Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Reading Notebooks

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has settled into a nice new routine at school. :)

I wanted to share today how I set up and use reading notebooks in my class. We are a notebook based class in a lot of subjects (Social Studies-we use a lot!, Math-not so much-still trying to figure this one out with a math program!, Mentor Sentences/Language, and a Numbers Notebook!).
Let me preface this by saying that these are a work in progress. They look different from what I did last year, and I'm sure that next year they'll look different again. However, they are getting better each year! ;)

On their supply list for school, I have each student get a 3 subject notebook. I always pick up a couple extra in case someone doesn't have it-or I get a new student in the middle of the year! (The new student will just pick up where we left off-I won't have them go back and redo entries-although that certainly is an option)

Some kids can't find a 3-subject and pick up a 5-subject-that's fine too.

Our 3 sections in our notebooks are Reading Notes, 40 Book Challenge/Reader Response and Word Study/Vocab. You might find that you need a different 3 sections-but I've found that this works really well for me.

One thing I added this year was a set of notebook expectations, as well as grading their notebooks. We spend a lot of time in these, and it's also a good indicator of how well they are paying attention while we work in them.

Notebook expectations are clearly laid out and are the same for every notebook. Students have a label in their front cover to remind them of the criteria.
I will say that I am very picky when I grade these-since everything is laid out, and we do a lot of entries together, it does have to be complete to get a 3-and we've talked about where most kids missed their points. They can't say I didn't warn them-since it's clearly communicated in their notebooks for them to refer to!
I used 2 by 4 Avery Shipping Labels.
All sections must start with a table of contents-otherwise, where else could they find what they need?! :)

Our first section is where we take our notes on the different skills.

I primarily use Nicole Shelby's Reading Notebook for this. Sometimes, I'll make additions to the pages, so the students have an example to go by.
Our most recent skill

Nicole Shelby's contribution

My addition-so the kids know how to set it up!
We usually do this section together as a whole class. I usually do it towards the middle or end of a skill (a little like a review), so the students help me fill things in (I just write what they say).

I do not introduce a skill using this (although you could certain do so), but will sometimes use it as an additional teaching lesson after I have introduced it (this is what we did for synthesizing-our notebook entry was day 2 or 3).

Our next section is all about our 40 book challenge and our reader responses.

You can read a little more how I set this section up here and here.

The first half of this section is all about our 40 book challenge-although we are doing a little iffy with it-that's one thing I'll work on improving for next year.

The next part of this section is all about the reader responses.

I've taught the kids different ways they can respond to writing, and we have little templates in our notebooks.
Usually, I let students choose what book to use when responding (and have them focus on a certain skill-like summarize the chapter, what do you think the theme is, etc.), but sometimes I will give them the text to respond to (a Scholastic News, a story from our basal, task card, etc.).
We all used the Grinch for this one

They picked their own story

They used a Scholastic News-but had a choice of which article
Reader responses are graded-using my handy dandy labels!
I'll often write little notes on how they could improve (or what they forgot), and color in the hearts for things they need to focus on.

Our last section is our Word Study/Vocab section.

In past years, I've used Laura Candler's vocab foldable, but I'm doing things a little differently this year (and will continue to improve on it for next year)

The first part of this section is where we work on our root words, meanings and examples.
I've used the Brown Bag Teacher's Greek and Latin Root of the Week for this.

Next, we work on prefixes and suffixes.

They get one root, one prefix and one suffix a week as part of their spelling test. They need to know how to spell it, as well as the meaning (and they need both to get the point!). We gradually worked up to have all three- we did the first two months with just the root, in November we added a prefix, and we added the suffix in December.

The last part of this section is the vocab. This comes from our reading series (Literacy by Design), and I'll admit that we've done kind of stinky with this part-something to work on!
Hmmm-this student wasn't paying complete attention-characteristic is spelled wrong!

That's our reading notebook! We are definitely using it more than last year, and I can't wait to see the improvements for next year.

This is a good system for us-I like to set it up as a resource that the kids could keep and use in future years-as well as seeing some examples of their work. They certainly enjoy working on them in class!

Smiles and Sunshine,

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