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Literture Circle Building 101

Hello readers!

I am just wrapping up my student teaching experience and I have so much to share!

I started my student teaching experience this fall, which is the VERY LAST STEP towards my dream of graduating college with my degree. Of course, I still have a few other things to do to achieve my ultimate goal (have my own classroom), but this was a large accomplishment for me!

My student teaching experience was a total of 16 weeks. I was placed in a Kindergarten classroom for 8 weeks, and then I was moved to a 4th Grade classroom. I had the privilege to work with some great teachers during my experience and I learned SO much by participating, observing and teaching.

That being said…

One of the things that I was able to do in my 4th grade classroom was lead and plan my very own literature circle. When my cooperating teacher had asked me to do it, I was thrilled! I love reading and this was my chance to prove that I know some stuff about reading.

The book that the cooperating teacher and I had choose was Frindle by Andrew Clements.

Of course, this was my very first literature circle so I had things that worked out really well, but I  also had things that I wish I changed.

Here is a list of things that I found effective for my group of 5.

Post-It Notes:

I used post-it notes in multiple things. One of those ways was to have students write down vocabulary words that they didn’t know and find the definitions to teach the group. For every chapter we read, the students had to find one vocabulary word that they didn’t know or thought the group would not know, write it down on a post-it note, use a student dictionary to write the definition of the word, and place it on the poster for the group to view. The book we studied was based on words and using dictionaries so I wanted to include that interactive process as well. Every student also had a different color of post-it note.

Visual Aids:

As you can see, we used a variety of visuals to help with our books study. I made this poster before the literature circle started to not only teach with, but to keep the students and myself on track. The poster also was aligned with what the students were learning in class during those weeks.

IMG_7882

Frindle Poster 4th Grade 2015

 

Final Project:

I wanted the students to have a final project for several reasons. The biggest reason was that it was my form of assessment to see who did benefit from the study and who needed more work. I also wanted students to have something to keep for our time together. Our final project was a interactive profile that included a character list for the main character, a summary, and a page for the students to explain to those who have not read the book why they should read it.

Book Talk:

I did not have enough time to have a lot of book talk with the students, but we did have time to discuss Nick (the main character) and what was happening to him throughout the story everyday for 5 minutes. I wanted the students to have a lot of time reading.

Google Docs:

I had the students use Google Docs for a couple of things. Every student in the school that I was student teaching in has a Google Docs account, so I was able to create my own through the district thanks to our tech guy, and I had students complete tasks online. I would give feedback to each student and they really looked forward to reading those comments the next day. The students really liked it, and they were able to do some quality work for me.

Task Cards:

I used task cards that I found on TeacherPayTeacher during my book talks to encourage students to think deeply into the text. Some books will have discussion questions in the back of the book. I used those as well.

READ:

I didn’t just read to the students during this time. I had the students practice a variety of reading methods such as popcorn reading, silent reading, whisper reading, and partner reading. I had a group of decent readers so this proved to be beneficial.

Of course, the group was not perfect and there are some things I would change:

  • Monitor the post-it note usage: Some of the students that I had got WAY to carried away with the post-its I gave them. I started to monitor when and how many they would need and only give the students that many post-its. For example, if they only needed one post-it for vocabulary, then the student only received one post-it. I should have started that earlier.
  • More time with book talk: I wish I would have given the students more time to discuss and share what they were thinking about the story. The students did not have a lot of time to do this with me. We dedicated 25 minutes to do all of these things.

This was a very quick, easy beginning to developing a literature circle and I I’m very proud of their efforts. Stay tuned to hear about the next book genre we studied during the time I was with them!

Until next time!

Who Killed the Dog? Response to the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon

Over the long memorial weekend that we had I had a some down time to read a short novel by Mark Haddon. The second book on my Summer Reading List (that keeps getting longer I might add) was Mark Haddon’s the curious ithe curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddonncident of the dog in the night-time.  The novel is 221 pages that is based on a story written by a young boy named Christopher.

Before I bought this book I had seen it advertised on my Goodreads account (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/16274587-rebecca-lashmett) a few times and I never really had any interest to read it because of the fact that in the book, a dog is killed, and I don’t typically like movies or books that involved some sort of death with a dog. How the book ended in my hands after leaving a small book store in Wyoming is still somewhat of a mystery, but I love books so I didn’t concern myself to much with that.

Anyway!

So I read this short book and it really didn’t take a long time at all. I paced myself through this book and even though it was a short read, I do not regret that I read it. The book is a narration from a young boy named Christopher, who throughout the book encounters many things ranging from the murder of a neighbors dog, whether that day is going to be a good or bad day, how much he hates the color yellow and brown and being hugged or touched, the truth about his mother and her past, and succeeding in mathematics so that he can attend University. IMG_6631Christopher faces a lot of struggles in this book and as a reader we do not specifically know what disability Christopher has nor does it ever say what the disability specifically is although it is very obvious in the way that he writes this story that he does indeed have some type of disability.

I didn’t expect a lot of things that happened in this book to actually happen. We learn a lot about Christopher as a person in this book and I think it really was beneficial for me to read because it gives you an idea of how some kids truly do think and see the world. The book did have it’s problem areas that I think contributed to the overall flow the writing that this book had, but I think that it was made to be that way so the reader gets a solid idea of how this young man thinks. The book received some harsh criticism on Goodreads, but in my personal opinion I thought it was a good read and it was enjoyable until the end despite the writing being “choppy” at times.

David Levithan – A Review

Thought this might bring up some interesting discussion. #yalitclass

The Book Wars

“I want love to conquer all. But love can’t conquer anything. It can’t do anything on it’s own.
It relies on us to do the conquering on its behalf.”
– Everyday 

“i feel my life is so scattered right now. like it’s all these small pieces of paper and someone’s turned on the fan. but talking to you makes me feel like the fan’s been turned off for a little bit. like things could actually make sense. you completely unscatter me, and i appreciate that so much.”
― Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Five years ago today I told my mother I am gay. I don’t think I know anyone else who has their coming out anniversary marked on the calendar on their iPhone, but I certainly do – my coming out was perhaps one of the most significant moments in my entire life. When I look back I am surprised…

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Grit Lit: Why it is Important

Sums up what Adolescent Literature Class was talking about (at least some of it).

k.r.blevins

One of my favorite sessions that I attended at NCTE was saturday morning at 8.  The session was called Grit Lit: 3 Noted Authors Talk About Engaging Readers and Tackling Edgy Material in Their Books.  The three authors that presented this session were Alan Lawrence Sitomer, the author of Homeboyz and Caged Warrior, Mathew Quick, the author of Silver Linings Playbook and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, and Matt De La Pena, the author of Mexican White Boy and The Living.  I really enjoyed this session since the authors were talking about their own work and how teachers can use it and teach it in their classrooms.

The first author to present was Sitomer.  He likes to call his writing realistic fiction, in which people are able to relate to his writing through experiences of their own.  He would call writing biblio-therapy, because as he was writing, he would be…

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