Saturday, May 16, 2015

Book Clubs

Book Clubs are a great way to get kids reading new books and interacting with others to talk about books. Here's how I set my 5th grade Book Clubs up this year.

First I divided my students into groups based on reading levels and book interests.  Each group chose the book that they would like to read as a group.  My book sets are leveled based on Fountas and Pinnell and sorted into plastic tubs, so it's easy for kids to peruse the titles and make their selection. Below are some examples of some of the books they chose for their Book Club groups.

As you can see, students chose a wide variety of books!  I loved going to each Book Club and hearing about their books!

Next, we went over the book club expectations and I gave each group a calendar so they could plan out how much they would need to read each day.  As a group, they had to decide if they needed to break up their reading time into chapters or pages.  They also had to decide if they would need to read at home during the week or on weekends to meet their book club goals.  Below is an example of the planning sheet.

On the back of their planning sheet, I added a Book Club Participate Grade page.  Every student began with 100 participation points.  If a student is off task during Book Club time, then I made an "X" in one of the boxes to indicate that a point had been deducted.

At the beginning of each class period, students met with their book club groups to decide what needed to be accomplished for the day and review what happened in their books previously.  This usually took about 5 minutes.

Then, they got busy reading their assigned pages or chapters for the class period.  I usually gave them about 30-40 minutes to read in class.

As students read, I encouraged them to use post-it notes to make reading connections and make notes of things they wanted to discuss with their Book Clubs.  Here's an anchor chart they used as a reference.  I kept a pile of post-it notes in the middle of each table.

After reading, students met in their book club groups to discuss what was read.  I put a few discussion points on the Smartboard.

I also put up a few anchor charts students could refer to as they met with their groups.

This chart was inspired by the Lucy Calkins Reading Units featuring book clubs.

While students were in their Book Club groups, I visited with each table to listen in on their conversations.  I would sometimes ask the members, "What's going on today with _______?"

I found this chart idea on Pinterest.
After about a 10 minute discussion time, students completed their Book Club Assignment Sheet.  Here's an example of The BFG Book Club's work.

For this assignment, students picked an interesting vocabulary word.  I put dictionaries in the middle of each table so students could use them to look up the definitions of these words.

So, that's how we did Book Clubs in my 5th grade class this year!  I kept it simple and easy and it was very manageable! How do you do Book Clubs in your classroom?  Please share your great ideas in the comments section!  We'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Nonfiction Flipbooks- Kids Become the Experts!

The culminating project for our nonfiction unit was for students to create a flipbook with information about a nonfiction topic. Students chose their own topic, read and researched, then created a flipbook to share with others.  With this project, my students became the experts!

Flip books are easy to make.  For this one, I just folded three sheets of construction paper.  Just be sure to layer them so you get about an inch for the "flip".  Then staple at the top.  Students write their subheadings on each of the flips.  When the paper is flipped up, students can write their informational paragraphs and draw illustrations.

Here's the assignment sheet that I gave students:

Students had a choice on what topic they wanted to research.  I just asked them to choose something that they were NOT already an expert on.  Once a topic was chosen, I had students gather up their resources in the library- whether it was a book, encyclopedia, or other informational resource.

Flipbook Projects included:

  • Title page with author's name (they are the author!)
  • Table of contents
  • 4 pages with subheadings, information in paragraph form
  • 4 nonfiction text features (photos with captions, illustrations, diagrams, charts, side bars, text boxes or bubbles, charts, bold or italicized words, glossary, etc...)
Here are some examples of some of the projects (I wish I could show them all to you!):

As you can see, there were a wide variety of topics!  After researching and creating their flipbooks, students truly became the experts.  In fact, we all learned something new!

Book Fair - A Celebration of Favorite Books!

Last spring, I did a Book Fair with my fifth grade students.  It was a huge success.  The kids loved making the project boards.  The project incorporated reading skills, writing skills, and creativity.  Plus, after projects were completed and displayed, kids in all grade levels could get ideas for their summer reading!  So, this year I collaborated with my fouth grade teacher friend and we did a 4th and 5th Grade Book Fair. We had about 200 projects on display in our library.  It was awesome!

For the project, students choose their favorite book they have read this year and create a Book Fair Project.

Here are the components that were required:
  • Book title, author, publisher, and copyright date.
  • Setting
  • Main Characters and descriptions
  • Plot Summary
  • Conflict
  • Resolution
  • Tone or Mood
  • Author's Purpose
  • Genre
Students could add in extra things such as:
  • Theme
  • Author's biography
  • Photos or other visual aids
  • Book / movie comparisons 
  • Book review
  • Etc... (Really, the sky is the limit!  Or whatever will fit on the board!)
The best part of this project is that kids use their creativity when designing their board.  Kids used all sorts of things to decorate their board and they were all different, yet fantastic!

When I introduced the project, I sent home a letter to parents explaining the project guidelines, including due dates and links to project examples.

Here's the Book Fair Project Planning Sheet I had the kids use as a rough draft.

And now for some of the great projects!  I wish you could see them all!  Here's a small sampling of the fifth grade projects.

Once all the projects were on display in the library, I created a Book Fair Scavenger Hunt where students could have a chance to peruse the projects on display and look for certain projects that contained...a book that has an animal as a main character, a book that's purpose is to inform, a book that is set in a magical place, etc... My students loved this scavenger hunt.  It gave them time to look at and enjoy the projects, plus reinforced the skills that were taught during this project.

This project could be adapted for any grade level.  It's fun, engaging, and gets kids thinking (and hopefully, reading) some great new books!