December is a busy month! We had time for independent reading where students could self-select books. In addition, we had engaging book clubs that mixed history with contemporary ideas across a variety of texts.
Each book group had one chapter book, one picture book, and at least one article. Most groups also had books paired from MyOn digital books as well. The book groups were also centered around a theme and provided the opportunity for students to triangulate information and ideas across texts. Here is an example from the Book Builders group.
This group read about Louis Braille and Alia Muhammad Baker. Braille is well-known for his invention of a reading and writing system so that visually impaired people could read and write. While Braille died in 1852, his contribution to the world of educating blind people is remarkable. On the contemporary side, Alia Muhammad Baker is "the inspiring story of an Iraqi librarian's courageous fight to save books from the Basra Central Library before it was destroyed in the war".(Learn more here) Finally, students read about a garbage collector in Colombia, South America who has created a library in his home to bring the joy of reading to the children in his country.
Students worked to collect information over the course of the study. Working
independently, and occasionally with their group, they shared ideas, questions, and
connections with each other.
Wanting all students to benefit from the learning of each other, but having limited time to share, students each created two questions that would articulate what they wanted to share about the big ideas, the people, places and ideas they learned. These questions were gathered and crafted into a "Kahoot" quiz. We knew we were going to miss many answers! This provided an opportunity for the book group to be experts and tell us more about the content!
Want to play the Kahoot? Here is the link: Link to our Student made Quiz!
Other book clubs used this time:
Moving West: This text set is centered around nature. One story is how to survive it, the others, how to protect it. Without protection, our need to expand puts our environment at risk. This club learned how the Sierra Club and the National Federation of Forests was started among many other interesting facts about John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt.
On the Trail: Chapter book on Trail of Tears, Picture book on a family moving West, and article on Migrant children from Syria. All had to leave their homes. Some by choice others were forced. What were the commonalities? Differences?
Brave Women Lead the Way: Pictures books on the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and two articles. One current day article was about a man named, Samuel D. Burris who helped slaves escape on the Underground Railroad. The Delaware governor just pardoned him 168 years after he was convicted. This contemporary article tied in perfectly with picture books used.
Inventing and Change: Learning about George Washington Carver and Alexander Graham Bell fascinated students in this group. The books were paired with an article about FoPo. Powdered food that could change access and nutritional needs in underdeveloped nations or in natural disasters. Inventions that improve our lives and make a difference!
Trailblazing Teachers Then and Now: These books, paired with articles on Malala and educating children in Syria, demonstrate how the power of fighting discrimination takes on many challenges. Whether moving out of a slave state, like the main character in Pioneer Summer, or opening up a school for girls in Who Is Malala Yousafzai? you can connect how these moments of choosing a different life so others can have an equal opportunity takes bravery and courage. Education is power and with a book, you can go anywhere!