Trying it Out

I have spent many hours in workshop training and institutes. I have loved all that I have learned; however, as a reading specialist who does a lot of intervention, I haven’t always had much control of whole classroom workshops. It has been a good year so far as I have co-taught reading and writing workshop in a 4th grade classroom. This is a class with a high ELL population and eight special needs students. It has been a challenge to develop a reading community.

Today was a day where lots of learning converged as I introduced this 4th grade class to the idea of making double-page spreads in their Readers Notebooks as a way to capture their thinking. I modeled what I might include on a notebook page for our current read aloud The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo. Then I invited them to get the book they are currently reading and think about what they might include on their notebook pages.

After a few minutes of settling with materials, the room became silent except for the tiny click of marker lids coming off and on. As I walked around the room, I noticed some notebooks with intricate drawings and caricatures, similar to the graphic novels many of them choose to read. I saw another student write a full page of his thinking. Another carefully illustrated a favorite scene. This was their first time with this experience and they ran with it!

When I prompted that they would have about 2 more minutes, the groans were significant. They begged for at least 5 more minutes. I was so impressed by the level of engagement, the perseverance, the thinking, and the creativity students showed when given the opportunity to express themselves. Why had I waited so long?

I asked them at the end to show me with their thumbs if they would like to make more notebook pages in the future. It was all thumbs up and even a few gave two thumbs up.

I must thank Sally Donnelly for modeling this for me through her own notebook work and for giving me encouragement to try on so many occasions.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mbhmaine
    Oct 22, 2019 @ 20:30:46

    Thanks for sharing this glimpse into your classroom. This sounds like a rewarding experience for all of you. How wonderful to have everyone so engaged and motivated! Kudos to you for trying something new and learning alongside your students.


  2. sallydonnelly11
    Oct 22, 2019 @ 21:26:51

    Gee, thanks!! I’m so EXCITED for you!!!! Keep those students reading and adding their thinking visibly on the page!!!


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