Monday, March 23, 2015

SOLC # 24/31 - Asking for A Different Point of View



                

        Day Twenty-Four of the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.   Seven days to go!                                        Tweet at #SOL15

        Thanks to Tara, Dana, Anna, Betsy, Beth and Stacey for hosting. 

         Also blogging with my students at Linda & Jonathan's Class Blog


A different point of view!

            The students in my class just completed book groups that read three different books, students' choice, and we're readying for more after our spring break that arrives at the end of the week. The focus particularly for these first books was to consider point of view. 


            I don't believe in doing big assignments for a book, little between meetings but to bring a passage that meant something to the reader and a question or two for the group. At the end, I have a number of expectations for learning. First, I want them to contemplate the book as a whole, the imprint of the book on their lives right now, and the author's way of telling the story. Second, I hope that each one will carry the main character(s) in their hearts (minds) to connect to others in the future. What will the character's learning teach the student? Or will it teach anything? Those are some of my thoughts, and last, I really just want the students to love the book, perhaps very personally, or at least, to love it as another reading experience that might lead to new paths.
             The response assignment I gave to my group that read Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart was one I have not given in a long time. It is rather simple, but because the group turned out to enjoy the book as something quite different from their usual YA reads, it seems that they were even more invested in writing thoughtfully, and the work each did was wonderful. I asked them to write a letter to the author as if they were the main character, this time, Okonkwo, the tragic Igbo (Ibo) leader from the fictional Nigerian village of Umuofia. In that letter, they must tell how they feel about the story written about themselves, either praise or deny the truth of the story, show what was enjoyed, and what might be embarrassing, and so on. I am so proud of the students who found true voices in which to write. Each also found different views to share, from the same character. 
             The letters are too long to share, but I thought you'd like to hear about this, perhaps to adapt it for your own students sometime. 





18 comments:

  1. I love the assignment you crafted, Linda; you asked your students to think deeply, to write thoughtfully and with creativity. So much better than a big project, in which the purpose of reading great stories is often lost.

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    1. It worked well, Tara, and I was happy that the students enjoyed it, too. Thank you.

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  2. Interesting assignment! I love that book. I haven't re-read it in a while. I should. I read it in university! Are you doing it with 8th graders? WOW!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Yes, they are actually 7th and 8th graders. I teach a mix of 6, 7, 8. The students are avid and advanced readers, so my challenge is to find books that will stretch them.

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  3. Perfect Linda, I'm stealing!!!! I agree about keeping the assignments simple so that they don't destroy the reading experience.
    DigitalBonnie

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    1. Thanks Bonnie, as I said, it's been a while since I've done it, and I'm glad I did with this group. They loved the book so to write in the character's voice was so enjoyable for them.

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  4. I wholeheartedly agree on your statement about loving the book or loving the experience that might lead them to something else! I love the idea of this assignment, and hope that my oldest always has teachers that will craft such important work for him! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Kendra, happy that you enjoyed hearing about the book assignment. Yes, loving the book is important.

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  5. Love the goals you set out. That's what reading should be, not a series of worksheets or artificial responses.

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    1. Thanks, Elsie, maybe I'm talking to the choir?

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  6. This is a great assignment. It really immerses the students in the book since they need to respond to their feelings about a book written about them. How much more meaningful than just regurgitating facts from the book.

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    1. Yes, I do want my students to know that a book is to be loved for its story and characters, happy you agree.

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  7. Wonderful assignment. Really gets the students involved in the book, POV, the author's writing. I'm sorry to say I haven't read this one - will have to now.

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    1. Thanks, Beverley, it really was a satisfying end to this book group. Hope you find & enjoy the book.

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  8. This post is feeding my thinking about revamping or revitalizing my reader response plan. I've made notes and will share once I get my head around it.

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    1. I hope it's helpful, Margaret. It works most always positively for me. Thanks.

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  9. Ooh, what a neat assignment! Stepping into someone else's shoes is such a powerful experience, and one of the coolest things about reading a meaningful book!

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    1. I imagine your students might enjoy this Jennifer. Hope you try it sometime. Thanks.

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