Currently viewing the category: "Reflection"
Share

Just so we all have the same definition of close reading, I wanted to share how I define it:
The process of close reading is reading a short, worthy text more than once to get deeper into its meaning.
(See “A Secret About Close Reading” for more information.)

Here is a fun close reading activity I did with my reading classes a couple of weeks ago.

Standards for this lesson: RL.1 & RI.1 (Inference & text evidence), RL.2 (Theme), RI.2 (Central Idea), RL.3 (Narrative elements interact)

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester is a much more complex text than it first seems, so I really wanted to take this fun text and push my students’ thinking to realize that Tacky teaches us more than they first thought.

First read: For the first read of Tacky the Penguin, I just had my students enjoy the story. I love watching kids see this book for the first time because he is such a ridiculous yet awesome penguin.

Second read: When we read the story again, this time I chunked the text and had them take notes about a different characters’ emotions for each section. They then went on our Canvas discussion board and made an inference about how the character was feeling based on their notes and included evidence.

“The other penguins are much more accepting of Tacky at the end. In the text it shows that all the penguins hugged Tacky since his oddness had scared the hunters away and saved them. This action showed that even though they might disagree on how to do things they were still thankful of him.” -EX, 8th grade

“I think that the other penguins, Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly and Perfect are happy that Tacky is around. In the story it is showing all the penguins celebrating that the hunters were gone. Usually when you are celebrating it is because someone has accomplished something and you feel happy for them. So, you can conclude that the other penguins are happy that Tacky is around because he got rid of the hunters and without Tacky they might’ve died.” -JK, 6th grade

For the final section of the text, I asked them to think about the theme of the story, and they answered their inferred theme with evidence on the discussion board.

“I think the theme of Tacky the penguin is that differences can be good. I think that because at first the other penguins didn’t like Tacky because he was very different in the way he acted. They thought he was annoying and didn’t really include him in their group. At the end, they appreciate him because he saved them from the hunters, so his differences were good.” -AN, 8th grade

“The theme is to treat everyone fairly. Because in the beginning the other penguins treated Tacky badly, by excluding him, being annoyed at his greets, singing, and diving. But when Tacky acted like a hero they all appreciated him like they should of in the beginning.” -AK, 8th grade

“I think the theme of TACKY THE PENGUIN is to always be yourself. In the beginning of the story, the other penguins didn’t seem to really like Tacky because he did things so differently from them. However, as the middle towards end of the story, Tacky uses that to his advantage to scare away the hunters. So really, because Tacky was himself, he saved the day!” -DV, 7th grade

As we know, there are many themes that can be taken from a story, and most of the themes I received were spot on and focused primarily on how Tacky may seem odd but that doesn’t mean being different is bad. But there was one theme that I didn’t have any students pick up on, and I felt it was a big one. So, for the third read, I added in another text.

Third read: For the third read, I had my students read an Aesop Fable to connect with Tacky. “The Lion and the Three Bullocks” has the theme “In Unity is Strength” because the bulls survive the predator because they work together. The students did a wonderful job realizing that this theme connected to Tacky because it was only when all the of the penguins worked together that they were able to ward off the hunters.

“The theme “Unity is Strength” works for both books because together they defeated the enemy(ies). In Tacky the Penguin it says, “ Tacky began to sing, and from behind the block of ice came the voices of his companions, all singing as loudly and dreadfully as they could.” This shows that together the penguins can work together to be strong. The next page says “The hunters could not stand the horrible singing” This evidence illustrates that together as a team they can do anything. In Aesop For Children (Three Bullocks and a Lion), it says that a hungry lion is looking for his next meal. He was only sitting and watching because all of them were together so he would lose. In a little bit the bullocks separated and it was the lion’s time to strike (He ate them). This shows that when you are together you can be even stronger then when you were alone.” -EN, 7th grade

At this point, I was so proud of the connections my students were making, but it was still on a level where they were not connecting it to life–they saw it as a penguin and bullocks lesson mostly. This meant that I added in another text that I had them close read:

Scila Elworthy’s TED Talk is titled “Fighting with Nonviolence” and shares how fighting violence with violence is not successful while using nonviolence has been successful. I love TED Talks because you have the video and the transcript! What a great text for the classroom! (And thank you Jennifer Shettel for pointing me in this direction!)

First read: We watched the first 5 minutes and 11 seconds of the TED talk, and I gave each student a Post-It note. I asked them to write down words that stuck out to them. We then shared the words and defined any words they didn’t know.

Second read: For their second read of the text, they went to the transcript and were to focus on the central idea of this section of the text. Each person wrote down their own central idea.

Then I did a variety on one of the discussion ideas that Ricki shared in her Engaging Classroom Discussion Techniques post. Kind of like in Facts of Five, I had students then go into groups of three and come up with a consensus of a central idea together. They then wrote these on sentences strips to display in the room. We also discussed each one and talked about the supporting evidence for each central idea. I called it “Most Important Point.”

“As a group for the “most important point activity” we came up with the point that “solving a problem with violence only ever causes more violence”. Toward the end of the ted talk the speaker gives an example of when her ‘heroine’ was faced with guns during a protest and solved it by walking up to them and getting them to put their guns down. Had she not solved that problem this way it can be assumed that the soldiers would have shot them. By solving a situation with non violence she avoided the problem all together. We concluded from this, and the other points she made in ted talk including Nelson Mandela and her own personal anecdote about non violence, that that was the central point.” -KA, 8th grade

Third read: For the culminating task for all of these texts, I added in one more text to truly make all of this connect to reality. I knew I wanted to pick an image from the Civil Rights Movement because it is a true example of this idea at work. I introduced my students to sit-ins.

I then asked, “Why did we watch this TED Talk and why did I share the Sit-In images after reading Tacky the Penguin and the Aesop Fable? How do they all connect? Write a short paragraph explaining the connection, and remember to Restate, Answer, have Text evidence, and Explain/elaborate.”

All of these connect because they all show them going against things together. In “Tacky the Penguin” all of the penguins started singing in the end together, driving them away. If it was only Tacky singing, the hunters might not have gone away if the other penguins had not shown up.  In “Three Bullocks and a Lion”, the lion would not attack them when they were together because he knew he was no match for all three of them combined. In the Sit- In photo, there are four people sitting at a counter, and in the other photo, it shows them getting drinks poured on them from other people in the restaurant. If there was only one person sitting at the counter, the point would not have been proven as well as it would if there were four. All of them show that when they are together, they are stronger.” -MA, 7th grade

The Ted Talk, Sit-in images, Tacky the Penguin, and Aesop Fable connect because they show how if we stick together and try to solve conflict in nonviolent ways, we will not have to resolve problems with more fighting.  The Ted Talk says that bullies use violence to intimidate, terrorize, and undermine, but “only very rarely in few cases does it work to use more violence.” This just makes people more and more violent. An example is when the “Students who participated in sit-ins refused to become violent” even when people were not treating them fair by not serving them or even pouring a drink on them. Tacky the Penguin helped save all the penguins from being taken away by hunters because he had the attitude that people should be friendly and kind to each other and because he acted like this, it scared the hunters and they ran away. In the Aesop Fable, the bulls were able to keep the lion from eating them by staying close and being strong together. When they began to argue and separated from each other, they were not strong enough alone to keep from being attacked. “It was now an easy matter for the lion to attack them one at a time, and this he proceeded to do with the greatest satisfaction and relish.” This shows that we need each other to be strong and reach our goals and when we begin to fight, we lose our strength against enemies. We can control all of this, like she says, “It’s my response, my attitude, to oppression that I’ve got control over, and that I can do something about.” -DA, 6th grade

I was so impressed with my students’ deep thinking, connections, inferences, and elaboration! And overall they truly loved the activity, and I think that it truly shows that a text to analyze can be more than the canon!

 

 

Tagged with:
 
Share

What If EVERYBODY Said That?
Author: Ellen Javernick
Illustrator: Colleen Madden
Published August 1st, 2018 by Two Lions

Summary: What if everybody chose to be kind?

If you tell someone that they can’t play with you, there’s no harm done, right? But what if everybody said that? What if everybody forgot to be kind…and made fun of other kids’ artwork at school, or told a fib, or refused to share with a person in need? The world wouldn’t be a very nice place to live. But what if everybody thought before they spoke, so the world would be a kinder place?

With clear prose and lighthearted artwork, this companion book to the bestseller What If Everybody Did That? explores the power of words and shows kids that the things we say matter.

About the Creators: 

Ellen Javernick has taught 1-3 grade classes for over 20 years. Her B.A. is from DePauw University. Her M.A. in Early Childhood Education is from the University of Northern Colorado. She has completed classes with Barbara Wise and is Lindamood-Bell trained. In addition to being a teacher, Ellen has written more than 20 books for children. She currently teaches second grade in Loveland, CO.

The weird fourth kid in a family of 8, Colleen Madden made it through childhood pretending to be a wookie and doodling in her cardboard box art studio. Colleen spent some time acting and training at The Second City in Chicago, then went on to graduate from a small liberal arts school on the East coast. Colleen eats and works and runs around in the Philadelphia area.

Praise: “A reminder to be aware of what one says, as well as a discussion starter about actions and consequences.” —Kirkus Reviews

Review: Empathy and kindness are both things that I truly believe need to be directly taught to children. Kids are born thinking only of their own needs and maybe of the needs of their family, but they have to learn how to care about those around them. This teaching can start at a very young age but then needs to be reinforced for years to come. Anyone who teaches knows this is true. We may have some of the best students but even they make a mistake sometimes that is hurtful to someone else. What If Everybody Said That? is a testament of thinking about others. Though a bit didactical, the different scenarios put on each page truly do show a cause and effect of the words we say to others.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This text is a perfect book to add to any community building, kindness, empathy, or anti-bullying text set.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How does each spread show the cause and effect of what she said?
  • What finally made the young girl realize she needed to apologize?
  • What if everybody said that? (Pick a page and discuss)
    • Look at the cause and effect from everybody saying what the girl said.
    • Compare and contrast the two pages.
  • What is something you can think of that you said before that may not have been the best choice?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, Eraser by Anna Kang, I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët, and other books helping students think about the words and choices they make

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall 

Signature

**Thank you to Two Lions for providing a copy for review!**

Tagged with:
 
Share

The Struggles of Writer Wannabes by Paola M. and Amy C. (6th grade)

(Kellee’s note: These girls are already writers, not wannabes, but they titled their piece, so I didn’t want to change it.)

So, you want to be a writer? Truth is, it’s not as easy as it seems. Take it from two author wannabes. We could come up with the greatest ideas, but as soon as we pick up the pencil or or place our hands on the keyboard we realize we have nothing to write! And this is only one example of the struggles authors go through every day.

Coming Up with Story Ideas

Everyone comes up with ideas differently. You could be riding your bike when an idea about talking dogs talking over the wold hits you. But honestly the real problem isn’t how you come up with your ideas, it’s actually coming up with them.

If we’re being completely honest here, a big problem that writers like us have is coping with the planning stages of writing our stories. Now, I know you must be confused. What does planning have to do with coming up with ideas? Answer: Absolutely everything! Planning is basically thinking about the basic elements of your story (like theme and characters). What makes it especially difficult to deal with is the fact that you need to have everything ready to write. Which means you need to be able to explain your ideas off the bat if someone asks for your synopsis (that’s a fancy word for summary).

Another problem we have while coming up with our ideas is second-guessing ourselves. We keep questioning what we’ve written because we get nervous about what other people might think of our story or we start thinking about whether or not this is relevant to the story. Problems like these, fellow writers, is what causes writer’s block.

Writer’s Block

Ah, writer’s block. Don’t take it personally but nobody likes you. Currently, we’re dealing with this mess which makes writing (very) hard. You’d think writing about writer’s block while having writer’s block (wow that’s a tongue twister) would make things easier for us. Sadly, that’s not the case.

Writer’s block is pretty self explanatory. It’s when a writer can’t come up with new ideas or doesn’t know what to write next in his or her story. The problem about writer’s block is that no matter how hard you try you CANNOT come up with anything. You have to do something else to occupy your mind and get the creative juices flowing. The good thing is that while you’re doing chores (or anything else, for that matter) you can get some pretty amazing ideas. But sometimes doing something else can just be distracting.

Distractions

We can’t wait for the live action Mulan movie (that has no songs whatsoever) to come out!!! Oops! Wrong blog post… As you can see from our totally off topic starter sentence, we’ll be talking about some distractions that get writers off their game.

One thing that distracts aspiring authors from writing is the Internet. People can get so distracted with videos, social media, Netflix, games, and researching stuff for their books they forget about the most important thing: WRITING!!! This happens most often when you write on the computer. You can be searching something up real quick and come across an article that is interesting enough to keep you off task.

Procrastination plays a HUGE part here. Procrastination is the act of avoiding something. So basically when writers procrastinate they try to delay or avoid writing. Procrastination is a pretty big problem because we get absolutely no work done. And if you ever want to publish something… well let’s just say you can’t show an unfinished story to a publisher.  

This is probably a very weird one but too much noise, or even no noise at all, can distract writers. If there’s too much noise some writers won’t be able to concentrate. But if there’s no noise at all it can make some writers weary and unable to focus on their writing. Distractions can also cause another problem: A hiccup in time management.          

Not Having Enough Time to Write

As we have previously mentioned, distractions can cause many problems. Like time management problems. Sometimes writers just can’t find enough time to sit down and actually write.

For us the biggest problem is having so much school work to finish. For others it might be actually having to go to work. Whatever the reason, may it be homework, your job, having to run errands or see family members, it’s hard to set apart some time to do what you love, which is (hopefully) writing. The worst part? If you have no time to write, then you probably have no time to edit.           

Revising and Editing

Editing and revising are such a pain! And it gets even worse when you have no time to write. The problem is that it’s necessary. You need to edit and revise some parts of your story to get the best results for your book. Sometimes you need to cut out whole chapters or just fix a word to improve your story.

Editing and revising is a multi-step process. You need to know what you need to change and then you have to have the time and patience to actually edit and revise your story. We usually dedicate a couple hours to a day of editing and revising, so that we can get most of that work off our to-do lists. But as we have said countless times before: People do things differently. And getting over these writing struggles is yet another example of that.

In Conclusion…

From not being able to cook up some new ideas to not being able to write about those ideas, we have talked about some of the most painful struggles that we, as writers, go through every day. All of these things are hard to overcome and sometimes we might want to give up (Please don’t). In the end, though, this is all part of the story-making process and we kind of have to learn to deal with it.

Thank you to my wonderful students, Paola and Amy, for sharing your hilarious and thought-provoking reflections on being a kid writer!

Tagged with:
 
Share

Daring Dreamers Club #1: Milla Takes Charge
Author: Erin Soderberg
Illustrator: Anoosha Syed
Published June 5th, 2018 by Random House

Summary: When you follow your dreams, the possibilities are endless!

Milla loves nothing more than imagining grand adventures in the great wide somewhere, just like Belle. She dreams of traveling the world and writing about her incredible discoveries. Unfortunately, there is nothing pretend about the fifth-grade overnight and Milla’s fear that her moms won’t let her go.

Enter Piper, Mariana, Zahra, and Ruby. Together with Milla, they form the Daring Dreamers Club and become best friends. But can they help Milla believe she’s ready for this real grand adventure?

Diverse, talented, and smart–these five girls found each other because they all had one thing in common: big dreams. Touching on everyday dramas and the ups and downs of friendship, this series will enchant all readers who are princesses at heart.

About the Creators: 

ERIN SODERBERG lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, three adventure-loving kids, and a mischievous Goldendoodle named Wally. Before becoming an author, she was a children’s book editor and a cookie inventor and worked for Nickelodeon. She has written many books for young readers, including the Quirks and Puppy Pirates series. Visit her online at erinsoderberg.com.

ANOOSHA SYED is a Pakistani illustrator & character designer for animation. She received her BFA in illustration at Ceruleum: Ecole d’arts Visuels in Switzerland, and now lives in Canada. Visit her online at anooshasyed.com.

Praise: 

“Though core issues of identity, independence, and teamwork ground the novel, Disney Princess devotees will likely be the most charmed. —Publishers Weekly

“I cannot wait to “hear” the stories of all the other girls! Brava Erin SD for kicking off a new series for the younger MG set! Positive messages for kids! —Goodreads Praise

“Young readers will be able to relate to the story, there is a positive message, and the characters provide a model of friendship, showing how friends work together and support on another. Loved meeting these girls!” —Goodreads Praise

ReviewI know that at first this book may seem like a book that only Disney or Princess lovers would like, but it is so much more than that! So please do not judge this book by that idea! Instead you will find a story about girls who find a deep friendship within each other after being placed in a group at school together. With the guidance of an amazing educator, they look deep within themselves and join as a group while still celebrating their individuality.

Now, as someone who DOES love Disney and Disney princesses, I loved the angle that this book took! After the first assignment by their group teacher, the girls are asked to write about a princess who they connect with. Milla and her friends are using the strengths of the princesses as inspiration to build their own strengths. For example, Milla feels like her life is very sheltered, and she loves to write, so she finds inspiration in Belle. Ruby, who is athletic and prides herself in her strength, first struggles to connect with a princess but then she realizes that Mulan is a person that is very much who she would like to be. And each girl does her own reflection (written in her own words in a journal format).

This first book focuses on Milla, but we get to know all the girls through the inclusion of the journals and from Milla’s point of view. I assume that future books will also be in different points of view to allow readers to get to know more in depth each of the characters. I look forward to future books to see where Piper, Milla, Mariana, Ruby, Zahra and Ms. Bancroft go next!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I love Ms. Bancroft! And I think that how she had the girls introduce themselves and her first assignment that she gave the Daring Dreamers Club would be wonderful activities in a classroom:

  • “I’d love for each of you to introduce yourself and share one of your big dreams.”
  • “I want each of you to think of a princess you connect with or feel inspired by and explain why. Dig deep and really think about your answer.”

Since each of the girls’ answers are shared in the book, they would be a great thing to share as well.

In addition, this book is going to be LOVED by realistic fiction fans! I cannot wait to share it with my students.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which of the five main characters do you connect with the most?
  • If you had to choose a princess you connect with, who would you choose?
  • Do you think Milla went about getting her moms to trust her correctly?
  • How does Ms. Bancroft inspire the girls? How is she different than the last music teacher?
  • What is one of your big dreams?

Flagged Passages: “Milla loved reading and writing just about anything, but there was nothing she enjoyed more than creating adventures for herself. In Milla’s stories, she was always a brave hero without fears or worries of any kind. One of the things Milla most loved about writing was that she was totally in charge and got to make all the decisions about what would happen on her adventures. The only limitation was her imagination, and her imagination was vast.” (p. 6)

Read This If You Love: Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin, Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson, Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol, Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall 

Disney’s Dream Big, Princess–Be a Champion Campaign: 

Signature

**Thank you to Sydney at Penguin Random House for providing a copy for review!**

Tagged with:
 
Share

Edwin C.’s Book Wish (7th grade)

I’ve never seen a book with a motive or change like this: I want it to be your typical protagonist and they have to stop someone. The author makes the protagonist look all nice and like they are the one doing the right thing then suddenly the protagonist shares their true intentions and they show they are actually the antagonist. And the antagonist is actually the protagonist. I think this would make a very interesting story, and the big plot twist would drag someone into the book.

Alejandro S.’s Book Wishes (8th grade)

  • One of my book wishes is for there to be more teenager reincarnation into a fantasy world where they are strong and smart enough to survive.
  • Another one of my book wishes is for there to be books where a person is transported inside a game and the game turns into real life.
    • Kellee’s note: Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde would fit this wish!
  • I wish there were books about surviving in a fantasy world as the main character has to purge the demon king and has to keep his power a secret to stay safe.
  • I wish there was a book about a main character who starts out weak in a fantasy world then unlocks a secret power which allows them to grow stronger at a faster pace and they have to save the world from chaos.
  • I wish there was a book with a main character who is a dragon who has to deal with monsters and humans.

Lucas D.’s Book Wishes (8th grade)

  • I wish there were more books about a kid who has it rough and only basketball helps him ignore it.
    • Kellee’s note: Slam by Walter Dean Myers would fit this wish!
  • I wish a book existed about a kid who rules the school but a simple mistake ruins his whole career in basketball.
  • A wish for me is for there to be about a book where there’s two kids left on Earth, and there are clues on how to live.
  • Another wish is for a book about a man who is hard working and dedicated to going to the NBA but ends up playing in the G-league, so he’s now nonstop training to make his dream come true.
  • I wish there was a book about a struggling kid who has nothing to live for and no one to help him in life or school, but when he picks up a basketball, everything changes.

Christian U.’s Book Wishes (8th grade)

  • I would like a book like Rescued by Eliot Schrefer but from the ape’s point of view. Many books are from the primate’s owner’s POV, and it would be interesting if one would accurately describe the behavior of an ape in real world situations.
  • I would like a book about a chair that holds secrets from WWII that could potentially stop WWIII from happening.
  • I would like a book about the life of an abused child because it can show how hard one’s life can get and the hardships they face and how they overcome it.
    • Kellee’s note: A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer would fit this wish!
  • I would like a book about the hardships Black Americans face today. This information can help show readers what it is like and potentially stop racism, discrimination, and other hardships.
    • Kellee’s note: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, Tyler Johnson was Here by Jay Coles, and more would fit this wish!
  • I would like a book about an utopian community that seems perfect but the main character is facing many hardships. Readers would relate to hardships when everything seems perfect.

Lizzie S.’s Book Wishes (6th grade)

  • I wish there were more books about:
    • Middle schoolers discovering their sexuality.
    • Camp life.
    • Sexual assault survivors.
    • Funny things little kids say.
    • The struggle of being a woman.
    • Dying coral reef.
    • Deforestation.
    • Women becoming themselves.
    • Endangered species.
    • Characters who are enemies and the narratives alternate.

Sarah H.’s Book Wishes (8th grade)

I want more books that talk about LBGTQ+ in middle school because middle school is already hard and questioning your sexuality doesn’t make it easier. Reading about people/characters in the same situation help push you in the right path. More books like that will help kids/students feel less alone and find people who are facing the same problems or thinking the same questions they are.

Estela R.’s and Ashley F.’s Book Wishes (8th grade)

  • Here are some ideas for books that Estela and Ashley wish existed:
    • Tabitha is just a normal 17 year old girl, except for the fact that she goes to Gloria Steinem School of the Arts, a Performing and Visual Arts School. During junior year she sees her dad die in a car crash, so she becomes a foster child of one of the most popular stars on Earth, Gavin DiCaprio, the son of Leonardo DiCaprio.
    • Lilia is in her senior year at Jackson High School in Prescott, Arizona. In 8th grade, her best friend, Justin, moved to a boarding school in England. He suddenly comes back for senior year and although Lilia remembers him, he has no clue who she is. She plays it off like they never met before; however, at a party, she goes into his room with him, and she sees all these pictures of her and him when they were little.
    • Every year teens from 13-18 go to a camp. They each get put into 4 different groups: cliste (smart), athletau (athletic), terreux (down to earth), and dirigeants (leaders). Bellamy and his sister, Maxwell, go to a camp where they have to take three official tests with their group to survive and not get illuminated (which means death).
    • Lee was a “normal” 8th grader, but his life changes when he gets stuck in his favorite horror movie “Skin.” He meets the main character, Victoria, and they have to work together to kill Skin for Lee to be able to go home.
    • Casey and Maisy are internet best friends. They have bonded for months over shows, movies, and more! They Facetime and text everyday until Casey gets into a coma, and Maisy has to figure out why she’s not texting anymore. Then she wants to somehow get to her.

Kim J.’s and Serine M.’s Book Wish

  • Here is an idea for a book that Kim and Serine wish existed:
    • The story is based off of a kidnapping. The main character has to be kidnapped to save others. What if she fails? But the world needs to change, and she’s the only one that can do it.
      • Main character: Adelyn Wyer
      • Friends: Julie, Kalia, Angelica
      • Other characters: Calyn, Wybie, Mr. Smelly, Doodle, Pete
      • Parents: Alex Wyer, Melissa Cargener

Thank you to my wonderful students, Edwin, Alejandro, Lucas, Christian, Lizzie, Sarah, Estela, Ashley, Kim, and Serine, for all their wishes and ideas!

Tagged with:
 
Share

Reading Non-Fiction Books Are Not as Horrible as You Might Think! by Lorenza M. (7th grade)

At the beginning of the year, Mrs. Moye announced that our next unit would include reading an informational non-fiction book. I was a little disappointed because in my mind non-fiction meant huge, boring books that my dad likes to read. However, I was proven wrong.

Our first task was to choose the book we wanted to read. We had countless books to pick from that covered a vast variety of topics. I’ve always been interested in medicine and the human body, so I chose The Book of Blood.

In the weeks to come, I became obsessed with my book. I learned more from reading that book than any anatomy lesson I’ve ever had in science. I also made it my life’s goal to tell all my friends and teachers the nastiest facts about blood.

Our final project for the unit, after we finished our books, was to created a presentation about the topic we learned. From watching my peers’ presentation, I learned about plenty of topics I had no knowledge about, and it was super fun sharing what I’d learned with my class.

Reading a non-fiction book taught me never to judge a book by its genre, and neither should you! The book I read for this unit was one of the best and most resourceful books I’ve ever read, and I plan to continue reading non-fiction books even if I don’t have to.

Dos and Don’ts When Picking Out a Book by Clara A. (8th grade)

DOs

  • DO get out of your comfort zone!
    • Reading different genres exposes you to different situations, types of characters, and points of view. Plus, you won’t know if you like a certain genre if you have never tried it.
  • DO ask someone for recommendations.
    • There are many books in the world. You won’t read them all, so ask for help. Your friends probably know great books that you’ve never heard of.
  • DO read the next book of the series as soon as possible.
    • If you read the 2nd book of the series a long time after reading the 1st book, it may be very confusing if you don’t remember the 1st book.

DON’Ts

  • DON’T judge a book by its cover!
    • While the saying may be cliche, it is true. Saying a book is bad because it looks bad is similar to saying a jacket does not keep you warm just because it has a bad design on the front. It just isn’t right!
  • DON’T not read a book just because you don’t know the author.
    • If you don’t read Long Way Down because you don’t know Jason Reynolds, then you are missing out on a great book. And that is just one example. There are many authors you don’t know that have great books.
  • DON’T judge a book by its movie.
    • There are so many great books with horrible movies (ex. City of Ember). Many directors have to change the book’s details, and this ends up making the movie worse than the book! Trust me, books are always better than the movie!

If You Liked… by Tulsi M. and Stanley T. (8th grade)

  • If you like Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, you’ll love The Young Elites by Marie Lu.
  • If you like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, you’ll love Warcross by Marie Lu.
  • If you like Scythe by Neal Shusterman, you’ll love Renegades by Marissa Meyer.
  • If you like Rescued by Eliot Schrefer, you’ll love Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby.
  • If you like Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, you’ll love Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan.
  • If you like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, you’ll love Dear Martin by Nic Stone.
  • If you like the movie Tarzan, you’ll love Rescued by Eliot Schrefer.
  • If you like the movie 9/11, you’ll love The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner.
  • If you like the T.V. show Steven Universe, you’ll love Upside Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Emily Jenkins, and Lauren Myracle.
  • If you like the T.V. show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, you’ll love Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston.

Thank you to my wonderful students, Lorenza, Clara, Tulsi, and Stanley, for sharing your advice!

Tagged with:
 
Share

In continuing the reflections shared on Friday, here are some students’ reflection posts on taking Advanced Reading with me:

Favorite Activities in Mrs. Moye’s Class by Daniel U. and Ian B. (6th grade)

  • Book Trailers: We made a whole presentation about a book we read and liked. Mrs. Moye gave us recommendations of where to make the presentations and helped us prepare to type our ideas and thoughts about the books. We also added images and music, and we presented it to the class. It was a fun experience making the presentation and watching all of them and learning about new books.
  • In-Class Book Clubs: Mrs. Moye gave us a choice of what book we wanted to read with a group then set up dates for our book club meetings where we talk about the book. In between meetings, we write questions to discuss with our group. This was great because you get to socialize and get to read a great book and discuss it with others.
  • Passion Research Project: We made a presentation about a topic that connected to Rescued, the book we read. We used different websites to get our information that we turn into a presentation with images. Then we presented it to the class who jotted down facts and new things that they learned from each presentation.
  • Affixes: We learned how to use different word parts such as prefixes, suffixes and roots, and how to use them to define unknown words by breaking down words. This makes passages easier because the different meanings of word parts help us understand words that we may not know. When we break them down while reading, we can figure the passage out.
  • Novel Study: We read Rescued by Eliot Schrefer as a class, answered questions about the book, and we did focus questions every week while we were reading. Then we went on a field trip to the Center for Great Apes!

Why I Decided to Stay in Advanced Reading for Three Years by Maria N. (8th grade)

I decided to stay in Mrs. Moye’s class for all three years of middle school because not only is it a great learning experience, but it is also fun. Mrs. Moye’s class has taught me things that I didn’t learn in other classes and that made me feel very smart. Word parts were also a need to know in her class, and they helped so much when I didn’t know a word on tests. Her class was also fun because we got to laugh, smile, and cry over amazing books. I made friends that I will forever be thankful for. I not only made great friends, but these friends like books just like I do. Mrs. Moye gave us many book options that my friends and I could read, including reading the same book if we wanted to or we could read books that are completely different. So many options. I am so thankful for Mrs. Moye’s class.

Why I Decided to Join This Class in 8th Grade by Haruna R. (8th grade)

I decided to join this class because I heard a lot of good things about it. When I heard that it was about reading books, I got more interested in it. I also knew a lot of my friends were in it, and they told me there are so many books to read. When I first came into the class, all I saw was books. I saw so many series that I love, and we got to check out books with no specific due date. Mrs. Moye is very flexible about turning in and grading work. She also makes the class fun. I like to read books as a class and in book clubs. We also had a field trip to The Center for Great Apes which was a great experience, and we could connect the book we read to the field trip. Mrs. Moye has read so many books, so whenever I read a book, I could talk to her about it. I could also ask questions about the book. Mrs. Moye also recommends books and talks about books she has read, so we can read it if we want. There is never a time when I ran out of books to read. Mrs. Moye encourages us to read and tells us about books that she enjoys. We use Goodreads to keep track of what we read and what we want to read. You can discover new books on the website, too, and can even narrow them down by genres. Overall, Mrs. Moye’s reading class has been wonderful, and I will miss it very much!

Why I Didn’t Leave Advanced Reading by Amanda C. (8th grade)

When I saw my schedule the summer before 7th grade, I was so upset to see that I was taking a reading class. I hated reading! It was boring, and there was never any good books to read. When the first day of school rolled around, I was dreading the very though of going to first period. I assumed that I was probably going to get assigned a whole book to finish by the end of the week. The teacher was probably mean, too. But I was wrong. Mrs. Moye turned out to be so sweet and had such a passion for reading. And no, I didn’t have to finish a book by the end of the week. In fact, Mrs. Moye let her students read whatever they wanted. She had a huge classroom library with every kind of book you could think of, including books even SHE hasn’t read yet. We got to do research projects, make book trailers, and we even had a debate unit! I had a lot more fun in her class than I thought I would. And while we did all of these things, the most important thing I did was find a love for reading. By loving to read, my vocabulary has gotten so much larger, and I’ve found some great friends through reading and the class. I’m going to miss walking into Mrs. Moye’s class every morning because her classroom is somewhere I feel safe and joyful. Thanks for everything, Mrs. Moye! <3

Thank you to my wonderful students, Daniel, Ian, Maria, Haruna, and Amanda, for sharing the joy you got from my class! I have the same joy teaching you all! XOXO

Tagged with: