Status of the class is a technique that I borrowed from Nancie Atwell. When I first read about this technique in her book In the Middle, I wasn’t convinced that it was one I wanted to adopt. But after trying the technique for just one week, I realized how much valuable assessment information it allowed me to gather. Here is how status of the class works:
1. Photocopy the status of the class form.
2. Record each student’s name on the form, duplicate multiple copies, and place on a clipboard or in a 3-ring binder. I keep mine in my assessment notebook.
3. At the beginning of Reading Workshop I have all of my students assembled in front of me for a a whole group minilesson. At the end of the minilesson my students begin reading their independent reading books while I begin taking the status. I begin by asking who is writing in their response log today, dismiss those students first, and record “RL” by their names. Then I begin at the top of the list, quietly saying the student’s name…“Caitlyn”. Caitlyn quietly states the title of the book she is reading and the page number she is on. She then gets up and finds a reading spot somewhere in the classroom. I continue down the list until I have checked the status of each student. The next day I start with the second student on the list, rotating down each day.
4. Once I have taken the status for all students, I begin conducting individual reading conferences.
What I Have Noticed About Using Status of the Class
I cannot meet with every students every day or even every week, but by taking a “status of the class” each day at the beginning of reading workshop, it is as if I am having a mini “touch base” conference with every child every day. Through this five-minute activity, I am able to gather valuable information including: who is finishing and abandoning books, patterns in readers’ book preferences, who needs help selecting “just right” books, who is forgetting their reading folder at home, and much more. I highly recommend using this technique!