Historical Fiction books for Lit Circles??

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teachin4ever, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    Jun 1, 2010

    Hey everyone!

    I just got done doing lit circles for the first time this year and while they went pretty smoothly, some of my students didn't care for the choices of books.

    Does anyone have any suggestions of good historical fiction books I could use next year for 7th grade? I'm sticking with The Devil's Arithmetic, Code Talkers, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I had to get rid of Bud, Not Buddy and The Watsons Go to Birmingham. They thought they were boring and too juvenile.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can offer!!
     
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  3. peachacid

    peachacid Companion

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    Jun 1, 2010

    Maybe a way you could generate more interest is to have the kids choose the books. You could give them a list of requirements the books have to meet, and have them all bring in suggestions, and then vote on them...

    Which works if you they buy the books, I guess, and not you. =)

    All I can think of are books about futuristic societies.
     
  4. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Too bad you couldn't use Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. I'm reading it for the umpteenth time right now and I can't stop thinking about how interesting it would be to do a parallel study of historical Russia and Germany, or just oppressive governments in general. Paranoia, creeping in of dictatorship, kids turning their parents in, secret societies, etc.

    Speaking of, how about Animal Farm?
     
  5. glen

    glen Companion

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    My 8th grade students this year LOVED Animal Farm! We're reading The Wave now, and they are enjoying that one, too.
     
  6. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    Number The Stars by Louis Lowry.

    It's about a girl's experience with her Jewish friend during the events surrounding the rescue of the Danish Jews.
     
  7. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Fever: 1776 by Laurie Halse Anderson. My sister is reading it in her gifted 4th grade class, but my high schoolers really like it, too.
     
  8. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Little Women? Is that a younger book? I feel like I read it in junior high but it might have been closer to 5th/6th grade. And boys might not dig it.

    I also like "Mary, Bloody Mary." I read that and became obsessed with the Tudors.
     
  9. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    What about Sign of the Beaver. I read it aloud to my 5th graders, but I can see 7th graders doing so much more with it in a lit circle. Some others that come to mind: Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, Out of the Dust, Bull Run (by Paul Fleishman), and though not HF, The Diary of Anne Frank is always a classic. GL, I love lit circles!!!
     
  10. ms.defelice

    ms.defelice Rookie

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    My students LOVED the novel, Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone. It is about the colony of Jamestown. Right now I am reading Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix, which is set in early 1900s and is about factory girls who were working in unfair working conditions.
     
  11. Nate

    Nate Companion

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    It's been a while since I read it, so I don't remember the exact level, but Fever 1763 (I have no idea if that's the right year :whistle:) was really good.
     
  12. noreenk

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    I discovered Blood on the River: Jamestown this year and my students really enjoyed it! Fever 1793 sounds interesting, I'll have to check it out. I use My Brother Sam is Dead by Collier & Collier to teach the American Revolution every year.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My FAVORITE:

    Gone With the Wind!!!!!!

    (OK, a litle intimidating because it's so big. But what a story!!!)
     
  14. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I would recommend I am Regina by Sally Keehn about a girl who is captured by the Allegheny Indians.
     
  15. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    I love Witch of Blackbird Pond.

    What about reading The Crucible? Wow, is that a powerful book.
     
  16. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    Jun 5, 2010

    Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone!

    They've already read Number the Stars and Sign of the Beaver in 5th grade, so those won't work.

    I remember reading Animal Farm in 9th grade, so maybe I'll check that out again. A couple of you suggested the Fever one...I'll check that one out to. And The Crucible!!! I forgot about that one! I read that one also in 9th grade.

    Thanks again! You guys were a great help!!
     
  17. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Teachin4ever, lots of high school use the Crucible as a big part of their curriculum. If you're going to do it, I'd make sure your high school counterparts don't have a problem with it first!
     
  18. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jun 6, 2010

    How do you organize your Lit Circles in your classroom?

    I have put many of these books in my Amazon cart and will check to see if our library has them. Some great suggestions here...thanks for posting them.
     
  19. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    Jun 8, 2010


    I pick five historical fiction books and introduce them to my class. They are to pick the top three that they would like to read. I do my best to give them their first choice, but sometimes they get their second.

    There are five students per group. They meet with their lit circle groups twice a week. The first meeting, they decide how much of the book they're going to read each time. Also, each student is assigned a role. Literary Luminary, Character Captain, Discussion Director, Vocabulary Enricher and Connector. They rotate the roles so each student has a chance to try them all out. In addition to the roles, each student has to fill out a journal. They provide a summary of what they've read, they respond to their reading, and make a prediction. They must have their role sheet and journal completed before they meet with their group. Then, each group has 20 minutes to discuss what they read. I simply go around and make sure they are staying on task.

    This was the first year I did it. I'll be changing a few things around, but overall, it was successful. The kids really liked it and most groups really got into discussing the books.
     

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