In the past 5 years, I have occupied 3 different classrooms. That's a lot of moving. And every time I move, I lug around this huge box of all the small group sets of Scholastic books I have accumulated- telling myself THIS is the year I will have the courage to do classroom book clubs that are student centered and guided. Well, the time had come. It was....book club attempt time! Happily enough - I was not disappointed!
I put out all the books I had 6 or more copies of. We had a "book pass" and all the students got to touch and look at and read the backs of all the books. Then it was choice time! The choices that "won" were: Sign of the Beaver, Lunch Box Dream, Masters of Disaster, Eleven - in Block 1. In Block 2 the winning choices were: Hatchet, Riding Freedom, Chocolate Fever, Inside Out and Back Again, Mixed up Files of Basil Frankweiler.
Now what??? With the help of Laura Candlers Book Club project Candler - we all devloped guidelines for this undertaking. Groups were to make up their own homework if any, all group members were responsible for all work, they would grade each other at the end, and our discussions would take place on Edmodo.
Truthfully, I was still nervous. What would happen when Billy didn't do his work? What about when Susie just wouldn't participate - or Trish took over? Truthfully - some of this happened. And I was so proud to be able to sit back and watch THEM work it all out! We had developed such a good community, that they all owned this project 100%.
I created small groups on Edmodo for each book. Students held online discussions after reading some chapters. I only interfered when it seemed their group needed a little more direction. Everyday, I met with 2-3 groups to read and do a first hand check on things. Amazingly, after 3 weeks, almost all the groups were done or close to being done. At that time, I stepped in a little more to assign homework so all would be finished. I then gave out the "Book Club Project" requirements. This was a total choice project - groups had to choose projects that would add up to 100 points. They would need a minimum of 2. They had one week in and out of school to get projects ready - and then they presented everything!
My principal came to watch the finished products, and was so impressed not only with the projects, but the levels of discussion my students were able to have about their books, their work, their ownership and why they LOVED book clubs - she wants us to take what we have done and present it at a board meeting!!!
Want the book club project requirements? I'd LOVE to share them with you - leave me a comment below with your email and they are YOURS!
Happy End of February!