There are several key areas discussed in this chapter.
A Place to Gather
Sadly, I don’t really have a picture of my meeting area from my first grade classroom and it is i n shambles. I didn’t really do a lot at the carpet when I taught 3rd grade the first time. Now I can see how important it is to develop a classroom community and change up the dynamics of the classroom. I am thinking about how to define that area right now. I will have a Prometehan Board, so naturally, the room is positioned around it. I would still like to have an easel, but I have to leave my rolling one at my old building. I have a folding easel that was a cast off and I just need to find a shelf deep enough to set it on. I know that some prefer to use the Promethean over making charts and such, but after 5 years , I find myself reverting to using the easel to freshen things up. I am going to miss my carpet. I bought and alphabet carpet last year for my first grade classroom, but it is just too babyish for third graders. I can’t have a commercial carpet and the school carpets cost a small fortune, so that is a decision I will have to make later.
I bought these shelves at Target last year and think they will still fits under my board. I have 3 sets. They were great to line the front of the room and give it some useable space. I am starting with a barebones room next year!
Choosing Appropriate Books
I have a “Just Right” bookshelf in my classroom.
When I taught 3rd and 4th before, I just had genre and series baskets. I’m not sure if I will continue to have 2 libraries or not. I know it is important to teach kids to choose their own books, but I also think it is important to support their choice development. I might have to see how this goes with my class this year. Plus, all my books that are already leveled are mostly for younger kids. I also had to leave all the containers behind :
I had students choose 5 just right books and 2 library books for the book boxes. This worked really well. I labeled the leveled books with the groups that were allowed to pick from that basket and they ”shopped" every Monday as part of the read to self.
I used magazine files as student book boxes, but am not sure if I will use them this coming year. I also bought a few dozen of these plastic containers over the last few years and they are great for student book boxes and book storage.
Rituals and Routines
- gathering and sitting at the carpet.
- center expectations
- reading group expectations
- choosing just right books
- book shopping and library procedures
- reading response protocol
- writing time – journals? writing workshop?
- spelling/word study/ work on words activities and materials
- locations in the room to work
- laptop use
- materials storage
- teacher checking work
Adapt Rituals and Routines for Success
I found I PICK to be too cumbersome for first graders. We talk about all of those ideals, but I think the lesson usually went over their heads. The shoe lesson is awesome, but I have had classes that thought it was great and other that looked at me like I was crazy. Book choice is an area where I think it is important to elicit from the kids how they already choose books.
In terms of setting up book boxes, we receive reading levels from the previous grade level and I start right off with having the kids choose their own books for their book boxes from the leveled book library. I spend time throughout the year talking about choosing just right books. I can see that I will have the same routine in third grade. I’m not sure how this will look with chapter books.
I like the idea of repeated practice to build up stamina with students and adding time to how long the students can work. I am not quite a militant with the expectations. I think that students do need to talk to construct meaning and teach appropriate voice levels. Kids do need to move around to find a better spot to work or forget materials. I tried sticking to the routine of calling the group back when there was an infraction, but found it just wasn’t me. I tend to build up time a bit more quickly and know that I will have to readdress it throughout the year.
I’m not sure that kids are always honest with the checking procedure. No matter how positively I phrased it, many of the kids who really needed to work on their choices, still gave me a thumbs up. I may try using and “exit slip type strategy with third graders.
The Most Important Statement of the Chapter
I guess what stands out for me is the over all tone of this chapter. I love that it puts the routines of this independent reading time into concrete terms. It certainly streamlined my introduction to center type activities and helped me to teach the procedures that are important to running a strong literacy-based classroom.
I can’t wait to check out what others are thinking!