This post concludes my blogging requirements for The Literacy Connection course I am doing this year but doesn't conclude my thinking about That Workshop Book by Samantha Bennett. I am looking forward to watching Samantha Bennett is classroom at the end of April with my friends Katie and Karen. How lucky are they! What I then like about the organization of course work through The Literacy Connection our day of observation is followed by a Saturday of lecturing and further teacher learning with Samantha Bennett. I hope to gather more thoughts and ideas from her specifically about kindergarten and her thoughts on the structure of workshop on an every other day schedule.
As I was flipping through the book again last night and pondering what did I want to reflect on I found myself wandering to third grade. Reader's Notebooks are a great tool for students and teachers to use to organize their thinking and learning during a year together. You can pay a chunk of money to have them pre-assembled for you or you can use a 3 or 5 subject notebook, sold cheap at a back to school sale and adjust it to your own needs. I always preferred the second choice and then had money to spend on Time for Kids or National Geographic for each student. Samantha Bennett stretches how we think about using a readers notebook in a section titled, The Reading Notebook Revamped (p.85).
So, often in education we have to prove students are learning and growing a year for a year. Unfortunately, school districts pay loads of money for standardized testing and formulas that are hidden in a little black box. I understand we have to make learning visible and I think we as educators need to think further how to make this learning visible in authentic and meaningful ways, beyond our classrooms. Samantha Bennett has a chart (p. 86) that is titled, Documentation of Conversation About Making the Invisible Visible. There are three columns with these headings - How a Readers Grow, Evidence Might Look Like?, and Implications for Planning, Instruction, and/or Assessment? The, How Readers Grow, column is essentially what we want readers to be able to do, our learning targets with a bigger picture in mind. A picture with them truly reading and functioning independently.
I think creating a chart like this would help any teacher think through the structures and tools used by the classroom community. As educators we need to show authentic growth and we need to make a Reader's Notebook work to it's fullest potential to benefit the students. This chart will help you get started on your way.