Wednesday, October 1, 2014

5th Grade Reading Class - A Peek Into My Day

So, this year I moved from a self-contained classroom where I taught all subjects to a departmentalized class where I teach reading only.  It's been a great change for me, but I've had to take time to think how I was going to manage four reading rotations and reading data for 100 students.  I'm still working out the kinks, but here's what I've come up with so far and how I organize my day.  Take a peek!

Students walk in and are greeted by me and a message on the Smartboard. I let them know what materials they need to bring to the carpet area for Reader's Workshop.  For this message, I've included some pictures that go along with Esperanza Rising, the book we've been reading in class.

I also post a daily agenda with what we are going to do for the day.  I made the agenda signs out of scrapbook paper, laminated them, and glued magnets on the back.  Students write down their assignments in their personal agenda book.  As you can see, I have chalkboards instead of white boards, so it's "old school", but it works!

Students keep their reading interactive notebooks and folders in crates labeled with each of the class periods.  They each have their own hanging file folder labeled with their name.  I decided to keep these in the classroom, rather than have them carry them in their backpacks.  It's easy for me to pull a stack out to check and grade if needed.  

When a new rotation comes in, a student puts their rotation's crate on a table and students grab their needed materials for the day.  After the lesson, they drop their materials back into their own hanging file.  It's so easy and manageable. 

Once students have their materials, they join me on the carpet area for the read aloud and mini-lesson.  I use the chart paper for anchor charts and display them on the bulletin board for easy reference.  The mini-lesson and read-aloud only last about 20-25 minutes, so students aren't seated for long before they move onto their independent reading or small groups.  During the mini-lesson, a specific teaching point is addressed and students may do a short writing activity in their interactive reading notebook.  Students may create a character web, a timeline, a summary, or do visual notetaking.  I also use sticky-notes for a quick assessment.  If you notice in the above photo, there is an anchor chart referring to the "Character Traits Sticky Note". Students used their independent reading book to practice the skill taught during the mini-lesson.  On a sticky note, they listed a character from their book, identified character traits, and wrote about the evidence that supported those character traits.

Sometimes students may return to their desk to write a reading response.  I use this quick checklist with students.  Students are given open-ended, thought-provoking questions pertaining to the picture book or novel that was read aloud.  I post the questions on the Smartboard for visual learners.  The assignment may also refer to the mini-lesson.  For instance, we are currently learning about character traits, so the response may include writing about a character from the book.

After the read aloud and mini-lesson, students get their reading logs, independent reading books, and go off to read.  Students have designated book nook choices.  The above chart lists all of the places students may read in the classroom and include items like special chairs, rugs, pillows, etc...It rotates daily, so students have a chance to read in different areas and with different special items in the classroom.  It saves many arguments and students aren't rushing to a certain chair, or fighting over a pillow.  

This is my small group table.  I use it to teach strategy and skill groups.  The stools are from IKEA and are so comfy.  They take up less room than chairs and they stack for easy storage.  The best part is that they are less than ten dollars each. As with most IKEA items, you have to put them together, but it is really easy to do. 

I organize my small group materials and conference clipboards in small baskets labeled with each reading rotation.  The baskets are on a small bookshelf by my small group table, so I can just easily grab the clipboard or books for small groups.

While students are doing independent reading, I meet with students for one-on-one conferences.  During these conferences, we may discuss reading habits, the book they are currently reading, or personal reading goals. Students may do a retelling, answer comprehension questions, get ideas for how to pace their independent reading or build reading stamina.  I keep track of conferences with students using the above data form.  It's one sheet per student and I jot down the title of the book they are reading, plus conference notes.

To ensure I meet with all students during the week, I have a chart with boxes that have each student's name typed in the boxes (see above photo).  I keep the charts on a clipboard with their conference sheets.  I have four clipboards- one for each reading rotation.  I've tried many different methods- books, binders, logs, and everything else.  Nothing has worked for me.  This seems to be the easiest way for me to make sure I have met with every student. Once I conference with a student, I place an X on their name. I made extra copies of the charts so I can replace it for the new week.  

Since I have to keep track of reading data for 100 students, I keep four binders for each 5th grade homeroom teacher.  Each binder has a tab for each student.  The binder holds benchmark reading assessment information, reading logs, conference notes, and test scores.  When a homeroom teacher needs information for a student, they can grab the binder and have access to all the information they need.  The binders can also be used during parent-teacher conferences since students are shared among four teachers and conferences are only led by their homeroom teacher.

So, that's a peek into my day.  It's a busy day, but I really enjoy teaching reading to my 5th grade students.


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