It’s been a few days since I blogged…..I’ve had the end of quarter blues! I’m sure you can empathize! But, I managed to get all of my grades entered last night, so it’s all good. Now on to quarter two!
A couple of weeks ago I blogged on my frustration with reading logs. My goal was to have an alternative to reading logs by 2nd quarter, and I think I’ve found one. I’ve decided to try a reading contract of sorts. I have set certain goals the students have to reach in order to receive an A, B, C etc. for their Independent Reading grade. So, for example, if they want to earn an A for their IR grade, they must read a total of five books (at least 150 pages long) for the quarter. To earn a B, students must read at least 4 books, for a C, three books, etc. I really struggled with whether or not I should attach a grade to the book requirement, but they earned grades for the reading logs, and I just felt like at this point I wanted to have a grade attached to it. I also felt like five books for an A was setting the bar low, but since this is my first time trying it, I’m going to start with that baseline and go from there. My ultimate goal is to have the kids decide how many books they will read each quarter. The student choice piece is important to me, but at this point, I feel like the kids need some guidance. When I told the kids about this change last week, they seemed much more enthused with this method over logs, mostly because they realized they would no longer have to worry about parent signatures and recording page numbers! In addition to that, they could only count miuntes read outside of school with the reading log, so the kids were excited that the books they read during class would count.
So, how am I going to keep up with this? Monitoring is a weakness of mine, so I really had to have a plan in my mind. I usually complete conferences with kids each week, and when I do that, I always write down the book title and page number they’re on. I’ve also given the students a list of options of post-reading activities to choose from when they complete each book. For each finished book, they must choose one of the options to complete.
As I wrote earlier, my hope is that after this quarter, the kids will see how easy it is for them to read five books in nine weeks, and that they will be able to set their own goals next quarter (with my guidance of course!). My students and I had an interesting discussion of how important it would be to pick “just right” books if they wanted to achieve an A for their IR grade. One of my students noted that if you chose all challenge books, it would take you longer to read because the books would be too hard. Her advice to the class was to make sure that they use the five finger method to help them choose “just right” books. Everyone agreed that if they were choosing just right books, they’d be able to earn an A for their IR grade. I was happy to hear them make that connection!
I will keep you updated on how this is working…..