First off let me say that Day 2 of the 2011-2012 school year was a really good day! My class is full of great kids and they are all eager readers which I LOVE!
After getting some advice from some fellow bloggers and thinking a lot about it I abandoned the U shape for pods. I have 20 students so I made 5 groups of 4 students and I love it!! The kids did so good with it today. I was leery because last year's group of kids would argue and fuss and chatter all day long if I put them in pods (or table groups) so I was worried this group would do the same but they didn't, they did a good job of working together. I was also worried about space but the way I was able to set them up I don't feel like I have lost any space, and the room doesn't feel cramped or crowded.
Here is a before picture:
and here is the after picture:
Now I am a little bit frustrated with a couple of my little darlings. Yesterday I introduced the 40 Book Requirement, and this morning I gave them all their reading notebooks. In their reading notebooks the first page is a tally page where they can keep a tally of the books they have completed based on the genre requirements (to see the tally sheet check out THIS previous post). Well, around noon today one of my little girls comes up to me to ask me where she should put the tally mark for a book she had finished (my 40 book requirement contains 5 picture books to help build their confidence and let them get 5 books under their belt rather quickly) I told her that it would be considered a picture book, I went to point to her tally sheet to show her where to put the check mark and I noticed that she had already checked off a realistic fiction chapter book, all 5 picture books, and all TEN (yes 10) free choice chapter books!!! I asked her why she had check off all those boxes and she said "Because I read those" I asked her if she knew that 11 of the ones she had checked off were supposed to be chapter books and she said "yeah I know" so I said "OK let me get this straight, you are trying to tell me that since 9:00 this morning when I gave you this notebook, you have read 11 chapter books and 5 picture books?" and she says "Yep!" when I told her that this was not possible she then says "Well I read one of the chapter books last night" when I again told her that it still was not possible she added in that she had read a chapter book over the summer. GRRRRRR!!! So I explained to her again that it still was not possible for her to have read 9 chapter books and 5 picture books in just 3 hours. Then I found another one of my students who had done the same thing. I am planning on having a talk with them tomorrow and make it a requirement that before they can add a book to their tally sheet they have to take and pass an AR test for that book, and if it is not an AR book then they have to come and tell me about the book. I was so worried that all of them were doing this and just checking them off for the same of checking them off, so after school today I pulled all of their reading notebooks and I am glad to say that those were the only 2 who did it. But I am wondering if I should make the AR tests a requirement for them all before they can add the book. I don't want to set too many "rules" because then that defeats the whole purpose behind the independent reading but for those 2 I have to or else they will show up next week (or tomorrow LOL) saying they have read all 40 books and they don't have to read anymore. Any advice for these two darlings??