#sol15: March 18,2015 – Feasting on books

Join the March Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!

Join the March Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!

We are getting ready for a book feast…

First, there was all the preparation: read alouds with charting and talking and thinking and writing.  Layer by layer,  we built a foundation of knowledge about historical fiction. We learned to:

  •  Check our prior knowledge about the historical era and look things up to help us understand the context of events, action.
  • Keep track of the real vs. the fictionalized characters, and the dynamics between them. How do writers of historical fiction weave real people into their fictional narrative – why?
  • Chart the character’s interior lives – how are they reacting to external events and challenges? What is the author trying to say through these interactions?
  • Pay attention to the larger meaning of the book – what message is the author sending us through this particular story, told this particular way? how can we apply what we learn about ourselves and our world to our daily lives? what theories can we grow about how people adapt to events beyond their control?

Then, there was the choosing: which stories would resonate with us at this time of year? which eras would entice us to time travel and explore? which friends would we want to take the journey with?  I spend hours figuring out the pool of kids I have for the year, and culling books that are just right for them.  After our book talks, here’s one for Under the Blood Red Sun:

http://app.emaze.com/@AOTZQFWI/under-the-blood-red-sunPowered by emaze

we signed on for the book we loved, and waited for THE day (today!).

Next, there was the table setting:

Book sets ready to go!

Notice & Note signposts: ready to collect our thinking.

Notice & Note signposts: ready to collect our thinking.

IMG_0781 (3)

What I know/what I wonder (from Barnhouse and Vinton: What Readers Really Do.)


 And last, there is the feasting:

Home made Rice Krispie treats.

Let the book feasting begin!


Books and historical research folders.


20 thoughts on “#sol15: March 18,2015 – Feasting on books

  1. I love your set up. This is what I loved about teaching.

    In early April I will be meeting with a small group of librarians and an author who writes historical fiction. It is a new group called the Chatter box Book Discussion – we are not discussion a set book but questions around children’s books.

    Here is the question we will be discussing -How is historical fiction being received by young people … and how do we interest more young people in the genre?

    I would love to hear from your kiddos and add their words to our discussion. Would there be a way to gather their thoughts?
    thanks Joanne

  2. I love this, Tara! Sounds like you spent a lot of time preparing and thinking and discussing, before anyone even opened a page! I love slowing down like that. It always pays off.

    I did a short historical fiction coaching cycle with a JH teacher last year. We tried to answer the questions: How do writers of historical fiction use and alter history? Why would a writer choose to write a fictionalized account of history? It was one of my favorite coaching cycles I’ve ever done.

    I hope you guys have as much fun as I did in your unit!

  3. What a fun book study. I love historical fiction. We just finished The Watsons Go to Birmingham. One of their take-aways was the fact that our country hasn’t changed much 50 years! Also, I decided to a biography unit using perseverance when we come back. Thanks for the suggestion and ideas! I will let you know how it goes.

  4. Wow – wonderful titles, great thinking, and good treats. It doesn’t get better than this. So glad to see that one of my all time favorites, Hattie Big Sky, was on the table.

  5. You are such a great teacher! Did you read all the comments from us about wanting to learn from you? You would have a full class. Thank you for sharing what you so artfully create. Feast of learning! Wonderful to behold!

  6. Your students are so prepared as they move into this reading work. It is so fun to make it a celebration by adding a feast! We are in the midst of reading and writing historical fiction and the sign posts are huge help with both!

  7. You sound like the type of teacher that every kid wants– one that makes learning fun! What better way to motivate students to want to learn than with fun graphics and food!!

  8. Oh the planning and consideration I see in your careful and passionate teaching. Fantastic set up and delightful to see it come together. What a feast indeed! I want to hear about how you think the signposts for noticing and noting are working.. What a wonderful place to learn your class must be.

  9. Tara, since I am a huge fan of historical fiction, I am amazed at the layers you created so that your students can dig deep into history. This is an exciting project that will surely engage all of your readings, especially since you are offering treats to whet their appetites for reading.

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