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Nov 16 / The Teacher Geek

A Peek Inside a Guided Reading Planbook

I’m always on the lookout for better ways to plan and organize my Guided Reading groups. I need it to be flexible, but I don’t want to have to decipher a ho-jillion notes afterward (that’s what a good template is for, no?). I wanted to sho

w you the result of my endless tinkering. Notice I didn’t say final result. As all Teacher Geeks know, no planning is ever final.

This post assumes you know the basics of Guided Reading. It’s not a primer on the delivery of lessons, I’m just telling you what kind of management system works for me. **If you use Workshop Model with conferencing, this system could work for you. You’ll just want specific conference forms designed for your Unit of Study. It’s all about the paper trail, folks!**

First, get yourself a good binder. It can be fancy-pants, or utilitarian. I like somewhere in the middle: Binders by Wilson Jones. They have a soft, flexible cover, good for jamming it into my Teacher Geek Book Bag amongst the mounds of other papers. My favorite is the View-Tab Presentation Binder (click for photo). Here’s a photo of my beloved:

Should I add to the cover, "Don't even THINK of touching this!!!" like I did with my 4th grade diary? OK, maybe not.

Should I add to the cover, "Don't even THINK of touching this!!!" like I did with my 4th grade diary? OK, maybe not.

I know, it’s glorious, right? Oh well, I did pick the “Herculanum” font deliberately. I wanted it to seem like some ancient book of secrets. That and because bringing some of my students up a reading level was going to be a herculean task. And I don’t have time to mess with clip art.

Second, make a roster.

Names have been smudged purposely.  I heart Photoshop.

Names have been smudged purposely. I heart Photoshop.

You will use this roster for more than just Guided Reading. I use it to check off homework, permission slips, any occasion where you need to track who has done what when. Make many blank copies at the beginning of the year. For Guided Reading, it serves as an “at-a-glance” for each student and how they are progressing through the reading levels. It also helps me track who’s read which book as the groupings change. I highlight the title of the book at the top when the group is done with it completely. I don’t know why the second book isn’t highlighted. I hate loose ends. *sigh*

Third, decide what you need to plan and execute lessons. These will become your tabbed sections. Here’s a look at my tabs:

Herculanum font makes any text look ancient and important.

Herculanum font makes any text look ancient and important.

I need both a weekly planning page and an individual lesson page. All tabs are explained further below, and because I love you, Teacher Geeks, files of all of these blank templates are at the bottom of this post for you to use and hack for yourselves. Keep reading!

Tab 1: Weekly Group Planner:

This would be a dream week. I need to stay in dreamland if I think this is how it will all play out.

This would be a dream week. I need to stay in dreamland if I think this is how it will all play out.

I make a new one of these each week. To interpret this table, I meet with Group 5 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:30-9:45. As I go through the week, I slash a highlighter through the groups that I meet with. The groups, students’ names, levels (I use both F&P and DRA), and current books are listed at the bottom. I have a one-hour block in the morning for Guided Reading. But, I have to work around various pull-outs for over half of my kiddos, so I really, really, have to stick to the 15 per group time frame. That’s why I leave myself a buffer from 10:15-10:30 for lessons that run long, or if there’s been a “argh” distraction, like a fire drill. You can see that I meet with the lower groups more often than the higher groups.

Tab 2: Lesson Plans & Observations:

The squiggly vertical lines indicate a meeting on another day.  The sloppy handwriting by me indicates that I need more coffee.

Click to enlarge. The squiggly vertical lines indicate a meeting on another day. The sloppy handwriting by me indicates that I need more coffee.

This is the nitty-gritty, the nuts and bolts of this operation. Sorry so small. Still working on formatting in the blogosphere. The top half is planning and done before meeting with the group. I plan out:

  • Objective/Focus
  • Standards Addressed
  • Resources Needed (Materials)
  • Introducing the Text
  • Reading the Text
  • Discussing the Meaning
  • Teaching for Strategies
  • Word Work
  • Extensions

The bottom half is my record of the meeting, with places to write observations of each student. On the opposite page, I keep any sticky notes the students produce, which helps with assessment.

Tab 3: Reference resources: IMG_4616

This tab contains Word Families, Fry phrases and Dolch word lists, and our district’s grade-level sight word lists.

Tab 4: Reading Level Conversion Chart:

I also have this laminated near my Guided Reading library.  Nerd-ish overkill?  Or uber-efficient?  Discuss.

I also have this laminated near my Guided Reading library. Nerd-ish overkill? Or uber-efficient? Discuss.

This chart is from Harcourt, which is now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I also use one from Scholastic. The reason I need it is that I’ve worked in two different districts, one that used Fountas & Pinnell’s system and the other that used DRA. I have materials labeled from both, hence, the chart needed.

Tab 5: Various leveled book lists, by genre and by level.

Uh, yeah.  The photo needs to be rotated.  Or you could rotate your head.  Sorry and thanks.

Uh, yeah. The photo needs to be rotated. Or you could rotate your head. Sorry and thanks.

I’m also a fan of the Scholastic Book Wizard to figure out what level a certain book is. But being that there’s one computer in the classroom and often I’ve put a student on it, I need my reference charts. They’re from various places: colleagues, book publishers, and myself. It’s mish-mosh, really. And VOILA! There you have it! A peek inside my Guided Reading Planbook. As promised, here are links to all of the blank templates listed above.

Here’s a blank roster for you: Blank Classroom Roster

Here’s my blank weekly planner: Guided Reading Weekly Planner

Here’s my blank lesson planning and observation doc (it’s a doc I hacked from Denver Public Schools): Guided Reading Lesson Planning Template

Thanks for reading. I’m off to tinker with my planbook now.

9 Comments

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  1. JDarcey / Nov 16 2010

    Looks good, Teacher Geek!

  2. Justin the first year teacher / Oct 16 2011

    You…are a saint. This should help me get somewhat organized in my planning!

    • The Teacher Geek / Oct 17 2011

      Thank you. Every year I tweak it a bit (like this year I changed the middle tab to be for assessment data), and you will too. Good luck!

  3. Eileen Cater / Aug 30 2012

    Thank you fo the ideas and the template… I am off to a better year now.

  4. Carolyn / Sep 2 2012

    Looks great! This should help me with my planning. Thank you so much for helping me to get started.

  5. Joey / Oct 1 2012

    Thank you so much!!! Just what I was looking for!

  6. Lauren / Nov 4 2012

    Hi Teacher Geek
    I teach future teachers at a small private college. Would you be interested in doing a web chat/Skype chat with my students? Any Monday morning! Let me know!
    Lauren

    • The Teacher Geek / Dec 6 2012

      Sure, it depends on the time of day. Some Mondays I have meetings before school. You can email me directly at thegeekteacher (at) gmail (dot) com.

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