Happy extra long weekend Saturday! I am linking up a Student Motivation strategy with the amazing Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching. I just love this gal and she has the best ideas for motivating students! I have found that weekly linky parties have really challenged me to blog about topics that I might not have thought to mention. It has helped me stay focused. I might not always link up with all my BBB's but I try to as often as possible:) I also love the networking that linky parties generate!
I didn't have any idea what I would be blogging about this Saturday until Thursday in my ELA class when THIS happened:
I know it is difficult to see their expressions completely but I think you can see the students' overall excitement! You might be wondering, "What is in the black and white box?"
Answer: BOOKS for our new book clubs starting next week!
A few months ago, I purchased Laura Candler's Classroom Book Clubs resource. I really liked how this resource gave me printables and a video guide for introducing the concept of book clubs step-by-step. This is not your traditional "literature circles" with student roles. We haven't started officially yet but I think this will be a great activity for the end of the year and really get the students motivated to read even more!
We began a unit called "Animals are Characters Too" in ELA last week and read a nonfiction piece about wild horses while working on the skill cause and effect.
Last year we read a whole class novel, Misty of Chincoteague. I LOVE this book. Although I would love to have every student read it again this year, I decided to try book clubs with five different animal themed novels.
I chose novels with animal characters from what we had available in our multi-copy room:
For those of you who don't know, my grade switches by ability grouping for ELA and I have the top readers in the grade. The longest novel, White Fang, was actually the top pick in the class. The students who were chosen to read White Fang have all earned over 250 Accelerated Reading points individually this year from independent reading.
Anyway...the students filled out a survey of their top picks after I talked about each book. Beforehand, I warned them to not make any gestures or hints to their "buddies" about their top picks. If they did, they would be sure not to be placed with that buddy for their book club group. Some of the 4th graders are very clicky this year.
Then, I took the surveys and made the groups. It worked out beautifully because I split the students up, separating behavior problems and all the students were able TO GET ONE OF THEIR NUMBER ONE CHOICES (I told them to pick two possibilities)!
On the day of the reveal, I placed the students in their assigned groups and gave each group a box that they were not allowed to open until I gave the okay. They were SO excited!
Here are some more pics before opening the boxes. Check out their body language!!
Next, I told them that their group could start reading the novel (no more than 20 pages!) over the four day Memorial Day weekend or wait until next week to start.
Guess what? EVERY group decided to start reading!! I know my class loves to read in general but I thought there would be a couple groups that would wait! Boy, was I wrong!
There was only one boy who was reluctant because his group chose to read to page 20 and his teammate told him, "You only have to read five pages a day."
I was thinking, "Hallelujah!" The students are going to encourage each other to read to stay caught up with the book club and I don't need to say a thing!
I think I am really going to love this method to motivate my students!
I will blog more about it after it gets underway next week. I plan on finishing these books in two weeks. Next week we only have ELA three days because of Memorial Day and the NYS science performance test.
Have you ever used Book Clubs and did you find them motivating for your students?
I would love to hear your thoughts!