As you know, my classes are reading novels in literature circles. Last year through Scholastic I got the novels The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo for my students to read. This book is a great read: fast, thought provoking, and great lessons to be learned. The story is broken into 4 parts which all tie together in the end. The story is about a mouse named Despereaux, which means despair, who was born into a family who didn’t like him much. He was not the average mouse–different because he was smaller than the average mouse and he loved to read, which mice don’t like to read they like to eat the pages. Anyways, Despereaux follows music one day because he love the sounds he heard. This brought him to meet Princess Pea. He falls in love with her and eventually talks to her. This leads him to the dungeon because he broke the rules. In the dungeon he meets a rat and this is where the story unfolds…Despereaux learns the values of faith, hope, love, perseverance, forgiveness, and determination, but you as a reader learn empathy along with what Despereaux learns.
Literature Circle Calendars January 18, 2008
Calendars make literature circles run more smoothly. I created a calendar using publisher and printed it off for my students. They then got into their groups and decided how many pages to read each day. I got this idea from Harvery Daniels book, Mini-lessons for Literature Circles. I also gave students 5 points to their test grade for those who got their parents to sign the calendar.
Take a look at our calendar.
It’s Getting Closer January 8, 2008
What is getting closer? Well, literature circles! Yesterday my students chose 4 books that they would like to read (from those lists I come up with 4 groups that read different books) and today I told them the books they will be reading. Seeing their eyes light up was breath taking. My 6th graders can’t wait to start literture circles. I have been talking about lit circles all year and now they get to be in one. Throughout the year we have been practicing with our reading books, but now they get novels. I have created a calendar that I give to my students so they know what days we have lit circles. I will give them their calendars on Friday. I also use Harvey Daniels book Mini-lessons for Literature Circles, which is a life saver! I highly recommend this book to anyone trying to do lit circles. Your reading class dynamics will turn a 180!
In order to do lit circles, you have to have an assortment of different books and have 4-6 copies of each title. Yes, that can be expensive, but I go to the used book store to get books and goodwill sometimes has them. Sometimes at the end of the year I will ask students to bring in books they don’t want anymore for extra credit. That’s how I got all my Harry Potter books!
Take a look at this site for information on lit circles:
I will post more updates when the books start to open!
Classroom Libraries December 11, 2007
I have a classroom library filled with books for my students to read. I have a system of checking out and in. Well, each year books seem to disappear. Lastweek, I started having my students come to me to check out a book with a limit of 2 out at a time. I have two index box sets. The boxes are alphabetized by authors’ last names. Box one (pink) = cards with books on the shelf. Box two (orange) = cards with books that are checked out. Students sign the back of the card and I place it in the appropriate box.
Do you have a way that you have your students check out books? I would love to hear about it. What do you do if a child loses your book?