I don't feel so great today. :( I'm tired despite it being a fairly low-key, successful day.
Some of the changes I've made this semester have worked really well. I love what I'm doing with SSR. We start every day with the students reading books they've chosen. At the end of reading time, I pass out little sheets of paper (I cut scrap paper into quarter-sheets and use those) and students write their name, the title of the book, how many pages it has, and which pages they read, as well as a short summary. Those summaries get put in a business envelope which is kept in their writing portfolio. Every few weeks we go to the computer lab and they use the summaries to type up responses to a set of prompts about their SSR books. They print those out and I staple them to the wall by the classroom library. In addition, they present the responses to the class.
I've also retooled my homeworks. Most of them are thematically connected to our reading. There are others that ask the students to reflect on what they've learned and/or what is asked of them and how their work matches up to the expectations. Work is due at the beginning of the period, and so while they're reading their SSR books, I'm reading their responses. It's pretty nice - I update the gradebook EVERY DAY and it also gives me a chance to see how things are going with them (they have the option to freewrite for half the page).
I want to do more with lit groups again next term. I really didn't do much with that this term because I expanded SSR so much.
I need to go back and find my planning posts from last year...