The current school year is coming to a close and I, personally, am spending most of my time working on the inventory and other year-end paperwork. Throw in a lot of EOG testing duties, the occasional “fix the copier,” a lot of “Can I get a movie?” questions, and I’m not left with much time for anything else. But, once all this is finished, I can start to think about what I can do differently next year.
But anyway… My mind was already beginning to wander. I want to push my students further next year and see what I can get out of them. I get a lot of my older kids coming to the library daily. Every time they get a chapter book. Are they reading them? Obviously not. They’re too hard, they’re too boring, they’re too long… They aren’t giving them much of a chance. I want to make reading fun, but I want them to read with a purpose, too. So, I was thinking of teaming up with teachers to do book reports.
[Insert moans and groans here.]
Of course, this is Me. I want my media center to be FUN so that the students enjoy learning. I want them to be excited about coming, and I want to encourage them to read, as well as to think about what they’ve read. I want to enhance their classroom instruction and take their knowledge to new levels in fun and exciting ways that will promote lifelong learning. So, of course, we’re not talking about your average, run of the mill book reports here. 🙂
#1 Make a Comic Book
I have recently been introducing my students to the wonderful world of graphic novels and they just cannot get enough of them! I can’t keep them on the shelf. With this in mind, comes suggestion #1… Create a Comic Book. They can make a comic book to sum up a story. They can use words and dialogue to describe the setting, characters, and story events. Not only does this incorporate artwork and a fun-factor, but it also enhances the lesson for those students who dread the thought of writing an essay.
#2 Make a Game
Your story weaves a trail from beginning to middle to end. This trail is peppered with events, characters, changes in scenes. So will their game. Imagine… You roll a die, and land on, “The pilot just had a heart attack. You have to take the wheel but have no idea how to fly a plane. Go back 2 spaces!” and later maybe you’ll land on, “You successfully use your flint and steel to make a fire! Move ahead 3 spaces!” Students can create a board game based on the books they read, and these can then be shared with their friends. Gaming in the library comes to life! They can also make the game pieces things that will relate back to the story, so in keeping with our “Hatchet” theme, they might make a hatchet, a plane, a fish, and a bear for the pieces.
#3 Make Life-Size Characters
Students need to lay on a big sheet of bulletin board paper and trace each other. It doesn’t matter if they’re not a great artist — anyone can handle tracing. Once they’ve done this, they need to dress their character. They can do this with whatever you have available — fabric scraps, crayons, markers, paints… The kids will have a great time with this. Once their characters are created, they turn over and on the back they write about the character, along with a story summary. These are also a great way to work on characterization. They can think and how their character’s personality affected the story’s events.
#4 Show and Tell
What kid doesn’t love show and tell?? It was the best part of kindergarten, right? Do they even do it anymore? I don’t think they do at my school… Anyway, let’s bring it back in an educational format that even our older kids will enjoy. To begin, students will decorate a container with their book’s theme. It can be a box, a coffee can, or even a paper bag. Then, they carefully select 6 (or more) objects which will fit into this container that directly relate in some way to the story. Two should represent events from the beginning of the story, 2 from the middle, and 2 from the ending. As they share these objects with the class they describe how they relate to the story.
#5 Create a Book Trailer
Just like when you go to the movies and you see the trailers for upcoming releases, book trailers give you a taste of what the books are about to entice you into reading them. I LOVE book trailers. I make them to “advertise” our Battle of the Books selections. Here are a couple of mine:
Both of these examples were made using animoto.com which I LOVE. Free educator accounts are available for trial subscriptions. Other free programs which you can use with your students include Windows MovieMaker, and PhotoStory.