I don’t know if you’re like me, but whenever I get asked to join a book club (whether it be a for a local mommy group, my kids’ dual language program, or even my beloved teacher circle) I kind of want to puke a little. Don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely love to be one of those eager, go-getter, teacher moms that grabs a book and a cup of tea and sinks into a nice, comfy spot to read. In fact, I’m very envious of those that can read a book, finish it in a decent amount of time, and chat about it with friends. The truth of the matter is though, that this is not me.
I am a single mom and a full-time 3rd-grade teacher. I’m busy and never feel like I have time to sit and read. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know that I would want to. I know, I know, a teacher that doesn’t like reading? Oh, the horror! It’s just that when I do find time for ME, I like loud music, staring aimlessly into a campfire, or soaking in a candlelit bubble bath. Even as a child, I never really enjoyed reading, and now that I’m a teacher I had to ask myself, “Why?”
I started analyzing my own reading preferences. I love reading bedtime stories (using funny voices) to my daughters at night, but I loathe reading their assigned leveled reading books with them. I just adore read-aloud time with my third graders, but I despise giving running records. I enjoy becoming enamored with the latest teacher blog, mommy blog, or gossip column, but I hate having to complete a reading assignment for one of my grad courses. What’s the theme here? CHOICE! I like what I like, not what I have to do. Also, I tend to gravitate towards reading when it’s fun, engaging, and involves technology.
So, I decided that I would make it my personal goal to find ways to get kids to actually get excited about reading. I created (and continue to add to/revamp) a book club “unit” for my 3rds. I have had teacher friends use it with 2nd and 4th-grade classes as well. Feel free to enjoy the following freebies and resources to help you get started!
Like I said, choice is key, so I begin with letting the kids choose their books. I talk about it for days ahead of time, making it sound like a big secret. The kids love guessing which books will be on the list from which to choose! Finally, on reveal day, I show this slideshow. It’s nothing fancy, but the students love it! They “ooh” and “ahh” with each revealed choice. I do switch the choices up from year to year based on ability and interests. I have them write down their top 3 choices and then I group them from there.
After assigning them to groups, I meet with each group to discuss their tasks. I give them each an appointment card. You would be surprised how “grown-up” these little cards make them feel. It helps them stay focused on time management and also doubles as a bookmark. I also give them these TEXT messaging bookmarks and mini post-its to help them tag and note their thoughts while reading. Lastly, I assign a digital reader’s notebook on Google Classroom. You can use anything for this, I currently use this digital reader’s notebook from The Teacher Studio on Teachers Pay Teachers.
At each group’s meeting, I treat it as a guided reading group session however, it is very much student-led. I may read with them one-on-one, suggest strategies, and prompt questions, but for the most part, they are discussing their reader’s notebook responses, post-its, and having a mini Socratic Seminar. (FYI, you MUST try Socratic Seminars! If you don’t know much about them, feel free to contact me and I can share!)
Finally, when the groups have finished their books, I show them their project choices. I change this up every year, but this year was particularly exciting. I decided to have them choose to do a Book Bento on Thinglink, a book review on FlipGrid, or a book trailer on WeVideo. I used Screencastify to show tutorials on the choices and linked them to Google Classroom for future reference.
Book Bentos on Thinglink:
Book Bentos are essentially photographs of your novel surrounded by objects that represent elements from the book. I had my 3rds create a Book Bento and then upload the picture to my Thinglink account. Thinglink allows them to make their picture interactive and describe each of their items in detail and its relevance to the novel. View my students’ Book Bentos here!
Book Reviews on Flipgrid:
Flipgrid is an AMAZING classroom tool that allows students to create short video clips pertaining to a student topic. Students can answer an assigned question, state their opinion, review a book, respond to a topic (honestly, the possibilities are endless!) The best part is that you can share the videos with parents or even have parents make a video for their child (great for encouragement before a big test!)
Book Trailers on WeVideo:
I’m team iPhone (newly) and love, love, love iMovie! Our school only uses Chromebooks and there really is nothing that quite compares as far as a free video editor. Also, now Youtube has done away with theirs so I’ve been pretty bummed…until now! I found WeVideo and love it.
If you have any questions, comments, or need ideas feel free to contact me, subscribe to my Youtube channel or find me on Twitter @MsHawkey3.
3rd Grade HA Teacher