The Forms I Use – Readers Workshop in the Middle School Classroom

image from etsy

Teaching 120+ students comes with its own challenges, one of them being, paperwork.  After all, how do you keep track of who is doing what, which child is participating, what they are reading, and all of those others things I would like to know so that I can have deep reading conversations with them?  While some prefer electronic methods of keeping track, I must admit I am more of paper and pencil kind of teacher (weird, I know).  When I have tried taking notes on a computer or my phone, I have seen it as a barrier between me and the child.  But a clipboard and a pencil, no big deal.  So what have I been using in the classroom?

A binder for every class.  I have a 2″ binder for every class I teach where each child has their own section.  I printed out their pictures, added old test information, and then tried to memorize their names (not so much their test scores right now).

My “What have I noticed form” – a sheet with this title on it sits in every child’s tab.  When I pop around the classroom, I take notes on address labels that can easily be placed on the child’s page after class.  My clipboard and I come to the kids, who are getting used to me popping next to them to ask them what they are working on.

A quick participation/focus/deep thoughts sheet.  I noticed that I was writing a lot of the same things down about certain kids after every class and immediately knew that I needed a checklist.  Thus this form was created, a quick check off sheet that again sits in every kid’s file and I flip through it after most classes.

Our yearly goal sheet.  I keep these as well but students fill out reading goals every month and then reflect on whether they met them or not at the end.  They also write down their goals in their notebooks so that they remember them.  To see them, click here.

Reading reflections.  We are working on taking ownership over our own reading journey so reflection is huge.  These are filled out and a copy is sent home in case parents wants to see their thoughts.  I encourage students to reflect honestly because otherwise they cannot grow.  Here is our “Halfway through the quarter” reflection.

In 5th grade, my forms looked a lot different.  They were meant for small groups and lengthier one-on-ones, I am still hoping to modify them for 7th grade.  To see all of my 5th grade forms, click here

I am a passionate  teacher in Wisconsin, USA,  who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press.  Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

6 thoughts on “The Forms I Use – Readers Workshop in the Middle School Classroom”

  1. I just want to say ‘THANK YOU’ for writing about connecting with parents and families about their reading at home! I tweeked your at home survey and sent it home to my grade 3 families and am glowing with their responses and insights. This is a valuable piece of information that was quickly accessed thanks to your great idea! I love it!

  2. I just stumbled upon your site and look forward to diving into it more. I teach reading in a MS. I see 100 or more kids a day for 43 minute periods. I’m striving to use a workshop approach where the kids choose their own books and I conference 1-1 with them. Last year my sixth graders (approximately 85 of them) and I wrote letters back and forth about their reading. Every 6 days we corresponded. I wrote A LOT of letters. The paperwork is a struggle. Getting to know 100+ kids as readers is a struggle. I’d love to have someone to collaborate with that is trying a similar approach in a similar situation. The time constraints make me crazy. But looking around the room and seeing 25 or so kids engaged in reading is my reward.

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