This past year I did NOT gather my students on the floor for each mini lesson. It just wasn't possible. After each round we would return to our desk. I just couldn't take the fighting over a spot or arguing about how had sat there last. I am excited about trying again this year. Either way the students know the drill and are able to move back into their seats while I began the mini lesson.
Good Fit Books
This one is hard. My third graders have a difficult time recognizing good fit books. I love the IPICK method the sisters write about and I have also used the 5 finger approach also. I tell my students that if they find 5 words on a page that they don't know, try another book. My problem isn't that they try books that are too hard but that they never move out of books that are too easy. They love the easy books that I have left over from my time in first grade. Granted a few of my students in the past have needed these but for the most part I am trying to transition my third graders into chapter books. Any suggestions on how to increase the difficulty in their choices.
WHY AM I JUST NOW DOING THIS? I have had self selected reading in my class for years as a center choice. I have always been frustrated by students that "shopped for books" the entire time instead of reading. This solves the problem beautifully. Book Boxes are wonderful and simple. Last year I bought Target $1.00 magazine holders. They lasted the entire year, except a few rough boys. This year I requested shipping boxes from the post office (free). Hopefully they will hold up well. I have my thirds pick 6 books, and 2 must be chapter books, for the week. Friday is shopping day. This works for us.
Daily 5 uses I charts to help drive instruction. I completed these and hung them up in the classroom. BUT what changed is that I found myself creating anchor charts for topics all during the year. The written reminders that the anchor charts offer is really beneficial. We can begin a topic on Monday then add ideas to it all week. I did convert the I charts down to a word document just to save space in my classroom, but this was several months into the year.
Next up we start the Dailies....Read to Self