a checklist.  Students will write the check list down in their reading notebooks on the notebook paper. 

Students will keep these checklists so they can refer back to them and will have control of the grade they choose to get.

Students can begin gathering and planning for materials they will need.

Day Two

(usually a Monday)

Students work on literature projects when not in guided reading groups.

Day Three

(usually a Tuesday)

Students work on literature projects when not in guided reading groups.

Day Four

(usually a Wednesday)

Students work on literature projects when not in guided reading groups.

Day Five

(usually a Thursday)

Students meet to choose new literature circle books.  I will take the books back up and begin to read and prepare their role sheets.

 Students will have the rest of the day to work on their book projects.

Day Six

(Usually a Friday)

Library Check out and Readers Theater.

Day Seven

(usually a Monday)

Students work on literature projects when not in guided reading groups.

Day Eight

(usually a Tuesday)

Students work on literature projects when not in guided reading groups.

Day Nine

(usually a Wednesday)

Students work on literature projects when not in guided reading groups.

Day Ten

(usually a Thursday)

Students will begin their new literature circle books.  New books will be passed out and role packets will be passed out.  Students may use the first few minutes to get organized and decorate their new role sheet packet covers. 

Then they will spend the rest of the class period putting the finishing touches on their book projects.

Day Eleven

(Usually a Friday)

Book Projects due.

Students will present to the book projects.

Day Twelve

(usually a Monday)

The cycle starts all over again!

Here is a "big picture overview."

This is how the literature circles and book projects would look in my classroom in a perfect world (which never happens for me.  Something always comes up!!!)

Week One

Students begin their literature circle books.
Week Two Students work on their literature circle books.
Week Three Students work on their literature circle books.
Week Four Students work on their literature circle books.
Week Five

Students finish their literature circle books.

Introduce the book project on Friday.

Week Six

Students work on book project

Students will choose their new literature circle book.

Week Seven

Students will complete and present book projects.

Students will begin new literature circle book.

If I actually get this idea off the ground, I will start posting the ideas for book projects and some of our classes' examples!