Friday, March 13, 2015

Book Buddies in 5th Grade

Reader's Workshop with my class has been structured pretty much the same everyday since we started small group Literature Circles. I tend to start Reading with a lesson that pertains to the theme, topic or book the students are reading. For example, right now students are reading My Thirteenth Winter by Samantha Abeel. This is a memoir about a girl who struggled with a math learning disability her entire life. The other day, I read The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco which is a picture book about the author's struggles with school and specifically her experience in a special education classroom. (A book that I absolutely love to read to children and makes me tear up every time I read it). While I read the picture book to students, we discussed how the characters from both the books were similar and different. Afterwards, students met with their Literature Circles, discussed their homework and then independently answered comprehension questions. Sometimes my reading lessons will include an activity, hands-on project or simply a discussion. My main objective is to give students a well-rounded education on the main topic of the quarter, so having them work with a bunch of different types of activities seems to be how I make that happen.

*To learn more about how I typically run Literature Circles, click here

This week, I added in a new element that I thought would be fun and my students loved it! I call it Book Buddies. This is where students each have a journal, and in it, they write a letter to their Book Buddy about what they read the night before. I save this activity for when something really amazing, sad, scary or surprising happens in the story. That way, students will typically have a lot to write about. After the initial letter is written, students switch journals and write a letter back to their buddy. 

I set them up for success by first discussing what they could write about. On the board, I wrote:

Steps for Writing to Your Book Buddy

1. Find a section in what you read last night that really struck you. What made you angry? What made you confused? What made you sad? (These are all reactions that I knew they would have while reading the assigned chapters the night before. I make these questions based on what they read.)

2. Reread that section and think about: 

a. Do you agree with the characters' actions? Why or why not?
b. What don't you understand or what do you want to know?
c. What predictions to do you have?

3. Write a quick summary of the section you are writing about and then respond using prompts from #2. 

After I reviewed the steps, students felt really excited about the section they were going to write about and spent a good 15 minutes writing. Afterwards, they switched and read each other's letters and then responded.

This was really successful in my classroom! I hope you are able to use this in yours as well! 

No comments:

Post a Comment