As the school year comes to a close, so does our Happy Readers Book Club. It is a little bitter sweet, I must admit. These kids have been a joy to work with and read with! They love books!!! For our last selection, the students were all gifted (through a very generous donor) a paperback copy of Kate DiCamillo's Flora & Ulysses. Students enjoyed the book tremendously and of course, loved the scenes with the superhero squirrel.
For the last book club meeting, we started by watching a wonderful interview with Ms. DiCamillo. She speaks about her inspiration for the characters, as well as how the vacuum came to enter the story. Students enjoyed hearing from her and I think they followed most of what she shares. They all loved her laugh.
After watching the video, we talked about the book. I shared photos of an old Electrolux vacuum, the type my mother and Ms. DiCamillo's mother owned. The kids got a real kick out of this. We also talked a lot about Ulysses and his super adventures in comic book form.
I then shared that we would be designing our own comic book pages with original superheroes! The kids were jumping for joy at this idea...which made me feel very pleased. I can't take credit for the idea. My youngest son did a similar activity with his school librarian, Sarah Watson, several years ago. He is the one who reminded me of it and I thought it would be a great choice.
Some students worked alone, while others opted to work with partners. We had superheroes like "The Pig-i-corn" and "Masked Monkey Man". The kids also created some really fun villains....I think "Ringo the Raccoon" was my favorite. The little girl who invented him also had a villainous giggle to match. Although we didn't have enough time for students to complete a full cartoon, they got some great characters and story starters done. I also gave them extra paper to take home so that they could continue to write more adventures!
Our wonderful Happy Readers Book Club got its feet off the ground today! After months of planning and dreaming, I met with 18 amazing kids today after school to discuss this month's selection, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. And it was so much better than I had hoped!
I originally wanted to do a "lunch bunch" book club for each grade level, but my literacy committee suggested that it just might be too much for my first year AND it might be too much for my library carpet, too. Elementary school is different than high school....so did I really want them eating in here? I took their advice and decided to start with one book club open to grades 3-5 with the expectation that it will grow into something more.
I typed up little applications that included a teacher recommendation. I did a library lesson to introduce the book club by showing a video I made (inserted below) and talking about what a book club actually does. The kids knew I could only accept about 25-30 members, so that generated even more excitement. They actually seemed to like the idea of an application process. It made things fair.
After receiving the applications, I weeded through them and then had my literacy committee help me make the final cuts. The names were announced and kids picked up a letter for their parents about the first meeting and an opportunity to order a personal copy of the book at a discounted rate...thank you to my local Barnes & Noble store for helping me get the cost down.
Just as a little reminder, I am in a Title I school with about 90% of students on free-reduced lunch. These kids can't really afford to buy every book for book club. So, I did buy several copies to circulate, as well as donated my personal copies out to two trustworthy students. It worked pretty well, but I've started a Donors Choose project to get funding to support the purchase of book club books. If you are interested in supporting us, DONATE HERE.
So once the club was selected and kids were reading, all I had to do was wait. That was the tough part. But finally the day arrived.
We started off by introducing ourselves and doing a little discussion of book club guidelines. Then, we took turns pulling questions out of a bag for our round table discussion. It was awesome! These kids loved Mr. Brown's book and they had so many wonderful ideas and commentary on the story. They literally led the discussion while I listened, laughed, and enjoyed their perspectives.
After about 30 minutes of talking about the book, we then took on a little STEM challenge. I bought THIS on Teachers Pay Teachers and will not go into too many details, but basically the packet has a lot of STEM challenges. We did the first, which was to build a ROZ out of index cards and tape. There are no words for how pumped the kids were about this challenge! They found a partner and got to work. I just had to walk around and snap pictures!
To wrap up our book club for today, we cleaned up, took pictures of our final creations, and then I did a little promo for our next book selection. They were intrigued and excited to jump right in to the next book! And.....my wonderful school rep at Barnes & Noble got us a great rate of $6.00 for the book. When I shared this with the kids, one of them said, "Wow! I have six dollars right now!"
Then, as I lined them up with order form and robot in hand, I told them I had a little something special for them. Since Roz used camoflauge throughout the story, I selected camo-printed pencils and gave them each one to take with them. It wasn't anything expensive or extravagant, but these kids were tickled to get a treasure from the day. My treasure was their smiles.
Who to follow: