Sunday, July 12, 2015

Series: Setting Up the Reader's Notebook in Upper Elementary

This post is the first in a Series, and will include information for READING NOTEBOOKS.
Stayed tuned for WRITING NOTEBOOKS!

If you've been hanging around for a bit, you know that I am a Floating Teacher. What does this mean? Each year of my career, I've spent it moving to a new grade level. Something that has remained constant for me is that I've been lucky enough to only teach Reading and Writing (Language Arts) to each of my classes. 
I've taught third, fourth and fifth. Next year, I get to go back to fourth grade! Each year, I settle into my teaching a little more, but not without much reflection. One practice that I will continue to use in my LA classroom, no matter the grade level is the Reader's Notebook. 
If you want to set-up your own, ask yourself these questions to get going!

When Googling: Reader's Notebook, you will find a plethora of resources. Here are a couple posts that I have found useful over the past few years for set-up:

Scholastic's Top Teaching Blog: The Reader's Notebook by Beth Newingham
This post is old, but very helpful. Stripped down to the basics, I took some of these ideas to eventually lead to my new set-up. Beth is the one who gave me the idea of using binders instead of actual notebooks (something that was then solidified when I asked this year's 5th graders for notebook feedback). Her setup is rock solid and even gives links for freebies if you don't feel like finding or creating something on your own.

This post is unclear which book it comes from and I do not remember seeing it Reading in the Wild, however, it gives step-by-step instructions for setting up a reader's notebook. This was helpful for me, because I already use all of her forms for my own reader's notebook. They worked perfectly with my students last year and why fix something that isn't broken? It was also helpful for me because I devour any resources from Donalyn and there are times where I wish I could ask her for more details when it comes to certain practices. This resource satisfies that need for me!

Here's a bit of a confession... sometimes as teachers we have so much on our plates that we need something that will kind of plan and implement itself. I want you to be intentional in this next part... All of our notebooks will be different, because all of our kids have different needs. If we're being really transparent here, as educators, we should be changing things up year to year based on our group of kids that we have. What do you want the kids to have available? What will help them succeed? What will help them reach their personal and classroom goals for Reading?
It's all about them.

My five sections for fourth grade this year:
Independent Reading: Genre Requirement Chart, Genre cheat sheet, TBR List, Status of the Class, and Books I've Read charts. This would also be a good place to keep conferencing information for when you meet with kids during IR. *My kids had to add and add and add "books I've read" charts, so having the binder option will he helpful here!*

Genre chart in action!

Mini-Lessons: Here students will keep materials related to our mini-lessons. I work on using picture books to teach each of the CCSS strands for ELA. Here we can keep reflections, guided notes and materials for independent practice.

Reading Responses: this will include weeks that we use reading response letters, and any other types of materials that could be considered responses to our reading like scripts for book trailers, book reviews, blog posts, tweeting plans and author correspondences.

Goals & Progress: This section will include MAP scores (my district's way of progress monitoring and determining Lexiles in upper grades, not the end all be all, but just one tool we use), MAP goal setting worksheets, Fluency work, Student-generated reading goals. This section will also house our data tracking sheets for the Common Core (instead of having that in a separate binder).

Reading Share: Once students really get into their Wild Reader habits, they can start teaching some of these strategies to younger students in your building. I only had my students do a Summer Share this year, because it was just an idea I got at the end of the year. My plans for next year are to have my blocks organize and teach one before every break: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break and Summer. This is where they will keep their materials for their presentations!

Where will your kids keep their binders or notebooks? It depends on what you're using. If you have notebooks, they can be stored in book boxes or file folder crates. I used file folder crates (one per class) this school year and I would highly recommend that option if you are using notebooks! This year, I'm trying to get a binder shelf so we can keep them all in the classroom and out of the way when they are not in use. Storage is up to you, but it's something you definitely need to have planned out.

Students will need to access these binders or notebooks multiple times throughout reading class. Are they easily portable? Are they sturdy enough to last the whole school year? All things to think about!

Good luck using Reader's Notebooks, and if you have any posts or ideas, please feel free to share in the comment section.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Stacey,

    How often do you rotate between fiction and nonfiction for readers workshop?




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