Register Now

Reading Response Journals or Notebooks

Compiled By: Margaret916

Many of us would like to use the reading response model but need some advice to get started. Here's the best of the best telling us how they do it in their classroom!

Musing and Perusing Reading Response Phrases
Posted by: desire2inspir

-I wonder why...
-I don't see how...
-I can't believe...
-Why did...?
-It bothered me when...
-I was surprised...
-I can't really understand...
-I began to think of...
-When I finished reading, I thought...

Hope these help get you started;)

View Thread
Response Lead
Posted by: Belly

The most important (word, phrase, idea) in this book is....because...

The genre of this book is.....because....

I agreed/diagreed with the author about...

If I were the author I would have changed the part of the story when...

My feelings about (character, book) changed when....

I am like or different from the character.....

Some important details I noticed were...they were important because...

I got these from Guided Readers and Writers and plan to use some of them in my class this year.

View Thread
A few more...
Posted by: Ms. J

-One thing that confused me was when...
-This makes me feel...
-This reminds of...
-I think...will happen next.
-I can imagine what...looked/sounded/felt/tasted like.
-I think...

View Thread
No title
Posted by: donna

I have a chart hanging up to help guide them in their book discussions with partners.
You could make a copy of the list for their reading journal and they could write about it.

Some of the things on there are...

Talk about...

a happy part
a sad part
your favorite part
has this ever happened to you
what the character is like
the illustrations
what would you do differently
a part that made you smile
does it remind you of another book
a part you didn't like

(that's all I can think of off the top of my head...but you get the idea:) )

View Thread
Posted by: BookMuncher

My first graders have started doing it too.

It took me eight days to model. Each day, I thought aloud about one way I might respond to a book. (Ex: Tell how your schema changed, tell how your schema helped you read the book, connect an important idea to something with something from your life, infer what the author's message is, etc...) Those are all things we've spent weeks learning since Oct, so it's not like I just introduced them.

Each day, I modeled on the overhead how I would write the title at the top, the date, and then thought aloud as I responded. My main goals for them were to be able to state their idea and then give plenty of examples to support it.

I hung each response with a post-it stating topic (Ex: Tell how your schema changed). Now we have a large poster in the room with choices to pick from to talk back to a book and also examples. Once they did their first one, I picked ones that were extra good and hung them over top of mine to be the examples. I will continue to change them out so that everyone's responses are showcased.

View Thread
No title
Posted by: NCteacher

For the last few years, I have had my kids writing reader's response letters- in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. They write a weekly letter to me about a book. They must be 2 paragraphs long and the first paragraph must have the title of the book,underlined, the author's name and the main idea stated in no more than 2 sentences. The other paragraph is reserved for their thinking about the book, what the liked, disliked, etc. The biggie with that one is getting them to explain WHY they felt that way. They have gotten really good at this. I write each of them back and it is really cool to have this private conversation going on all year between me and each of my students. It is tedious and time consuming to answer their letters, but that does help motivate them- they love getting the letters back from me. I count mine as a Reading and Writing grade. All of my mini lessons in grammar and spelling are driven by those letters. Right now we are working on there, their and they're. That is turning out to be a challenge!

View Thread
No title
Posted by: Linda/OH

Right now we're just responding by completing graphic organizers. Our focus was on describing characters last week so they had a character chart to fill out. this week it'll be a story map. I will start the friendly letter a bit later where students write in their reading response notebooks to me about their reading. I write back. It is a wonderful way to communicate about reading. sometimes it's more open ended, sometimes with a prompt to get them started. I model many times before expecting this using class read alouds and making class charts for anchors. This is largely from Fountas & Pinnell's work.

View Thread
That sounds fine
Posted by: Ms. Teacher#1

I give 10 to 15 minutes. I give them prompts which helps them to start right away. Since students use sticky notes while reading, they just remove them and use them to help them with their journal response. It's been going great so far :D.

View Thread
Reading Journals
Posted by: sue81

I am not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I do reading journals. I cut a spiral notebook in half each student gets a half. The reason behind this is they don't get overwhelmed with a page of a whole notebook. Sometimes I assign 1 page (which is 1/2 a page) and sometimes I assign 2 pages. I have attached a list of some of the ideas I use.

[Log In To See Attachments]

Posted by: NJ Teacher

I assign my journals as homework. What helped me was to have the kids assigned a specific day of the week to turn theirs in, so that I am only looking at 5 or so over a 4 day period. I bought those 10 cent spiral notebooks from Target that have different colored covers. Students with a red cover would be due Tuesday, green students on Wednesday, purple students on Thursday, and blue students on Friday. I have also used different stickers to assign groups. Students may write in their journals any day of the week, but I only collect that specific group on the day it's due. What I did find hard to keep track of was the year I tried in-class book letters as part of Reading Workshop as part of books they were reading in class. Responding to lit. group books, plus doing book letters on independent reading, plus doing the reading assignments was too much for my class. This year, I may tweak that by having them do a short response after they read.

View Thread
I made notebooks for my second
Posted by: iluv2nd

graders this year. I used the binding machine and printed the front and back cover on cardstock. I printed primary lined paper for the filler. Sometimes we glued things on blank pages. I find that binders are tough to use everyday. They are difficult to write in and the looseleaf paper rips out easily. I used the commercially publish spiral response notebooks produced by Fountas and Pinnell when I taught third and fourth grade. They held up great and had all of the support stuff from the book (Guiding Readers and Writers) included (book logs, writing topic ideas, etc.). I think they cost about $6 each a few years ago.

[Log In To See Attachments]

reply to Azure...
Posted by: iteach4th

I'll try to answer your questions....

First of all, note that my kids are 4th graders, but here's what I do. We write many letters together about short picture books we read and discuss. By the time I ask the students to write their own letters to me, they've heard and seen many possibilities. I do, also, have a list of the requirements and possible reflections in their reading journal for them to refer to if needed. Once we get started, I always share some good, thoughtful letters that I've received (with the author's permission, of course!). We check to be sure that person has included all of the required parts. That is really powerful, and the kids always try to mimic the "good" letters. Also, they are always so excited to read the letters I write back to them. Yes, it takes some time to write that many individual letters, but it is so worth it!

I really think even 1st graders would be able to do this! I truly think that "thinking" about what we are reading is the most important tool to comprehending it. When the students have to "think" about what to write to you, they understand it A WHOLE LOT BETTER. How wonderful to get them in the habit of doing it in first grade!

My best advice would be to go slowly. Do many practice letters together, both out loud and in print for the kids to see. Post a couple of those on your wall for reference.

Hope I've help a bit. Let me know if you have any questions!:s)

View Thread
Posted by: teach4fun

journaling , illustrations, add a new character to the story, make a new ending, draw a new cover, write themselves into the story

we have a reading journal that we use. for example this week a decodable story was a about a cat in a tree that only comes down for cat food... we wrote on the board "Jan's cat came down for the cat food. I would come down out of the tree ONLY for _________." We talked about their most favorite foods and that is what they wrote in the _____. At the beginning of the year it is just a blank and then as the year goes on they write more and more and then at the end of the year we have them retell the story in their own words. :) So your second could choose any of the above writing choices and the starting 1st can start with the illustrations or the ones like mine above.

have fun and be creative. :)

View Thread
Response Journals
Posted by: Angel Star

I hope that you can all help me out with my thinking about responding to books...

Reading Workshop in my classroom in its fourth year of evolution and as I learn more, I try to incorporate more. One thing I know for sure is that the more kids read (just-right books), the better readers they become. This became very clear to me when this year, the third grade teacher came to me and said, "I've got to come see what you are doing in Reading. None of the kids are "low" readers this year. They are all reading so well".

The change I had made last year was toward more of an Independent Reading Workshop. My mini-lessons focused on phonics, grammar, and reading skills (compare/contrast, problem/solution, etc., whatever was in the teacher's manual) (This was before I knew about the strategies).

After that, the kids read independently and responded to every book they read in some sort of writing/artsy way. For example, they created a flip flap book with Character, Setting, Problem, Solution. Or they made a paper bag character, listing qualities and attributes of that character. They wrote and drew about their favorite part and why it was their favorite. They made book marks and posters advertising their books.

Every week or two, they chose one to share with the class in a "Book Chat", which they prepared for at home. I feel that this is good experience for talking in front of a group.

I also had "Book Club Groups" - a small group of 3 or 4 kids reading the same chapter book and answering questions in a packet that I had created. Although I know that most Pro Teachers frown on these "comprehension packets" I felt like I was asking them "thick" as well as "thin" questions (not just recall, but critical thinking, inferring word meanings, making personal connections, etc.). I felt like I was modeling for them what good questioning look like.

So, why fix what's not broken, right? But of course, I met Debbie Miller last summer and had to change everything again!!!

I still do grammar and phonics, but the majority of my mini-lessons focus on the strategies. This has been an incredible experience and through "think-alouds", I have come to find out what good thinkers my students are. I love doing this. It is extremely exciting every day and I feel like I'm doing something really wonderful!

I still do "Book Club Groups", but they work with partners now and they meet without me. I meet with one group a day and therefore can meet with every group once a week.

I also still do Book Chats, although not as often as before.

After the mini-lesson, the kids move on to Independent Reading as they always did. From Sept-Dec. (before strategies), they responded to books just like last year.

From Jan-Now, they have been responding using "Strategy Sheets". Which are basically mini-versions of what we have done on an anchor chart during think-alouds.

So, when we switched from "Reading Responses" to "Strategy Sheets", I felt like I was taking something away from the kids. This group in particular, is very artsy and creative. So, filling out basically a graphic organizer, was not sparking their interest.

The major problem I saw was that they weren't filling out a Strategy Sheet WHILE reading, they were forgetting to and then doing it afterwards (which doesn't help with "adapting mental images" or "Predictions and the thinking behind them". But, I figured that this just needed some training and getting used to.

Okay, so last week, I decided that we needed to move on to "Response Journals". This came up spontaneously when S wanted to record her thinking about all these fascinating facts and couldn't find a strategy sheet that would work for that thinking. C said, "I've been writing things down on pieces of scrap paper and will staple them to a "Visual Bubble" strategy sheet".

So, the teachable moment was there and I couldn't deny it. We all stopped what we were doing and began a conversation about how we could respond to what we were reading and record our thinking, but in our OWN way. They seemed excited about it, but time was out so we decided that we would talk about it more tomorrow.

The next day, I gave each child a 3-ring binder and pointed them to different types of paper and a 3-hole punch and we talked about what "response journals" would look like. It sounded good, but when they got down to it, I was really disappointed.

Some kids just wrote down a bunch of questions and didn't even attempt to answer (or infer) the questions. The quality of what I saw just wasn't what I was expecting. They kind of seemed like they didn't really know what to do. I thought that they wanted less structure, but I think they needed a little more direction. It was just a little too open-ended for them.

So, the next day, I said to them, "Recording your thinking is kind of like having a conversation about your book". So, today, I'd like you to write a letter to me about your thinking. You could write about a connection, an image, an inference... and I'll write back"

Okay,so some kids got it, but not all.

I feel like we were moving ahead and now we've taken a step back. I realize that this will take some modeling and lots of practice. But to be honest, I don't know what I'm really wanting them to do.

I know that I shouldn't expect them to write about every book or write every day, but that's not what we've been doing and the thought of that is honestly very scary to me.

I have the lower half of the second grade readers and although they show me that they are doing some great thinking during "think alouds" I'm not sure that they'll remember to do that thinking work when reading independently unless they are forced to write it down.

But writing it down takes time and I want them reading more than writing, which I why I got away from the "reading responses" in the first place.

I feel like I am in limbo right now and I'm not sure what direction to go in. I hope that you all can help me with your wonderful wisdom.

View Thread
Revisiting Response Journals
Posted by: Angel Star

After much thought and listening to all of your wonderful advice, I decided to abandon the "response journals". I had to think about what I wanted the kids to do and why I wanted them to do it. I had to ask myself, "what's good for the kids?". What I realized was this:

1. I want the kids to think when they read and to be aware of their thinking and use comprehension strategies- this is being accomplished through our interactive reading and "think alouds". The kids do really good thinking and do an incredible job verbalizing that thinking.

2. I want the kids to do this thinking independently - this was where I got stuck in the first place. How do I know that they are doing it? What evidence do I have? Starting today, I asked the kids to put at least 3 post-its in the books they are reading and to label those post-its to indicate which strategies they were using (they did great with this!)

3. I want the kids to show their thinking in a manner that means something to them - We decided together today that after they have 3 post-its, they should think about how they want to show their thinking. They can use the "strategy sheets" I've created and modeled (ones they've been using) OR they can create something on their own, even writing a letter to me (like in a response journal). I supplied them with lined and plain, index cards, construction paper...

I put up a very simple handmade poster:
Good Readers Think
-What am I thinking about?
-How can I show my thinking?

Near this, is some laminated pictures of kids reading with thought bubbles above them. Inside the bubbles are things like, "I have a connection", "This reminds me of...", "I can see...", "I predict...", "I infer...", etc. ( I made them from clip art).

I've mentioned before that this is a very creative/artsy group. They really seemed to like the idea of this. It was open-ended enough, but within structure, which I think works for them.

We had an extra long time for independent reading today, because they were so into it! They were reading, using post-its, and responding in all sorts of ways.

I think (I hope) this just might work! I'll keep you all posted!

View Thread
Posted by: BookMuncher

Your situation sounds complicated! I think it's a personal preference and depends on the class you have, how accountable they need to be. My opinion is that, from where you are in this school year with this group, maybe you should continue doing what you were doing at the beginning of the year. It sounds like it was working for you and your kids? A new year will give you a new start and more time to examine both what you believe about reading and responding to reading as well as what that would look like in your classroom.

If you've read my recent blog on responses, you'd see that they weren't going that great for me. I was in a major "dip" for a few weeks. But I made some adjustments and last week was a great week. Then again, I had this group writing open responses in first grade, I modeled it till my face was blue at the beginning of 2nd, and then I continued to make adjustments as we were writing this year. What I've come to believe is that we can only model and praise and share, repeat. If it's what we believe is best for kids, then they will grow from it. Sometimes I try to step back and look at what I'm asking them to do-- I also sometimes ask my two aides, student teacher, and myself to write them during our talk back time and even we get writer's block. So every entry won't be an earth-shattering one.

As a start, my personal beliefs are that:

kids need to sustain reading for the absolute maximum amount I can give them (Allington says it's at least 60 minutes between all settings for little guys) -- and they need to sustain writing, but I cover that in writer's workshop So, if responding in writing takes away from time reading, it's not worth it to me. BUt I guess that depends on your schedule

the most authentic responses are those that are meaningful and relevant to the reader So, if the response is in any way scripted, it becomes a teacher-centered assignment and one that will not eventually lead to an independent thinker. This doesn't mean that I wouldn't model and practice different ways of responding at other times of day, though.

my best teaching (in all subjects) happens when the activity is transperant-- i.e. the child knows exactly why we're doing it-- and transferable-- i.e. the skill will easily transfer outside school walls So, if the child wouldn't necessarily make a graphic organizer at home, then we'd save it in school for just when we're first learning about a certain skill

talk is vastly under-rated. Writing isn't the only way to grow ideas. On the contrary- talking is a much more authentic and fruitful way to explore ideas and think about them deeply.So, in my opinion, kids could get a lot more thinking done everyday if we devoted the amount of time it takes them to write daily responses.

kids won't write well thought-out responses unless two things are present: modeling that is thorough and ongoing AND a really strong culture of talk amoungst kids around books and reading. So, it's not just about testing kids on comprehension by asking them questions or looking for talk backs that somehow show conclusive evidence that they understood. They'll use the responses as a place to discuss strong opinions and light bulb moments if they see a grown-up modeling that that's how she uses hers. And more importantly, they'll feel absolutely compelled to use their response books for this purpose if, in talking to others, they realize they have a big idea.

But really... I don't have much of an opinion. ;)

View Thread
What makes a good reading response?
Posted by: BookMuncher

What makes a good, solid reading response? What should I expect from my first graders? How can I tell the difference between responses that further understanding and responses that don't push the child anywhere new? Can responses push the child somewhere new?

These are all questions I've been struggling with every Wednesday, when I ask my kids to take a time out from reading and respond to something they have been "doing a lot of thinking work on lately."

So today, I've carried some of their journals home with me and I'd like to post their responses for YOU to respond to. I've tried to bring a wide variety of books home, even though I'll cringe to post some of this. :o With the top questions in mind, I'd love your thoughts on reading responses -- or "talk backs" as we call them.

I can share my birds-eye view judgements on the following responses later. But for now, how about I just post them so I can see what your opinions are on certain kids? A child who I feel is "getting it" may not be cutting it in your eyes. Let's start with the good news;) :

1. C came in as a reader AND a thinker. He is a leader in all of our interactive read aloud discussions and overall in our strategy studies. Here are some of his responses:

Vacation Under the Volcano

I think that they are going to get away from the volcano in time because in Tonight on the Titanic, they escape just in time.

What I wrote back:

Dear C,
Excellent! You used your schema for Magic Tree House books to help you predict in the one you are reading now! When you finish this book, please write if your prediction came true or not.


On Board the Titanic

I am on a mystery. I am trying to figure out how much life boats the Titanic really needed. It said that the Titanic had 2,200 people on it and me and my friend and I agree that the Titanic life boats held 25 or so people.

Dear C,
You certainly ARE on a mystery! Can I make a suggestion for finding your answer? Use an outside source. What you have is actually a math problem. Maybe your mom or dad could help! Tell me if you solve it.


2. D also came in a reader, but did not know how to think about his reading on a deep level. As you'll see, it's debatable if that has changed.

Encyclopedia of the United States

In Kentucky I thought the most important crop was soy beans. But I was wrong. It was tobacco and coal.

Dear D,
I'm glad you are paying attention to how your schema changes. That is something that non-fiction lovers (like you!) always need to do. SOmething else they do is this:
When they realize that they weren't right, they think, "Hmmm-- why is this? Why is tobacco and coal the most important crop?" Sometimes readers can figure it out with their schema. Other times, they have to read more. Please try to figure out the answer.

Later, he wrote back: Because sometimes they want tobacco instead of money.

A lot of his talk backs are similar to this: He asserts something that could be a good thought, but then he doesn't follow through. He doesn't see big pictures.

3. K is a very typical first grader who came in reading around a level B or C. She didn't really have any bumps in her growth-- she was just very typical.

Biscuit's Big Friend

I have a book to book connection with Bicscuit's Big Friend because in Angelina and Alice they were best friends and in Biscuit's big friend they were friends.

Dear K,
I see that you made a connection between two books with friends. Tell me, is friendship an important part in both books? (she wrote: yes they were friends in the whole book)
If it is, then it's a good connection. How did reading Biscuit help you understand the friendship in the other book?
She wrote: Because in every book they are friends

Frog and Toad Together

In Frog and Toad Together I have a book to self connection. Because in a part toad had a list to do and some days I make a list and it's a important part.

Dear K,

Yes, you are right that the list is an important part. :) But you still need to tell me a little bit more. How does you having a list and Toad having a list help you understand the book?


She wrote back: Because all day I have to do my list and I know how toad feels.

4. N came in as one of my two lowest readers, with very little reading or writing experience. He still remains behind his peers, but at the same time, can "keep up" by applying the strategies we are learning to his books. He is now very tenuously reading Syd Hoff (i.e. Danny and the Dinosaur) books, but they aren't really a fluent fit for him.

Stanley (Syd Hoff)

I think that even though that the others were mean Stanley doesn't have to be mean. The author's message is don't be mean.

Dear N,
How does Stanley show kindness at the end of the book?

He writes: He helps them build their houses and be kind.

It remindes me of the Golden Rule!

Clifford's Chick

I am "inferred" that clifford is scared of what the chick is doing. I knowed is because of his big eyes.

Dear N,
I like how you used the _____ (he filled in: pictures) to help you infer what Clifford was feeling.

5. Finally, S is another who came in as an average reader who didn't really think about his reading. He has shown a great amount of growth.

Baby Animals

My schema changed. I didn't know that baby bunnies are 1 inch long and that a mother rabbit can have up to 8 baby bunnies at once. My mental image was 8 little bunnies in my two hands. I got that from when I saw a toy about 1 inch long. So I pictured 8 of them in my hand instead of 1.

Dear S,
WOW! You put 3 strategies together! Do you know what they are?

He writes: Schema change, connection, mental image


PS: I am impressed!

THOUGHTS?? Judgements? Questions? (I have a lot swirling around right now b/c typing them up got me thinking. But I'll hold my tongue until I hear what you think...)

PS: When we talk about them, why don't we refer to them as kid 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5? (for simplicity's sake!!)

View Thread
Responses Revisited
Posted by: BookMuncher

Wasn't it this time last year I posted a similar blog, called What makes a good reading response? It must be that talk backs start out strong and full of energy, but as they go on, that energy drains a little. One of my biggest barriers seems to be finding different ways to breathe new life into our weekly talk backs. Do I expect too much? I'm starting to think so. Read some of these 2nd grade responses and see what you think:

I've put the below responses into categories (Excellent, Medicore, Off Track) because I need your help! Am I being too tough? Is there something more I could be doing to help my students' brilliant ideas match their writing? So far, what I've tried is:

modeling talk backs by writing back and forth with the teacher down the hall/ first half of year on-going
modeling talk backs by writing in a journal at the same time as the kids write in their own (my student teacher and instructional aide also write in one). Kids write back or we just read them to see the kinds of things grown-ups write and think. ongoing
made a list in the classroom of reasons we write about our reading.
"status of the class" kind of thing where one workshop, we captured all of the kids thinking in one snapshot and listed them in a long list; to show that readers are constantly having important conversations in their heads.
sharing circle where we think of ways readers could write about their reading and make a concrete list.
hanging up 5 kids' "big ideas" of the week, reading them aloud, and discussing what the writer did. ongoing
writing talk backs directly following an animated read aloud conversation circle when I think a lot of kids will have opinions.
taught a seed analogy. We refer to the most basic idea as the seed and then we brainstormed questions we could ask ourselves to grow that idea. (visual is on a flower)Here are some Talk Backs:


Dear Mrs. M.
Remember when you read Love You Forever? But when you read it, remember when we were talking about how the boy knew the song? So I think I might know the answer to the question. I think the answer is he is related to his mom and that love from his mom was so strong that he heared it in his heart. And so I learned from that book that love is a very strong word and a very powerful word.

Dear Miss V.
I'm reading this book called Don't Eat Your Chicken Pox, Amber Brown and if I were her I wouldn't let birds fly on my head. It might hurt to have birds land on my head but Amber Brown doesn't care. I wonder why? Aunt P. didn't care that she might get a disease. I don't think her Aunt cares about her. I don't even think Amber cares about herself. Amber is a weird girl.

Why I placed these here: A.H.'s talk back has the big idea and the evidence and a wrap up that rephrases her learning. And also- I know this is intangible, but I like it because I can feel her passion. K's entry may not be outstanding in your eyes- I put it here because although it's not perhaps as linear as I model (idea, evidence or theories, plan), it seems to me that K used her talk back to actually authentically explore her ideas. She starts out by putting herself in the character's shoes and then by doing that, it leads her to look more closely at Amber's over all character and relationships.


Dear Miss V.
In Disasters I read a chapter called Meteors. I had a question. When will the next meteor hit? The book said in 3000 years but I think it will come sooner. When do you think one will come? Answer _____.

Dear Mrs. M.
I just finished The Littles Give a Party and I inferred through the whole book is Granny Little going to live? At the end Granny Little was... ALIVE. I was so surprised. I thought Granny Little was going to die because in every book if everyone thinks the person is going to live, they die. Please right back.

Dear Miss V.
We read Horton Hears a Who and it reminds me so much about Green Eggs and Ham that Sam-I-Am was really little but he changed the person in the inside not the outside. He changed that he did not like green eggs and ham and Whoville are little but they still made a big noise.


Why I placed these here: C's has a big idea (a question), but I was disappointed that he didn't offer any evidence at all for why he was disagreeing with the book- which he does a lot, by the way. I love that about him, but I need more proof. D's talk back isn't bad, but he writes the same kind of ideas every week. This week, because of him a few others, I outlawed prediction talk backs temporarily. But in this talk back, I believe that he has managed to disguise a prediction/confirmation in order to stick to what he knows. Finally, I thought G was on a really good track and I could also see this talk back as outstanding (especially for G). But her reasoning is flawed-- the class discussed how in Dr. Seuss books, the little characters always make the biggest difference. Instead of writing about times when that is so, (like in the Grinch) she went with a bit of a stretch.

Off Track

Dear Mrs. M.
I am so happy! Because I am almost ready to start The Boxcar Children or Little House on the Praire. Also in the Spiderwick Chronicles I think that Jared is going to finish the riddle. I also like how the chapters say (In which). Well that's all for now. Ciao.

Dear Miss V.
I just finished The Littles and the Terrible Tiny Kid. I'm inferring that the theme is: teamwork. Why I think that is because in the book they do a lot of teamwork.

Dear Mrs. M.
I'm surprised at how much I'm learning about the Titanic! I did learn some stuff that I did not know. Maybe you can try that!
Love, B

Why I placed these here: Even though I think they speak for themselves, I'll explain. D is all over the place, never really settling on any idea in particular. B had a good idea, but the evidence is SO scant that I can hardly even retype it here without cringing. And B's other talk back is more of the same. Just because the last two talk backs are by the same child, doesn't mean that more kids don't struggle. It just so happens that I only have half the class, and his talk backs show why I'm so frustrated.

My student teacher and I split up the talk backs and write back each week. Right now, I'm looking at a pile that is kind of heavy on my weaker writers. I could have added lots more "off track" ones, but in this pile, I didn't have a whole lot of other "outstandings". :(

As I typed these up, I did notice that one simple thing I might do that would raise some of the mediocore entries to a higher level would be to explicitly model how we cite specific evidence. Some of those ideas in the middle category could be good if they would have grown the idea. The entries in the off track category, however, are mostly down there because they are scattered, lack any evidence at all, or are devoid of a big idea.

Any comments? I can take the criticism.

View Thread