July Workshop Wednesday: Pre-Student Set-Up - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

July Workshop Wednesday: Pre-Student Set-Up

This month, we are sharing some tools for setting up Writer's Workshop, Reader's Workshop, and Math Workshop. Feel free to share in any format you'd like! Maybe you want to share about a resource book you are reading, or maybe you have to make some things in advance... or MAYBE you just have to talk through your thought process of getting the workshop to come together! Please just keep your posts about the set-up for now (think, "pre-kiddos") because student routines and "first weeks" will come later! :)

This week, I'm focusing on:
I am teaching a Staff Development Workshop this week on using extended texts at our county Summer Literacy Institute. I am fortunate enough to be a part of a county that offers such wonderful sessions, and also allows me to teach them! :) We are also lucky to have Dodge Learning Resources come on site and offer AMAZING discounts on books- children's literature, non-fiction, and teacher resource books! Now y'all know this is dangerous. The institute is three days.... that's three days of shopping!! Yesterday, I spent $54, but saved $35! (This is where you talk me down and tell me to step away from the books........)

So what does that have to do with setting up Reader's Workshop?? Well, one of the books I bought was the other Aimee Buckner book, Notebook Connections! (I spoke about her first book in my first WW post this month.)
This book pairs perfectly in my classroom with my "Workshop Bible:" Fountas & Pinnell's Guiding Readers and Writers. You'll hear more about it in August for Workshop Wednesday. :)
I'll share the other books I purchased yesterday (and Lord help me, maybe books purchased later this week...) in a future post because I definitely got some good stuff!! But let me stay on track here... :)

One of the big things Fountas and Pinnell push for is students' personal book boxes. This keeps all of the "tools" they need for Reading Workshop right in one place. My students keep their Reader's Notebook (composition notebook), a folder for handouts used during mini-lessons, sticky notes, and of course, their books they are currently reading in them. I just recently bought some pretty crates on sale at Wal-Mart to use as "shelves" for their book boxes.
I haven't decided if they are going to stay in this spot... probably not. I considered putting them at the end of their desk groups (and might still) but this is how I set them up the other day when I went to my classroom for a bit. Last year, they were all on one bookshelf, and it was fine, but it made me crazy having to call them a few at a time because they can't all get their boxes at once. If I had the crates spread around the room more (or at the end of their desk groups...), they could all go at the same time. I will also have to get a couple more crates... I totally thought 4 would fit in the crate when I bought them!

I also will update my Book Nooks chart- these are places where the students go to read other than their desk. Check out this post about them if you missed it!

My class library stayed organized from last year, so that won't be too much of a struggle to tidy up. I have all of my books organized by reading level and color-coded accordingly. I use different containers and baskets that I've collected over the years to hold the books.

The students are only allowed to get one book from my class library at a time. They have always done a great job following this rule... but those book-abandoners drive me CRAZY. Aimee Buckner talks about how to move students away from this in Notebook Connections. One thing she focuses on is having students recognize what keeps THEM reading, then choosing books accordingly.

I also love studying other awesome teachers, like Beth Newingham. I have gotten many ideas from her, and incorporate a lot of them in my class. Here is an awesome post from Beth about how she runs Reading Workshop if you're interested. I got my Book Nooks idea from her, first heard of talking back to books on sticky notes from her, and my reading partnerships were also adapted from her.

Need to build up the nonfiction section in your classroom? FOR THE NEXT 4 DAYS ONLY, you can grab a subscription to National Geographic Kids for only $9.60!! Click this link and enter promo code BACK2SCHOOL20 for the discount! :) I just grabbed mine!

I hope this post provided some ideas that are helpful to you! :)

Or use the new Add link method ?

(Submissions close in 14d 16h 49m)
Link tool by inlinkz.com


  1. I remember your post on reading nooks, thanks for the link and the reminder. I will be using book bins for my kids this year for the first time. I cleared off a shelf for them (still have to buy more at IKEA) but never thought of the logistics of all the kiddos going to get them at the same time, may need to rethink that one! Thanks for hosting this all summer, loving all the great ideas!

  2. I think I've spent more time reading your blog than I have my Bible this week--sigh. LOVE your blog!!! My question, though, is whether or not you can order directly from Dodge's site or do you have to be at an event where they are set up? Keep the great ideas coming!!!

    1. BTW--my email is lamull@burke.k12.nc.us

  3. I just bought the National Geographic magazines!! Excited! :)

    The 4th Grade Journey

  4. Book abandoners drive me crazy too!! Since we switch for reading in my grade, the students are grabbing their book boxes as they enter the classroom and the students in my homeroom grab it before them. It works out without any traffic jam after they get used to it. :) Thank you for the heads up on the magazines! Great deal!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  5. JESSICA! I LOVE the crates for book boxes! I used book boxes with my kids last year and I loved it. But I really need the bookshelf I stored them on for something else this year. I was wondering what I would do with them. PERFECT solution! Thanks for sharing!
    Diving Into 2nd Grade

  6. Thanks for the tip on the National Geo subscription! I just found your blog- Laura

  7. Sounds like we use a lot of the same things for guided reading! I have several that abandon books too. I don't like seeing some of them get in that cycle. Thanks for the National Geographic magazine tip!
    Conversations in Literacy

  8. I had all of my book boxes lined up on the floor underneath my board last year, but it drove me crazy because they would never put them back nicely. I was thinking of getting crates for mine too and putting them at the end of each group's table.


Thank you so much for stopping by! Please, leave me some love! :)

Back to Top