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creating novel units
Old 06-30-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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if any of you create your own novel units, what kinds of things do you include?

as i read novels, i underline vocabulary words, and i also write questions and notes in the margins, but i'm wondering how to turn that into novel unit work.

i am creating units for small groups -- not for the entire class since i will have many different levels of abilities.

do you think edhelper is worth it?


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Old 06-30-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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Have you read The Book Whisperer? Would be great for your age level... it is a wonderful book! Not novel unit ideas but ideas on how to get kids (middle school and high school) reading lots and lots of novels.

Edit: Here's a link

Edit again - it isn't a novel, it is a teacher book - like Daily 5 or the CAFE book only focuses on getting older (MS or HS) students to read more on their own.

Last edited by varkgirl; 06-30-2009 at 04:16 PM..
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Old 06-30-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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i have a ton of novels already, but i'll check it out.

i'm just looking for the best way to create my own units. i've gotten a few units from the teacher created material books, but i'm not a huge fan.

thanks1
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Novel Units
Old 06-30-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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I also look for and mark figurative language. At the end of each chapter I always jot down ideas for journal prompts and/or prediction prompts. Also, as I read, I just look for ideas of things I can bring in as background info to help develop the story or vocabulary words. For example when reading Bud Not Buddy, I play jazz, and develop the concept of the Depression. Many times I also look for things that I can use to fill an artifact box for the novel. I share this with the students before reading and have them make predictions about how the items are important to the story. Hope this helps.
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Text to text connections
Old 06-30-2009, 04:20 PM
 
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I try to find picture books that have a connection to the novel so they can make some connections.


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Old 06-30-2009, 04:27 PM
 
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What I love best about sharing literature is the rich discussions we have. So I try not to get hung up on vocabulary because kids learn vocabulary by hearing it used in context. I choose less than 10 impactful words to focus on. You can give them a chart with the alphabet letter on them for them to collect interesting vocabulary word. My students and I do a lot of "Say Something" (Kylene DeBeers) and if there are words kids don't know, they ask me and I define it for them orally. I remember with one book none of my kids knew what the word "impulsive" meant. So after describing the definition of the word, we made a chart of the character's impulsive behaviors.
Before reading the book, we read the back of the book and the first chapter to determine what they really want to focus their attention on, such as how this character changes, beautiful phrases, author's craft like how he/she uses different techniques to keep readers interested. Everytime we read, I also have the kids with their notebook where they record. I also periodically ask questions to reflect or have kids write down what they are wondering about. We often share this orally. I love it because kids notice different things and they are so empathetic about the characters. So in their notebook, some kids sketch the most significant events, jot down character traits with examples, etc. At the end of the book, I come up with questions that shows deeper understanding and open ended. It used to be called Grand Conversation. My kids can't wait for this. I usually put them in groups of four to discuss the questions for a few minutes. Then we discuss briefly as a whole class. Some of the questions are like, "What are you still pondering about?", "Who are you the most like?", "Why do you think this book is beloved by so many people", "What did the author do to keep us interested or made us surprised?" I put these questions on a large construction paper and hold it up so all the kids can see it one question at a time. You really get to appreciate their perspectives.
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Old 06-30-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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I use the edhelper guides more for my lowest readers--the kids who are struggling with comprehension. The edhelper units are basically just comprehension questions for each chapter, quizzes, some vocabulary and spelling practice. I have some kids who, no matter how much I "sit" on them just will not read the material in the time span the group decides and then they just sit there like a bump when all of the wonderful discussion is going on. For the rest of my class, I use more a Literature Circle approach. I use a LOT of the materials on the Laura Candler website. I love that it is open ended and I do not have to create questions or tasks to make sure they are reading. They find their own vocabulary and just really learn how to have a "book group" themselves. In fact, I call it Book Club and they like that much better. In fact, I will often do a book with an edhelper unit first and then for the next book we switch over to the Book Club method as a whole group. By showing them the edhelper way (boring for most) and then the Lit Circle way they see what they could go back to if they are not keeping up their end of the bargain. Then, since I have taught all of the procedures I can split my kids up into lots of groups all reading books they are interested in. I am not trying to knock edhelper--I think that it's actually a good website. I also know that in my class I have several kids who need to be working on that level. As the year progresses, I can add in more and more "open ended" type elements to their book club discussions.
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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I don't find vocabulary words and write out questions. I have the kids do that. What I do two times a year (that is all the time I am allowed to) I have students in their small groups read novels that are similar in some way.

I choose open ended graphic organizers that can be used for any book. I often use this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Organi...6410438&sr=8-1

Though I have lots of others. I choose things that I know I need to work on with my students or need to review. Each day, I teach a lesson on using the graphic organizer using the current book I am reading aloud as an example. On the other side of the worksheet I have the students write a two sentence summary of the section read, an interesting word, a author and me question, and a small picture. This is sort of based on literature circle principles. I meet with each group each day and we discuss the worksheets they completed.
The book above has three levels of organizers though I don't always do different organizers as the books they are reading are at different levels.
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:50 PM
 
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I also use edhelper and then add my own open ended questions.
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:34 PM
 
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I do a Book Club approach with my Reader's Workshop like some pps. I use some in a more structured format like Lit Circles with role sheets, but some kids can make up their own book clubs if they are motivated readers and luckilu last year, I had a lot of EXCELLENT readers...they were flying with the Book Clubs and I could not believe the discussions they were having. The principal observed my Book Club Meetings and he was so impressed that the kids did this themselves. I have them do a lot of deeper questioning. If they get hard up for questions I give them some generic type open ended questions about character traits, plot, setting, how setting affects plot, plot twists, character's motivations, author's craft and etc... They also keep Literature Response Journals where they are reflecting, making connections, asking deep questions, summarizing and sketching.

I am not a huge fan of edhelper. The questions are too simple. There are some open ended ones on there but not much. I love it when the kids get excited about their discussions and edhelper does not do it for us!


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Old 06-30-2009, 07:37 PM
 
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ooh, i like the generic questions that would work with most books! i plan on running the novels like literature circles with roles assigned...but i am moving to a school with very active parents who i envision asking for more homework. therefore, i thought it would benefit the children to not only do their regular lit circle role, but possibly some other open ended or vocabulary work.

we shall see.
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"real questions"
Old 06-30-2009, 08:28 PM
 
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If you've already got notes in the margins, it would probably be easy for you to write some "real questions" for the novel. (I have no idea if that's a "real" term or just what my college prof called them.) Real Questions are questions that don't have a right or wrong answer and require deep thinking. They also require a return to the text in order to answer them. I wish I had some examples for you, but they're all at school. Often they relate to the theme of a story and include quotations with page numbers. It should be the kind of question where students look at the quotation you've included and have to go back to reread that portion of the text. Since there are no right or wrong answers, they're giving their opinions but should be supporting them from the text. These questions can be used for discussion, and depending on the level of the students, maybe they can even learn to write a "real question" themselves. (I've never used them for any sort of written response - especially since the idea of going back to reread and find support for answers is usually challenging enough.)
I also attached a document that's from a college course for an assignment to create a novel unit.
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File Type: doc bookstudy.doc (58.0 KB, 86 views)
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Old 07-02-2009, 07:30 PM
 
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alright, i think i have found a good combination of novel units versus literature circles. at least, i think it will keep the parents happy because it will give some guided work for students to do at home, in addition to the literature circle roles that will be assigned.

each of my students will keep a lit. circle notebook. when they reach certain sections of a book, they will glue in any questions or vocab i have for them (in addition to their regular lit. circle roles). i hope that makes sense. this way, all of their novel work with their lit. circle novel is in one place.

for example, i created a mini-unit for Number the Stars today. i created it with dotted lines so they can cut out the parts they need and glue them in. i did the document in "landscape" form with two columns so i know they will fit in marble composition notebooks. i am going to number the sheets so they know what order to glue them down in, but here is an example for number the stars.

please let me know what your thoughts are...
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File Type: pdf Number the Stars.pdf (53.9 KB, 44 views)
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This site might give you some good
Old 07-03-2009, 05:32 AM
 
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ideas for creating novel units.
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Old 07-03-2009, 06:28 AM
 
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Wow, Mrs. Croak, I think you did a GREAT job on your pdf. I can't think of a thing to add. Except for...I have to teach My Side of the Mountain...any chance you want to create a unit for that one?
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Old 07-03-2009, 06:45 AM
 
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well, i don't think that book is on my list, but i will be creating units for:

Hatchet
Al Capone Does My Shirts
A Single Shard
Crash
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Bud, Not Buddy
Bridge to Terabithia
The Westing Game
Freak the Mighty
The Egypt Game
Feathers
The Boy In THe Striped Pajamas
Schooled
The Lightning Thief
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Pictures of Hollis Woods
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Red Scarf Girl
Frindle

Eventually, I will be posting them on my website (www.mrscroak.com) it's in the middle of an overhaul, so there's not much there now.
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Old 07-03-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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Mrs. Croak--I think your novel study looks great! I never really thought about adding teh dashed lines and having them glue things into their notebook. It's kind of "Duh!" I should have thought of that moment....I'll be stealing that idea for sure! I think it is a good combination of teacher directed and with the book club elements the kids will have a great time during reading! I look forward to checking out your website when you add the other novels. Thanks!!
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