Sunday, December 2, 2012

Status of The Class

So...why reinvent the wheel my friends? I tell you, some of the simplest things I do in my class tend to be the most profound!

Need a way to get your kids excited about reading at home in less than 90 seconds?!? If you haven't already, do yourself a favor and read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, which is a "how to" on not just getting your students to read, but motivating them to love reading.

After reading the The Book Whisperer, I dove in feet-first two years ago and got rid of whole-class novels (shh!).  Instead, I demanded that my students read what they love, and read like crazy. I demanded that they read at home, in school, on vacations, in the car, WHENEVER/WHEREVER THEY CAN!!!! I also try to schedule read-to-self time for pure pleasure as much as I can. I tell you it's profound.

Two years ago I got rid of reading logs for many of the same reasons you want to -- my kids weren't really reading, the parents were signing weeks in advance, I was spending more time grading, and students were rushing through and faking them. But, how was I going to keep track of my students at-home reading without reading logs?! GASP!

Alas...*drum-roll please* "Status of the Class."  The textbook version of "Status of the Class" is that it is a quick, routine check-in with each student on a daily basis. It takes no more than 90 seconds, and is a great opportunity to check in on your students and make a quick one-on-one connection/assessment. I adapted it to fit my needs and the needs of the kids in my classroom.

Implementing in Your Classroom:  An  Easy "How-To"
      1. Instruct students to grab their reading binders to come to the carpet for a mini-lesson.
      2. Have the "Status of the Class" list.  (I have it on a clipboard near my mini-lesson area or project it on the overhead) 
      3. Start with your first student and call out their name (before your mini-lesson) 
      4. Have the student respond back with the current book they are reading and the page number they are on (go down the list until you've called every student).
      5. Write an "N" for new, if they finished their previous book (students will tell you this.)
      6. Write an "A/N" for abandoned/new, if they have a new book but it's because they abandoned their previous book (students will tell you this.)
      AND THAT'S IT.  The whole list is typically read in 90 seconds flat. Then I get to start my mini-lesson and check in on those kids that need checking in on.  Seriously, in those 90 seconds I get more valuable information than I could ever get from any reading log.

      What "Status of the Class" shows you:
      1. Who is reading at home
      2. Who is "faking it" --examples to look for--
        • Students with books way above reading level
        • Tons of pages in a day or large discrepancies in pages read
        • Constant abandoning
      3. Who keeps abandoning books
      4. Who needs help finding books at their level.

      It's like a mini "touch-base" conference with every student, every day. The crazy part is, my students BEG to do "Status of the Class" (perhaps they are treating it like a competition? Or finally loving reading??).  I kid you not. At first, I would roam the class and go up to students individually and they quietly told me their pages, then all of a sudden it's like they all met together and decided once and for all that they wanted to do it out loud.

      I'm happy to report that (at least) 2 of my reluctant readers have already finished two books for the first time in their lives, and THEY'RE the ones BEGGING to do Status of the Class if I ever forget!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!! I am not sure if it's the accountability but the excitement they have is phenomenal!!!

      I included a copy of the checklist I use in my class for you. Click the picture to grab the google doc. I promise you will love it and it will change the reading attitudes in your classroom! Has anyone else tried something like this before? I'd love to hear if you do something like this in your room!

      **I also wanted to give you all a quick update on my assessments!  Like I touched on in a previous post, I appreciate your feedback more than you know.  Whenever I get valuable feedback, I do my best to listen and implement it!  On my math assessments, you all asked for answer keys, different/clearer fonts, and more room for students to work. Well, ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!!!

      Take a look below at ALL of the changes I have made to my Standards Based Assessments: 5th Grade Math *ALL STANDARDS* {Common Core}

      Clearer font:

      Re-formatted so that student work space is larger and lines were added for students answers and written explanations:

      Last, but certainly not least...ANSWER KEYS!!! These bad boys took me quite a while to complete. I have quite a few open-ended, higher level thinking/write to explain problems in these assessments, and I have gone through and provided examples of answers for every single question!

      So, if you have purchased these already, click "My Purchases" on TpT (upper left hand corner) and re-download these re-vamped assessments. 

      If you've not gotten your hands on them yet, what are you waiting for?! ;) *kidding* Click HERE to download the preview and to learn more about these assessments and teaching notes! 

      Or click HERE to learn about how I use these in my classroom with my data tracking binders!

      I'm also linking up with Classroom Freebies, head on over to check out some great freebies:

      Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


      Miss D'Amore said...

      I love your blog!!! It's so cute!! Can I ask you a question! How did you get the letters of sample problems outlined in pink?! I LOVE THAT!!

      The Science Penguin said...

      I love The Book Whisperer! My students absolutely love reading and it's amazing how much they read and how excited about it they are. This year, I have tried a post-it system to keep track of what they're reading. They change their post-it and put it on a poster when they change books.

      Now, they are keeping track of it in their reader's response journals. Since I visit with about half of my class a couple times a week and the rest at least once a week, I stay pretty informed with where they are at. Thanks for the freebie. I think I'll try it!

      The Science Penguin

      YoungTeacherLove said...

      I love the post-it idea! I never even thought of that, thanks for that idea! I'm glad you like the freebie! Thanks for stopping by!

      YoungTeacherLove said...

      @Miss D'Amore- Thank you! :) I'm glad you like it, and the font is in Powerpoint!

      Brandi said...

      I am SO trying to use this starting next week (I am going to a big big big Marzano training for my district for three days this week! Eek!) Anyway, thanks for the freebie:) I am most excited to have data to share with my team about who is abandoning books often or saying that they are reading books that are way too hard for them. Yay for data!

      YoungTeacherLove said...

      Thanks Brandi! You know I love data! Have fun at the Marzano conference. I went to one last year and loved it! (Nerd, I know!)

      Crystal Dezember said...

      Quick question... Do you fill out a new paper each day for the status of the class?

      YoungTeacherLove said...

      Hi Crystal- I do use a new sheet every time so I can compare day to day. To save paper you could even project it onto your board if you have a projector. In the past I have used one sheet for a whole week, but it was hard to squeeze all the info in. I hope this helps!

      Shannon said...

      You just made me want to teach reading again. OMG-did I just say that??? :) Currently teaching history to 4 classes. You even got me excited about possibly teaching math in the future-how do you do that? since math is NOT my cup of tea!! :)


      The Wild Rumpus said...

      Reading logs are a conundrum and I use them differently every year. This is an interesting idea! Thanks for those revisions as well--loving the assessments.

      Timea Willemse said...

      Totally agree with you :) also ran into hot water with my DP wanting me to select the readers for my 9yr olds but quietly continued with this instead. End of year progress results speak for them selves.Over the school year, my students made between a 2 years and 3 years comprehension level leap, in 1 school year - that's double to triple the expected norms! YAY!
      Keep on doing it, really motivating. Here is the link to how I track it with free downloadable tracking sheets. Enjoy :)

      Timea Willemse said...

      Oops I may have forgotten to add the link. If so, here it is:

      Kim Corbidge said...

      I love your blog and I'm glad I found you through Monday Manic Freebie! I love your status of the class and thanks for sharing!!!

      YoungTeacherLove said...

      Thanks @ Kim! Glad you stopped by!!

      @ Shannon- You're too funny! I do LOVE teaching reading, although history/social studies is my favorite! I might be kind of jealous of you!

      @Timea- thanks so much! I appreciate your kind words and the link! Go you on those leaps! Feels good doesn't it??!! Thanks for stopping by!

      Elizabeth Mitchell said...

      I love, love, love the Status of the Class. I am going to start it tomorrow. Thanks for sharing. I would love to have you follow my blog at

      Danielle said...

      This is great. We have a staff book club at my school and we are reading The Book Whisperer. I will share your "status of the class" with my colleagues at our next meeting.
      Thank you!!!

      YoungTeacherLove said...

      I'm so glad you like it ladies!! I hope your kids love it as much as mine do! Thanks for stopping by!

      Allison said...

      I too have been inspired by Donalyn Miller. I use a similar form for a status of the class, but I never have tried it with the whole class. It works just the way you describe.

      About class novels, I got rid of them also, but there are certain novels that I think every fifth grader should read. Example: Sign of the Beaver. Do you ever require them to read certain books or certain genres and how does that work out for you?

      YoungTeacherLove said...

      I do require certain genres and books. I do The Book Whisperers' Book Challenge and require a certain amount of genres read. Also, a lot of books are read during my shared reading/read aloud. When doing a read a loud, my kids may choose to follow along with their own copy, but I don't require it (I may read too fast for some lower readers). I also schedule book clubs/literature circles and guided reading groups on top of just "read-to-self". But, I teach inner-city, so 'lots of low readers unfortunately. My highest group just finished Sign of the Beaver for a book club and they struggled with it quite a bit. I plan to post more in the future about how I run my reading and balance it all! So, stay tuned! I hope this helped for now!

      Anonymous said...

      I saw Status of the Class in Steven Layne's book, Igniting a Passion for Reading. It's awesome.

      Jamie said...

      I have something similiar that a team member just made. We can put in what book they are reading, when it was started, what page they are on, and how long it takes them to read 1 page in that book. The spreadsheet will tell them how many pages they should be reading each day based on their speed and will predict when they should finish the book if doing the daily reading. Amazing! Some were lagging behind and this prompted them to do more reading so they could catch up. I love the idea of doing a daily group check in b/c it would tell him who is really reading at home & over the weekend. Thanks for the great idea!

      YoungTeacherLove said...

      Wow Jamie! This sounds awesome!! I'd LOVE to know more about it! Thank you so much for sharing.

      Anonymous said...

      Are you going to create your assessments for first grade? I LOVE what you have done.

      Jennifer Reck said...

      LOVE the Book Whisperer! It has changed the way I teach 7/8 literature, too! I read aloud every day the books I used to assign and let them pick there own books to read. They are reading way more now than before. It is amazing!
      Jenny~your newest follower!
      Owl Things First

      Deborah Hayes said...

      I teach middle school. In our district, we HAVE to read whole novels as a GRADE LEVEL...and everyone has to be on the same page. :( This started with the new common core curriculum, and I feel like it has taken away so much. However, I still require my students to select books for independent reading and I do a "status of the class" using an Excel spreadsheet. It has worked really well for keeping my students reading independently. Thanks for sharing yours!

      YoungTeacherLove said...

      Oh this makes me so sad! I remember cringing during whole class novels when I was a kid. Your kids are lucky that you allow them the opportunity to read independent books. We have to do what we can to keep our kids in love with reading! Thanks so much for your comments!

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