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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Writing about Reading

What do you do to have your students write about their reading?  This is an important part of reading workshop, and I have tried many different ideas. I am working to merge what my district wants with what I feel best about for my students.

My district uses reading and writing workshop for our literacy instruction.  I love it!  I have implemented reading workshop (in a variety of forms) for about 20 years now.  One piece that I am working to make stronger is my students' thoughtful entries.  I was having them write one strong blog entry a week plus a comment on another person's blog.  This worked well for most, but for some of my students it was just too much. 

Last school year, I made it one thoughtful blog entry every two weeks.  This seemed more manageable for most of my kids and allowed for more time for them to read!  However, about midway through the year, we were told that our kiddos should be completing two thoughtful entries PER WEEK!  Ahh!  Not only is that a lot of writing, it could also equal up to a lot of grading!  Upon further exploration, we were told one should be a thoughtful entry and another could be a graphic organizer or something else that shows good thinking. I am trying to figure out how to do this and keep my mind.  (what little is left of it)  I am a huge believer in student choice.  So I am going to set my students up in a two week rotation.  Every week, half of the class will be responsible for choosing one of the responses they have done in the last two weeks and turn it in to be scored.

My current plan is that each student will have one of these in their binder and will check off as they finish different responses in the two week period.  When they choose which one they want to submit for me to score, they will mark it on this chart, too.  That way they will be able to see if they are offering me diverse responses to score.  (The tweets and book tree options will probably not be offered as scorable opportunities)  The blank columns are for weeks when they are given a different type of response option.

This is TOTALLY still a work in progress.  Thoughts?  Ideas?  Do you have a thoughtful response method that you find to be really valuable?  I want this to be good learning for the students, but I also want them to have some control, too!


Share your thoughts and ideas.


Dani said...

I don't have any suggestions for you, but I would love to hear (or, read, more accurately) about how you have your students blog. That is an undertaking I want to try this year!

A Place to Thrive

kdrex said...

This is a thought provoking idea! I had great success with having my fifth and last year, my third graders blog. I also do letters to the teacher and I like to answer each one. However, this year I might teach reading to all three third grade rooms and would never be able to keep up with writing back. I like the idea also because some kids just don't have the stamina to write a letter every week. I found some of the reluctant writers will blog and I was delightfully surprised with their insights! I think I might like to give this a try this year. I might limit the choices at first. I would be interested to know how you have them set up to tweet. I love Kidblog because I know it's secure. Do you mind sharing how you tweet with third graders?

Jennifer Gibson said...

Hey, Dani. Thanks for your comment. I will try to blog soon about Kidblog. However, I did blog about it last year. You can see it at this post...

Thanks so much for reading!

Lifelong Learning

Jennifer Gibson said...


I have one account that my class uses. Students sign up during workshop time to enter their tweet. Students enter their tweet and place their initials behind it. (or are supposed to). My plans this year are to have students write their tweet into their notebooks first and let me check it before I let them publish it. Tweets are mainly about books and reading strategies, but sometimes we do whole class tweets about things we are learning. My group 2 years ago was very good and respnosible with this. Last year's group were much more needy, so we didn't tweet. I am very much making it a goal to reinstate this with my new group this year. I am also going to really push it with my parents. That way, we can treat reminders...We'll see. The only reason it is hard is that I don't have enough time to get everything I want done already. :) I know this is doable though. :)

kdrex said...

Jennifer-I forgot to ask you what a Book Tree was. I too am looking for new ways to respond and make them more accountable for their independent reading. I depended too heavily on book logs and the letters last year. I like the idea of tweeting reminders!