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Implementing reading workshop
Old 08-27-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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I will be starting reading workshop for the first time this year in a 5th grade classroom and am a little confused about the book selection. I am a first year teacher and my library is pretty small with books that I just gathered over the summer. I like the idea of writing letters back and forth with the students about the book they are reading, but am a little confused on how I will respond to them if I never read the book. Do I start out with books that I have read before? Even after that if they choose a book I have never read from a public library, how would I discuss the book with them through the notebook?

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responding to independent reading
Old 08-27-2011, 08:24 AM
 
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It is the hardest part of the workshop. Many teachers in my building complain because they can't possibly read every book. I do not respond in writing to the kids, I conference with them one on one. I focus on having them make connections to the characters because I can wing that. I also try to focus on the skill for that week and have the kids place a post it in the text to keep track of their thinking. This helps me have a focus and the actual text isn't as important to me.

If I am really worried about a child fudging it I use a site called good reads. People review books but there is always a little blurb about the text.

It is tough with a book or series you know nothing about, but in my opinion it is still valuable.
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:27 AM
 
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I look up the book on Amazon and read the reviews to catch up on a book I haven't read.
As long as the kids know how to decsribe the characters, setting, etc. properly and thoughtfuly i'm usually ok
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Not a problem at all
Old 08-27-2011, 01:21 PM
 
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This is really much easier than it sounds! Reading the letters your students write gives you SO much insight into what the students are thinking (or not ) as they read. I have only read a few of the books on which my students have responded in their letters. As they read, I'm looking for how deep they're going with their questions and predictions. If they're discussing a character, what types of descriptions are they giving me? Are they merely surface level, or are they showing me they can describe the personality traits and back them up with samples from the book? I also want to see where they are making connections with the book as they read.

I will ask them questions about the author's purpose, the actions of a characters, or even ask them to clarify something I didn't understand. I may also ask them to give me more examples of something. They are always to begin their next letters to me with a paragraph or two (depending on how much they need to write) responding to my comments and/or answering the questions I've asked. I also make comments about the story. I may make some connections of my own to what they've written.

You will, of course, have some who will have difficulty in opening up their "brains" as I say, and sharing their thinking. That is why modeling, modeling, and more modeling will definitely be necessary.

Once you get the hang of it, you will realize that you certainly DO NOT need to read the books in order to have good communication with your kids through these letters. I can't tell you how excited many of them get to open their notebooks and read the response you wrote.

Another good thing about the letters is when you do your individual one on one conferences, you will find you already have some background on their book, so it makes for an even more interesting conversation.

They do take some time to respond to, but you just need to set up a system. You'll find that many here on PT divide their classes into groups of five or six, so only those students turn in their notebooks on their assigned day.
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Evaluation of letters?
Old 08-27-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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TRexTeach, I am interested in how you evaluate your students' letters. Do they make up the majority of your reading mark? Thanks.


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Old 08-27-2011, 01:54 PM
 
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I'm making my scoring a little more specific this year, so the overall reading grades are broken up like this:

Notebook Responses=30% *I really believe these are an important part of the Reader's Workshop.*

Assessments (such as comprehension quizzes)=30%

Book Talks=10%

Projects (ex. character analysis activity)=20%

Conferences/Homework (At-Home Reading responses)/Guided Reading group participation=10%
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rubric?
Old 08-27-2011, 04:31 PM
 
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Do you have a rubric for grading the students writing that I can see?

How often do you grade their writing?

Where do you get the topics for writing?

Do you have some worksheets that I can see that your students fill out while they read?


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Reading
Old 08-27-2011, 04:50 PM
 
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This summer I helped moderate an online webinar that Laura Candler gave on Reading Workshop. The webinar is free, and was recorded. You might want to check it out, as there is a lot of great information to learn from the webinar!

http://www.lauracandler.com/webinars.php

Reading Workshop WORKS! (July 21, 2011)

Topics discussed: Getting started with Reading Workshop, the basic Reading Workshop Components, Reading is Thinking, teaching students to choose books, guided reading
Click Recorded Session Link to download and view or
Download Chat Transcript (optional)

Francie
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Old 08-27-2011, 07:28 PM
 
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I have used several other rubrics in the process of trying to find one that is very teacher friendly. I've never found just the one that fits best for me, so I made I made the one attached using iRubric. It has what I'm looking for without being overwhelming. It works for me, but you may choose to tweak it, or others you find, to meet your own needs.

If you're talking about how often I grade their notebooks when you say writing, I usually grade one letter a week for each student. They are given a specific day on which to turn in their letters. Not all teachers grade this often. Some in my building only grade every two weeks, but I prefer to keep in written contact more often. You just need to do what works best for you.

I use minilessons to teach examples of the types of discussion topics they can write about. You can find examples of these on any Reader's Workshop sites you visit, but you may also want to look into Fountas and Pinnell's Guiding Readers and Writers Grades 3-5. If you're new at the RW or WW, this would be a wonderful resource for you.

My students don't fill out anything while they read other than perhaps Post-It Notes to mark something they would like to include in their response letters. You want them to have the opportunity to really enjoy their reading and not concern themselves with having to complete a worksheet in the process. The thirty minutes they should be spending reading independently should be just for that--reading. They love it!
Attached Files
File Type: docx READER'S RESPONSE NTBK RUBRIC 8.2011.docx (17.1 KB, 254 views)
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rubric with convention score added
Old 08-27-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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I have this one that has a section added for conventions, if you choose to use that as part of your overall score.


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Old 08-28-2011, 04:44 AM
 
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I dont know what grade you teach but here is my reader's journal rubrics for fiction and non-fiction. - i teach middle school.
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File Type: doc Readers Journal Rubric.doc (86.0 KB, 211 views)
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Wonderful attachments!
Old 08-28-2011, 05:14 AM
 
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Wow trexteach and shemesh! Wonderful attachments! I love your rubrics. They are great and will most likely be used by me in some way this year! Thank you so much! I appreciate it!
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managing letters
Old 08-28-2011, 05:26 AM
 
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I like having the kids write letters about their reading but I have trouble managing their responses after I've written back to the original letter. If I write questions in response to their first letter then I have them turn it in the following week. But, since we are reading independently everyday for extended periods of time, they are sometimes reading a new book or they are beyond the point we were discussing. However, if they write back right away, I can't keep up with all of the letters. Any suggestions?
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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I was a little concerned about this at first since my students are fast readers. However, I found that it doesn't matter where they are in their books when they're responding to me. As long as they respond to my questions from their last letter and discuss their thinking on where they are in their current book, it works out well.
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trexteach
Old 08-29-2011, 05:15 AM
 
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Thank you for your response.
I have looked into the Fountas and Pinnell's book. It is just overwhelming for me right now!
I teach 4th grade and this is my first time doing readers and writers workshop. I know I want them to read a lot, but I just am not sure what to do for grades?
Is the graded writing the only thing you base their language grade?
What grades do you get for Reading?

Thank your for any help you can give!!
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Big thanks
Old 08-29-2011, 11:55 AM
 
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This is my first year with my own classroom and I am implementing reader's workshop in 6th grade. I just wanted to say thank you all for the great ideas that I read on this thread and the rubrics. It is so helpful to see some examples!
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:22 PM
 
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This is almost a year late so I'm not sure if you still have this concern, but this how I manage letters. They are due every Friday so I have the weekend to look over them and make comments. Then, the following week when we conference I bring the letter and use that as part of my conference. Hope this helps!
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