With temperatures soaring to 90 degrees here in Virginia, I feel like I should certainly be on summer break! Summerlike weather makes it hard to focus on all that still needs to be done. Kids feel it too, don't you think?
This is the mindset message currently hanging on the wall. I usually change it the first of each month. But this is such an appropriate one for this time of year. Students and teachers are getting squirrely! We can't lose focus just yet, our state tests are just around the corner!
Our next monthly mindset message is also appropriate to this time of year. May is the time of year for plants and flowers to grow but our children also have more growing to do before I send them to fourth grade. This message helps students to realize that it is OK to make mistakes as long as we can learn and grow from them! Click the link below if you are interested in using these monthly mindset poster in your classroom.
Throughout the year, we have been introducing reading strategies and skills and then have worked on applying them during whole group and small group lessons. We've talked a lot about being 3C readers. The three C's are close, careful and critical. Third graders are learning that if they are not reading closely and carefully enough, they will let important clues slip right by them and they'll go from clicking through the text to clunking! We've formed comprehension clubs and are working being flexible in working through our skills and strategies as we read and show what we know about what good readers can do.
Students are excited about their comprehension clubs. I had students get together with their club members to create a club name and sign. They can earn stars for things like: teamwork, close reading, comprehension conversations, etc. Clubs are working through reading tasks in which they have to do a close reading of a text and then answer comprehension questions that involve all of the strategies/skills we have worked on so far.
They begin their club meeting working solo. Kids do an independent reading and then work on a question by themselves. They sit with their club, but in a back to back formation to do their independent reading and thinking.
When I ring the bell, they turn and face each other and begin their comprehension conversations. Each club has a reading task cube that looks like this:
Each club member has a specific job to do. They turn the cube with each question they work through so different members get to do each job. The comprehension club time is a favorite of both students their teacher. The real beauty of it for me is that many little teachers emerge in each of the groups and students start tutoring students..reviewing, reteaching and clarifying the reading skills we have worked on. It gives me a chance to observe students in action and to see who has a firm enough knowledge of skills to teach them and who still needs to review them. It is a great opportunity to take anecdotal records and fill out observation checklists on my readers. Club members want to earn stars so they encourage each other and make each other accountable for participating. No more teacher nagging...they do it themselves!
Right now we are working on reading nonfiction texts and answering questions similar to those that they will face on the upcoming Virginia SOL reading test. I've uploaded a set of these passages and questions onto my TPT page. The nonfiction passages all relate to some of the social studies and science learning we have done this year so it's a win-win. We get reading practice while integrating important content area learning and review.
If you are interested in using these materials, you can check them out on my TPT page: