Building a learning community is ongoing in our classrooms. A favorite community builder and learning technique is to keep a running list of all the books we have read together. Knowing we try to read 2-4 books each day, this list can become quite long. Here are a few tips to think about it when we set this up.
Pleasing to the eye. We want this chart to be visually pleasant since it will be up the whole year. Joan uses beautiful yellow butcher paper with a starred yellow title that is bordered in black. Black is used as the border throughout the room, and we love the simplicity and continuity it provides.
- Use butcher paper and cut 4-5 pages that are the same size and staple them together at the top. You are creating a big book or flip chart with pages, so when one page is full, you just flip it over to the next page.
- Model writing the first few and then turn this job over to your students. It helps build community when students are responsible for this task. Give them the book, and ask them to record the title, author, date and number it. Even first graders can do it...though as you can see, their handwriting won't be perfect.
- Refer to the chart throughout the day. Once the chart is hanging, you will be amazed at the curricular tie ins you can make by referring back to the stories you have read regarding vocabulary, reading strategies and content learning.
If it's too late to start a year long record of books you share together as a class, what about a monthly record? So many things can be gleaned from this reflective process that is a valuable activity for your classroom community regardless of when you begin to keep the records.