Must-Haves for Reader’s & Writer’s Workshop!

August 9, 2012

Must-Haves for Reader’s & Writer’s Workshop!

August 9, 2012
Hi! I am linking up with Lindsay from My Life as a Third Grade Teacher for her first linky party (and it’s a good one!)…
This is something I love to think about–and talk about! And make things for! 
Here are some of the most important materials I need for my students in both workshops… 
A classroom library featuring a wide selection of reading.

Since I teach newcomer ELL students in grades 4 and 5, I really need a variety of texts to reach all learners in my classroom…from those just learning to read for the first time to the students reading closer to grade level.
I like to have several different options for my students. So we have a leveled section, a genre section, and a section of books sorted by subject (nonfiction topics, such as “marine life” and “sports”).
Storage for Reading Materials
I know I just talked about our Reading Drawers the other day, so I won’t go on about them again. I’m really looking forward to using them this year!
 Reading Strategies on Display

Long before I was working with an actual Reader’s Workshop model, I was reading and practicing away at the wonderful strategies in The CAFE Book. Since then, I’ve been tweaking and adapting it a bit to fit the needs of my students and to work within our Reader’s Workshop. Having those reading strategies visible makes such a difference!
Space for Anchor Charts
Ok, it would probably make more sense to say the anchor charts themselves, but I don’t have any yet since school hasn’t started. I save a huge bulletin board space in my classroom for our anchor charts (this goes for Writer’s Workshop as well).
Comfortable Reading Nooks
I was really fortunate to have received a huge carpet featuring the flags of the world from Donors Choose. It is the center of the classroom and a favorite place to read.
I also like to have a couple of small carpets and pillows in different areas, so the students can have space throughout the room when reading independently.

(Those pillows have pretty much had it but I am in love with my new brightly-colored chevron carpets!!! Thanks Alisha and Ginger!!)
Reader’s and Writer’s Binders
We use these binders are for our Reader’s Responses, writing pieces, reading logs, graphic organizers, and more. For me, these are some of the most important tools for both workshops.
I’m in the process of setting these up as we speak (well, we’re not really talking but you know what I mean!). Last year, I used separate binders for the two workshops, but I am merging them into one binder for this year’s class.
I’m working on some additional sections for them this year–more to come on that later! 
And that’s about it! What are some of your must-haves for Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop? Thanks Lindsay, for a wonderful linky party!!


  • Mrs. Patton August 9, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Great ideas, thanks! I absolutely adore your Alphabet, too!

    Colleen Patton
    Mrs. Patton’s Patch

  • Ginger Snaps August 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Loving that carpet!! 😉 Can't wait to see the finished genre cards! I bet they are fab! =) I am going to be adding some fun new things I made to my blog tonight! YAY! I finally feel like I'm making progress!

    Ginger Snaps

  • Amanda August 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I'm combining my reading and writer's notebooks into one literacy binder this year too. I can't wait to see what you come up with. I'm one of your newer followers. 🙂

    The Teaching Thief

  • Stephanie @ 3rd Grade Thoughts August 9, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Oh my goodness- I want to be a kid in your class! Everything looks sosososo wonderful and I can't wait to see more about your binders- that's already on the list for next year, I think 🙂

    3rd Grade Thoughts

  • Lindsay August 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    So excited that you linked up! Thank you! Love your ideas. I wish I was as organized as you are!

  • Ximena August 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I love the carpet!! I am running to get one. Can't wait to see more pictures. My school ran out of bulletin paper, so I am going to buy some over the weekend. I am e-mailing pictures as soon as I can.

    • Kristen August 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      I'm looking forward to it Ximena!!! 🙂

  • Reagan Tunstall August 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    It's all so wonderful!

  • Mrs. Cupcake August 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Ah that carpet! I've seen it everywhere!!
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  • Tonya August 10, 2012 at 12:31 am

    I too am merging my reading and writing binders! I can't wait to see what you have planned:)

    Tonya’s Treats for Teachers

  • Holly August 10, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I think I need to stop looking…my heart is beating a 1,000,000 beats a minute…I haven't been into my classroom yet, and I just don't know if I can live up to your cuteness!!! 😉

    Loving it all..and I have that beloved carpet now too! Mwwwwah!

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  • Sandy Fiorini August 10, 2012 at 1:54 am

    What a great idea to merge reading and writing workshop together in one binder. I also like your book drawer idea. I will have to remember that one.

    I also have the chevron carpet. I just love the colors.

    Ms. Fiorini’s Stadium

  • Elizabeth August 10, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Wonderful ideas, Kristrn. I love the rug:)

  • Elizabeth August 10, 2012 at 2:43 am

    Oh you terrible iPad… I clearly know how to spell your name. I swear 🙂
    Sorry, Kristen.

  • Alisha August 10, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Your room looks fantastic! So glad you found the fabulous rug!

  • Muggy Pierfelice August 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Hi Kristen! I am trying to make a CRAFT board but mine is using different letters. "I CAN!" so I can't use your letters. When you bought the circles were you able to easily put letters on them?

    • Kristen August 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      Yup, I just used powerpoint and created a textbox over the circle. 🙂

  • YoungTeacherLove August 11, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Oh my goodness Kristen!! I have the SAME rug!! I am doing a black/neon theme this year, and I got the rug last week at Big Lots!! Ha!! Too funny!! Your picture taking skills make it look so cute and cozy!

    Young Teacher Love 5th Grade Blog

  • teaching fashionista August 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Kristen..Everything looks amazing! I've been thinking about purchasing the draws, they look so nice and neat!

  • primary practice August 11, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Kristen… that rug! Yes, I ran to Big Lots today and.,,got it! Not only that, but by coincidence, it was Teacher Discount Day, so it was 10% off. Not a deep discount, but something anyway- $17.10 {totally worth it}.

    Love your bright and colorful room! I don't use a specific "theme", but I use bright and colorful in my classroom, too!

    primary practice

  • Carmen August 12, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Kristen I had to go and buy that rug immediately! I am a first year teacher and I was able to get so many ideas and organization tricks from your blog! Also, I am only teaching 4th grade writing and reading so many of these ideas will be put into use!! Thanks again!!!


    • Kristen August 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      Carmen, your comment made me so happy, thank you!! I'm so glad some of it could be a help and may you have a WONDERFUL first year!!!

  • Stacy August 14, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I shared your blog with my colleagues and we all just love your CRAFT board and are planning to use your idea with our students. Thank you so much for sharing all of your ideas!

  • Leave a Reply


    • How’s it going with your classroom cleanup? I had a two hour block the other day and will have a whole day next week to do more. It’s surreal. Hope you are all doing well ❤️
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How much distance learning do you have left??
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    • Google drive shortcuts at a glance!
I know I shared these in a pdf the other day but I wanted to show another way to display these little time-savers.
I split them into two files and resized them so they could stay at the top of my drive as a reference need to open anything, just a couple of mini reference charts!
If you would like to try the same, please click the link in my profile to grab a copy or visit:
They are in one google slide together. To view them separately, make a second copy of the file and delete the first slide. Now you will have two google slides you can keep at the top of your drive.
I hope you can use them! I can't get enough of them!!
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    • I'm LOVING these time-saving shortcuts for google drive!
I compiled some of my favorite shortcuts that have eliminated a lot of double-clicking on well as right-clicking and selecting from a drop down menu. These things can get pretty tedious when you are trying to move quickly, right? Especially with the amount of time we are working in google drive during distance learning!
The first set of shortcuts will work on anything you have selected in your drive. So if you select a doc, you can simply click one of these letters/symbols and be on your way.
The second set features a faster way to open up new docs, slides, sheets, and more. For these shortcuts, simply click the shift key along with the letter shown in the chart. So much faster than the traditional way!
I made a pdf of these can save the file in your drive or even print a copy if you would like. Please see the link in my profile or visit:
I hope they help save you some time during distance learning!
Which one do you think will be the most handy? My two favorites right now are the renaming shortcut and the share shortcut!!
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    • Who else loves a good shortcut??
I seriously LOVE shortcuts. It may sound like such a small thing, but a one-click shortcut saves SO much time rather than double-clicking or right-clicking and selecting from a drop down menu.
But just one little click? Then you are on your way in an instant!
And these google shortcuts are just that...lovely, one-click shortcuts!
These are some of my favorites I started using last year...and now with all this distance learning I have found them to be so valuable as I navigate my google drive:
Open a folder or document: click letter o
Rename a folder or document: click letter n
Preview a document: click letter p
Share a document: click the dot symbol
And that's all! Select any folder or document you are working on, click on of these letters/symbols, and you are on your way to the next step in your work!
I have a few more shortcuts to share and would love to put them together in a document that can be saved/printed...can anyone use this? Let me know and I will share it tomorrow!
Happy shortcutting!! And, more importantly, happy weekend my friends!
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I love this one so much.
You know how google docs always open with Arial? Like size 11 I think? It's not that Arial is bad or anything...but it's definitely not my go-to font.
Luckily, there is a way to make your favorite font (and font size!) display automatically in docs! So every time you open a new doc, no more time wasted in selecting your favorite font and font size! It is SO awesome!
And really easy to do! Here are the steps (shown in the pictures step by step too):
1. Open a new google doc. Type a word or phrase and highlight it.
2. Select the text and choose your favorite font and font size. Keep the text highlighted.
3. Go to Format > Paragraph Styles > Normal Text > Update 'Normal Text' to Match.
4. Then go to Format > Paragraph Styles > Options > Save as my default styles.
Now your new font is ready to go! Each time you create a new doc, your font will be there more time wasting changing fonts and sizes!!
Have you tried this feature before? I hope it helps save you some time if you haven't!
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