Q: Are there things I should save and/or organize as this year ends to help me for next school year?
1. Don’t be too quick to send home all the students’ writings. First look through them and see what possible “anchor papers” you can find. Look for general writing samples (high, middle, low). But also, look for anchor papers that correspond with particular writing assignments or projects you complete (e.g. caterpillar/butterfly life cycle writing; the farm field trip reflection; a science lab report; a research paper; etc.). It’ll be great next year to have some examples of “good” and “weak” writing to reveal to students. (NOTE: If you created writing rubrics to go with these writings, also keep those.)
2. For those of you who have started a 6-Traits mini-lesson organization plan, there is a good chance that lessons, anchor papers, handouts, and other resources have been piling up on your desk and nearby shelves. Now is the time to get them filed and sorted into your files.
3. If the writing organization has been working well, consider creating a similar Reading file box this summer. In a portable hanging file box, I have file folders sorted by each comprehension strategy (visualization, inferring, predicting, etc.) Each of my lessons is housed by comprehension skill— no longer by story or novel. I have found this much more handy. When you adopt a new reading series, stories you used to read may no longer be a part of your curriculum next year. However, you’ll probably want to incorporate some of the same comprehension strategies and activities you’ve created for previous texts to go with the new text. That said, it will make them easier to find if you sort them by strategy and not by story.
4. As you’re tidying your room, create your shopping list. Some of you have realized you want more toys, triggers, and concrete objects to teach your mini-lessons (e.g. Slinkies, plastic phones, yo-yos, etc.). Make a list of the toys you want to look for at summer garage sales. (TIP: Some teachers have also looked to purchase a used plastic toy box to store all these items.) Also, keep a list of the writing supplies you want to add to your writer’s workshop (e.g. sticky notes, gel pens, Post-it flipchart paper, etc.) Have that list handy in August when all those products go on sale.