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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tried It Tuesday {Book Clubs}

It's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried at school or home?
My Tried It:
Book Clubs
I FINALLY had my walkthrough observation on Friday!!  We had a formal observation back in the fall and the walkthrough is new this year. It's over and I have that weight lifted off my shoulders!

My principal walked in right before ELA was about to begin and we worked on our Book Clubs!!  I think it went well and I had created these forms that the students already had. One thing is for sure about my book clubs...the learning is DEFINITELY student centered which is a major component on the Danielson Rubric that my school uses for teacher evaluations.

I made a couple handouts  to accompany the Book Clubs.  You can read more about their kick-off here.  I purchased Laura Candler's Classroom Book Clubs and am loving this amazing resource with step-by-step how to videos!  

Click here to download my Book Club modified directions and Tic-Tac-Toe Board in editable powerpoint. The font doesn't show up right unless you have that downloaded on your computer too (I used Oh{Photo}Shoot for the title font).  

For the written assignments, I made a tic-tac-toe choice board (students LOVE choices!) of some of my favorite reading response activities from the amazing Rachel Lynette's Reading Response Worksheets for Grades 3-6.  Here is a picture collage of my Tic-Tac-Toe board and snapshots of Rachel's Reading Response worksheets.

I have used book clubs for the past two years but we had grouped for ELA before and I had the highest ability group. I was nervous about trying book clubs with all three ELA classes of mixed abilities but am so glad I tried it! There were a few students that didn't keep up with their group work, but almost everyone did, including some students who don't usually do their homework!

The students had five choices of books (Warton and the King of the Skies, Because of Winn-Dixie, Skinnybones, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, and Stone Fox). About 80% of students got their first choice and the rest got their second choice. I had four book club groups in each ELA block with 3-4 students in each group. The groups were all reading different books. Here is a picture of some of the book choice slips where students ranked the books by preference:

The students completed a calendar as a group for assignments during the two weeks of book clubs.
Every night they normally have homework (Monday-Thursday), they were instructed to read from their book and either do one tic-tac-toe activity or a sticky note activity. The sticky note questions are on the handouts with the link in the beginning of this post. 

Every day the book club groups have a starting point for discussion. They discuss their sticky note topics or the tic-tac-toe activity. Then, they add the highlights of their discussion to their discussion notes (part of Laura Candler's pack). 

The groups also rate each member on three categories for the day. They discuss this as a group and we also discussed as a class what excellent, satisfactory, needs improvement, and unsatisfactory means.
Student who never does his homework. The first week looked poor but this week he has almost all "Excellents"!!
 Top performing student:
Even if you are already wrapped up for the year, I suggest putting book clubs on your "to try" list for next year. I don't think you'll regret it! :)

 I hope you will link up anything you have tried (new or old!).
Thank you for your bloggy love, whether it is by reading, commenting, or linking up!!


  1. Book Clubs seems like a great way to get my special needs kids more engaged! I may have to adapt it since we HAVE to use SpringBoard next year but I think I could make it work so the essence is not lost. Thanks for a great idea! :)

  2. I love the idea of the students completing discussion notes. It would make them more accountable. I have done book clubs but struggle with how to make them more productive during the discussions. Thanks for sharing!

    Learning in the Little Apple

  3. Book clubs are something I haven't tried because I was worried about the management of it all. I really like the accountability of the tic-tac-toe board. I have pinned many of these ideas for next year. Thanks so much, Holly!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings