Saturday, January 29, 2011

Challenge Me with Chapter Books!

After reading the book Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, I couldn't help but wonder...

What are my students thinking that they can't express to me?

Is our content watered down?  Are they wondering why we are learning similar concepts year after year, sometimes with the same trade book, the same Brain Pop Jr. video, the same SMARTboard lesson?

What have my third graders been trying to show me, or tell me, that I haven't been listening to?  Have I challenged them enough?

And so...

We started a new adventure.

Chapter books.

Chapter Book #1- Freckle Juice by Judy Blume. 

I wasn't fully prepared, but I was ready to learn as we went along.  I figured the kids would show me what they needed and I would adjust as we went along.  We started with predictions, a picture walk, an explanation of what a chapter book is, a reminder of what authors do, and how famous an author Judy Blume really is.  Homework included "Googling" Judy Blume and writing down other book titles and also rereading the chapters we read during the school day.

We also began to fill out a graphic organizer on EDU Glogster which can be found here-  http://morgank18.glogster.com/frecklejuice-graphic-organizer/

Then, as we read the first chapter and I prompted my friends to have "listening ears," to "keep listening," and to "listen for two more pages," I realized that perhaps we needed more visuals.  Why didn't this occur to me earlier?  I know my students are visual learners, they need visuals, right?  Yep.

This prompted us to create "notebooks."  We added pictures as we read each chapter to make the reading come to life, visually.  We also visually defined the characters, the setting, and some vocabulary.












We also decided that, after reading these short chapters, we should take smaller comprehension quizzes, rather than a summative quiz at the end of the book.  The quizzes were also visually based, using most of the same visuals created for our "notebooks."

Then, we started adding to our e-portfolios.



We added "Wordles" and some "Thinking Stems" that we wrote together in class, then typed individually.

As a final project, we created simple "portraits" of the main character, Andrew.





Lastly, we created a file folder to put in our "Independent Work" area to be able to maintain the vocabulary words we learned with this chapter book.


All in all, I think I learned some valuable lessons from my third graders with autism and Down syndrome here. 

First, USE VISUALS.


Second, REREAD AND REREAD AGAIN.


Third, REVIEW NEW VOCABULARY REPEATEDLY.

Fourth, THEY CAN DO IT!!!

Hooooooray for us!  We'll next be venturing into reading a chapter book on the Kindle for iPad App.  Wish us luck:?





6 comments:

@Jessica_Dubois said...

I have just come across your blog and love it. Fantastic ideas for all teachers. I love this idea of creating notebooks and adding information after reading a chapter. I plan to share this with the teachers at my school. Thank you so much for sharing what you are doing in your classroom :)

@Jessica_Dubois said...

I have just come across your blog and love it. Fantastic ideas for all teachers. I love this idea of creating notebooks and adding information after reading a chapter. I plan to share this with the teachers at my school. Thank you so much for sharing what you are doing in your classroom :)

Morgan said...

Thanks Jessica! I really appreciate your feedback! We are really successful with these "notebooks" so far and look forward to reading more chapter books! Good luck to you!

Kara said...

I just discovered your blog, and am so glad I did! I love these ideas - they're fantastic. I teach kids with moderate to severe disabilities and am always struggling to find books at their level that also are age-appropriate. This is the first time I've considered chapter books for my kids - and I'm so excited to work on this with them! Who am I to say they won't be able to grasp it? Thank you so much!

Kara
Spedventures

love2read said...

I have had success with the stink books too, little brother to Judy moody. Great job taking on chapter books!

Erin Cait Katina said...

I work with grades 4-5 autism support. Moderate-severe much like your population! How much guidance did you give them with comprehension of the chapters? Did you present each chapter with the board maker pictures? Can you share exactly how you presented each chapter/visuals etc? I've been teaching a year but I'm used to VB kids. I know my kids are capable of chapter books but it scares me! Never know how much guidance to give! Thanks so much!!