Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Series Book Reports

I love my librarian...I mean seriously LOVE her. I don't know how my class or even our school would function without her. I can send her an e-mail first thing in the morning requesting books and she will have a cart (yes a whole cart) of books pulled for me on a specific topic by that afternoon. If she doesn't have the books in our library she requests them from other schools and is always willing to do this.

So, now that I have professed my love for our school librarian I want to share a book report that she so graciously helped the 3rd grade teachers come up with last year. Last year was my first year in 3rd grade and coming from 5th grade I was used to book reports. When I brought this idea up to my team to use with 3rd grade they were happy to give it a try. The only bad thing was we had to come up with all new book reports (I couldn't steal from 5th grade) and make sure they were age appropriate. Now this is where my amazing librarian comes in. She expressed an interest in helping us come up with ideas, teach lessons, and help out in any way possible. After a few conversations and a little time to think on it she came to me with a fabulous idea...reading a book in a series. There are seriously a million different series books (and with a wide range of reading abilities) and she thought if we could get the kids interested in a specific series it would get them to read more of those books and possibly share their favorites with their classmates. I of course LOVED the idea...especially being an avid fan of series books myself.

We have done this project for the last 2 years and it has been very successful. The kids love reading the books and I always have a handful of kids who "can't wait" to read the rest of the books in the series!!

The first thing we have the kids do is read their book at home. After reading the book they write a letter to our librarian. (And here we insert our friendly letter lesson) In the letter they write 3 paragraphs. Paragraph 1 is a summary of their book (again...summary lesson inserted here) paragraph 2 is their opinion of the book, whether they liked it or not and specific reasons why, and finally paragraph 3 they have to tell the librarian whether or not they think she should order more books in this series. (one of the lessons she does with the kids teaches them to search for books in that series on our library catalog...and then she teaches them to look up all the books that are in the series on THIS webpage)

This book report is done MOSTLY at school (since we do it at the beginning of the year it gives us a chance to set expectations and see their abilities), however they do one part at home. I send home a book cover (printed on cardstock) where they redesign the cover of the book. On the cover of the book I ask them to include a quote that summarizes their book or makes others want to read the book. These book covers then become our big bulletin board display for conference week.

I have included some examples of the covers my kids did this year:

This one has my favorite quote...and it totally fits the kiddo who did it:
Here is our third grade bulletin board display:
If you would like a copy of the rubric/directions and book cover template I use you can get them here:
Book Cover Template
Letter Rubric
Book Cover Rubric

Monday, October 8, 2012

An apology and October Currently :)

First of all...WOW...I cannot believe it has been over 2 months since my last post. I suppose you can say life just got in the way and unfortunately blogging had to take a back seat. We started back to school in early August...and addition the normal beginning of the year stress/workload...my district adopted a new reading and writing program, I am piloting a new math program and working with 2 new teammates.

I'm hoping that since I have gotten life under control (as much as one can) that I will be a much better blogger and I will get a chance to get back to stalking all of your wonderful blogs as well!!!

For today, I am just going to start by linking up with Farley for her October Currently. I can't make any promises but I am hoping to get my act together and start posting more. I have a great class this year and we have been hard at work and I can't wait to share all the fun stuff we have been doing!