Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

I love introducing new books to my students. Especially since our school librarian introduced this awesome way of teaching kids how to pick books based on the words inside and not on its cover. It's amazing how often we judge a book by its cover, no?

Mrs. M introduced the read around to our class. She found wonderful books that would captivate readers and placed two books in each spot around the tables. Students were given four minutes to get a glimpse into both of the books and if students were interested in reading the book, they made note of the title.

After many rounds, students were then given the opportunity to voice their opinions about which books to place on the book club list. We had twenty titles go up on the board, but were able to narrow it down to twelve books. The next day, I read a brief synopsis of each book and asked students to provide me with their top three choices. As I tried to fiddle around with the groups and its members while trying to provide students with their first choices, they wouldn't stop asking me if I knew the books they would read! Eager beavers!

We are reading these books in our book clubs...have you read them?
  • Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman
  • The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins by Walter Dean Myers
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • Wild Life by Cynthia DeFelice
  • Word Eater by Mary Amato

What do you think about the process of choosing these books? Do you do something similar or is there another process that I could learn from?

But before we began our book clubs, my students had to learn some very valuable lessons in order to work in groups effectively and collaboratively. We really had to target some social skills because I had noticed that some skills needed some improvement. Here are the skills we practiced, in the order we practiced them!

These skills are pretty important to have when working in a group, especially when the group isn't formulated by friendships. We were able to practice these skills in non-risk discussions, such as having a conversation about our favorite movies, books, candy, etc... (This strategy is taken out of Harvey Daniels' Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles.)

Students will be in charge of creating their group's schedule of meetings and how many pages of reading will be due at each meeting. We have had one meeting already, having discussed the first chapter or first few pages in a written conversation! Hopefully, students will also notice the signposts that were taught to help them understand plot, theme, characters, etc... in a more meaningful way!

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