I've searched for and read many wonderful posts on Reading Response Journals and I know I want to implement them next year. I'm also slugging through the chapter on them in Fountas and Pinnell (very textbookish, but good information)
A couple of questions:
How do you set yours up? Do you do it all in one day or do you spread it out?
How do you grade them, or do you?
What are some of those first-year pitfalls I should look out for?
I'll be teaching fifth grade, but any input from someone using them would be helpful!
The above thread is from the 5th grade board concerning basically the same question. I share the basics of how I use the notebooks in my room on it.
As a quick preview...
Set up...I'm self-contained, so I check all the notebooks each week. However, I only check around 5 or 6 of them each day. Students are grouped so they always turn their notebooks in on the same day.
Grading...I use a rubric. The hardest part is finding one that works best for you.
First year pitfalls...the grading can get overwhelming if you don't keep up with it. If you know you're going to have a week that will be a little hectic with projects to grade or activities that will take a lot of time, etc., you may want to skip the whole letter response to the kids and just make a couple of short comments on the page. You can also decide to have the students read others' notebooks and write some comments about what was written from time to time. You will, of course, have to model how to appropriately comment though. Occasionally, you can also ask volunteers from the building to respond to a group of them for you. This could be the principal, counselor, and aide, etc.
You will need to model, model, and probably model again examples and non-examples until they are set on your expectations. The better prepared they are to respond to what they've read AND the questions you ask, the easier your response letters will be to write. Don't have them even attempt their first letters until you have this in place. Trust me, it will save you from a lot of frustration.
I learned soooooo much about my kids' thinking and about them as writers using these notebooks. They also are great tools to use in parent conferences.
trishg1--I do believe it is the best way for the responses to seem like a conversation. The point is to get them to feel like they're talking about what they're reading. Since in-person conversations are easier to take a little "deeper", the letters are trying to get them to relate to you as if you are having an in-person one on one discussion.
I don't know what you mean when you say getting wrapped around the format. That's not sarcasm; I really don't know.
If you mean do they have trouble with using the correct format, a few, even in fifth grade, will still leave things out . That drives me crazy. They've been using the friendly letter format for years, so why would they still forget the date or to put a comma after their greeting?
Even though RW suggests the letters, the good thing is that you really don't have to do that every time. I've had my kids respond to what they read through poetry before. A little change is good for them, and us, but my students didn't really mind the letter format.
I model what I want from them with a picture book read aloud.
Then I read a second story and we write the reading response together.
Then they try one independently.
However, I teach third grade. Fifth may be able to do the work independently at a faster pace.
I use graphic organizers at first. Students paste them into their reading response journals. They look back at these for examples. Then later we move into writing our own responses without the help of a graphic organizer.
At first I grade them for completion. If I feel they are not quality I work with each child one on one to add more detail and elaboration, so it is better the next time and a more developed response. After we have practiced a particular response several times then I grade it for content rather than completion.
I checked out the minilessons on your site. I teach 5th, but these fit right in with what we cover in our RW. I like how you have them all together and have written them out very thoroughly. That's very helpful. Thanks for sharing your site. When I get more time, I'll have to see what else I may want to use.
I actually downloaded them off a website and paid for them. They came with worksheets too.
I posted them online for my kids because they asked me too.
If you pm me with your email address I can forward them.
Thanks for the great resources! I have many different websites bookmarked, all with phenomenal ideas. Here is one that gives quite a bit of info/printables for reading binders, journals, etc. I think this teacher may be middle school, but easily adaptable for lower grades!
great resources! Thanks to each of you that shared with those of us that are either new to fifth grade or simply do not have these resources. I cannot wait to begin to put these pieces in action. Again, thanks to each of you and your willingness to share.