It was almost a year ago when I was first asked to join the PITA executive, and I am thankful that I said yes. I have enjoyed my first year, and look forward to helping them continue to develop amazing professional development opportunities for intermediate and middle school teachers.
At our last executive meeting, we talked about creating a blog where we share with our members a wide variety of teaching ideas for the intermediate and middle school classroom.
Today, I get 'the blog rolling' with my first post, and the first post for MYPITA!
Oral Novel Presentations
I thought for my first post, I'd share a recent assignment in my classroom that has turned into an amazing success! Before Christmas, I did a 30-minute book talk on over 45 different novels that I thought my Grade Sevens should read and would most likely enjoy. I included current ‘trendy’ books as well as some award winners and classical favourites. The assignment was simple: in each of the Grade Seven classes each student would choose a different novel and prepare an oral presentation on the book. In addition, they would create a bookmark to summarize key parts of the book. My goal was to expose the students to a wide variety of books and have them promote books to their classmates. They were given 2 months to read their book. We set up a schedule the very next day, with one to two students presenting a day from mid-January to mid-February.
So far the presentations have been AMAZING and on this past Tuesday, the students handed in their fabulous bookmarks. The presentations have achieved exactly what I had hoped. Students are now reading the books their classmates read. In addition, many students ended up reading a book they loved and are now reading other books from that author or from a similar genre.
Finally, here are some pictures of a few of the amazing bookmarks the Grade 7’s produced!
The beauty of this assignment is that it can be done at any grade level. I have done oral novel presentations with Grade 4's, 5's, 6's, and 7's. The marking load is minimal, and it addresses so many learning outcomes. The students love having a choice, although be prepared for several students to want the same book. As I did my big book talk, I had them write down all the books that interested them. After talking about every book, I then went back to the beginning and asked who wanted each book. If there was a 'hot' book, I left them until the end. Then we did draws etc. This took sometime, but in the end, I would say everyone left happy! I did have to go and find about 5 books other than the ones in my original talk. I took these students to the library and we spent time narrowing down the right book for them!
N. Keyworth - Grade Seven Teacher, Treasurer for PITA
This blog will feature Intermediate and Middle Years teachers who are passionate about their teaching and love to share!