Last year, I was introduced to interactive notebooks and I absolutely fell in love with them. They are a fantastic way to engage with students and have them actively participating in their education. I decided to try something a little different this year with our reading curriculum and in addition to our standards based interactive notebooks, we are also building notebooks to go with our reading centers. Every week each of my classes run through four different reading centers over two days. Even though the centers vary each week, there are a few constants.
R– Reader Response Journals. Theses are the focus of my post today. I used 40 different reader response questions based loosely around the following topics: plot, inferring, setting, making connections, asking questions, determining importance, visualizing, synthesizing, summarizing, making connections, theme, and character. I popped them into two pages of 4″ x 1″ labels. I then copied each page 50 times (one set for each student) and cut those pages into fourths. Download the question printables.
I had the students glue in a criteria for writing responses and a rubric for grading on the first two pages of their notebook. On the back of the first page, I had them glue an envelope into their book. They slipped their reader response labels into that envelope to keep them safe. Each week, they get to choose any question they like and write a response using their silent reading book. They appreciate the flexibility in choosing a question that fits what they’ve read and I love that they have all the criteria for a successful response right there with them! I also love that because they are labels they don’t waste their time with writing the question down in their book, and I know exactly which question they are responding to when I go in to read them.
E – Everyone Together. This is a game center. I’ve taught my students to play Boggle and it is probably the most popular of all the centers. We also have Scrabble Slam, Scattergories and Apples to Apples Junior. This center is all about getting kids excited about reading, spelling and words in general.
A – This station doesn’t have cutesy name yet, but I’m open to suggestions! It rotates between skill building worksheets, nonfiction news articles, mini quizzes and conferences with me. Depending on what we’re working on and where we are in our units, I choose an appropriate activity for them to work on.
D – Dictionary Work. Each week, we have 12 spelling/vocabulary words. The students need to write them in their notebook and then look them up in the dictionary. They then write the definition for each word in their notebook. I choose the words based on our read aloud book. This trimester, we are reading Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry.
I am loving how our centers are working so far and I am excited to see how my students grow and develop their critical thinking skills in reading as we move forward in the year.