Friday, April 6, 2012

Guest Blogger: Mary Beth

First, I must say, I am EXTREMELY excited to be a guest blogger for Natalie!!!  My name is Mary Beth and I'm a crazy running teacher who authors Run Teacher Run! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!  I'm going to share a few ways to have your students respond to their reading in different, and meaningful ways.  Don't we all need some new things to get us through for the end of the year!

1. Post-It Board
I don't have a fancy name for this, but I call it my "Post-It Board".  During reader's workshop I do my mini lesson, then they read, and I like to have them reflect on what I taught them.  This helps keep them accountable, gives me a talking point during my conferences with them, and it also allows me to see their level of thinking with the mini lesson.  Other students can also see what their peers are writing if they need extra help.  I actually got this idea from a classroom I was in a few years back, but I added the example and title boxes so the kids would have a model post-it note to go from and others can see what our focus is upon entering the classroom.

Grab a copy of the template by clicking the picture!

It's also easy to reuse year-to-year, just make sure you add enough squares to fit each post-it note! You could also create a math one to use for "exit slips" or a language one for correcting sentences or parts of speech practice.  It's a great one-stop place to see all of your students' responses!!

2. Chalkboard Paint and Responses
A few years back I painted the back of one of my bookcases with chalkboard paint.  This has been one of the first years that I could arrange it in a way that the back was exposed (I moved classrooms this year).  Write the question you want them to respond to, make a chart like this one, or let it be a "graffiti wall" of open-ended responses.  It's amazing how much more they enjoy responding when they get colored sidewalk chalk!

After all of the responses were tallied,  we could see a pretty clear trend in the books we choose.  We then talked about why this might be, and why it would be important for us to read different types of books.  You can also count the tallies to make sure that all students are responding.

3. Reader's Response Sheets
I created these sheets to assist me with both guided reading and reader's workshop.  They are great because they can go with any book, so all students can be doing the same activity, but with their leveled text.  I used to create individualized activities for each book, and I was drowning due to the time involved.  Now I can use my mini-lessons to individualize and still feel good about what they are doing independently!  They can be found on TpT if you'd like the set yourself!  It includes sheets for questioning, predictions, summarizing a book, finding keywords in a nonfiction text, nonfiction fatures, explaining main characters, and more!

4. Dry Erase Boards
These seem obvious, but I found these smaller boards at Office Max, and the kids really like them.  They were $2.00 for a pack of 6 at the beginning of the school year!  I was sold!!  I love using these during Guided Reading with my small groups because it gives us a different way of responding, and I can easily see/read their understanding.  I also have fun colored markers for them to choose from to spike their interest.  It's just enough room to write a complete sentence when working on rephrasing, write an inference, a prediction, or a list of words they weren't sure about while reading.  

Well, by the looks of it, you made it to the end of my guest blogging adventures!  Thanks for sticking with me, and following Natalie's blog too!  She is the best!  Come on over and join the fun at Run Teacher Run! where I share about my trials and tribulations of running and teaching!  


  1. I love the post it board and the chalkboard paint idea!! Simple things to spruce up the classroom. Thanks for sharing! So going to check out your blog right now.

    Apples and Papers

  2. I found those mini white boards at Target near the beginning of the school year, too. They are just the perfect size to keep in desks!

    Thanks for sharing all of the different ways of responding. I'm sure the variety keeps it interesting for them!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  3. Love post-its, and I love chalk, too! :)
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  4. This is a great post!
    I LOVE Miss Rumpius - sorry - had to comment on the picture.

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  5. I love the chalkboard paint idea on the back of a bookcase! How fun!! My kids would LOVE to be able to write with chalk, I'm sure! Isn't it funny, since that used to be all we used before whiteboards?! Ha!

    Lessons with Laughter


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