Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gave it a Whirl Wednesday - Organization

Yay!  It's Gave it a Whirl Wednesday, the Organization Edition!  

So, I am doing a lot of reading conferences and informal observations, and keeping track of all of my notes and transferring them into my assessment binder (a 3 1/2 inch binder) has been a big hassle.  So, I know I have seen this idea on the internet, and I scoured through my Pinterest boards, but I cannot find the original poster.  If you know who it is, please let me know so I can credit them properly.  Anyway, I tried this just yesterday.  The idea is to write your conference/observation notes on a post-it that is organized into a file folder.  I think the original idea used mini post-its, because I was only able to fit 12 post its in my folder.  But, I think that I might just stick with this size, because I usually end up writing quite a bit.

So, today I used this to do an informal assessment on how my students are coming along with the inferring strategy we have been working on this week. We have practiced inferring emotions, pictures, and short pieces of text as a whole class.  But, today the kids were put into groups, and I put a short piece of text acquired from the FCRR site (Florida Center for Reading Research) at 6 different stations. Below is what I downloaded from the site.  Click on the image to get your copy.

Then, I gave them this response sheet.  You could easily just have kids fold a piece of white paper to make six boxes.  I like this one because it has sentence stems to help my students organize their thinking.

Then, the groups rotated from station to station.  At each station students were expected to 1) Read:  I asked the groups to read chorally because I have a few struggling readers, and wanted them to to have access to the text so they could do the thinking with the rest of their group.  2) Talking:  Students had to share their inference with their group using the following sentence frame.  "I can infer that______ because I see ___________, and I know _________.  The idea here is to enforce that inferences are made by using clues from the text, and our schema.  3) Write:  Students wrote their thinking in one of the boxes on their response sheet.  Here is an example of what a few of my 1st and 2nd graders were able to do.

The kids did a lot of good thinking today.  As for me,  I just roamed around the room and jotted down what students were saying.  Student #8 (below) was able to make a good inference, but I had to intervene (I) because she went straight to her background knowledge instead of using the text to verify her inference.  I made a note on the bottom to pull her for more work on using evidence from the text. (Excuse my chicken scratch.)

What I really like about the sticky notes is that I can easily group students with like needs by grouping post-its.

Also, with this system I can easily see trends within the classroom.  For example, today I noticed that several of my students were trying to infer things that were already explicitly stated in the text.  It was just really nice to see everything laid out on a single plane, so that I could get a feel for the group as a whole.  This will help guide my instruction in the days to come. 

Finally, these notes can easily be placed into my assessment binder on individual student pages as evidence of where students are with this strategy.  (This post-it above doesn't show it, but I did date each note.)  

I am going to keep up with this system and see how it goes.  I definitely liked it better than what I was doing before.  How do you keep track of your conference/observations?

Want to link up?  I am keeping the guidelines super simple:

1)  Pick one great idea that you have been wanting to try.  Maybe one shared from the Bright Ideas Blog Hop.  Click the image to get started.

2) Try it in your classroom and write a blog post about your experience.  Make sure you give credit, and a link back to the original poster of the idea!

3) Link back to this post. 

4)  Link up below.  

Can't wait to see what you all have been up to!

See ya,


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