Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pods and Reading Notebooks

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??


  1. I always start the year off in pods, just like yours! I usually switch between that and the U shape, just to get something a little different!

    I wish I had advice for you about your two little darlings! While reading the Book Whisperer, I wondered if any of her students had done that.

  2. I do AR tests and they have a quarterly goal to meet. Those that do, receive a prize. Extra recess, lunch with principal, etc.

    Last year I also did a competition of the entire class AR points against my AR test points from book I read and they LOVED it. I would keep a weekly total chart and they went crazy every Friday.

    You could also ask them to tell/show you their AR score of each book read.

    I love your chart idea too! I already downloaded it and plan to use it. Great idea, thanks for sharing.

  3. It's funny how some seating arrangements work with some classes but not with others! For my 40 book challenge, I require the kids to verbally check with me before they mark off a book on their sheets... usually I do that during individual conferences, and I can quickly get a good gauge on whether they really read a book.

  4. I was going to do the pods myself but I'm kinda glad I didn't. My class is WAY too chatty for that. I might try it later in the year but for now, I just have to see who works well together..

  5. Shelly, I wasn't going to do them either because I tried with our group last year and they were SO chatty while in the pods, but this group is the opposite, they were chatty in the U and now that I have them in pods they are quieter. I mean it is perfect because they still get a little chatty but that's just typical children.