Don't you just love it when a new curriculum creates new ideas in your head? I do!
This year we're using Benchmark Literacy. It's pretty overwhelming. I've been using all of my free time to figure out how it works in a 2 hour block of reading and writing, and I am slowly working it out, though I am sure I will be working out kinks for the next month or so. One thing I love about this program is the idea of a daily reader's response. I have tried this in the past, but I have never really had a set of responses to work with, thus leaving me to write the response once a week on the board, and then completely forget it by the following week.
New school, new plan to stay organized! So what else would I do on my weekend but create something wonderful to use for reader's response. I saw a tic-tac-toe board for primary students and decided that my fifth graders needed some of those ASAP! The first plan of attack was listing our main skills and strategies with some sentence starters. This will be helpful to all level of students, and is something I will have them glue into their journals right away to use as a reference all year. It's never easy to choose the skills and strategies or name them since I know that after working in three different states, everyone has a different name for the strategies and skills (anyone care to debate whether predicting and making inferences are the same thing? J/K...I've had that debate too many times already!)
Anyway, I am extremely satisfied with the list that I came up with and hopeful that it will be applicable to teachers all around the world. I have four pages that look like this:
From there, I created five different tic-tac-toe boards for fiction. That's right, each one has completely different questions! I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't a process, but all good work comes with a price, and I think the hours I have put in show in my product! I wasn't planning to do nonfiction today, but since I was on a roll, I figured I might as well and I created two boards for nonfiction as well. I even through in a blank for the fun of it!
I labeled each board as A, B, C, D, E for fiction and A & B for nonfiction. My approach, as of right this minute, is to have my students glue all of them into the front of their notebook. They will then, at the beginning of each week, choose a board based on the book they are reading. They will indicate it on the page where each week's journal begins by writing fiction or nonfiction A,B, etc. in the upper right hand corner. That way I won't have to copy them a zillion times and they will only take up seven pages of their journal. I think this will work, though I can't be sure until I try and there is always a chance that I will have to give them one per week if they constantly choose the same one week after week, but my students are so responsible this year, that I think they will mix it up if I direct them to do so.
Obviously they won't be able to do all of them right away since some of these skills and strategies have not been modeled yet. I am thinking that lower level readers might need me to choose theirs for right now so that is something else that I will need to consider. I think they can be used in so many different ways, the possibilities for their use are endless!
Anyway, I'm very excited about this product! I'm proud of the hard work I put in to creating it and I cannot wait to introduce it to my students on Monday. Reading has always been my passion, so anytime I can create something that will enhance my teaching, I get rather giddy!
Here's a board to preview:
You can purchase them using the link above! You'll get the 4 pages of sentence starters, 7 pages of boards, and a bonus blank board so you can write up your own! I am confident that this can be used in any intermediate classroom with some needing more guidance than others based on their exposure to each skill and strategy used. I definitely plan to do a lot of modeling so that students have a firm understanding of my expectations when it comes to their responses. Have I mentioned that I am excited to start using this?