Reflection on organization, independent reading and learning habits

Parent conferences are coming up next week, and that’s always a good time to reflect on how things are going overall. We’ll start that process this week on Day 7 and 8 (Monday and Tuesday). We’ll continue on Day 1 and 2 by writing drafting a letter to our parents. The details of the assignment are on Google Classroom; the purpose of this is to focus our thinking and practice our writing. We’re doing this a little early this year, because we’ve got other things to do next week, and I don’t want to overload you in the run up to conferences!

Reading: Thinking about characters and change

On days 3 and 4 (Tuesday and Wednesday) we reviewed reading strategies with a read aloud mini-lesson. In middle school, text gets more complex in many ways. For one thing, the internal lives of characters is often just as important as the action going on in the plot. We need to pay attention to these things, which often requires us to infer and to pay close attention to detail. We are expected to be able to analyze the way characters change over time, and we need to be able to trace the development of the big ideas in text.  Wow! That’s a lot, and when you remember we have to support our ideas with evidence from the text, it can seem like an even bigger job. In order to manage all this, we’ve got to use the strategies we have learned in a consistent way!

This week on Days 5 and 6, when we confer about independent reading, I’ll ask you to talk about the strategies you’ve been using in your reading, and I’ll ask you to pay special attention to the characters in the book you’re reading: how they may be changing and what evidence you can use to support your thinking.

Reflecting on our Learning Habits

This week on Day 7 and Day 8 (Wednesday and Thursday), we’ll reflect on our learning habits so far this year. You’ll rate your self on four learning habits we talk about at AES, and you’ll give some reasons why you feel this way. You’ll also set some goals for how you want to move forward. Below are the learning habits and some questions to get you thinking about each one.


  • Were you open and willing to listen to other’s ideas?
  • Did you listen to others to expand ideas and thinking?
  • Were you considerate of the learning environment (were you on time, did you clean up your mess, etc.)?
  • Did you demonstrate a positive attitude toward learning, peers, and teachers?


  • Did you complete assignments and homework?
  • Did you come to class prepared?
  • Were you organized? Did you keep track of your learning (study planning; agenda, etc.?
  • Did you follow through with commitments and obligations?


  • Did you work with others to build your understanding?
  • Did you share and supported other group members?
  • Did you demonstrate positive behavior that supported group learning?


  • Did you consider feedback from others to improve your learning?
  • If you needed help in order to be the best student possible, did you for it appropriately?
  • Did you work hard even when challenges arose?

Reading is thinking

Good readers think as they read; that’s why we say ‘Reading is Thinking.’ There are many ways to think about what we read, but most good readers use a mix of strategies. On day 5 and 6 (Thursday and Tuesday), we’ll review some of the ways good readers think about what we read. I’ll demonstrate these a quick read aloud. Then we’ll practice.

I’ll give you two post-it’s. On one post-it, write an example of a thinking strategy you have used in your independent reading. Then sign up for a reading conference so we can check in about that, as well as your independent reading goal for next year.

Good readers:

Connect: Good readers use what they know to better understand what they read.

  • ‘This reminds me of something that happened to me.’Reading is thinking
  • ‘This reminds me of something I know from school.’
  • This reminds me of another book I read.

Question: Good readers ask questions as they read.

  • ‘I wonder….
  • ‘Who, what, where, when, why?’

Predict: Good readers use clues to think what might happen next.

  • ‘I predict ____ will happen…’
  • ‘I think this character will____ because….’

Infer: Good readers use clues and what they know to understand things that are not directly stated in a book.

  • ‘I think this means that…’
  • ‘This clue makes me think the character is nervous/sad/happy.’

Visualize and use sensory images: Good readers imagine what a story looks, smells, sounds like…

  • ‘In my mind I see…’
  • ‘In my mind, I hear…’

Determine what is important: Good readers use what is important in what I read so they can summarize it or find answers to what they want to know.

  • ‘This was mainly about….
  • ‘I found answers to what I wanted to know in chapter 5 of this book….’

Synthesize: Good readers pull together many ideas to find the big ideas or themes in what they read.

  • ‘The theme of this book is….’
  • ‘One big idea I see here is that…’

Use evidence: Good readers support my thinking about what they read with evidence or clues.

  • ‘I think this because it says…’
  • Because I know____, and it says ____, I think….’
  • ‘I can tell____, because it says_____’