Leap into Literacy

January/February: Grade 3

Reading: Creating a Note-Taking System

These systems are taken from Teaching Reading in Small Groups by Jennifer Seravallo

  • Create a system in which you can keep track of individual students even when they are in a small group situation.

  • You should be able to take notes quickly and not have to recopy notes.

  • The system should be able to show one student’s progress over a period of time.

System 1: Whole class note taking

  • Should have the entire class on one piece of paper where you can record the teaching point for the small group session in one student’s box.

  • Document notes about the level of support or kind of support the child needed during the lesson.

  • Keeping track of student progress over time can be challenging with this system. Keeping the names in the same boxes will make it easier. You can keep the chart on a clipboard or in a binder for easy reference.

System 2: Small Group note taking

  • Should have one piece of paper for every time a new group is started.

  • Enter the dates on the top of the chart and record the students’ names along the left-hand column. Record the objective for the group at the top of the page.

  • Notes about the amount of support student required and ideas for future goals for that student will go in the middle boxes on the chart.

System 3: Note-taking for individual students

  • Uses one sheet of paper for each student.

  • A binder with a separate tab for each student may be used.

  • When taking notes for small group conferences write “GC”.

  • This system is the most efficient for seeing student growth over time.

System for Partners or Book Clubs:

  • Uses one sheet of paper and is broken into two columns.

  • Student names and dates are written at the top of each box.

What Do I Document?

  • Information about what was taught.

  • The next step or goal for each student.

  • The amount of support given.

  • Prompts used and the amount of time each prompt was given.

Writing: Opinion Writing

These persuasive writing prompts are great for use in whole class or small group debates. The very relatable topics will engage students and inspire them to generate and support their own opinions independently.


Keep in mind that we do not want to prompt our students during their work in Writing Workshop. But here are some suggestions for using these prompts in your classroom in different ways. The ultimate goal is to enhance the idea generation skills of your students so that they will have ideas for their opinion writing during Workshop.

•Daily "do now"
•Independent center activity during ELA
•Resource for reluctant or "stuck" writers

•Prompt for writing homework or quick-writes

•Straight-forward and valuable activity to leave in your sub-tub!

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