Penzu Journal Entries Hilary Manzone/READ6407Week 1: Preparation for the studyMonday (1/9)- I organzied my action research binder with different tabs labeled for different parts of mystudy. I started a check-off list for the parental permission forms that will be sent out tomorrow in theirTuesday Folders. I am awarding students 3 tickets if they turn the permission form in this week whether ornot they are participating. Tickets are a reward system that they have been used to all year so they wereexcited to turn them in.Tuesday (1/10)- Permission forms were sent home today in their Tuesday Folders.Thursday (1/11)- I received about half the class permission forms from both classes. Hoping by the endthe week I have a better turn out! If students do not bring them back, I will not have them participate anduse their data in the research study.Friday (1/12)- Permission forms been collected. A few more need to come back and Im sending outemails to parents requesting for the permission forms to be returned by Tuesday (when students go backto school) while making sure parents know that there is no pressure to agree to participate. I also madesure copies were ready for the comprehension assessments and garfield reading surveys.Future plans for next week:**In my action research proposal, I planned on starting my study the week of the 16th. The 16th is MartinLuther King Jr. Day so the official start date will be the 17th with the administration of the comprehensionassessment and reading survey.Monday (1/16)- No SchoolTuesday (1/17)- Students in control group and intervention group will be given the comprehensionassessment and the Garfield Reading Survey during Self-selected reading time. Students that are absentwill complete the two pieces of data during Self-Selected Reading time the following day.Wednesday (1/18)- Review/Introduction to Literature circles to the intervention group. Book choices willbe given and selected.Thursday (1/19)- Day 1 of Literature CirclesFriday (1/20)- Day 2 of Literature CirclesNote:Control group will be reading independently during Self-selected reading time 9:25-10:10. This year Ihave pulled small guided reading groups during self-selected reading time. I will continue this with mycontrol group as I have all year.Intervention group will be completing literature circles during self-selected reading time 9:25-10:10.Because this week was shortened by one day of no school, I plan on having 3 literature circle sessionsthe following week for 45 minutes each.Week 2: Start of the studyTuesday 1/17: Administration of reading cbm and Garfield Reading Interest Survey to both theintervention group and the control group. The Garfield Reading Interest Survey was given during the
traditional SSR time and lasted about 5-10 minutes depending on each child. The reading comprehensionassessment was distributed right after the survey and lasted about 25-30 minutes.Wednesday 1/18: Introduction and review of literature circles. This day was also used for administeringthe survey and reading cbm (during SSR time) to a few students that were absent on Tuesday. I used apowerpoint to explain the literature circle process and gave a short description of each job. This was agreat chance for students to ask questions. Many questions had to do with the length of time, who was toshare their job, etc.Thursday 1/19:CONTROL GROUP: Standard SSR time/Small groups. Students are reading their self-selected booksand use self-reflection sheets that require students to use CROP-QVS strategies. Im also continuing topull a small guided reading group as I have been doing the past few months for small group support.INTERVENTION GROUP: Student selection of literature circle booksStudents were given a choice of four books to choose from based on their reading level.Here are the groups I previously had for guided reading:Based on these groups, I gave groups 1 & 2 a selection of four books, groups 3 & 4 had a selection offour books, and group 5 had a selection of four books. I was wondering how group 5 was going to worksince they were choosing from 4 books and there were only 6 students in the group. If I had to, I wasgoing to split them up into separate literature circles (groups of 3) based on their selection. I do agree withHarvey Daniels that students need to choose their own choice of material and books, but I also want toguide students in selecting books appropriate for their reading level. They each were given a sheet thathad their name and a place to write their top three favorite choices. Based on the choices, I was able todevelop groups.Even though the students chose the books based on reading level, most of the groups were now mixedsince their choices were all different. For example, there was a mixture of group 1 and group 2 studentsnow as well as a mixture from group 3 and 4. I also had a student in group 5 choose a book from group 3& 4s selection because they really interested in it and their choices didnt quite fit in with the rest of group5s selection.As I called the groups individually to the table to choose their books, I made sure to give them some tipson choosing a book as well as a little information on each book so they had an idea what it was about. Ireminded them not to judge a book by its cover and made a connection to another book we read as aclass. (the read aloud book I chose had an older book cover and looked unappealing to most students,but as I read it, the interest students had in the book was outstanding!) I also asked students to talk withone another in the group, think aloud as they were choosing, and preview the book by looking inside. Asstudents were selecting, I made some important observations:-Even with my guidance, it seemed groups 1 & 2 were choosing books based on the front cover. Therewas not much discussion happening. I also noticed the girls were choosing based on interest (dolphins)which is what Im looking for -->Choosing books based on interest!-Group 3 had a little more discussion going when choosing books and took twice the time to decide thangroups 1 & 2.-Group 4 had the most discussion out of all the groups and it took them even longer to make a bookselection. Most of the students flipped through the pages making predictions about what the book wasgoing to be about. One student, Daniel, said "Ive heard of Lewis and Clark but I want to learn more about
them. I like history." I also noticed them choosing the books based on the titles since they seemedinteresting such as "Pigs Can Fly." Many students put that as their top choice!-Group 5 seemed to be more quiet about book selection but seemed to be more analytical when chosingtheir books. They erased their answers quite a few times before making their final choices. One of thegirls, Ally, said "This one seems to easy, I want something more challenging." It was so nice to hear thiscoming from students so that the teacher doesnt need to remind them all the time that they need to readbooks appropriate for their reading level. Surprisingly, most students chose the thickest book available!Friday 1/20:CONTROL GROUP: Standard SSR time/Small groups. Students are reading their self-selected booksand use self-reflection sheets that require students to use CROP-QVS strategies. Im also continuing topull a small guided reading group as I have been doing the past few months for small group support.INTERVENTION GROUP: Start of Literature Circles- 30 minutes. The literature circle groups met for thefirst time in their assigned areas. They gathered their materials (literature circle binder and bag of books).First they reviewed the sheet of literature circle qualities (how they should act and work well within ateam). They practiced using the spinner to get jobs as well as read over the description of each job again.They used their writing journals to predict what the book was going to be about.My to-do: Friday I entered the scores into easy cbm lite edition online. I have a two more students to addsince they did not finish the reading comprehension completely. This weekend I plan on working ongathering the results from the Garfield Survey.Next week:Monday: Teacher Work DayTuesday: First OFFICIAL literature circle dayWendesday: Second DayThursday: Third DayFriday: Regular SSR time so students have a chance to take AR tests and I can hold one small guidedreading group (as I have throughout the year).Week 3: Beginning of literature circles1/24-11:30-12:00 The students were organized in their groups. They chose their jobs. Group 3 was arguing alittle bit about the jobs they received, but overall were able to get back on track right away.It was amazing how quiet it got when they started their literature circles. They were all reading, not one ofthe students was fooling around or talking. I hope this keeps up from day to day!One students was absent: Carolyn Murison- She will have to make it up during reading at home.Deivon finished early in group 3 and tried to cover his head with his hood, so I need to make sure they areengaged. Im going to come up with activities to do when they are finished with their "job." Possibly I willhave them reflect in their writing journals.*I also mentioned a culminating project for them to complete at the end of literature circles. Ideas includea play, a movie/video, poster, etc. Im going to let them choose and they seemed very excited to againhave the freedom of choice!1/25
The students were more prepared today when they got to their literature circles. I had them review whatthey read the day before. Last year students worked on one chapter a week. I think it helps that studentsare working on liteterature circles 3 days in a row.*I also added a document on my Smartboard for ideas for what to do when finished. They include:-Re-read the chapter-Write a reflection on the chapter on the back of your literature circle job worksheet-Preview the next chapter-Create a poem representing the chapter-Create a newspaper article representing the chapter.I am going to come up with more, but I wanted to at least have something prepared.Im concerned about students getting off task. Im reading an article titled " " and it has an idea of placinga tape recorder at the group to make sure students are having discussions relevant to their book/topic. Ialso have concerns about how students are going to make up the work when they are absent. I thoughtthat students should work on the next chapter when they arrive at school, but make sure to take the bookhome that night or weekend to catch up. I explained at the beginning of literature circles that it is their jobto complete the reading.Group 2 really put effort in their jobs this week. They were even using the back of their paper to continuetheir job or complete an after reading task. They started their discussion early since their chapter wasshorter. I noticed that they need a lot of practice and guidance with how to have a good discussion andhow to react/reflect after they share their jobs. I think I will be spending a lot of time with groups 1 and 2 tosupport them with their responses. For example, after Yousef shared his letter to the author that he wrote,I asked the students to ask questions and respond. One student said "What was the main idea of yourletter." I tried to explain that it was a good question but is not really relevant since it is a letter.Group 1: Finished early, but was quiet while working.Group 3: Devion struggled to complete an after work task. He would try to put his head down and say hewas done even after asking him to complete an after reading task.Group 4: Always has good discussions, and tends to start a discussion while they are working on jobs.Group 5: Their book requires a deeper level of thinking and they took a little more time to complete theirreading. They seem to work on their jobs as they read which is a great observation.1/26- The students are really in the rhythm of literature circles now. They are enjoying their jobs a lot, but Iwould like to do away with "job sheets" and have students work on creating questions for discussion onweeks 4 & 5. I will continue job sheets next week to help students stay on track.Week 4: Last week of literature circle jobsBecause picking jobs has been difficult for some groups, and sometimes seems like a waste of paper, Ivedecided to take a different route next week. Id like to give them an ability to write in their writing journalsabout the book they are reading and create questions to use to discuss with their group. I know that I willhave to make time to check in with these journals to keep students accountable. I also want students tocontinue taking advantage of the activities to work on when finished. (Extension activities)January 30th (Monday)- Some of the students are having difficulty changing up jobs and being able toselect them without arguing. I had to intervene in one group since they spent about 5 minutes arguing
about the jobs and whos turn it was to spin. Every other group was able to choose the jobs quickly.Especially Groups 1, 3, and 5. Groups 2 & 4 had some difficulty due to the some of the students bringingup "fairness" in the group.Group to sit on with today: Group 2I started with the discussion director. Mikaylah asked "Why do Eugene and her friends have to study thesharks?" Yousef- Because she studied sharks.Markel- because she swam with them as a little girl. Markelshared his correspondent job..we had a discussion about how she wrote underwater. We talked abouttechnology they would need to work underwater. It was interesting because he thought outside the boxand also asked a question even though he was writing a letter. The kids in this group was actually tryingto make connections. The discussion started where they started taking turns. Ethan was talking aboutwhat kinds of fish and crayfish they were eating. Ethan shared his question about what would happenwhen they pull up the crab. This was a brain question because the answer wasnt in the text. I really likethe discussion in this group today.Other groups were doing a good job wiuth their jobs except group 1 who was off task.January 31st (Tuesday)-Group to sit on with today: Group 4Selah started with a discussion question. Daniel answered the question and even talked about whether itwas a fat or skinny question. Ciara and Joseph also answered the question and gave similar questions. Italked to them how to comment on each others answers. Daniel said "we kind of had the same answerbut we said it in different ways." Joseph went next as word finder and I talked with the group about how tohave a discussion about an unknown word, by going back in the text and re-reading the text.I noticed that group 2 struggles having a discussion when I am not present in the group. Wondering if Ineed to have an incentive to get students to work together better and have better discussions. Group 5and group 4 have got it under control. Group 1 is very quiet though and group 3 seem to have theirdiscussions under control.February 1st (Wednesday)- I had professional development in the morning so I was not with my groupsfor the 1st part of literature circles, but mostly it was choosing jobs and reading. When I got back, I wasable to start groups on their discussions and sit with group 1 to listen in on their thoughts.Group to sit on with today-Group 1- Their conversation was better than the previous ones I hadoverheard. For example, they were making more connections to dolphins and putting themselves in thecharacters shoes. Alanah said that she would like to be a dolphin trainer as well as Amenah. But Alanahwanted to do most of the training outside of the water (like handing the dolphins treats and such). Shemust of been at a theme park where they have amusement shows having dolphins do tricks.February 2nd (Thursday)- This was the last day this week of literature circles. Students had a betterunderstanding of their jobs and if they did not have a "job worksheet" available in their binder, they werefamiliar enough with the jobs to take a piece of lined paper and create their own.**Concerns: Chapter numbers. Since each group has a different number of chapter numbers, I expectsome groups to finish earlier and begin a new book before others. For example, group 4 has 21 chapterswhere group 1 only has 9. I think that as the groups reading level gets higher, there is more staminaneeded to finish the book.My thoughts this week was veering away from jobs and having students think ofquestions/comments/connections as they are reading and jot them in their writing journal. Right now,every child wants to be the illustrator and althought its a motivating job for some students, I really want
the literature circles to be centered around discussion and not so much independent work. I hope it worksfor next week!Week 5: Elimination of "lit circle jobs" Focus on discussion!This week I really wanted students to spend more time reflecting than trying to spin for a job and possiblyargue about which job to take. I started a new assignment in place of the jobs that required students to dothree things before, during, or after their reading. Basically I incorporated many of the literature circle jobsinto the new assignment format. I used my smartboard to post their responsibilities for every day ofliterature circles.New daily assignment:1. Write down at least 2 thoughts/feelings about the chapter.2. Create at least 1 question about the chapter.3. Make 1 reflection on the chapter. (Make a connection, explain favorite or least favorite part of chapter,mention some difficult words, etc.)When Finished: Students can create an illustration, write a newspaper headline for the chapter, make acomic strip, or write a letter to the author or one of the characters. OR students can create their ownactivity with teacher approval! :)Tuesday 2/7- Students came right into the classroom and sat down with their literature circle supplies andstarted reading. I did not notice any issues with the reading today and they all seemed to be on task. Asthey read, I monitored around the room to check to see if they were writing down their thoughts, feelings,questions, and reactions to the chapter. I explained that sometimes I would collect their responses but fortoday, we can practice in our writing journals. I stressed how important it was to develop a question to useat discussion time and offered reading bookmarks that had the question stems available.*I also want to mention that it is amazing how much the students have read in just a couple weeks. I havestudents working on chapter books or novels sometimes for months before finishing. Especially students-Some students chose to make a goanimate for the chapter. Deivon, Cary, and ElvisWednesday 2/8- I decided to have today as a "turn in" day where students will be turning in their work. Ialso stressed the importance of writing down their thoughts and feelings while they are reading. I walkedaround while they were reading and noticed these groups writing their thoughts and feelings down: 1, 4,5, part of group 3 and part of group 2. I was impressed how group 1 was getting along today andcompleting their work while they were working. I also noticed one student used a graphic organizertemplate to organize his thoughts (elvis) instead of writing 1,2,3.-Students on computers: Brittney, Carter, and Iman.Thursday 2/9- The elimination of lit jobs is great! The kids are reading quicker and groups are writingdown more relfective thoughts instead of working on one strategy. Its almost as if the jobs sheets werepractice for what they were going to do in the future, which is a culmination of all the strategies. Im sohappy its working! The students feel good that they are finishing actual chapter books and novels in sucha short period of time. I think it motivates them to finish other books they are readingThe kids are also excited to finish early so they can do an extension activity. A lot of them want to go onthe computer on goanimate. I do have to monitor that so that all students are given a chance.-Group 1 finished their book today. I had them choose a new book. I wanted the students to take an ARtest, but there wasnt one available. The next one does have an AR test, so students can take it on that. I
want to compare their average to what they get on the test to see if they understand the text better duringliterature circles.-Group 3 is finishing today as well, but there was no AR test for them.-Students on computers: April,Friday 2/10- Group 3 started a new book today and they were given 2 choices. They checked out theback of the books and we discussed that it wasnt just about length but what the story was about. Theydecided to choose "Shoebag" by Mary James which was a level 4.7 and was worth 4 points. They reallywanted to earn points this time since the last book did not have any points attached to it. Group 3discussion: Enas mentioned that "I usually dont like books in the beginning, but I liked the beginning ofthis book."Students on computers today: Jake, BrittneyWeek 6: Continuation of Literature CirclesMonday 2/13- Students are continuing literature circles this week and next. Although Im onlydocumenting this week and next, I plan on continuing lit circles throughout the rest of year based onresults with this class and my other class (the control group) as well. Group 5 finished their book today.They were excited to take AR tests and choose a new book the following day.Computers today: Deivon,Tuesday 2/14- Group 5 chose a new book called "Sleepers, Awake." I think the cover had a lot to do withtheir selection since the other books appeared to have older looking illustrations. I noticed that some ofthe students are rushing through their book chapters so that they can get on the computer for anextension activity. I try to limit each day to which studens are allowed to go on to limit this. I used today asa turn in day where students were to turn in their reflections, questions, and extension activities. Since thebook that group 5 chose had significantly longer chapters, we decided to spend 2 days on each chapter.The group understands and is happy to have the two days to spend on it. I also decided today that sincegroup 2 is finished with their book, I wanted them to split their group in half so that they were more ontask. Group 2 is the largest group.Thinking back, I was going to have groups do a culminating activity with their book.Honestly, I had thegroups choose new books before I let them work on an activity. I dont want to make them back track so Iwill have them do a culminating activity at the end of the next book they are reading.Computer today: Selah and CarterWednesday 2/15- Group 2 chose a new book today. Out of four book selections they all chose the samebook. I gave them the independence of choosing to read 1 or 2 chapters a day since the chapters wereso short and there were 44 chapters. Elvis has stated that it would take 44 days to complete and that theymight have to read 2 a day. Surprisingly, the groups chose to read 2 a day so they can finish earlier andtake AR tests.Group 5: Ally addressed a concern today that she was having difficulty with understanding the chapter. Iexplained that sometimes with the beginning of books they can be confusing, but that if she re-reads,reads on, and discusses it with her group, she will be able to understand it better. Shaelyn in the samegroup talked about how she is figuring out what is going on while she is reading. Part of the text is adream and part is reality. As a group, we talked about how it can be challenging to understand what is adream and what is reality while reading a book. I also explained that it requires higher level thinking skillsand that I knew they could do it when working together and having group discussions.
Computer today: Amenah, Alanah,I could only use three days of literature circles this week because of an early release on Friday andassessments on Thursday.Next week I plan on implementing my last week of literature circles to record observations and take notes.The following week I will administer the reading comprehension assessment and reading interest surveyto complete the studys pre and post assessments. I am collecting data and taking my laptop around tothe literature circle groups to record student thoughts (dialogue) during literature circles.Week 7: Last week of documentation/ Reading comprehension test2/22- Literature circle discussions: Group 3: we talked about questions that they could create based onquestions that I had about the book shoebag (a story about a cockroach that turns into a human) Carterasked "How do you think shoebag will react at his first day of school?" I asked students to put themselvesin the characters shoes and tell me what routines/rules shoebag would be unfamiliar with at our ownschool. I also asked why shoebags name was shoebag. They told me and I mentioned..well wouldnt it becool if we created more names for these cockroaches. (they were named based on where they were bornsuch as a shoebag, under the toaster, etc)Computer today: Deivon, Brittney, Carter,2/23- Again the lit circles went great! Im noticing that some groups are asking to read MORE..but I wantthem to make sure they are all on the same page and have enough time to discuss.Friday I am planning on creating the reading interest survey as well as the reading comprehensionassessment. I will be using the same assessment as a post test to see if students made anyimprovements with their reading.Some important observations over the last few weeks:-Ive also noticed with the literature circles that I had students meet more than I initially expected. Ithought Id only have groups meet 2-3 times per week. Instead, students met at least 3-4 times per weekwhich I thought was great for them to keep up with the consistency of the reading.- I also noticed how diligent students were with their reading. They did not get out of their seats and walkaround, they were not staring in space, they were deeply involved with their reading and taking noteswhile reading. This is different than what I noticed from my control group in the morning. The controlgroup has the ability to take AR tests and sometimes students that typically avoid their work are getting adrink of water, a tissue etc. I think because students felt that this was more of an assignment than "freereading" time, they took it more seriously and understood the time limits to finish a chapter a day.-I wasnt sure if there was going to be enough time for reading a full chapter within one day, but it workedout just well for the first round of books. When groups began their second round of books, we did noticethat some books had chapters that were EXTREMELY short or EXTREMELY long. Therefore, somegroups read 1/2 a chapter in one day and they all agreed on which page to stop. The other groups withshorter chapters read 2 chapters a day so they wouldnt waste time. Part of the iniative too was taking anAR test and earning points.-Ive also noticed that the studens are beginning to feel more excited about choosing a new book. It feelsgood to know that the students are finishing complete novels/chapter books where as before it took themseveral months during SSR time to finish just one!
-To me, literature circles gave me an opportunity to talk about high level questioning with groups thatstruggle with creating higher level questions.