Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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In Search of the Novel:Teacher-TalkNovel


From: Denee Stevenson (stevenson@basd.k12.pa.us)
Date: Tue Apr 18 2000 - 12:10:15 EDT

  • Next message: Stimson, Linda: "RE: Reading in class"

    Dear Sue Oliver,

    I was happy to read that you read aloud a novel to lower-level students.
    I did that this year for the first time ever and felt guilty even though
    the students responded so well to the novel.

    If you do read the Pigman again aloud to lower-level students, I think this
    research idea I used a few years ago would work well that type of student.
    After we read the chapter that contains the quiz on the snakes, I had
    choose a subject they were interested in or new something about. They had
    use two sources to do the research (computer/and/or internet) They had to
    a True False quiz similar to that in the novel and based on the research.
    On one
    side they had the quiz. On the other side of the paper, students wrote the
    to the quiz and two paragraphs of information which covered the answers to
    the quiz
    questions. It is not difficult. It fits the novel and their interests.
    Then, I
    xeroxed the quizzes and students took them for fun and had the writer
    "grade" the

    I love the Pigman too as a novel. It's perfect for middle-schoolers and
    works well with lower-level readers as you used it for.

    >From: Sue Oliver <soliver@d20.co.edu>
    >To: Multiple recipients of list <Teacher-TalkNovel@learner.org>
    >Subject: Research and the Novel
    >Date: Mon, Apr 17, 2000, 6:59 PM

    >Dear Folks,
    > Thanks to everyone who responded to my research and the novel idea.
    >the discussion ideas will be started by me. If there's a lull in the
    >conversation or flow of ideas, I'll interject another idea, sort of a devil's
    >advocate if needed. I like to start with open-ended questions, such as, "Which
    >was their least favorite character in what they've read so far?" or "What is
    >something unexpected in the plot?" These usually get the conversation flowing
    >and I let it go from there. I also like to ask "Why" a lot. I meet with each
    >group for about 10-15 minutes. While I'm meeting with one group, the others are
    >reading or working on a class assignment. We sit in the hall and I leave the
    >door open a crack to hear the rest of the class. They like being separate to do
    >their discussions and don't mind having a pow-wow on the floor in the hall.
    >Usually the kids inside want to know what we were laughing or arguing about and
    >it generates even more interest in reading the novel.
    > Cindy, the culminating project will be a 3-5 page research paper. We
    >cover the traditional format of internal citation, bibliography, etc. However,
    >the topic must somehow relate to the novel. I had one excited student who
    >finished Summer of My German Soldier over the weekend and came in to announce
    >that she was doing her research on child abuse. The father in the novel
    >reminded her of one of her step-fathers and she was eager to discuss the novel
    >and the abuse. Thank God her mother divorced this guy and my student isn't in
    >that situation. However, she is truly "fired up" on this issue and I believe
    >her research paper will reflect all that energy. At the end students will
    >informally discuss their findings. They'll first present their ideas to the
    >small reading group and then later with the whole class. Their small reading
    >group can help them formulate what to say to the whole class, since time will be
    > Someone mentioned that Denee had a good unit on The Pigman. I love that
    >novel. I had an extremely low group of readers a couple of years ago and we
    >read the novel aloud together. As 8th graders, some of them only had a 2nd
    >grade reading level. They related to it very well. Some great discussions
    >arose as we talked about the characters, their problems and these kids would
    >relate similar episodes from their own lives. The only problem I encountered
    >was trying to find chocolate-covered ants to let them taste. No specialty
    >stores in Colorado Springs had any.
    > To Marilyn and Betsy, your discussion on language in the classroom has
    >interesting. One year before Jurassic Park, the movie, came out, I purchased a
    >copy and read it in small sections aloud to my classes. They LOVED it.
    >However, whenever there was a swear word, I would bleep it. The kids laughed
    >and wanted to know what I bleeped. Their imaginations were far worse than the
    >actual word. After a week or so, kids were buying their own copies and bringing
    >them to class to follow along. Every time I'd bleep, they'd proudly show their
    >copy to classmates to show what word I wouldn't say aloud. I think by the end
    >of the book, almost every student had a copy and we agreed to see the movie
    >together. After the movie, they were disappointed that so much had been left
    >out, especially the episode with the T-rex chasing them in the rubber raft.
    > Thanks to everyone for your input.
    >Sue Oliver
    >Academy School District Twenty 20Mail
    >Academy School District Twenty 20Mail

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