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« No Words ... More Thinking? | Main | My First 40 Book Challenge! »

Checking Status With A Postcard?

What is something you have done recently that is outside your comfort zone?

Or maybe something that is not like anything you have done in the past …

I love doing novel studies with students …

The rich conversations we get to have …

Getting students to read something they probably would not have read on their own …

Seeing the “ah ha” moments …

It is authentic reading!

But I am in a unique situation right now

I don’t see the same students every day

I am not even at the same school each day

In the past, I generally had a whole class reading the same book and moving at the same pace so I knew where students were (or were supposed to be)

But we don’t all read the same way or at the same pace

I don’t even read all the books I read in the same way or at the same pace

So things are changing for me …

And still stressing me out some …

But I think I am doing what is right for my students

I work with a group of 3rd grade students for about an hour two days a week in reading (I also see that group of students for math two days a week)

I found enough copies of The Report Card by Andrew Clements for the whole group, so we started reading it

Since I don’t see them everyday, asking them to only read one or two chapters each week means we would be reading that book FOREVER

And that is not what these students want to do

(And this teacher does not either)

It has taken some bumps in the road but finally I told students when they needed to have the book finished. They are now responsible for finding time and figuring out ways to get it done.

(That is a responsibility that we talk about in class) 

Donalyn Miller shares the idea of doing a staus check to see where students are in the books they are reading and to help the teacher see how much is or is not getting done.

I wanted to find a way to do that other than asking the students one at a time to tell me what page they were on …

And page numbers really don’t mean much

So today I had an idea!

(Some former co-workers used to get scared when I said that!)

We talked about the things that are normally on a postcard …

The picture on the front, the letter/message, the address, and the stamp

I challenged students to create a postcard about the most recent event in the book they read about …

Some asked if the picture on the front had to relate

I really, really wanted it to, but I said that it did not have to (this time)

The letter/message on the postcard could be one character writing to another character about the event that just occured or a message from a character to the reader or me, the teacher, sharing his or her opinion and summary of the recent event.

I had regular size construction paper and white copy paper for students to choose from

In my file cabinet I had larger sheets of blue and orange paper, but I thought that might be too much to ask

It turns out that almost all the students wanted to use the larger paper, so I pulled it out too! :)

And students got to work!

Looking around the room, I was surprised how focused students were and how much they kept referring back to the text.

That is what I was hoping might happen

AND it did!!!!

Yes, I could have gotten the needed information from asking students to tell me a page number, but I was able to observce and informally assess so many other skills doing it this way!

top photo credit: backcard54 via photopin (license)

bottom photos were taken by me in my classroom today

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Reader Comments (3)

Can I use this idea? I love it!!!!

April 13, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermary alice ramsey

Of course you can use this idea! :)

April 13, 2015 | Registered CommenterMelissa Edwards

What a great idea, Melissa! I love it and it is evident that the kids did too. :)

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