In place of "Trailer Tuesday" today, I have invited our school librarian to open class with a review lesson. Earlier this year students visited the library during their social studies class to learn about the library and how to locate books and other materials. However, this is middle school, so a review is always needed.
The purpose of doing this today, at the beginning of the new nine weeks and a new unit, is to support students as I am requiring them to read at least one nonfiction book this nine weeks as part of their independent reading. Additionally, I want them to practice locating information in our library to prepare for their own research in the coming months.
I will facilitate as the librarian reviews with students how to locate nonfiction in a library. This includes having all students login to the school library website where they can search for books.
Our lesson today is really a series of informal book talks. I am a firm believer in loving what you teach and demonstrating that for students. So, I regularly talk with students about the books they are reading and those I am reading. If you follow me on Better Lesson you know that I show book trailers every week to keep the conversation going.
So, today is my opportunity to show students my excitement over nonfiction along with fiction. I recently placed a large order for new books (including requests from students) for my shelves and they are in!!! The students know they are here and have been chomping at the bit to get to them. I've build up the excitement, and today, I will show them each book. As I hold each book I will share what I know of the book. I've read a few, but others I studied online when I did research for the order. I'll point out anything and everything I can with the time I have to get them excited.
I'll also reveal a new way to get extra credit today. I've setup a page on our class blog for what I'm calling "First Read Reviews". This is where the first student to read the new book can post a review for others to read. I have linked the page to past reviews students have written as examples.
If you are unfamiliar, unsure or uncomfortable with book talks, there are loads of great websites and books dedicated to the topic. The most important thing - as far as I'm concerned- is that you not confuse "book talks" with "book reports". The goal of a good book talk is to engage your audience and create a connection that makes them want to pick up the book and give it a go. Book reports had a different purpose, but as they are a thing of the past, we'll not go there. For quality examples and information about book talks, see the International Reading Association's "Reading Online" site.
To wrap up this lesson, I will ask students to access the school library website and answer the following questions. This will allow me to gage their understanding of how to locate nonfiction.
1. If I am searching for a book in the library or on the online site, how can I distinguish fiction from nonfiction? (Students should say nonfiction has numbers on the side for cataloging purposes.
2. How can I distinguish fiction from non fiction in Mrs. Doolin's classroom? (Students should say books in my class room have information on the inside and nonfiction has a strip of red tape horizontally across the bottom of the spine.)
3. Give me the title and spine information for a nonfiction book about Abraham Lincoln located in our library and tell me how to find it when I get there.
Students will hand me their answers as they exit the room. I will review them and make any corrections in class tomorrow.