Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Constructed Response, Take 2

Yes, there is a way to construct a better response. Last year, I discussed the constructed response in my December 24th post. One year later, I have some new insights.

Is one paragraph better than the other? Let's analyze them.

 The first paragraph focuses on the reader's impression of the Camel. It includes a reference to the story, great support, and a strong organizational structure. The second paragraph is shorter and uses a slightly weaker organizational pattern. But it's better. Why?

In the second paragraph, the reader addresses the attribute that affects the outcome of the story. In addition, she explains how the character's actions affected that outcome.

At the beginning of the year, I taught my fourth graders how to answer questions. It was the logical first step. Readers could focus on just one part of the text to find evidence. Next, I taught them to summarize. They learned to identify the character's goal, obstacles that got in the way, and main events that led to the outcome of the story. This broad understanding of the story became the key to finding and defending a theme, describing a character (or setting or event), and defending point of view.

Today, my students are contemplating elements of each story like never before. They're writing concise responses to express key details. It's powerful stuff. Thank you, Common Core.

Enjoy teaching today! I know I will.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Bedtime Book Club

I've decided to capitalize on those 30 minutes before bedtime with Bedtime Book Club. It's geared for my reluctant readers, but the whole class is invited to join.

Click on student record sheet to download for your classroom.

Research shows that independent reading is essential to increasing students' reading levels. But getting kids to read is tough! Bedtime is the perfect time to snuggle up with a book. Bedtime Book Club challenges kids to spend 30 minutes a day reading before bed.

As an added incentive, each student in the class who meets his or her reading goal will be invited to our Readers Slumber Party.

Our slumber party will be held on the last day before winter break. As you can see, pajamas, blankets, pillows, flashlights, and snacks are encouraged. We'll be closing the blinds, lowering the lights, and reading by flashlight. What fun!

Excitement is high, and one student has already met her goal! We're celebrating with clapping and cheers each time a new student is invited. Then a new child in a sleeping bag (with the student's name) is added to our classroom display.