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Lessons Learned: An Attempt at Book Clubs in a Digital Environment

Lessons Learned: An Attempt at Book Clubs in a Digital Environment

Written by Christopher Working
April 30, 2013

Book Club Transcript:

Grace: One part that stuck out to me was when Adam got home and he banged on the door. And then no one answered and all the doors were locked and the windows were closed. It stuck out to me because no one answered and I think he was feeling scared and lonely. Then someone answered, but I think before he came in, he thought they left without him. That is a big deal when the war is happening.

Molly: Do you think it works with another character or era?

Caitlin: I think it works with Sadako because when she was in the hospital she was feeling scared and lonely because she had all of that radiation.

Grace: Tell me more about that. Why do you think Adam feels the way Sadako feels?

Student Centered

My first year teaching we taught the book Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. Let me say that again: I taught the book Stone Fox, and I did it in a way many of us have experienced, either as students or even as educators. I read the book, doing most of the thinking work for the kids, only asking for basic details from the story.

School has changed. We don’t teach the book anymore. In fact, we don’t teach books at all. We teach kids, and we do it using books. Now, more than ever, educators are needing to think this way. Despite many of the controversies with the Common Core State Standards, one welcome change is the way we think about instruction. We used to ask ourselves, “What is it that I’m supposed to teach?” Now we now ask ourselves, “What is it that students will need to be able to do?”

At the elementary level, we have to also consider another big shift. We need to focus on opinion writing—something that’s not traditionally been taught. Students have to form an opinion, often around a text, then supported the opinion with evidence from the text or from other resources.

While this change in approach probably should have left me at best, anxious, at worst, panic-stricken, it actually made me excited. Do I smell an inquiry project coming? Just maybe. Let’s include the technology du jour, of course.

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