Book Clubs Rebooted

It’s that time again.  Time for a new round of book clubs.  This time we are studying the work of Jerry Spinelli and students will read at least two novels with two different groups.  I’ve made a few changes this time around in response to some of the things I’ve been seeing in class.

  1. I shortened the time students were given to two weeks.  The longest book is 200 some pages and if students read 15 pages a day (Which, according to Lucy Calkins, they should be able to read 15 pages in 20 minutes in a just right book) then they can finish in 12-15 days.
  2. Students are only having two discussions this time around, but I have placed more emphasis on personal preparation before the discussions.  Each student is coming prepared with three possible questions and a one page written response to one of their own questions.
  3. I’m incorporating some technology by making small groups on Edmodo for each group.  Part of their work is to post at least one comment, question, or thought on Edmodo each week.  Then they are to respond to their group members.

I’ve been focusing on Questioning in my strategy instruction lately.  We’ve done a lot of work on understanding the types of questions we ask as readers and how we find answers (or don’t) to those questions.  One of the things I’ll be looking for is that my students can discern between meaty discussion questions and little questions grounded in the text.  I’ve given them forums for both.  I must say they seemed excited at the short two week reading period and a little annoyed at the one page written response.  Afterall, they just want to read.  But as teachers we know that we must continually push our students to think more and reflect on their own learning and to do this we need them to talk, write, and spend time analyzing and reflecting on their work.  So, I don’t feel too bad about it. : )

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