Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Time to make a list...

The back-to-school flyers are starting to appear in the newspapers on Sunday and the school supply section at the stores are quickly filling up with supplies and teachers!  Preparing for my "teacher" school supply trip to the store sometimes feels like training for the Olympics!  I am watching competitors trying to find the best deals, practicing "check out" maneuvers to make sure that all of my notebooks are actually 50 cents each since the store placed a limit on the price, and preparing my response to the store clerk when they ask, "So...I am guessing you are a teacher?".  I guess my obsession with 25 folders exactly the same color and notebooks meticulously counted out are a dead give away! :)  Time to make the list!

Every year I organize things differently.  Here is my list for this year's adventure...

Example of our reading graph
Reader's Notebooks:  I am going to use a three-ring binder with three sections...my reading, my thinking, and my clubs.  "My Reading" will hold our reading graphs that contain our reading goals and collect the titles of books that we have read to help with analyzing our independent reading for future goals.  "My Thinking" will hold any annotating, previewing, big questions, etc... I am also going to use a spiral notebook for "thinking on the go" that is easy to take to a table, write on the floor, or put in a bookbag.  "My Clubs" will hold any thinking that comes from books that were with a group or a book partner.
Needed:  one inch binder, three dividers, and a spiral notebook

Writer's Notebook:  I think this year I am going to use a composition notebook....sturdy pages, easy to decorate the cover, and can hold all writing from the year.  I will also need a folder with three prongs for our ABC's of Fourth Grade writing that we do on Fridays.  I want this to be in a different space since it is a year long project.
Needed: composition notebook, folder with prongs

Example of analyzing vocab
in our word study notebook
Word Study Notebook:  I am still thinking on this one.  Sales...pressure!!!!  Last year I used a composition notebook and did not feel it was "user friendly" for the year....only in the moment.  Would love ideas for this one!  This is a place to analyze vocabulary, hold lists of words, practice particular word work concepts.  Hmmmm....
Needed:  ideas!

Wondering Notebook:  This is a notebook that I use for Inquiry Workshop.  Last year I used a composition notebook.  It is a place that we record things we wonder about, collect photos, articles, etc...that we want to "wonder" more about during Inquiry Workshop.  We also record any research or facts that we collect to help answer our questions.
Needed: composition notebook

Math Notebook:  I am trying something new this year.  A three subject notebook!  The first section will  be vocabulary, "my words"....a place to analyze or collect important vocabulary.  The second section will be "my thinking"...a place to write about what the student would do with an "open ended" response or share strategies for the way they view a particular math concept.   The third section will be "writing about math"...this section will be for more specific thinking that might have more specific constraints.
Needed: three subject spiral notebook

Whew!  No worries...some of these supplies are already on their supply lists, some are not...but this made me realize that I have not given "word study" enough thought yet!


  1. How did I miss this post? I have been racking my brain thinking about how to organize reader's notebook so there are not so many tabs. Last year, my students struggled with different categories. I really like your idea on those 3 tabs I think I will add SN (Scholastic News) because I hole punch them so that they can keep them to refer back too. I LOVE the idea of a spiral for "thinking to go" so often the 3 ring is to hard to move. I wonder will that get to confusing? Any thoughts? I will be interested in following your math notebook I am not quite ready to drop off there mostly because of space. For WS: we used a spiral also and it worked well. If I had a handout, the students would just glue it in. Wow-you might have just all my organizational problems-THANKS!!!

  2. I have been racking my brain on organizing too...I have the shopping list ready but for some reason I am not ready to commit...YET (ha..ha..ha...). The spiral was not confusing at all...in fact...because it was not in a binder the kids would take it home/library/spots in the room with them because it was easy to carry it around. I did not introduce the spiral till second quarter. First quarter we used post-its and become comfortable with jotting. They would then tape their post its on a sheet of paper and put them in the "my thinking" section. I would have them pick one post-it (the one thought that impacted them the most as a reader in the book) and write about it deeply. This is what I used for assessing and they used it for share time too! Then, when we brought out the spiral...I introduced a variety of ways to "hold on to thinking" instead of post-its and that is what went in the spiral. They loved the choice involved in creating their own tools for organizing their thoughts.

    For WS I am going back and forth between a spiral notebook (much cheaper) or a steno pad...hmmm....

    Cathy is joining your Twitter movement...I am thinking I was doing "I am not on twitter YET" and need to make it "I am on Twitter NEXT". I feel a lot more accountable with the second statement. Uh-oh...the pressure :)