Thursday, August 9, 2012

Linky Party

I'm linking up with Lindsay at My Life as a Third Grade Teacher to talk about the things I desperately need for Reading and Writing Workshop! And since school starts in T-minus 18 days, I have to really narrow this down. I don't have a super structured RW or WW time like I did a few years ago when I taught second and third grade, but even teaching 5th, I do like to give my students time to read amazing novels and become great writers.

Reader's Workshop

#1 - An easily accessible library. I used to level my library, and I've also tried sorting it by genre. My main problem has always been that no matter how I start it off at the beginning of the year, it slowly becomes a mess. This year, I've organized my library pretty simply... alphabetically by the author's last name. I bought the wonderful tags from Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files and I absolutely love how it looks. 

#2 - A three subject notebook for every student. I like having the three divided spaces which I have the students devote to these three things: mini-lessons, comprehension, and reading observations. The first two are for what I direct, and the last is where the students can jot down notes about whatever they are reading.

#3 - Post It notes, or sticky notes, as my students call it. I make sure each student has a pack, that way they can make notations in their book, ask questions, look up words... I'm constantly amazed at how useful post it notes truly are. 

#4 - Bookmarks, highlighter, pencil, and eraser.... I think those are pretty obvious!

#5 - Sometimes my RW is when the students get to read whatever they want... and other times it's with a novel we are reading as a class. 5th grade has a lot of awesome literature and my current favorites are: Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone and the Seeds of America trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson (specifically the first novel: Chains). 

Writer's Workshop

#1 - Another three subject notebook which my students divide by: mini-lessons, vocabulary & spelling, and grammar.

#2 - A black and white composition notebook. This is the journal my students use in class, for Quickwrites or power writes (A concept I recently came across in Jeff Anderson's 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know). 

#3 - A plastic folder with pockets and a fasteners. I usually give the students a variety of handouts that I want them to keep with them whenever they are working on a writing piece whether it be a story or an essay. I'm a huge fan of Five Star folders, and I'm always looking for a deal on them. 
Mead® Five Star® Stay-Put Folder (Item # 34030)34030

#4 - Post it notes! Love them! They are great for editing and revising.

#5 - Pencil, highlighter, and a blue pen. I like my students to use blue pens when they are in the revising stage, as it lets them see things clearly. I've used red in the past, but I've found that the blue doesn't look as drastic. 

#6 - Music. I love playing classical music while my class is writing. I alternate between Bach, Beethoven, Pachibel ... as long as it is soothing. My students always ask for pop music, but I only play that during art time. Writing takes a lot of thinking, and classical music helps them relax. 

What about everyone else? Any must haves?


  1. Thanks so much for linking up with me! First of all, I love the colorful owls.

    I've never thought of organizing my library by the author's name but that is a great variate I might try some time!

    I also play a lot of classical and jazz music during my writing workshop!

    My Life as a Third Grade Teacher

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog Lindsay!

      I love playing classical music in my room. I'm always amazed at how quiet everyone gets when it's on!

  2. I just linked up as well! I love the idea of playing classical music. I've always done that during our "cool down" time after recess, but I like the idea of playing it during workshop time.

    I'm brand new to blogging so come on over and check out my blog! I am your newest follower! :)