A "Wonder"ful Five for Friday!

Yesterday was my first day back from Christmas break after three snow days in a row! Wouldn't it be great to have a two day work week every week?!  Though there is the problem of getting to sleep on school nights when you are used to staying up until 1 a.m. and sleeping until 10.  That was me for the last 20 days.  No wonder I tossed and turned from 10 o'clock to who knows when Wednesday night!  

What better way to celebrate a short work week than to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

We had so much snow last Sunday that the dogs wouldn't go out in the yard to go to the bathroom.  I got Jake to go out and shovel a potty spot for them, and then he shoveled out a little path around a tree for them to walk around.

Emmitt could hardly wait for him to get it finished!  As soon as he was done, he started running around it like a crazy fool!

How fun is it to come back to school on Thursday, January 9th and get Christmas gifts! That's what happens when you get an ice day the day before break is supposed to start. All of my students' gifts are so thoughtful, but I had to share this one...Woodstock!  I'm close to having the whole gang!

If there has to be a downside to getting four extra days attached to Christmas vacation, I guess it would have to be coming back in January and needing to take down all the Christmas "stuff".  (Not really much of a downside, I know.)  So, I got to school bright and early Thursday morning because I can't stand having a December calendar up when it's January 9th!  I didn't have a lot of time to spend on it, but it looks pretty cute.  The silver ribbon and the "snow" at the bottom are my favorite part, besides the Charlie Brown fabric, of course!

I've been working this year on a way to keep track of the books my students read, the reading conferences I have with them, and a way to give grades for reading workshop. This is what I have come up with so far, my Reading Workshop Notebook.

In the notebook each student has a Reading Workshop Assessment Form that looks like this.  

Each day at the beginning of Reading Workshop, I randomly choose five students.  My students know that I am watching five kids every day, they just don't know who.  Sneaky, huh?  While I am conferencing with students, I will also be keeping my eye on these kids to see how focused they are on their reading that day.  Towards the end of workshop time I go and check in with the five students.  I look to see if their reading log is up to date, meaning the book they were reading that day is recorded in their log.  I also make sure they are reading a "just right" book.  Being focused on reading is worth 4 points, the reading log is worth 1, and reading a "just right" book is worth 1.  After I have observed them five different times, I total up the points and put it in for a grade.

I also created two different reading conference forms to use during reading workshop.

And lastly, I created a form on which I record all the books that my students read.  I (or my wonderful aide) conference with each student about every single book that they read. It's sometimes a daunting task, but so worth it!  My students know they are being held accountable to truly read and comprehend their books.

If you would like to try any of these forms in your Reading Workshop, you can get them for free at my TPT Store!

To be honest my "Five" on this Five for Friday actually took place weeks ago, but I never got around to sharing it over break.  Right before Christmas I finished reading Wonder to my students.  

This was my second year of sharing this great book with my class with similar results both times.  If there is anyone out there who has not yet read this book, you have to!  My students were so excited each day that I would pick it up to read.  There is one particular part of the book where I get very emotional and have a hard time reading it out loud. When I got to that section this year I warned my kids that I might have to stop a few times to compose myself.  Both times I have read this book, I have ended up with many students in tears as well.  It's very powerful.  One of my kids said to me this year, "You only had to stop 8 times!".

Last year I created a packet to go with the reading of this book and the lesson plans available for free at www.micitizenshipcurriculum.org by Oakland Schools.  It is a unit called Insight Into Characters.  Each lesson has you read a section of Wonder and model for the students how you study the characters in the story and build theories about them.  Then students read a book of their own and look closely at the characters in their story.

This year I chose books at a variety of levels that I knew had strong characters in them.  I put students in pairs by ability and had them choose a book that they would both read. This way students would have someone to discuss their thinking with who had also read the same book.

After each lesson using Wonder I would tell the students what to look for in their book as they were reading that day.  Then at the end of the lesson, they would record some of their best thinking from their sticky notes into their packet.

The students create an anchor chart in their packet (as I create one for the class) of all the thinking we are doing about characters throughout this unit.

My favorite part of reading the book is the end of the story.  There is another very touching moment, and my kids applaud when I finish the book!  I think it is something they will carry with them for a long time.  

Once we finish a book, my students fill out a Books We've Shared Response Sheet where they think about the theme and author's message of the story, as well as rate it with a thumbs up or thumbs down.  Then in groups the students write a summary of the book.  I always tell my students that the best summary will be rewritten onto chart paper and posted on the wall for the remainder of the year.  This has proven to be highly motivating!

You can find my Wonder packet, assessment, and learning targets at my TPT Store.  

Have a great weekend and check out all the Five for Friday fun at Doodle Bugs Teaching!

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