Comprehension Toolkit and Saying Goodbye

We've gotten in our first Comprehension Toolkit lesson.  I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but it was great!  We read Coming to America: A Thanksgiving Story.  It's not your regular Skippy Jon Jones/Lily's Purple Plastic Purse elementary picture book.  It's deep y'all.
It's the story of a family that escapes Cuba to come to America.  It gets into nothing political, but is a "simple" story of a family traveling to America on a small boat.  It is told from a child's point of view.

Needless to say, the challenges they face are a little trickier than what my kiddos and I are navigating in our lives.  This makes it a perfect book for a lesson introducing them to their inner voice.  The experiences the girl and her family go through on their trip are shock the kids and create a lot of questions.

I modeled recording questions and comments my thinking voice was saying on Post-It notes for the first five or six pages.  After those first five or six pages, I had them start recording.   I stopped at the end of each page to give them a chance to record something their thinking voice said to them.  I had given them four post its before they sat down.  They only had to record one thing on each note, but almost every single child drew lines on their post notes as the book progressed so they could continue recording.

My little teacher heart was pitter pattering with joy.  Here are some of their post its:
When I finished the book, I put them in groups of 3 or 4 and told them to use their post it notes to have a conversation about the book.  It was beautiful.  I have always read in professional books these fabulous lessons where the children get in groups and have these deep, amazing conversations.

I did the lessons.  The conversations were never beautiful or deep.  They usually went like this:
"Um, so the book was good."
"Yea, uh, I liked the end."
"The beginning was sad."
Awkward silence.
"So, this weekend we went to see . . . ."

Turns out, I had never given them the tools to have a great conversation.  The Comprehension Toolkit is an amazing resource.  My 8 and 9 years had awesome, deep fabulous conversations on the 15th day of school.

Now this isn't my genius lesson (too bad), but a lesson I took straight from my favoritest resource.

After the lesson was over, they had to choose one of their post-it notes to put on our door.  I saw many a great exit slip chart over the summer.  Like these two:

But neither would work for me.  Two reasons:
1.  I have two sections.  The reality of me taking post it notes down between sections is nonexistent.  I don't have room for two different poster areas except for on the back of my door.  Leading us to problem #2.

2.  Our fire marshal.  The perfecto place for this would be on the back of the door, right?  No paper on the back of the door per the fire marshal.

But you can't keep a good teacher down.  I finally dreamed up this:

It's not paper.  It's VINYL.  Two totally different products.  I used my uh-mazing Silhouette to cut out the letters.  I can have post-its on them every once in a while because "they are temporary in nature."  That's fire marshal code for it's only going to be up there for a very short time.

And lastly, we recently had to say a very sad goodbye.  It was this precious girl's turn to go to the great dog park in the sky.  We'll miss you sweet Stella.