Tag Archives: Reading

12 Resources for Teaching Black Lives Matter

Many are looking for information and education regarding the current protests. Whether we are talking about police brutality, systematic racism, and culturally responsive education, we all play a role in to nurture a future of antiracism, equity, and justice. History is being made. Here are 12+ resources to help support your teaching and learning. 

Teaching Tolerance provides resources for teaching Black Lives Matter. These resources can help you talk with students about the historical context and mission behind Black Lives Matter and work toward making your school a more affirming, safer space for Black students.

We Are Teachers has resources on how teachers are talking with students about George Floyd, protests, and racism From check-ins to special lessons and 20 Ways to Bring More Equity to Your Literacy Instruction

CBS this morning showcased a video conversation by Emmanuel Acho, former NFL linebacker, who took it upon himself to provide some clear answers to questions posted by many white people.  In another morning news story NBC’s Hoda and Jenna interviewed writers Jason Reynolds and Brandon Kiely, co writers of the young adult novel All American Boys. The two authors address how to speak to kids about race relations in America. 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is committed to inspiring a more tolerant and inclusive society. Their Talking About Race Web Portal provides tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation.

Continuing the work of anti-racism — which is active, daily work — is vital. This list of Anti-Racism Resources is a good place to start provided by American Writers Museum in Chicago. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How To Be An Anti-Racist, made this Anti-Racist Reading List which is a good launching point.

Looking for book lists for reading for young readers and adding to your classroom library? Many public libraries have compiled Black Lives Matter reading lists for children and families like Skokie Public Library and BCALA and the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Black Lives Matter Reading List. Memorial Hall Library in Massachusetts provides a racial justice reading list online for secondary students and adults. School Library Journal has also compiled a #BlacklivesMatter reading list.

Epic Reads is offering books and videos that anyone can access for free for the next 30 days for elementary students. 

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The national Black Lives Matter At School Coalition’s Curriculum Committee worked this year to bring you lessons for every grade level that relate to the 13 principles of Black Lives Matter. Here is the 2020 Curriculum Resource Guidefree, downloadable lessons to challenge racism, oppression and build happy and healthy classrooms.

Share your lessons and resources in the comments section here.

 

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Poet of the Day Playlist

Educators are teaching remotely now that school are closed due to COVID-19. My focus for my students and children is staying healthy under this stress, fear, and anxiety of the current situation. Whereas grade are important, mental health is my primary focus. I do not want to cause more stress, fear or anxiety that children might already be feeling working from home, confined to their home, and away from their friends.

As educator and author Kelly Gallagher stated on his website, “The last thing I want to do with my home-bound students is to load them down with brain-numbing packet work. So this lesson plan was designed to honor student choice, student agency, student voice. This is not the time to give students chapter quizzes on their at-home reading of 1984.”

Similarly, I want to provide my students with opportunities to read, write, and reflect. I have created a poetry playlist for the next few weeks so that my students can read poetry, learn about different poets, and then write in response to the poem. I want to inspire them to write their own poetry.

Poetry Playlist

April in National Poetry month but these poems and poets can she shared any time of the year. I am sharing this three week poetry playlist with teachers to use and adapt for their own classroom.

I ask students to respond to each poem. Students are asked to write one page (or more) in their Battle of the Books Notebook or Writer’s Notebook,  capturing thoughts, questions, comments, and connections about the poem. The directions I provided are based on a poetry one-pager posted online by #NCTE:

  • Write the title of the poem and author’s full name
  • Quote a line from the poem and explain what you believe it means
  • Draw 5 images from the poem and caption the imagery that inspired each
  • Create a boarder using a key phrase
  • Select a main idea of the poem and relate it to your own life
  • Define 2 important words from the poem (Definitions should be in your own words)
  • Quote a phrase or line – make a personal connection to it
  • Explain why a friend might want to read this poem
  • Add color to all the images
  • On the page adjacent to your response,  write a poem or free write inspired by the poem

Poetry Response

Do you have a favorite poem or poet to include on the playlist? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

 

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Teaching Vocabulary in Context

In the picture book The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter, a boy named Selig collects interesting words, and I want students to become as excited about discovering new words as Selig becomes.

“An avid word-hoarder, Selig delights in discovering new terms, recording them on paper scraps, and stowing them in pockets…”

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The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter

I am often asked how I teach vocabulary.  Do I give students weekly word lists or front load challenging vocabulary from readings? Do I have students use any vocabulary building apps or games online?

Research shows that proficient readers use different strategies to help define words they do not know and determine whether the definition is pertinent to understanding the text. As word detectives, students use context clues, SPROOTs (Suffixes, Prefixes, and Roots), Connotation, and even outside connections to help them determine the meaning of words within a text. Additionally, teaching students how to use the dictionary and thesaurus, and showing them the range of information it provides is crucial to vocabulary development. 

Rather than teaching students to be word collectors and word wizards with vocabulary lists, I believe that reading is what helps develop vocabulary. Vocabulary instruction needs to go beyond basic definitions and students must be able to apply the words in context.

What that looks like in my classroom depends on the reading and writing unit that students are working on. When studying the Japanese Internment there are key vocabulary words needs need to know to understand the complexities of this time in our history. I use active learning stations help to build background knowledge and word knowledge.

When designing vocabulary “lessons,” keep in mind the following:

  1. Avoid presenting a long list of vocabulary words to be learned before students are able to read the text.
  2. Choose only those words that are important to the meaning and/or will be likely to actually enter your students’ vocabulary.
  3. Consider a way of involving students in identifying their own vocabulary words.
  4. Try to give your students experiences in figuring out words in context, rather than simply memorizing them.
  5. If possible, devise a way for students to locate and define their own words, rather than relying on your choices and definitions.
  6. Consider alternatives to students’ learning definitions of words individually. Think about creating collaborative learning experiences, if possible.
  7. Find a way to evaluate what your students have learned without relying on a traditional vocabulary test (multiple choice or fill in the blank).

Considering ENLs, ELLs, and students with IEPs, word banks are helpful to front load important academic vocabulary. Students can use any of the Quizlet activities (Learn, Flashcards, Live) to learn new vocabulary words.  Go beyond the traditional word wall posting definitions by creating walls displaying Wordart.com or sketch noting vocabulary words. 

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Looking for more ideas, check out these additional resources:

 

 

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Reading Tools to Support ALL Learners at #FETC20

This past week was FETC – The Future of Education Technology Conference in Miami, Florida.  FETC® is the leading independent K-12 conference focusing on education technology. This year’s key note speaker included author, Daniel Pink discussing “Leadership, Innovation, and the Surprising Truth of Human Motivation.” Miami Superintendent of Schools, Alberto M. Carvalho, opened up the conference and was the most inspiring at the conference telling attendees, “From the impossible to the inevitable, there is only belief, skill and will.”

There were more than 600 sessions for attendees addressing the latest ed tech and practical strategies to implement educational technology,  transform learning in and out of the classroom, and showcase the noteworthy ed tech tools . Plus, the Expo Hall provided additional content opportunities with Learning Sandboxes and a PitchFest— and that’s on top of the 400+ vendors with the latest ed tech solutions available. 

My presentation on Wednesday addressed Personalized Reading and shared digital tools and teaching strategies to support all the learners in our classroom. My slide deck from the presentation is below.

I also attended Monica Burns‘ session Reboot Reading Instruction with 10 Must-Try Tools. If you don’t already follow Monica on Twitter or Instagram, I recommend you add her to your PLN. In her session Monica shared some new tools that are worth checking out. Here are three that were new to me:

 

In my book, Personalized Reading,  I state, instructional needs for all readers include consistent reading practice, scaffolding, and opportunities to listen to, independently read, and analyze text. The no tech, low tech, and high technology tools I spoke about in my workshop offer supports and scaffolding for all types of readers.

Teachers can empower readers to use various technologies that will help them achieve
their personalized reading goals. Give students the opportunity to leverage
technology so they can be in control of their own learning is what Universal Design Learning is all about. Educators no longer need to be on top of students, coercing them to learn how to read. The idea of empowerment—giving students the technology, Fix It strategies, and choices that put them in control of the situation. You can empower ELLs, struggling readers and even reluctant readers to work on their weaknesses and hone in on their strengths, as well as to believe they can become more proficient readers.

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Building MultiModal Text Sets & Building 21st Century Skills

The following post was a piece written for the January 2020 ISTE Literacy Journal. To read the complete journal with additional articles focusing on multimodal literacy, click here.

We live in a world where information is presented in multimodalities: visual, print, audio, digital. Yet, in schools, most teachers are still dependent on print text. Maybe there is some visual and digital texts. Audio is slowly entering the field of education with the array of informative podcasts and audiobooks to listen to great reads. If we are truly going to help students build 21st century skills according to the ISTE Standards for Students and Next Generation Literacy Standards than we need to provide more multimodal text sets for student learning and understanding. This is more than universal design learning, it is about helping students access information in all its forms, become critical thinkers of these texts, as well as creative communicators. 

When you enter my 8th grade English classroom in Rye, New York you will find students reading paperback books as well as some listening to the same text on Learning Ally or reading it on a Kindle or Chromebook. My students interact with all different types of texts depending on the unit they are studying. For example, when students are reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a classic text taught in most middle or high schools today, I supplement their historical, political, and socio economic understanding of the text by building text sets to expand world knowledge. 

According to Achievethecore.org, “A text set is a collection of related texts organized around a unit topic, theme, concept, or idea. The set is focused on an anchor text,­ a rich, complex, grade ­level text. The anchor text is the focus of a close reading with instructional supports. What is important is that the texts in the set are connected meaningfully to each other to deepen student understanding of the anchor text.” Text sets should go beyond print and digital texts. Photographs, audio text, and video can also be integrated into text sets. It is important to note text sets evolve and should be revised and updated regularly. 

The text set I have built around To Kill a Mockingbird includes an audio of FDR’s 1933 inaugural speech referenced in Chapter One of Harper Lee’s book.  Students view Dorothea Lange’s photographs from the Great Depression. Using material from Facing History, I partner with my social studies teacher to include primary and secondary sources about Jim Crow Laws and the Scottsboro Trial which influenced Lee’s writing.  When we get to the trial scene in the book, students complete an Edpuzzle and view a video of Richard Peck playing Atticus in the 1962 film adaptation. As students are watching Atticus’ closing argument they track his use of ethos, pathos, and logos. I have graphic novel versions of the text for us to dive deep into craft and structure specific chapters and use Actively Learn, a digital reading platform, for jigsaw activities when we read poetry that connects to the text and characterization.  To build in some computational thinking, this winter my students will be creating a cardboard city of Maycomb and will code Finch Robots to travel through Maycomb representing the Scout, Jem, and Dill’s journey throughout the novel. 

I am excited to add robotics and extend students’ literacy learning in my classroom. Although some parents have expressed their concerns of not focusing solely on literature in my English Language Arts class,  layering classical texts with multimodal text sets provides all the students in my classroom ways to access the text, understand the text, and engage in critical conversations about the text. 

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Dystopian Quest 2019

Imagine a world where information is used as a form of control. Where books and knowledge are guarded by the powerful few. Science, technology, and language are utilized for propaganda, social control, and brainwashing. 

Call to Adventure

Welcome to our Dystopian Quest where it is the mission of my eighth grade students uncover the disinformation, brainwashing, and indoctrination of the people living in the utopian/dystopian worlds they read about in young adult fiction. Students are called upon to find the heroes who are already on a path to uncover the deception and fabrication of their world and community. 

Instead of reading and completing traditional quizzes and tests about the dystopian books students are reading, they are immersed in an adventure based quest throughout their reading unit, completing different missions to uncover new thinking about their reading. Students earn game points or “XP” (Experience Points) with each mission that they later can utilize for different powers and privileges in the classroom. 

If we are going to energize our students, we need to embrace technology with teaching methods that inspire and encourage our students to be motivated to learn, collaborate, and face obstacles in a positive way. Approaching learning as a quest or a mission can inspire adventure, collaboration, and results in a better learning experience and learning environment. Gamification and game based learning captures (and retains) learners’ attention, challenges students, engages and entertains them, and teaches them.

Below is the hyperdoc that maps out the three week dystopian quest for my students. Students choose the dystopian books they want to read. YA choices include The Giver by Lois Lowry, Neal Shusterman’s Unwind and Scythe series, Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard, and The Reader by Traci Chee.

Classcraft Dystopian Quest

 

As students are reading, they have different missions to complete that have them unpack the dystopias and draw connections between the fictional worlds and our reality today. For the final mission students write a thematic essay utilizing text based evidence. There are sidequests for students to complete for additional points and privileges. This hyperdoc and quest has taken on many different forms and this year I have it paired down to cover the elements of dystopia that will help scaffold students’ comprehension and close reading. Topics include characterization, propaganda, text connections, and hero’s journey.

Want to know more about this quest and reading unit, contact me and I am happy to share more.

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12 Strategies to Support Readers

What are the habits and strategies that can help students to develop their reading skills? Here are a dozen pre-reading, during reading and post reading strategies to support the readers in your classroom.

Before Reading Strategies

Anticipation Guides – These are brief sets of questions for generating conversation around the big issues or controversies inherent in the reading to be assigned. The questions do not have one correct answer, so as to surface multiple points of view or aspects of a problem. Anticipation guides involve students in thought and discussion on important issues and create powerful purposes for reading.

Anticipation Guides can be in the form of a questionnaire, survey, four corners statements, or what side do you stand on. The Four Corners strategy is an approach that asks students to make a decision about a problem or question. Each of the four corners of the classroom is labelled with a different response (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree). Students move to the corner that best aligns with their thinking.

KWL+ Charts – What I Know, What I Want to Know, and What I learned is a good way to find out what students already know about the topic. These charts help students think about what they already know about a topic before reading and then connect new information with what they already know.

Word Splash – Make a list of key vocabulary and concepts associated with the content or text. The terms can be new words or commonly known words. “Splash” these words across a sheet of paper or use an online word cloud generator like Word Art.  Then, ask the students to put the words in logical order or draw connections about the words. Once groups finish, ask them to share their thinking. After all students have shared,  ask students to predict what they are going to study and what they will be looking for as they read or learn.

During Reading Strategies

Post Its – As students are reading they track thinking on post it notes at important parts the text where there is key moments or raises questions. Notes are for ideas as well as evidence. When students are reading for academic purposes, it is necessary for students to record thinking so it can be remembered and reused.

Coding & Annotating the Text – Coding the text helps readers to monitor their comprehension and remember what was read. Students can make up their own coding system. Recording thinking while reading helps a reader remember what s/he read. It also provides an opportunity for the reader to wrestle with meaning.

Asking Questions  – Asking questions about what you are reading allows you to think more deeply and better understand what you are reading. Good readers ask questions before, during, and after reading to clarify ambiguity and deepen understanding.

Making Connections – If a student can make a connection it can trigger more interest in the reading topic. Stephanie Harvey (1998) writes, “Proficient readers connect what they read to their own lives and this type of reading promotes engagement and enhances understanding. Students can make text to text connections, text to world connections and text to self connections.

When teachers provide explicit modeling of thinking processes they identify the habits utilized to make sense of the of the text.

Post-Reading Strategies

Tableaus is perfect for kinesthetic learners. To set up the tableaus, have students create frozen scenes from significant events in a text. In a a corner of the classroom where other classmates cannot see or hear what they are doing, allow students in 3-4 minutes to formulate their scene or frozen picture. Once the model group is ready to present, ask students to put their heads down. Count to five aloud while  the group is forming its scene. When you get to “one” the group is in position, and invite students in the audience to take a look at the frozen scene. The teacher can call on students from the class to identify the scene and its significance to the text.

Sketch to Stretch allows students to individually sketch a picture that represents their understanding of the key concepts, facts, and ideas.

Graphic Organizers like Venn Diagrams, Frayer Models, Episode Patterns, and Chronological Sequence can help convey large chunks of information concisely. These organizers or mind maps allow students to organize a large body of information sequentially or draw connections to represent key information.

10 Word Summary is an activity that I adapted from Kelly Gallagher. You can select any number of words but the idea is that students only have a certain number of words to summarize in their own words. Then, using individual summaries, students can generate a whole-class summary on the board in 10 or fewer words. Summary writing is another way for students to put concepts from the reading into their own words.

Quiz making is another student activity that can show their comprehension in the after-reading stage. Quiz making encourages students to think like the teacher and, at the same time, consider what concepts in the reading are key: “If you were the teacher and you wanted to test your students on this text, what would you ask?” This activity can be done as an individual assignment or in collaborative groups or pairs. Students can be encouraged to create a variety of question types.

 

 

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5 Activities for Close Reading, Collaboration, and Discussion

David McCullough, author of John Adams and 1776, said during an interview on NPR, “To teach history, use pictures to fuel students’ curiosity.”

We want students to get into a text (whether a primary source or historical fiction) and get a sense what people experienced during other time periods.  Then, students fill in the text with what isn’t being said by sketching, improvs, writing. 

Creative activities help students walk in a particular time period and ignite student interest in the past. Teachers can bring new life to a unit of study by integrating the tools of creative drama and theatre – tools like pantomime, movement, improvisation, scripted drama, oral interpretation, debating, public speaking, readers theatre, storytelling, and the many other ways we use our body or voice to creatively communicate ideas to others. 

Content is what we teach, but there is also the how, and this is where literacy instruction comes in. There are an endless number of engaging, effective strategies to get students to think about, write about, read about, and talk about the content you teach. The ultimate goal is to build a student’s comprehension, writing skills, and overall skills in communication.

Here are five activities to do with your students to promote deeper comprehension, communication, and close reading.

It Says, I Say, So What? – This  reading strategy from Harvey Daniels helps students by guiding them through the process of drawing inferences from the written text. Also, it provides an opportunity to synthesize the information with prior knowledge. I have adapted this many times to include images for students to read closely and articulate what they see and then what does it make you think.

Image Detectives

Reading Detective

10 Questions – Another reading strategy that I employ with my students was adopted by Kelly Gallagher, author of several books. Students read a chunk of text, the first chapter of a novel, or a passage from a nonfiction text and then brainstorm ten questions they have after reading the text. These questions become a frame for further reading and discussion about the text.

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Speed Networking – This activity provides an opportunity for students to make connections and exchange a variety of ideas with their peers in a productive manner. A student and a partner will discuss a given topic for three minutes, then switch to a new partner and discuss again. The number of rotations will depend upon the time available and the topic. The three rules include: 1. Stay on topic, 2. Keep talking until it is time to switch, and 3. Talk only to the person across from you.

Write Around – Students read a passage or a chapter then write a question at the top of a sheet of paper. Students pass their papers to one another or post them in a gallery for everyone to write a response to the open-ended questions.

Student to Student Dialogue Journal – Rather than creating a T-Chart where students record passages they thought compelling and writing a response, there is space for students to share their responses to the students’ double entry responses. Padlet is a great digital tool to collect student response and summaries in the write around and dialogue journals.

And one more . . .

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Mystery Envelopes – Hand small groups a mystery envelope with an index card inside that has a question for the group to answer. Working collaboratively, students formulate answers with evidence to support the text dependent question(s).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Field Trip: George Washington’s Mount Vernon

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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

In John Trumbull’s painting of George Washington the artist blends history and portrait. George Washington was the commander in chief during the Revolutionary War. This painting epitomizes heroism and nobility.

In the same Yale University Gallery, upstairs from the American paintings, stands Titus Kaphar’s Shadows of Liberty in the Modern Art Gallery with similar characters and colors. Yet, his painting tells a very different story and tone. The golden yellow cape wrapped around Washington is a shredded list of enslaved people held up with rusty nails like a collar and covering his mouth.

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You will not find Kaphar or Trumbull’s painting at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, what you will find is an “authentically interpreted 18th century home,” lush gardens and groundsmuseum galleries, and immersive programs.

Mount Vernon was George Washington’s home. It was also home to hundreds of enslaved people who lived and worked under Washington’s control. In 1799, there were 317 men, women, and children enslaved at Mount Vernon’s five farms, which covered 8,000 acres. They made up more than 90% of the population of the estate. The exhibit states, “Washington’s views on slavery changed over time. Economic and moral concerns led him to question slavery after the Revolutionary War, though he never lobbied publicly for abolition. Unable to extricate himself from slavery during his lifetime, Washington chose to free the 123 enslaved people he owned outright in his will. He was the only founding father to do so.”

Both the Enslaved People’s tour and the museum gallery “Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon” offer a watered down view of slavery and set the tone that the first president of the United States had conflicting views about slavery.

George Washington, ca. 1787–1788 wrote, “The unfortunate condition of the persons whose labour in part I employed, has been the only unavoidable subject of regret.”

History is not one-sided. When teaching about this time period it is important to look at history from multiple perspectives and voices. If you are teaching this time period, here are a few additional resources to add to your repertoire about George Washington.

Born into a life of slavery, Ona Judge eventually grew up to be George and Martha Washington’s “favored” dower slave. When she was told that she was going to be given as a wedding gift to Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Ona made the bold and brave decision to flee to the north, where she would be a fugitive. 51eu07btpel._sx330_bo1204203200_

Erica Armstrong Dunbar reveals a fascinating and heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons’ when they were the First Family—and an in-depth look at their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape from one of the nation’s Founding Fathers.

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For older students, Dunbar’s original book was a Finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction offering a startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family. When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital. In setting up his household he brought along nine slaves, including Ona Judge. As the President grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t abide: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

Hmmmmm, that is very sneaky, Mr. Washington! So, when teaching this time period. Let’s just be sure to paint the whole picture. We can bring in artifacts and texts from multiple perspectives and people.

In your are in the Washington, DC area, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate is worth visiting. Also, online there are multiple resources for teachers with lesson plans, virtual tours, a digital encyclopedia, and artifacts. For those who are fans of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton the Musical, there is a webpage on the Mount Vernon website that looks at how each song from the original cast recording relates to Washington.

 

 

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Let’s Get Ready to Battle . . . Battle of the Books

For the past three months my fourth grader has been engrossed in Battle of the Books. This annual events kicks off the beginning of March with a book party and students receiving a special package of story maps, books, and a book list. The 100 fourth graders are sent off on a mission to read as many books as possible for the battle that occurs the end of May. Each class battles against the other to obtain the title of “Book Champion” by answering questions identifying the books and authors for the 80 titles in a spelling bee – like event that parents are invited to attend with a celebration at the end.

The day of the battle, the entire fourth grade had read more than 1,400 books in that time frame and my daughter’s class of 17 students was the top class to read 509 books. For three months she was determined to read 40 books. Every night we would read an hour before bed and talk through the characters and stories. She was on a mission and the night before the final count, at 37 books she came home from school to powerhouse through three books to meet her personal reading goal. The books ranged from picture books to chapter books. I suggested reading the easiest books first (those with the fewest pages) before getting to Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons and C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It was intense the last week of the battle.

Amazed by the excitement in the air among the fourth graders the day of the battle, I thought how can I do this in my own classroom and make the Battle of the Books relevant in middle school. Already gamifying my classroom, why not add another layer with a school year long battle of the texts.

Battle of the Books

Click on the Image to view the entire book list for the Epic Book Battle

My list contains 100 titles – some still to be determined. The books are in order of the reading and writing units we have throughout the year. You will notice that I have included poems, books, essays, TED Talks, and even podcasts. Why not include a variety of texts for students to read and engage with. My students will have a notebook specifically for their reading notes and sketch notes. The directions for the notebook are below. I am using the directions from English teacher and podcaster, Brian Sztabnik Summer Reading Assignment for his students.

For every book you read you will keep two (or more) pages of notes/sketchnoting to organize your thinking about the text.  “How you organize those three pages is up to you. I know that this is vague and undefined, but look at it another way. I am empowering you to do what you feel is right. You have the freedom to do what you want. You can create whatever you want. All I’m asking you to do is create three interesting pages of notes about your reading experience. When there are little to no rules, the possibilities are endless. It is up to you to make it awesome!”

I am planning the last Friday of each quarter to hold a battle – of sorts. In Classcraft teams students will be asked questions related to the books. The team with the most questions answered correctly will earn treasure to use in class. The 4th Quarter the entire 8th grade class will battle all their classmates. The winning team of the epic battle will earn an even bigger advantage on your final exam.

For every 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 books read and notes completed, students gain XP and various prizes to be utilized in class for their benefit. The student that reads all 100 books . . .  well you will have to wait to collect your fortune! — As for my daughter’s class, there was one student who read all 80 books and won a $100 Amazon gift card. 

The energy and excitement during the battle among the fourth graders was contagious. I was amazed how many books the students read and their collaboration to work together during the battle supporting one another. This is something that I want to recreate with my students in the upcoming school year.

 

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