Sunday, October 20, 2013

Classroom Pics & Book Club

Hey there!  I know that I've been a bad blogger lately, but I've come to share a few things with you in hopes that you will forgive my absenteeism :)

I realize that it's October now and that this classroom reveal is a bit tardy, but what the heck.....I'll show you the pics anyway!

View from the door, looking left

View from the door, looking straight
Classroom Job chart

Whole Brain Teaching posters

My small group table

Our Writing Corner, mailboxes, and 7 Habits posters

Our Bulletin Board (it's full of anchor charts now....but that's another post)

A little bit of me

My desk
Now, on to more important things! I had a few teacher peeps ask me about how I run book club and I wanted to share what I've done so far. 

Let me preface this by saying that you can totally tweak this to make it work for your kiddos.  It's a lot like literature circles, only I made the changes I needed to make for my students. 

In 3rd grade, we don't so much teach kids to read, but how to understand and manipulate what they have already read.  Having said that, I don't do guided reading (per my principal), so book club was my choice of applying my reading instruction.  I have focus lessons where we work on specific skills, but book club is their chance to apply those skills :)

Here's how I started:

I chose one book at first, Judy Moody, and I met with each group, separately, while the others were in Daily 5 stations.
I did this mostly because I only had 6 copies of the book and this allowed me to have a copy and each member of the group to have a copy. 

This is where I taught them about book club.  What it looks like, what it sounds like, and how it's run.  We read this book, as a class, but in groups, and they got a taste of what I wanted book club to become. 

We did prediction activities, comprehension activities after each chapter, vocabulary activities.....whatever I wanted them to get out of the book, we did!  Some of the activities I found on TpT, some of them I made.  I know that with Judy Moody, I bought three different units on TpT and combined them to make what I wanted for my kiddos.

Now, I have my kiddos divided into groups, by reading ability and each group has a different book.  I have 19 kids, so I have 4 groups (3 groups of 5 and one group of 4). 
This allows my higher readers to read more and read at their pace without becoming frustrated.  And this also allows my struggling readers to feel less pressure, because they are grouped with other readers who read at their pace and their level.

Each group has a different packet......that I put together.  They will use this packet for the entire book.  This packet contains work on the specific skills that we have covered (compare/contrast, sequencing, making predictions, etc.), and it always has comprehension questions.  I keep the books and the packets together in a colored tray/box (different colors for each group) and the kids know that when I say it's time for book club, they need to gather their materials, {cop a squat} and get busy :)

I am lucky enough to have a special education teacher in my room for about an hour and a half each day.  Of course, this is when I schedule book club!!!  She sits with my strugglers and keeps them on task and occasionally reads a page or two to keep them on track and to help with fluency and comprehension.  This frees me up to run around to my other 3 groups and check in on them and read some, too! 

I do book club for about 30-40 minutes each day.  Usually, that's just long enough for them to get their stuff, find a spot, document what they're doing for the day and read a chapter (sometimes they get done with the reading and do the comprehension questions, sometimes they don't). 

Each group is at a different point in their book and in their book work, and that's ok.  I check in with each group and I know where they are, what they did the day before and what they should have done by the end of their book club session.

Unlike literature circles, I don't assign jobs.  Each person is responsible for reading, with the group, and contributing to the discussion and helping to answer the discussion questions.  At the end of the book, the group will have to share with the class what they read (like a book report, but better!).  They will have their choices as to how they want to present, but each member has to participate and they will also get to grade each other on their participation within the book club.

So far, my kiddos love it!  Here's a pic of them working in book club this week.....

We haven't finished our first book yet, but when we do, I'll be sure to share how they presented/shared their book with the class.

I hope you're enjoying your weekend and I hope this was helpful :)

Livin' the dream,


  1. Thanks for posting , Mandi- I'd love to try this! Your room looks great, too!

  2. What are the choices on how to present the end? Also do you do a mini lesson before having students go to their book clubs?-So students have a specific skill they should do during the clubs?

  3. Great idea to start with one book and model what you want book club to look like, etc. Thanks for posting!

  4. I just started teaching 3rd grade and want to do book club books. Is there anyway you can give me an idea of what good chapter books to use (does a website tell DRA levels on books?) Also, would love it if you could post your book and the packet you give your kids?