Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Workshop Wednesday Link Up!

I'm so excited to link up with Jivey for Workshop Wednesday!  This week's topic is a big one: graphic organizers!  I use graphic organizers ALL the time in my read alouds to model  the great thinking kids should do in their independent reading.

Right now, I am focused on CCSS 5.5 (explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem).  On our most recent practice test, this was a huge area of concern.  Can I be honest and say that I wasn't even really sure what they kids needed to do demonstrate mastery of this standard until I saw some of the prompts on this test?  The one that stands out to me was something like, "The first paragraph of this passage describes the setting.  Why did the author include the second paragraph?"  Once I saw that question, I realized that the students needed to be able to determine the purpose of different parts of a story.  They would need to explain WHY the author included different chapters and parts of a passage.

Keeping this goal in mind, I created this little organizer.

Click the image to download a pdf version.

I used this graphic organizer to model my thinking as we read Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting.  Please don't judge my chart!  I didn't really think I'd be sharing it!

Sloppiness aside, you can see from the chart that we looked at the first page and summarized.  Then we looked at the next page and summarized.  To fill in the connection, we asked why are these pages together?  Why did the author include them?  What's the connection?  We did the same for the next few pages and used that information to notice the author's emphasis on consequences for people who get caught in the airport.  After modeling my thinking about the pages and their purpose, I sent my kiddos off to do the same in their independent reading.

Right now, my guided reading group (The Tale of Despereaux) is working on the same chart, but instead of working with pages, they are working with the four books within the book.

Tell me, how do you use graphic organizers in your classroom?


  1. That is a great graphic organizer! I really like how streamlined it is. We use KWL's, Venn and H diagrams, webs and story maps most often. I was impressed on a recent writing test when 9 out of 10 kids immediately started brainstorming with a web!

    Everyone deServes to Learn

  2. I love the book Fly Away Home. It can be used for so many things.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  3. I really like how you set up this organizer. I find it easy to use organizers with picture books but harder with chapter books - this post gave me some good ideas, thanks!

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  4. Thanks for sharing and for linking up! I'm your newest follower! :)
    ideas by jivey

  5. Fabulous Organizer!


  6. Great organizer! This shows that the students not only understand the text enough to summarize, but enough to make many meaningful connections, including author's purpose. Love it!

    The 4th Grade Journey

  7. Thanks for sharing your organizer! Definitely going to use it during my Reading Workshop time very soon. I love "Tale of Despereaux." One of my boys is reading it right now! I'm a new follower!

    HokIe Teach