Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Made It Link Up!

I'm joining up with "Monday Made It" over at 4th Grade Frolics!

Today I wanted to share with you my new anecdotal reading binder that I have gotten ready for next year!  I know it seems early, but I had wanted to make some changes in it and I thought I'd share!  First of all, I want to share parts of an earlier blog post explaining my thoughts about my system--so here goes!  

(From March) True confessions . . .

I am a terrible organizer.  TERRIBLE!  I have spent 40-something years being pretty on the ball and pretty good at keeping things in my head--schedules, appointments, meetings . . . all in my mind.  Something has happened!  Either I am getting old (GASP) or my life has gotten more complicated!

Today as I was taking status of the class I realized how much I am going to have to change if I am ever going to get good at tracking data for RTI.  Keeping my "stuff" in my head isn't going to cut it!

One system that DOES work pretty well for me is my status of the class calendars.  I keep tweaking my system, but overall I have managed to maintain the system for a number of years.  Here is how I do it. . .

First, I have a calendar for each student.  I used to use a class list, then I went to a page for each student, then I went to a printed calendar--now I use a calendar that only has Monday - Friday so the squares are larger for note taking.  I keep these all in a binder.

Each day before we start reading, I take status.  Each child quickly chimes out what book is being read and what page s/he is on.  This is a time for me to do a quick conference or book talk--for example, today here were a few of my comments:

"Wow!  You must have read a TON this weekend!"  (looked back at where the student was on Friday)

"Hmmm...I've never heard of that book.  Could you tell the class a 3 sentence summary in case others might be interested?"

"_____, you've been reading that book for a few weeks now, what is your plan for finishing it?"

"OOOOH!  You are reading 8 Keys!  That has been so popular.  How many of you have read it?  Who has it on their "to read" list?"

So--in less than 10 minutes I can take the status of everyone, work in a few minilessons and/or conferences and/or book talks!  I love it!

After I take status, the students read.  Most days the students read independently for about 45 minutes. . . sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more.  During this time I confer with students or pull small groups.  I try to keep meetings short as to not take away their reading time.  Students learn to read by reading, right?

I then record conference notes directly on the calendars.  My notes probably look like scribbles, but they mean something to me!  Some students might be working on accuracy . . . on comprehension . . . on reading rate.  It doesn't matter--each student gets what they need.  Here is an example of a March calendar that is a work in progress:

You might notice the post it notes . . . they are my high tech "scheduling" system.  My pink notes are for my solid readers.  I meet with them when they come up in the rotation.  On this day, I met with this student and then moved the pink note to the next independent reader.  I try to get to 3-4 of these students per day.  My purple notes are for my "watch a little more" students--students I try to get to every other day or so.  

The yellow notes are for my daily students!  My daily students either meet with me or an interventionist (and usually both) every day for a lesson or readers' workshop lesson.  For these students, I monitor things a little more closely and inserted behind their calendar is a sheet like this:

I can do a little mini running record if accuracy is an issue . . . keep track of vocabulary words they didn't know . . . write down strategies we practiced, and so on.  I can also take a fluency score each day.

Like I said, it's always a work in progress, but it is one of the very FEW data collection systems that I have figured out!  I would LOVE to have all of you share some of your best ideas!  We aren't going to be dealing with LESS papers over the next years, and those of us who are "organizationally challenged" need the rest of you to give us ideas!

For those of you who don't like to take the time to create things, I do have preprinted calendar sets and reading goal bookmarks in my stores if you are interested.  Again--this isn't rocket science--but for me, any system that works is worth sharing!  OK--fess up organizers!  What works for YOU?

So . . . what did I do?  I updated my files and tweaked my calendars and started making my new one for next year!  I also made a new binder cover and spine and a bunch of other stuff!  Check out some of the photos--and note that I was working OUTSIDE!  It was so beautiful here today!

Adding my new cover sheet to my binder!

Cutting the spine label . . . I went with the blue one!

Ta da!  I made the spine labels wide enough that you can cut them to fit even the chubbiest binder!

Check out one of the yearly planning pages!  I haven't started filling them all out--but I wanted to print them and get them loaded into the binder!

It's super easy to do--and anyone can do it and tailor it just how you like it!  The sky is the limit!  I have to admit that I was so excited about it that I worked it into a product in my TpT store . . . and then I got motivated to revamp my reading logs . . . and then I bundled them together--so if you don't have time to do it yourself, you can check out mine.


  1. I love the notebook--a great way to keep track of your students and their progress! I'm also your newest follower!

    1. Wonderful! Thanks for stopping by! I wouldn't survive without my calendar system--it's one of the FEW things I keep the same from year to year! :)

  2. What a great way for tracking the students. This is definitely an area where I need to improve. Thanks for the ideas!

    1. Bethany--I MUST get better at the anecdotal part! I have the system...just need to improve on the frequency with which I track things!

  3. I'd love to see your calendars- both of your links go to the other file though!

    *Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge*

    1. I think I fixed it now! Thanks for letting me know! :)

  4. That is such an awesome system! If I taught reading (lucky kids I don't), I would be floundering around trying to figure out a system to keep track of it all. This is great :)

    Shenanigans in 6th Grade Math

    1. Ha! Well, stash it away in case they change your assignment! :)

  5. Wow, amazing! I am a math teacher, who is switching over to language arts this year. Your bundle will definitely help me get a system in place!

    Fifth Grade Features

  6. Great anecdotal notes system! It reminds me a little of the pensieve from the 2sisters! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  7. I've tried taking the status of the class before and always given up because my forms never work. I can see how these will perfectly solve my problems, and they will make it easier to keep kids on track with AR testing as well. Thank you, thank you!

  8. Do you use Status of the Class just for books they are reading at home? Are these different from the books they read in class? If they are the same, what is your system for bringing books back and forth? What if they forget a book? Thank you, I loved this post!

    1. Hi, Rachel! I take status of what they are reading IN class...but they use reading logs to track both home and school reading. Some students read the same book at school and home, some keep one in both places. For those that have books travel, they just tuck their book inside their travel folder. :) So glad it was interesting for you! It really is one of my favorite times of the day...

  9. I have been struggling with a way to keep track of my student's reading and get regular conferences going quickly but effectively. Thank you thank you thank you for posting this! It makes so much sense and I am looking forward to trying it out this term. Appreciate the sharing you do - I am now an avid and interested follower!