I can’t wait until after spring break because my students and I are going to read together the novel Lily’s Crossing. I just love this book. It has so many themes that correlate to everyday middle school life that I can connect with my students.
The novel is about a girl named Lily who spends her summers in Rockaway, New York. She has a problem with lying and she learns that lying can hurt others, especially someone she really cares about. The story is set in the time period of 1944 during WWII. It’s a great historical fiction novel.
The way I kick off this novel is by having my students research background information so that they better understand what is going on in the novel. Some of the topics they research are women’s roles during WWII, daily life, D-Day, and the city of Rockaway, New York. I group my students into 4 groups and each group researches their topics on the computer.
On the first day, we start with a KWL chart before researching. After completing the KWL chart, the students write questions that they want to find out. Then we spend the next day researching in the computer lab (Tuesday). On the third day, which will be next Wednesday, the students will share their information so that the other students learn about each topic. The last day I have a speaker come in and speak about life during WWII. At our school we are priviledged to have a wonderful lady come and speak to us. She has done this for at least the last 5 years. I love hearing her stories and the kids do too. After spring break, we will begin reading the novel.
I have found that researching before reading the book has great insight for my students. Plus they get to work on oral communication skills and learn something new. It also gets the students excited about reading a novel together.