Reading Workshop: Post-it "ladder of thinking"

N little tikes letter O rubber stamp handle letter v letter E Scrabble White Letter on Red M letter B letter E rubber stamp letter R

November is such a disjointed month – we lost two school days to the early winter storm, today and tomorrow are lost to the New Jersey Teacher’s Convention (I could not find a single workshop that would be pertinent or of interest), and then we have the Thanksgiving Break…it’s hard to keep my kids or my curriculum on track, although all this complaining makes me sound like such an old grump.  Yesterday was also parent visitation day, which made teaching awkward (ten to twenty extra people staying for three periods in a row, in a classroom of 25 students – how do you conduct a”normal teaching day”????).  I left my building yesterday feeling pretty blue – am I teaching anything? are we accomplishing anything? I feel so far behind, will I ever catch up? UGH!! 
To feel better, I scanned through Tuesday’s Slice of Life offerings at Two Writing Teachers  (missed it this week, being so grumpy I guess) and came upon Katie’s post about the joys of  read alouds.  I am always so happy to learn of other teachers in the upper elementary/lower middle school grades who read aloud to their kids and allow for  the community building aspects of a shared literary experience.  Her post reminded me of our own current experience reading “Red Kayak” together.  I’ve shelved spelling and grammar while we explore theme, symbolism, character traits and deepening our “reading thinking.”  I’ve been using ideas from Lucy Calkins’ workshop on post – it thinking to help my kids “grow theories” about the text, too – all in all we’ve had a wonderful time learning how to be better, more attentive readers, even as we’ve enjoyed the novel and its characters.
We’ve done a lot of work over the past two weeks with post its – figuring out how we can better track our thinking, using evidence from the text to support our responses.  I had noticed that a great number of my students were really struggling with their independent reading responses – lots of summary and very shallow thinking.  I can already see that the work we’re doing with “Red Kayak” is giving them the tools to approach their independent reading responses in a more meaningful way.  We’ll finish the novel  and begin our group project next week, always a highlight of the first part of our school year.  So, I guess we have been accomplishing something, after all…and I ought to cheer up!
Some charts (I love charts!) to show what we’ve been up to:


4 thoughts on “Reading Workshop: Post-it "ladder of thinking"

  1. I hope just writing about all that is happening did make you happy, because it looks quite wonderful from my vantage point! Thanks for all the explanation. As usual, I get good ideas from your classroom and your thinking. I agree, read alouds are so important, and just fun, too!

  2. Hi Tara:As usual, I think your ideas are wonderful. If you take two steps back, and read this in a few days, I bet you will be impressed too. Sometimes, we just lose ourselves in all of the chaos! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas…KimFinding JOY in 6th Grade

  3. Jeannine, Linda and Kim…thank you for the kind words! I just began reading my kids' journals – all the above really helped, and hooray hooray – big improvement!!

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