Do you experience that chaotic and uncomfortable feeling upon returning to your room after the summer? I always feel that way on day 1. Where do I start? It is all so overwhelming and I have been doing this for a long time.
When I arrive on the next day, somehow things seem manageable and the feeling that it will all get done settles in. Today was that day. I was working on more wall spaces and prepping for some helpers. Do you have help setting up your room? Years ago I started asking students that I had taught who were in grade 7 or 8 or heading to high school to come in and help set up. I always had at least one helper. What a difference that makes! Tomorrow I will be joined by two girls heading to high school, one who I taught in grade 1. I spent a fair bit of time today photocopying and printing a few things that they will prep for me. It’s a win – win situation for both of us - I need a hand and they need volunteer hours for high school.
Although I did not take photos today (I promise to tomorrow) I am showing another photo from last year: my focus wall behind my guided reading table. Today I got my take home reading program package ready for the girls to assemble. Do you do a take home reading program?
My Take Home Reading Program duotang looks like this:
1 page of the decoding strategies
1 page for notes on progress
5 different coloured log sheets (20 entries per page)
Comprehension questions for parents to ask.
The posters at the bottom are the Beanie Baby Decoding Strategy posters from Brenda Frady at primaryinspired.blogspot.com. I swear by them! The kids love the stuffed animal that goes with the strategy. (do any of you have an idea where I could get a stuffed eagle – as you can see that is most definitely not an eagle LOL) The animal sits with us during guided reading when we are working on a particular strategy.
Now back to the Reading Log. I make a small copy of these strategy posters and put it at the front of the log. Next in the log is my notes area. When I benchmark a student I record notes right in the log to communicate growth and next steps to parents. After this are the log sheets, which contain 20 entries per page. Once a student has read 20 books there is a small prize with the goal of reading 100 books and collecting 5 small prizes.
Most importantly the log contains comprehension questions for parents to use to guide their children. They are broken into ranges – questions for levels A – D (Fountas and Pinnell) and so on. Parents have continually commented on how helpful these are. Watch for these later this week in my TPT store.
I should also say that students take 1 book home every night with the option of keeping it for a few nights to work on fluency as well. At the beginning of the year in grade 1 most students get a new book everyday. Student’s self-select the books after an initial assessment and are solely responsible for choosing and returning books. I take this approach to instill responsibility. That being said, it takes several weeks before this routine takes hold. If I notice that books are not coming back them I contact the family to see how the take home program is going.
My Take Home Reading program is the meat of my homework along with nightly practice of the weekly word wall words. My word wall word program is another post coming this week.
Until tomorrow…How was your day at school?