See Fun with Literature for project guidelines.
Fun in Literature Class April 30, 2011
Recently my class read Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You by Barthe DeClements and they loved it! The book is about a girl named Helen, “Bad Helen”. She gets her name because she’s always playing pranks on her teacher. Helen has dyslexia and is struggling in school. She may even fail until she meets Mr. Marshall.
At the end of a novel I like to have some type of culminating activity. I found a cool website for literature circles. This site had extension projects that looked fun and interesting. I had one of my classes complete the commemorative stamp activity. They turned out great. I’ll post pictures later. This site even has rubrics to grade the projects.
I then found another idea on a mini book report so I tweaked it for my class. Below is the mini book report project:
Mini Book Report
The Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You
This will be a TEST grade!
White copy paper, colored paper or construction paper
Crayons or markers
Fold the paper in half, then in half again. When you unfold the paper, you will have four boxes of equal size. Then cut the paper in half along one of the folds, slip one piece of the paper inside the other. Repeat the steps and staple the fold to create a twelve page book. Your book pages need to represent the following:
1. Create a new cover design for the book including the author and title
2. Your name needs to be on this page
3. 10 sentence summary
4. 10 sentence response of the book
5. Choose a theme that is represented and explain its importance. 5-10 sentences.
6. Picture of favorite event or scene from book
7. Explanation of why this is your favorite event or scene. 5-10 sentences.
8. Conduct an interview with your parents about what school was like when they were in sixth grade. Ask questions to find out about what discipline was like, dress code, learning styles, classroom set-up, homework, and what their teachers were like. Include at least 6 questions and their answers.
9. Compare and contrast your sixth grade year to your parents’ based on the interview questions. Include parent signature. 10-15 sentences.
10. Vocabulary page – include five vocabulary words from the book, their definitions, and original sentences using the words that are important in the book; the words might offer other students an indication of the reading level/difficulty of the book. Knock my socks off with the sentences!
11. Rating page – draw five stars and indicate how many stars you would give this book – 5 being the best!
12. Back cover – write a teaser to entice others to read the book OR create an interesting write up about the author.
Your pages may be typed or written in cursive.
Mini Book Report Rubric
The Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You
_____ Front Cover is interesting, includes title and author (20 points)
_____ Page Two – Name is on the project (5 points)
_____ Page Three – 10 sentence summary (10 points)
_____ Page Four – 10 sentence response (10 points)
_____ Page Five – Theme and explanation of importance – 5-10 sentences
_____ Page Six – Picture of favorite scene or event (10 points)
_____ Page Seven – Explanation of picture – 5-10 sentences (10 points)
_____ Page Eight – At least SIX interview questions and answers (15 points)
_____ Page Nine – Compare and Contrast – 10-15 sentences- parent
signature (20 points)
_____ Page Ten – FIVE vocabulary words, definitions, and original sentences
_____ Page Eleven – Five Star Rating (5 points)
_____ Back Cover – teaser or interesting write up on author (5 points)
_____ CHIPS (capitalization, handwriting, indenting, punctuation, spelling) and neatness (20 points)
_____ Original and Creative (5 points)
_____ 160 points total
Please include rubric with final project or
5 points will be deducted.
I can’t wait to see the final outcome! Pictures to follow soon…
Pre-reading Activity ~ Carrie’s War February 1, 2011
My student teacher has begun preparing for her unit of study. She decided to teach the novel Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden. To get the students ready for the novel, she had them do a little research about World War II, Wales, Bombings in England, and Coal Towns. Before they researched, she had them create a KWL chart. The students filled out what they knew about WWII in the K column. They discussed what they knew as a class. Students were then grouped and they decided what topic they wanted to research. As a group they were to come up with 5 questions to research in their W column. The students were then given time to research their answers and fill in the L column.
The next day the students used the knowledge from their KWL chart to create a collage of their topic. I have 2 classes of reading, so the students had to build onto one another’s collages. They worked on the collages for about 2 class periods. On the last day the groups presented their topic collages to the class. Below is the final product:
I did this same activity with the novel Lily’s Crossing. I like it because it gives the students ownership of their learning.
More Fun with Vocabulary November 4, 2010
Today my students and I played charades with the same words from yesterday. Each student acted out their word and the others had to guess which word they were acting out. Then we played where they could choose any word from their list and act that out. I then got the idea of vocabulary Pictionary. I divided the class into teams. Each team had a person who drew, which they took turns. The team got 15 seconds to draw and figure out the word being drawn. Then it would switch to the next team. If no one got the word after the 15 seconds, the other team had 3 guesses to figure out the word. We had a good time! I will definitely have to do that again!
Vocabulary Fun November 3, 2010
Image from: youleadtheway.co.cc
Today I gave my students a vocabulary list for the book Crash by Jerry Spinelli. I then assigned a word to each student. I asked them to look up the definition and come up with their own definition. Then they were to come up with synonyms using the thesaurus. After looking up words, creating definitions and synoyms, they were to come up with a sentence that will knock my socks off. I gave them 15 minutes to complete this task. Once finished we went around the room going over their definitions, synoyms, and sentences. If a student didn’t understand a word, we would give more synoyms for that particular word. While the students orally said their word, definition, synonym, and sentence, the other students wrote down the synonyms for all of the words. We are going to review our words tomorrow with vocabulary charades. I can’t wait!
Collaging Thoughts – A Modern Twist to a Book Report June 2, 2010
Last week before school let out, each literature circle group created a collage based on their books they read. Each collage had to have the title of the book, author, characters’ names, a well-written summary, and a scene from the book. Boy, my students went above and beyond. I was quite impressed how they turned out. The students seemed to have enjoyed the project as well. I felt that it was a modern twist to a book report. Once the collages were finished, each group had a few minutes to come up with a short persuasive speech to present to their classmates. My students did a great job at the impromptu speeches. Some even left us wanting to read the books.
Fun with Literature Circles May 21, 2010
This past month my 6th grade classes have worked in literature circles. I used Harvey Daniels book Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles and we’ve had some really thought-provoking lessons. This past week we did a drawing lesson where the students drew a picture of a scene, character, symbol, or event from their books. I was amazed at the conversations buzzing around the room. The week before I introduced the bookmark as a response tool. The students brainstormed ways to respond on their bookmarks. Some of the students responded with questions, author’s craft, passages and quotes, as well as connections. They turned in their bookmarks today. I was quite impressed by how they responded. Below are some student examples:
The author tended to foreshadow a lot. She also used flashbacks that didn’t make sense at first. – Nick from the book The Westing Game
“Rush, hurry, rush.” This quote catches my attention because I wonder why there are whispers. Are they telling her to rush because if they don’t they won’t get to see her mom? – Alec from the book Walk Two Moons
Does Sal and Phoebe feel the same way about their mothers leaving? – Don from the book Walk Two Moons
Next week my students are creating collages of the books. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!
Cereal Box Book Reports March 8, 2010
During the month of February, my students worked in literature circles. Every year after reading their books, I have them do some sort of project. In years past I had them create book jackets. I decided I wanted to do something different, so I began my internet research on different ways to present book reports. I came across the cereal box book report. I fell in love with the idea the moment I read what the students had to do.
So I typed up the guidelines and presented them to my students. I even included a rubric so they would know what I was grading them for. Their cereal boxes turned out great! I was so impressed with my students’ creativity on their boxes.
After completing their cereal boxes, the groups had to come up with a commercial to SELL their cereal, which meant sell the book. I created a rubric for this as well. I am a big advocate of my students knowing what is expected of them. Anyways, today my students presented their commercials. I was a little disappointed with the commercials because some groups didn’t sell the book; they just sold the cereal. I am glad that I video taped the commercials because I could really focus on what I wanted to grade for. I could stop it or replay it if I didn’t catch something. Tomorrow I will show them to the students and have them grade themselves to see if they pick up the same things I did.
I am still glad that we went through with this book report. I will do them again, but I would make a few changes. Some of the changes that I would make include the following:
- make sure students understand the concept of the commercial even after going over the rubric
- have a test run before students present to make sure they are on target
- have a set deadline and not change it – I kept pushing the time back because the students said they weren’t ready, but in reality I felt they were goofing off
- have students work on the commercial and present at the end of the week not on a Monday
- realize that this will be a loud process
Summer Reading Decided April 23, 2008
Today I decided that my rising 6th graders will choose from 4 books. Since my last post, I was having trouble deciding so I decided why not have them choose from a list. I decided on the following books:
- Crispin:The Cross of Lead by Avi
- True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
- Lily’s Crossing by Patricia R. Giff
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
I love all of these books and I think it’s a good mixture of girl vs boy reads. Next week I will talk to the rising 6th graders and tell them about their summer reading requirements.
Summer Reading April 22, 2008
Each year my school requires summer reading. Last year my sixth grade students read Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi. I am thinking about having my students read that and possibly True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, which is also by Avi. I can’t decide. In the past my students also read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Do you have any suggestions for summer reading for sixth graders?