Monday, April 2, 2012

BIG THOUGHTS Bookmark Freebie (Foldable for Reading)

I am so inspired by the idea of foldables lately. Foldables are such a fun way to update my approach to teaching, allows me to put tools like math journals and reading notebooks to more use, allows students to be more engaged in the process of learning, and foldables have so many potential uses, it's insane. To give credit where credit is due, I was inspired by Jen at Runde's Room's Math Journal Sundays.

I just uploaded a foldable as a new freebie to teacherspayteachers. It's a Big Thoughts Foldable Bookmark. This is an update on the old Fountas and Pinnell “thinkmark.” Students use this bookmark to track their thinking before, during, and after reading. The thinkmark is created by copying the two pages back and front. Students cut along the dotted lines and fold along the middle. Students record one big thought in each block as they read, lift up the flap and record evidence from the text and/or an explanation of what led them to their thought.

This bookmark can easily allow you to explain/review different types of thinking at the beginning of the year or when students need a refresher.
Here are some Tips for using the Big Thoughts Bookmark:
* Make enough copies to have extras in the classroom and set up a place where students can get their own bookmarks when needed.
* Expect students to complete at least one thought block per independent reading session.
* Students will most likely need more than one bookmark per book. They can simply get another sheet and fold it inside of the other to keep their bookmarks for one book together.
* Make the bookmarks a critical tool during student conferences, guided reading sessions, minilessons, partner meetings, and debriefing sessions.
* During conferences, the bookmarks will allow you to quickly assess how students’ reading is going. You can use their comments to say “Tell me more about…” if the student needs to work on explaining their thinking (in writing and/or verbally) the bookmark is a tangible tool to gauge progress and use to teach them to elaborate and show evidence for thoughts.
* Since all students are using the bookmark, you can use it to individualize strategies and focus on different aspects of comprehension based on students’ individual needs.
* Teach students to turn in their bookmarks when they have completed a book. This will allow you to fully assess their thoughts. You could even develop a rubric to put on the backside of the foldable or simply use the back to record comments. (I have students staple the bookmark into their reader’s workshop notebook so that they are developing a collection of their thoughts and to use in conferences with parents. You can also expect that students get the bookmarks signed after you comment on them to keep parents more in the loop with their child’s reading.)
* Teach lessons on how to use the bookmark thoughts to write lengthier responses to reading (many teachers require this once a week). 

I am also participating in the foldable link up party, so look around to see what other foldables might inspire you.

Happy life, love, literacy! 


  1. PS-Another of my biggest reservations about implementing foldables was could easily eat up valuable reading or math time :) So, I decided that anytime I use a foldable that needs to be cut, it can be done for morning work before the bell rings. Kids who get to school pretty early help out their neighbors by cutting their foldables for them. Also, I realize my kiddos will get faster at getting these foldables ready the more we use them. Happy teaching!

  2. Hi--I would like a copy of the bookmark, however, I do not see it on TPT. Is it available somewhere else? Thanks!



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