Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guest Blogging and Thinking Smarter

Hi everyone!

I just had the privilege of guest blogging for Cynthia over at the 2nd Grade Pad.  She’s doing a series called, “Work Smarter, Not Harder” and she has some really great posts with some great tips!

In my post, I shared the system I use to manage student conferences during Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop. I’ve struggled with the best way to handle the record keeping effectively and efficiently and I finally found a way that really works for me using labels. Pop over to check it out and then come on back for Part 2, posted down below.

Part 2

Now that you know the teacher part of the plan, on to the student “Take-Away.”

To help the kids be accountable for their own learning, they each have a laminated “Strategy Sheet “in their book boxes and writing folders.  When we decide on a strategy to work on, we put a sticky note on the practice side.  When the strategy is mastered, the student gets to move the sticky over to the toolbox side. The sheet looks just like the labels I write on, so the students get a real sense of partnership and gain an ownership of their learning goals.  They get so excited when we decide together that they have mastered a skill!  You can download a copy if you’d like to give it a try:

Once I started this plan in my classroom, I noticed that the kids were really aware of their goals and were able to really focus on them. My principal has a habit of wandering into classrooms and asking the students, “What are you working on today?” Prior to using this system, my kids would always give really vague answers like, “Reading my book” or “Writing a story.” Now they are able to really impress with specific answers like, “Using picture clues to help with tricky words” or “Adding bigger spaces between my words.”

All in all, the system has made record keeping a breeze and has really empowered my students. Can’t beat that! Do you have a system that works well? Leave and comment and share your tips!


  1. I like your strategy sheet to get kids thinking and understanding reading strategies!! Thanks for sharing! :)
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  2. Awesome ideas and I am your newest follower!

    Doodle’s Daily Domain

  3. I really like this strategy. I'm going to have to give it a try!
    Where Seconds Count

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