Other ways of teaching a novel

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Linguist92021, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 15, 2016

    I'm looking to add some variety to my teaching strategies and mix it up a little.
    This is how I've always taught novels.
    - used a teacher guide, but skipped a lot of activities when time was an issue.

    In any case (even if I didn't have a teacher guide) I did the following:
    - every chapter had 10 vocabulary which were part of warm ups, and then were on the chapter quiz
    - we read the chapter, as a class, giving Class Dojo points for participation. This year I started doing some silent reading, I like how it worked out, I want to keep that here and there
    - we would always stop and clarify / discuss what we've read. Reading comprehension, and making inferences.
    - the next day we write a summary (I like this, but I might want to give it up, not sure. I think it's important for students to know how to summarize.)
    -if time allowed, went with the teacher guide which always focused on a certain concept, for example theme or characterization, etc. I think this is great, and I hate that a lot of times we had to skip it.
    - review and test. The test is always short answer (although sometimes I put some multiple choice about recalling facts from the book) and had higher level questions.

    Honestly I don't know any other way to teach a novel (I know, it's sad).

    This is my situation for the next semester:
    We'll be reading the book I am Malala. The book is 326 pages, which is ok, because it's an easy read. I'm actually pleased with it, because in the summer I bought a youth version, which is less than half in size, and I'm not sure, but I think the language is simplified, there were no vocabulary words to teach out of that.
    I want to read the book, as well as teach the background (geography, culture and politics of the area) and the issues it touches on, education, women's right, children's rights, etc. I know it's a lot, and I don't want to get carried away and read this book for 4 months.

    I haven't actually found a typical teacher guide, but I have seen plenty of sources about how to teach the book. I'm just looking for other ways to teach a novel, any novel.

    Thank you!
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 15, 2016

    Also wanted to add: one of the reasons I'm looking for suggestions, if that my P is allowing me to teach this to all grade levels, I'll have 2 English I classes (mostly freshmen) and 3 English II / III combined (sophomore, junior and seniors). We agreed that there will be a difference in the level it is taught, it should be a combination of higher / lower level, maybe less or more requirements.
    So I'll need to also find a way to differentiate, based on Common Core requirements.
    I think once I figure out what I'm doing, I can change it for the other level.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Dec 15, 2016

    We teach different grades, but this still might be applicable to your situation. The trouble I have with independent reading of a novel is that some of my kids are really fast, good readers, while some are much slower and don't comprehend as much. Do you tell your students when they must stop? How do you make sure they're all together?

    If I told my class "read the next four pages", I'd have three groups:
    1) Kids who read the pages in about 5 minutes, and then want to read ahead
    2) Kids who still aren't done in 15
    3) Kids who say they read the pages in about 5 minutes but actually didn't do any of the reading, whether they realize it or not

    I have my students read independently, but usually in books of their own choosing. They enjoy independent reading time. When we're reading a novel or short story, we normally read as a group. Either I read, they read, or we listen to the audio.
     
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  5. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Dec 15, 2016

    Also, look into Independent Reading Management Kit: Literary Elements by Scholastic. It's for grades 4-8, so might be appropriate for your students depending on their level.

    Most of the activities can be used for any book, so it might have some fresh ideas.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 15, 2016

    When we did independent reading this is how I did it:
    - chose a lot less pages than what we would have read together. For example we read 8-10 pages as a class, for independent reading I gave them 5 pages. This way everyone would be done, even the struggling readers, and the ones that are fast will find ways to entertain themselves on their phones :) It's high school. In the future I will incorporate extra credit option for those that are done early.
    - I knw that they read it, because I put questions on the board, and they had to read it as they went along. some questions were there to show me that they actually read it, for example which 2 vocabulary words from this week are on page 39? or questions about facts; other questions asked them to figure something out, and others were opinion based questions.
    The questions went in order.
    The turned it in, got credit for it, so most of them were motivated to get it done.
    - Sometimes we went over it at the end of the class just to make sure they understood the bigger points.

    The next day we'd go over everything, and write a summary, so even if they didn't understand it, or didn't do it, they got caught up. Then I wouldn't even do any independent reading for a while.

    This semester I might make it a regular thing, once a week maybe.
     
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  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Can you please give me some details on how you did it?
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Thank you for your response. To give you an idea, this is how the book is split up:
    Part one has 8 chapters, a total of 90 pages. So each chapter is about 9-18 pages, which would take 1-3 days read (each chapter). There are 5 parts, total of about 300 pages.

    Going about thematically is a great idea, I thought about reading a part, and then reading additional sources about it, for example recent news about the area, or things she describes in the book looked up in the news, so it's right there as facts as well. Or read and discuss about women's rights, globally and compare it to our country.
    My question is : what do you assess them on? What is their grade based on? I don't like grading mostly discussions, and I don't like relying on projects only. I want academic rigor as well.
     
  9. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Dec 16, 2016

    I like to do lit circles with my freshmen. It puts the responsibility on them to read, to lead, and to participate. I have to scaffold it a ton for them, though. Send me your email and I can put some things together for you!
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sending right now, thank you so much !!
     
  11. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Dec 17, 2016

    I'll put something together for you Monday when I get back to school!
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Thank you!
     
  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I have two questions.
    1. This is for all grade levels actually. Do you always include vocabulary in your novels? I mean teaching it and testing it? This book is not very heavy with unknown vocabulary words, but there are some. It actually has a lot of foreign words and concepts, which of course I'll just go over to make sure they understand them.
    2. this is especially for high school. How do you get through a very large book in a few months without assigning home reading? This book is 300 pages, and it looks like it might take all semester. I wanted to squeeze in a persuasive unit with a persuasive paragraph, a and hopefully having them write a business letter. Our classes are 55 pages. This book requires a lot of additional sources, at least I think it calls for it, and it would enrich it, but if I keep adding, we'll never finish
     
  14. Tyler B.

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    Why not use the novel as a mentor text for student writing assignments? Have your students study how the author creates suspense, develops characters, or creates humor? Examine and imitate the author's sentence structure, punctuation and word choices.

    This might not work with the Malala book since it's not a novel. The culminating activity could be to write a chapter opening for an imaginary chapter in the novel. It's the way our school teaches novels. We had a workshop on how to do this, and the result is our students study and develop writing skills.
     
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  15. Mrs. K.

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    Dec 17, 2016

    As far as vocabulary goes, I don't teach words that come from the text; I introduce words that my students can use to discuss and write about the text. For example, we're halfway through Hamlet right now. My students have had nerfarious, usurp, and pernicious: "The nefarious Claudius has usurped the throne by pouring a pernicious poison in the king's ear." Give your kids vocabulary they can work with for this book and in the future.
     
  16. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Dec 18, 2016

    In my 5th grade whole class lit studies, the students kept literature response journals. They had some time to read in class, some for homework. After reading, they had to write any unfamiliar words in their journals, write down any questions they had about events and characters, identify new characters as they appeared in the reading, identify any especially descriptive phrases and figurative language. Depending on the book, we sometimes kept graph paper up with a map of the events or settings and one for qualities of the main characters and how they were demonstrated by word, actions, or behavior of other characters. Sometimes I would have them write to the main character and ask questions or give advice. I had small classes, so after they read to themselves, I would have them read along as I reread chapters aloud and then we discussed.
     

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