Friday, October 11, 2013

True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Loved It !

I have dreamed of a classroom read that would grab the girls for the excitement, the boys for the adventure and knives, and the teacher for the buzz of book talk and anticipation of what will come next! Yowza, never did I expect this book to be this much fun for all 72 of my 6th grade readers.

A big "Danka" goes out to Allie in Germany for suggesting the book to me and for being a week ahead of my class so share loads of ideas and activities. Love to have a teacher pal that thinks like I do!

We started out the book by all agreeing that NO ONE would have ever selected this book based on the cover. Too old fashion looking, too girly, too boyish, too "we will never like it". I asked my lovely readers to please just trust me and if it proved to be a dud, well then on to another book we would go.  I read aloud the Preface and we were all hooked. Talk of a murder in the first line...what's not to like about that?! 

The hardest part was keeping the would-be swashbucklers from reading ahead.
                                                  How Great Is That?

After loads of pleading, we bumped it up from 1 to 2 to 3 chapters a night with a lively discussion the next day. The other teachers commented on how the kids were talking about it in their classes and were monitoring each other to be sure no one slipped ahead. Finally, around chapter 14 I let them go at their own pace but agreeing that we had to be up to XX chapter by tomorrow...and swearing everyone to secrecy if they read further. The only stipulation was that no one was to finish the book until we could all finish it together.

Today the end of the book assessment was a great success with every reader clearly showing their understanding of the book, the theme, plot, friendships, and subtle events that made this book a fabulous hit! Even during the "trade with a partner and grade" session, we had several friendly debates about who said what and why. To the very last minute they were discussing the ins and outs of the characters.

Don't you just looooove when that happens?!!  What books has your class read that will stay on your Must Read list?