This is now Day 6 of a literature unit on character change. Students chose from a variety of books on this theme and are now working in small groups with others who made the same choice, which explains why we refer to this as our Choice Novel Unit. To get today’s class started, we review the expectations for the day by taking out the calendars each group created and by making an entry in the Daily Log. Since each group works at a different pace, it is important that they take ownership of the assignments and stay on track. The homework listed on the board in the classroom now states something general, like ‘read, take notes, and work on book projects.’ It is all too easy to fall behind if they do not keep track of their group’s workload.
At this point, students often begin asking about working together on projects. To do so, I let them know that the finished product needs to go above and beyond the expectations listed on the directions. For example, if two students want to work together on a Memory Box then it must contain at least 14 items instead of 7-9 items. They also ask about completing projects other than those listed, such as making a movie, writing a poem, or creating a presentation. Each of these is an acceptable option but they take planning and a graphic organizer or script must be submitted to me for completing the assignment. As an example, I provide a planning pages for making iMovie Trailers.
Each group is now 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through their novels, so it is definitely time to explore the type of conflict faced by the main character and how they are progressing in their fight to overcome adversity. This video gives some insight into our class discussion on this topic.
Offering time to read during class demonstrates its importance and value. Strong readers become role models for weaker ones, especially when it comes to notetaking. I can ‘show and tell’ this skill but watching a peer apply reading strategies is 100% more effective.