5 for F: Mystery Book Clubs Week 1

Five for Friday time from Doodle Bugs!

Here's a Snapshot of my week. I'm trying something a lil' different. Below, I explain one part of my week a bit more in depth, our book clubs!


1. An Apple for the Teacher Giveaway! It's huge! Check out more info here!
2. I made mini-fruit pizzas for a sweet treat- they were delish!
3. We finally presented our speeches for the whole class! I was so proud of them! I put some theater curtains on the SmartBoard behind them- they loved that!
4. We had a pajama day and a slipper day (two separate instances for two separate reasons). Can I just say, I think I like these kinds of days more than the kids.
5. We began our first week of book clubs- check it out below!
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What a week! I was out on Monday for a training to become our school's co-Olweus Site Trainer and lead. Olweus is a bully prevention program. It was a great refresher in the work we have already done at our school as well as a much-needed push to keep building the program in our everyday practice. Needless to say, being out on Monday is never fun. I get to repeat that next week as well (except I'm also out on Wednesday and a half-day PLC on Thursday). That's right, I only get 2 1/2 days with my students next week. It really bums me out, because I'm really excited about these book clubs, but since it's our first time, I don't want to leave much work for a sub to do. Guess I'll just try to make the best of it!

We began our book groups this week, but it was a very choppy week. We also had OLPA testing on Thursday and Friday. It's a math practice test for our state test. We didn't get as much work done as we wanted, but the work we did get was very informational for me and made me very excited (not to mention, the kids were excited as well with their new books)!

One of my major worries was how I was going to support my students to talk at book clubs. I also wanted something that I could use to track their understanding. I thought this up and thought it was worth a try:


This is what they keep in their binder as a reminder. They create 4 boxes and put the symbol in each box on loose leaf. Our staff is trying to cut back on copies that can be created by students. This is my part in that task. Not to mention, it is really nice not to have to worry about making copies. I love me a good graphic organizer, but they don't always have to be cutesy up (I can't believe I just said that).

I was so impressed with how well it worked out! It was a great piece of formative feedback for not only each student, but I could then see the possible strengths and weaknesses each group will face with their talk. It gave me teaching points as well in what skills my students need help with: determining importance, asking questions, noticing misunderstandings, word awareness.

Here are a few examples of their very first one. We did two this week (we only had time for 2 with our testing and our sub day). I saw improvements from those who I talked to after looking these over. Since we have done a lot of non-fiction lately, it was great to see that many of them were able to jot "talk-worthy" ideas in fiction as well.
I was impressed with some of their questions. It might not make much sense since you haven't read these books. I was pleased to see many words on the example on the right; this is from a higher student who often doesn't recognize when they don't understand a word, because they can read it

Again, these are from my highest group. I've felt stuck with this group because they struggle with identifying troublesome parts (thinking everything is "easy"). I met with the student on the right to discuss that many of "confusing" parts are actually good questions he could ask his group. I saw improvement with identifying his ideas the 2nd time. 

The one on the left doesn't have much, but this student really pulled out the important, yet subtle ideas. To me, this is still successful, as he was able to distinguish the most important parts. The one on the right brought up a very good "confusing" part that caused me to pull that group to clarify. The author did something that wasn't the smartest- it's hard to explain, but let's just say, it was even a little confusing for me at first! I'm glad she noticed it and jotted it down!

Again, is this perfect? No, by no means. Is it working, for now- definitely yes! It's made me very excited to keep going and seeing how their jots improve as we get closer to solving all their mysteries!

They all met to discuss for the first time as well this week. Again, this was more of a formative opportunity for me. We reviewed how to begin a book club meeting and then I gave them the challenge to talk for 8 minutes, non-stop about their book. I walked around, taking notes on the talk I was hearing. I then had them come back to large group to discuss some things I was noticing. 2 major focuses I wanted to discuss:
1) Book clubs are for conversations, not just reading things off of our response sheets, going around the circle.
2) Book club members share the talking space, meaning, everyone takes turns and is involved and engage.

I then gave them another 5 minutes to see if any of them tried to correct some of these behaviors. Obviously, it wasn't perfect, but some groups were trying to be very conscious of improving their talk. I again took notes and jotted quick teaching points for each group based on what I saw.

How do you have students prepare for book clubs? Do you have a system? I'd love to hear!



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1 comment

  1. I like the collage of your week. what a great idea. I teach K but enjoyed reading your post. PJ days are the best!

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