Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to School Product Premiere

Hi friends! I am about a day late (and since school has started up this past week, about $150 dollars short) getting on this band wagon! I had originally linked up to be a part of Christina Bainbridge's "Back to School Product Premiere" which is a fantastic idea! :) I love this because it's a great way to show case a product that you use in your classroom that you feel would be beneficial to other teachers. However, with school starting this past week, I didn't have time to get this post up yesterday...But, it's better late than never....So, here goes! :)

My "must have" product for the school year is my "Reader's Workshop Notebook: Labels & Directions {Using a Composition Notebook}"! With the back to school sale at TpT and TN this weekend, it's a great chance to pick you up a copy for close to nothin', honey boo boo child (have you seen the "honey-boo-boo-child" video on YouTube?!?...if not, you must...sorry....shiney object....). 

Anyways, I have always had a hard time implementing and using (consistently) a Reader's Workshop I believe I have found the solution! I have been using Reader's Workshop (The Daily 5 Framework-ish) in my classroom for about 2 years now, so when I created this file, I kept in mind the top 4 things that I wanted my kids to remember and use when working with this notebook. I find that there is a disconnect between HOW WE WANT THE KIDS TO MANAGE THE INFORMATION from the books that we read, and the skills we want them to remember, as well as the anchor charts I use every day. I want them to be able to utilize this notebook as study guide, a reference (EXAMPLE: "Hey, Bobby, do you remember what it means to make an inference? Remember when we read Tomie de Paola's book Pancakes for Breakfast?" "Oh, yeah, Mrs. Flood....we wrote it down in the section "Books we Read" in our Notebook..".), and a way to respond to their reading all wrapped up in one resource that they can refer back to and use on a daily basis (instead of making 14 different notebooks while the rest of them sat alone in a desk or on a shelf collected dust and listening to crickets...Anyone?!).

So, here's how it goes (and these pictures are in the preview download at my TpT store, but I give more of an explanation here of how I use these, but of course, you can tweak them however you feel works best for your babies):

I hate to waste ANY usable space, so the first document you see here is a "Check for Understanding" guide. This is glued to the inside of the  front flap of the journal. Basically, this is a guide to help students respond to their reading if they ever say they don't have anything to write about. There is a section in the notebook where they respond to each book that they read. However, these writing prompts can be used any time in the classroom when they have to respond to what they've read. There are prompts for fiction and non-fiction books. 

This is the very first section of the notebook and this is the section that they will use the most. The next picture shows examples of how they are to respond to each book they read. Sometimes their response will be longer, but sometimes it will be shorter. I will model with them for the first month of school how to do this in small group pull outs, so it will be a while before they will get to this level (I teach 3rd grade, so if you teach 5th, you might only have to model once or twice). 

Here is an example of how they will respond to books they read. Of course, you can do this differently with them. Whatever works for you! That's the beauty of this file! :)

I love this section because I know this will be the section that will be the most beneficial to my kiddos. It's important that while we create Anchor Charts that the kids are part of the creation and I use their thinking and wording on the charts. I also want them to have a copy of the anchor chart to use for studying or to refer back to. Many times anchor charts get covered up (because lack of wall space) and we need to refer back to that chart. This way, the kids will have it with them all the time. Of course, their drawings will be in pencil. AND...I will stress to them when setting my expectations that it doesn't have to perfect and as long as they understand what they've drawn, that's all that matters. This section will definitely help fill a gap in my classroom!

Each time we read a book in class, this is a great way to reinforce the skill taught, and help the kids remember what the book was that we used for that skill. I had a light bulb moment the other day and decided to go ahead and make TEENY, TINY copies with the copy machine of the cover of the book (almost thumb nail size) to have the kids glue next to each entry that we put. I do this on anchor charts anyways, and it's a great way for them to make associations with skills and how to use them in literature if they can remember how they first learned the skill. 

This section is perfect for any independent work they do during "Read to Self" or if you have them respond to what they read. This section is very versatile, so really, it can be used for many different things.

Last, but not least, are all the elements of each Genre, for fiction and nonfiction, that they need to be familiar with. This is just a quick-reference-guide to help jog their little memory from time-to-time!

When you purchase this file, this is what you get:
This file contains the following:
- Explicit directions {with photograph examples of each step} as to how to set up the notebook
- Explicit examples {with photograph and written examples} of the content within each section of the notebook
- 4 Different Styles {1 Black/White Chevron Pattern for the kiddos to color themselves & YOU save on ink, 1 Grey/White Chevron Pattern for the kiddos to color themselves & YOU save on ink, 1 Black/White Stripe Pattern for the kiddos to color themselves & YOU save on ink, and 1 Rainbow Colored Pebble Style}
- Each style includes:
- Label for the Cover (_________'s Reader's Workshop Notebook)
* Label for "Section #1: Books I Love"
* Label for "Section #2: What I am Learning"
* Label for "Section #3: Books Our Class has Read"
* Label for "Section #4: Independent Reading Work"
- "Check for Understanding: Independent Writing Prompts for IR Book" front flap glue-on w/s
- "Genre Elements: Elements of Fiction & Nonfiction Literature" back flap glue-on w/s

I hope you find this resource useful and helpful in your reading class this year! I look forward to implementing this with my kids. However, the biggest thing I can stress is to *SET SPECIFIC EXPECTATIONS* and *MODEL, MODEL, MODEL* how you want this to be used, kept, and managed in your classroom. Realize that in making an example copy to show your kiddos, that it will help you process how you want this implemented and used in your own classroom. Think each section through step-by-step (When will they use this in my room? How will they store this journal? Can they take it home? Can they use pencil only?) before implementing this in your room. Of course, all of those things are up to you, sweet teacher friend! :o)

Have a WONDERFUL school year! Let me know how you've chosen to implement this in your classroom!

Until then,


  1. I am so excited about this. I have a simpler version I have always used for my 2nd graders. This year, I am teaching 2/3 and I think your journal will be great for the 3rd graders.

    Chickadee Jubilee

    1. Thanks, Miss Foote! :) I hope it works great for your babies! :)

  2. Love the composition book idea and how you broke down each section! I am a new follower. :)

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