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  #1  
Old 04-05-2012, 08:32 PM
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scooter503 scooter503 is offline
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Midwest
Upper elementary
teaching new novel

I'm about to start teaching a new novel. I have not been able to find any resources to help me out. I've written questions, chosen vocab words and found examples of personification and similes. Anyone have any other ideas? I've thought of having them work on annotating text (think Kelly gallagher), something they work on in the high school. Suggestions? I have high level 8th graders.
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2012, 09:22 PM
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Linguist92021 Linguist92021 is offline
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Central Valley of California
High School English (Alt. Ed.)
I have my students do silent reading in every class period.
I'm reading the book ahead of them and I'm creating a worksheet for them as I go along. It includes the following:
- questions about the reading. Some is factual so I know they are really paying attention and understand the text, and others require higher level thinking.
- I have a wide range of readers, so I wasn't sure about the vocabulary. I created a blank vocabulary chart for them, they have thesauruses, so if they must look up a word, they're asked to write down the word with the meaning. Because I told them this is not mandatory, they're all skipping through it but it's not a big deal.
- I have a self-reflection part at the end of every chapter.
2 pages for each chapter.
- This book is an autobiography, so it doesn't really have 1 conflict, resolution, etc. But I will have them do some writing based on the book, maybe about the theme, or character analysis, or an autobiography, etc.

If I was doing a novel with the class, I would do the same thing, create questions and go over them as we're reading the book. I would actually look up specific vocabulary from the book, and would spend some time on it.

I got this idea from when I was student teaching in 8th grade, and we were reading My brother Sam is Dead. My master teacher provided me with a packet, and it was the way I just described it (questions, vocab). I think it's straight forward, it's not hard to create, as long as you do it when you're reading the novel.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:08 AM
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Upsadaisy Upsadaisy is online now
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Here is a plan that worked well for my class this past year with a read-aloud:

Students kept a reader response journal. They wrote in it daily. They each had a copy of the book (they had to buy it). They were not allowed to read ahead or start it on their own.

First, we previewed the book, the title, the author's name, cover illustration. We predicted what the book was about. I kept a chart on the wall to record predictions. Then, we read the back cover which had a brief summary. The kids wrote in their journals about any questions they had, what they wanted to know. I recorded questions on the chart paper. This was done in two sessions.

I made charts for recording names of characters, descriptions of characters, settings. We kept adding to the charts as we read. We updated the predictions chart as we proved or disproved our predictions.

The next lesson was about how to use the reader response journal. Every day of reading, they dated the page before writing. They were to keep it open while they read, jot down questions they had, things they wondered about, conclusions they could draw, emotional responses, words they did not understand, and (their favorite) figurative language. (Tie in to language arts lesson on figurative language.)

Each day, the kids read one chapter (they were short, you might have to limit it to a certain number of pages if the chapters are long) silently. They wrote in their response journals.

Chart paper for vocab words was kept up until the book was done. I listed the words and page numbers for each days reading. Sometimes we projected the definitions before the kids read a chapter. I gave them pages for recording vocab words and definitions - just made it on the computer with appropriate lines. They used the dictionary to find the definitions after reading silently.

When everyone had finished reading and recording, I read the same chapter aloud while they followed along. This could take place at any time later that day. We stopped and discussed at appropriate spots. We updated charts. Each student shared their favorite parts (which they had noted in their journals), and interesting language (words, phrases, similes, metaphors). This turned out to be their absolute favorite part of the discussions, which surprised me.


On most days, I posted a question of the day (or two or three) on the board. They had to answer the question in their journals. Their answers had to contain the question and be in complete sentences. I encouraged them to cite the page number and/or a quote from the chapter which helped them.

Sometimes, I had them draw a particular scene, or even a vivid use of language right in their journals. They loved this, too. You could also ask them to make short comic strips of chapters, write letters to characters giving advice, write 'found' poems using words they found in the novel, compare characters to themselves...... there is no end to all the opportunities!
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  #4  
Old 04-06-2012, 09:25 AM
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mopar mopar is offline
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Definitely start working on annotating in the text. We start this in sixth grade in my district.
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  #5  
Old 04-06-2012, 10:31 AM
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scooter503 scooter503 is offline
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Midwest
Upper elementary
Quote:
Originally Posted by mopar View Post
Definitely start working on annotating in the text. We start this in sixth grade in my district.
What kind of things do you have them focus on? Can you tell me more?
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  #6  
Old 04-06-2012, 01:40 PM
Tyler B. Tyler B. is offline
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Upper Elementary Teacher
Quote:
Originally Posted by scooter503 View Post
I'm about to start teaching a new novel. I have not been able to find any resources to help me out. I've written questions, chosen vocab words and found examples of personification and similes. Anyone have any other ideas? I've thought of having them work on annotating text (think Kelly gallagher), something they work on in the high school. Suggestions? I have high level 8th graders.
Set as your long term goal, that your students learn the style of the author's writing and then write a page that could reasonably fit into the book somewhere.

You can have them make word/phrase collections (vivid verbs, figurative language), analyze sentence patterns and lengths (for example, where does the author use fragments the most during action or descriptive passages?), and also study the author's use of conventions so they can imitate that. Does the author spell everything correctly? Good. Let's try doing that.

I got this from our writing book: Literature Based Writing (www.mthoodpress.com).
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