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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Can Be a Little Type A: Guided Reading Organization

I am the first to admit that I LOVE organization, especially when it comes to my job as a teacher and a literacy coach.  If I am going to successfully do something, I like to enter into it knowing that I've set myself up for success.  Fully implementing guided reading into our middle school seemed to bring out my organizational "monster" a little more than usual.  Ensuring that all students at all reading levels, regardless if they are below grade level, at grade level, or above grade level seemed to be a daunting task.  However, I was reminded yet again of the power of a team this past week as the 6th grade team that I work closely with (since that is the grade I team teach with this year) began to tackle the question of who received guided reading and when.

Our solution: combine students across all classes (by doing this we greatly reduced our number of groups and were able to put students with other students closer to their reading level), decide how often we would meet with below grade level, at grade level, and above grade level students each week, and put 6th grade teachers to groups of students.  Our end result after all issues were worked out was each teacher would meet with a group of students each day during the independent reading time of Reading Workshop.  Below grade level students will be met with 3 times per week, at grade level students will be met with 2 times per week, and above grade level students will be met with 1 time per week.  This plan ensures that all students will have guided reading instruction from a teacher on a weekly basis.

We are going to run our below grade level groups in a traditional guided reading format.  For our above grade level groups, we are going to ensure that the focus of meeting with the group is to get students to have rich conversation surrounding a shared text at their reading level.  There will be still be a rich text introduction from the teacher for each new book, but there will be more of an independent element for our above grade level groups since we will only meet with them once a week, and we will ask them to do reading independently in between each guided reading session.  There will also be extension activities for above grade level students involving various technology options.  For our at and below grade level students who we will be meeting with more frequently, the guided reading group will be run with a rich text introduction from the teacher to unlock the text for students, independent reading of the text where the teacher will individually conference with students, checking for fluency and comprehension, a discussion/re-vising of the text, and word work.

Since all three of the 6th grade teachers will have guided reading groups at the same time that I will, I am going to be utilizing the guided reading table in my office.  Therefore, I have been busy over the last couple of days transforming my office into a functioning guided reading space for the 2 guided reading groups that I will have throughout the week in the morning, and the three guided reading groups that I will have throughout the week in the afternoon.  Below are pictures of the space and organizational ideas that I'm going to be trying out.



  The above pictures are the guided reading boxes that I created for each group.  Each box includes a label with the class hour and names of the students in the group, the bag of books that I am currently working on with them which are pulled from our book room and leveled at their instructional reading level, and a laminated, informational sheet on each group which includes the students' names, a school photo, their beginning of the year highest instructional benchmark level, and Language Arts teacher.  This helps me stay organized between my groups.  If I'm preparing for a certain group, I simply take that box with the student information into the book room and use it to select the next text for that guided reading group.



The next area of my guided reading haven is the supply area.  In this area I keep pens, Sharpies, highlighters, chart paper markers, white board with markers and erasing spray, tape, post-its, index cards, and prompting guides.  It's important during a guided reading lesson that every instructional minute is put to good use.  There is no time for students to run to their lockers or for me to fiddle around my office looking for a supply that I need.  by having the materials organized and right on hand, it just ensures that the flow of the guided reading lesson will not be interrupted by anything to do with not having supplies.  Also, I am absolutely OBSESSED with the Fountas and Pinnell prompting guides for fiction, non-fiction, and thinking within, beyond, and about the text.  I use these all the time, depending on which reading goals I have for students that day.  Having prompts ready to use at a glance focused toward a specific skill is so helpful for reading instruction.  I highly recommend any guided reading teacher get these.  In my opinion, they work great for middle school level students.

Below are pictures from my guided reading binder that I will use to keep track of formative assessment data from anecdotal notes on each student in my guided reading groups.

 The cover of the binder.

The tabs/table of contents that displays where everything is located within the binder.


 Tabs  1-5 are designated for each of my 5 guided reading groups that I meet with throughout the week.  The cover page starts with each student's name, school picture, highest instructional benchmark level, and LA teacher.  Behind the cover page for each group, I will keep formative, anecdotal notes on my observations of that student during guided reading, as well as the guided reading lesson plan of the different books that I used with this group.  This will allow me to track the different genres that I did with each group.

 This tab is designated for blank note taking templates for students who I will meet with 2 times per week for guided reading.  Each week I will take a copy of the notes and distribute the notes to the given student's Language Arts teacher.  This will keep all of us on the same page and in constant communication about how our students are doing.

 This tab is designated for blank note taking templates for students who I will meet with 1 time per week for guided reading.  Each week I will take a copy of the notes and distribute the notes to the given student's Language Arts teacher.  This will keep all of us on the same page and in constant communication about how our students are doing.

 This tab is designated for blank note taking templates for students who I will meet with 3 times per week for guided reading.  Each week I will take a copy of the notes and distribute the notes to the given student's Language Arts teacher.  This will keep all of us on the same page and in constant communication about how our students are doing.

 This tab of my guided reading binder contains blank guided reading lesson planning templates.

 This tab is from The Continuum of Literacy Learning and gives more information on my guided reading students as readers based on the benchmark level they are at.  It will help me plan out my text introductions, discussion questions, etc.  I copied it off so that I would always have it on hand in case I forgot my continuum at school.

 The last tab is designated to ideas for Word Work with students as guided reading will be a time where we work with students with word study concepts that are geared toward their reading level that will help them.

So there is my Type A personality revealed for everyone to see.  Although I thrive on organization and get an icky feeling when I feel like I'm not organized when it comes to school, I promise that I'm still a fun-loving person.  I wish my house was as organized and clean as my classroom all the time! :)  I'm excited to continue blogging and continue sharing guided reading organizational ideas with you.  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.  I look forward from hearing from you.  

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