Timelines and Reading Logs

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SWBAT write important events on a time line of their story to retell to a partner.

Big Idea

Determining Important Events

The Mini-lesson

20 minutes

Call the students to the rug and have them bring their independent reading book, reading response notebooks, and a pencil.  Begin with a quick story to illustrate how snapping pics on vacay to remember a trip is like making a time line to remember a story. 

To connect with students and to increase engagement say, "Students, I what to show you some pictures of a fun place I visited this summer.  It's not too far away from us here in Seattle. (Show Map)  It is called the San Juan Islands.  This year when we study Washington history, you will learn about a war that almost started between the US and Great Britain in 1859 over a pig!  It was was called the "Pig War" and it took place on San Juan Island.  Here are some pictures of my trip: The Ferry Ride,  Giant Outdoor Chess Set, beaching on San Juan.  I  will  connect taking pictures  while on vacation to reading a story by saying, "Students, as we read we make pictures in our mind of who, where and what. This helps us use our mind like a camera. Another way we remember important events after we read in to make a time line.  Also, it is important for you to know that not everything that happens in a story needs to go on your time line.  Just line I didn't take pictures of everything on my vacation, your job today is to determine the important events of what you are reading and jot them down on your time line.  Lets set up our reading response notebook so when you go to your seat you will be ready to capture important events on your time line."

Show students how to set up their notebook page and have students create a page in their notebooks with title of book, date and horizontal line.  I am preparing students to be ready to capture their thinking about main events as soon as they go back to their seats and begin reading in their independent books.  I want to have students set up for success so that they are not wondering what to do  and what to write about as they are reading.  By having their notebooks set up students will be able to concentrate on reading for important events and then will easily be able to jot down what is happening in their books. 

At first your time-line will look just like this:  A straight line drawn in the middle of your page in "landscape".  Title your timeline with the name of your book and add the date.

Demonstration with active participation

8 minutes

Use the doc camera to once again show your mostly completed timeline to the students of your mentor text.  Use a highlighter to highlight the numbers of each important event.  I also made a key at the bottom of the timeline with each of the important characters name and their abbrevations. Explain that when you jot down important events, it is helpful to abbreviate the characters names and it to number each important event.  Extracting main events is an important reading comprehension skill because it helps student learns to summarize a chapter or a text.  Also as students are determining what to put on their time line they have to make important inferences about characters in their story, another important CCSS.  

I used The Meanest Mother on Earth as my mentor text, but any short engaging picture book will work.  I picked this book for several reasons:  It is short, it has great pictures, it has an interesting plot with a twist, it shows how much the mother actually cares for her child even though the child thinks she is the "meanest mother on Earth".  I think it touches on how students can sometimes feel about their teacher when they have to do things they don't want to do.

I will ask the students look at the timeline for a minute or two and then ask them to describe the important things they noticed about it.  I will read some of the events and also ask particular students to help read them.  After students discuss the first three or four events students and have a concept of the plot, I will read the mentor text, The Meanest Mother on Earth to them.  After the story,Have students turn and talk about what other main events need to go on the time line.  

Independent Reading with conferences

35 minutes

In my classroom I have a University of Washington Intern- a student teacher- who will be with us for the first month of school.  I also have a CityYear volunteer- CityYear is a program that puts young adults in classrooms to be a mentor, help with attendance and support student learning.  It is a real bonus for the students to have additional adults in the classroom because they can get the help they need sooner because their are more of us in the room. Initially, it is more work for me to have additional support in the classroom because I need to take time to meet with members of the team to share support strategies, lesson and unit goals, and conferring techniques. After the first month or so, staff and students get into the dynamic rhythm of the classroom. After initial problems are worked out, having multiple adults providing support to students in the classroom helps students make academic gains.   

I encourage the adults in the room to give the students a chance to settle into their reading before we conference with tables or individual students.  I call it Stand and Stare..( it is a nice stare but a stare that means get to work).  I want the students to start reading and get into their books before we start to quietly circulate.  At this time we can make observations about who is reading and who isn’t.  From our whole group observations, we are able to see who is most in need of a conference.  After a period of time say 10 minutes, all adults begin to move in and sit next to a student.  On the first few days of school, the conferences are short- about 3-4 minutes.  The purpose is to see if readers are matched to books and if they are adding important events to their time line.  An example conference might include: asking them how their reading is going- listen to them read a couple sentences, and specific to this lesson, checking their reading response notebook for events on their time line.  Adults conferring should carry a clipboard with a space to record observations and post-it notes to leve a tip for the reader relating to a skill about determining importance.

Partner Share and Reading Logs

5 minutes

Prior to the close of the reading workshop, I will announce in a few minutes Partner B will share the events on their timeline  and partner A will share second.  I let them know ahead of time so that they will be prepared to share.  I also structure it so that they know who is sharing first because I do not want kids to waste time or feel unsure about what to do.  I want students sharing right away.  I change it up and alternate who shares first and who shares second to make it fair and so that one partner doesn't dominate the partnership.  

During my conferences with students I am looking for a particular student's timeline that I might decide to share  as a way of reinforcing and closing the lesson.  I might look for good use of key words to convey their message.

The last step in readers workshop is to teach the students how to fill out their reading logs and provide time and support to do this.  I tell the students what time they started reading or write in on the whiteboard, and then ask who can figure out by using the clock how many minutes did we read?

 My students are familiar with reading logs from the previous years at our school, so many students know how to fill them out.  Some students, however still need support with how to count the number of pages. I always demonstrate how fill out an example reading log under the doc cam daily.   REading logs are an important routine to develop because they are a record of students' reading.  They can be analyzed both by the teachers and by the students.  They show trends and provide a lot of useful information such as sticking with a book, variety of genres read, number of pages and minutes read.  This information can be leveraged with students and shared with parents to reinforce reading habits.