Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ramona Recommends August Book Club

I'm linking up with melissa at A Teaspoon of Teaching for the Ramona Recommends Book Club for August. I noticed that the July book was Wonder by RJ Palaccio and I am SO SAD that I missed it! (seeing as I looooooove that book oh so so much!) of the August books is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and that THRILLS me!

So, I love this book.

I read this novel with not one, but TWO of my fourth grade classes as a read aloud. 
They loved it.

We started with the BOOK TRAILER.
The kiddos were hooked. So was I! And the book trailer gave us the opportunity to discuss MOOD. Seeing as the music was pretty gloomy. And a bit suspenseful!

We also listened to the author read aloud the first chapter. using a clip I found online.

So, while I read, I didn't read every single chapter title. Mostly because many chapters were quite short. I also had created the novel study for chunks of pages. Usually, my novel studies are chapter by chapter, but obviously that wouldn't work with this particular text. As we read, we stopped intermittently to answer questions using the novel study. This was the time we focused on citing the text, using evidence, stating a claim, and making our answers sound even smarter by using BRILLIANT evidence statements. ("The author states on page....")

Culminating Project, anyone?

I blew these sentence stems up on the poster maker as a culminating project for a few read alouds we did last year! The kiddos worked in small groups or with a partner to discuss theme, setting, genre, character traits, perspective, etc.

Not Wordle...BETTER!

For this text, I had the kids choose a character.
Ruby, Ivan, Bob, or Stella.
They brainstormed as many character traits as possible!
Next, they went on Tagxedo and created a word cloud using the character traits. They chose a shape, like a dog for Bob! Or mama elephant for Stella! Or baby elephant for Ruby! Or Africa for Ivan!

We printed them and hung them in the hallway because they look AWESOME!
Below are other examples of Tagxedos.

Hey guess what? Another culminating project idea!

I copied random pages from the novel and let the kids create black out poetry by BLACKING OUT words. The words they left behind created a poem. To make this easier for fourth graders, we circled the words we wanted for the poem AND THEN blacked out the extra words.

Oh, and this is what we do for EVERY read aloud. A STORY BOARD.
I tape the book cover up and then, as we read, we add to the board.
Perspective, Setting, Genre, character Traits, Author's Purpose, Vocabulary, Theme, etc.

After reading, we looked up information on the real Ivan. Turns out, he passed away fairly recently. We looked at his artwork, discussed what elements of the novel were made up versus what was truth. That was fun!

One of the teachers at my grade level organized a wax museum. Of course some of the kiddos from my class recreated a scene from The One and Only Ivan!

Now, some websites suggested researching gorillas after reading the novel. We spun this a different way. I had the kiddos research endangered species. We wrote two pieces using the information we found. One was a research paper, sticking to the facts that the kids learned about their animal. Very structured. The next was a Diary of a Worm writing piece using the information we used. We read the book and the kids had to write from the perspective of their animal, diary entries. In each entry, the kids had to teach the reader one fact about their animal. At the very end of this project, we had two pieces, fiction and nonfiction.

Great Websites:


  1. I have never heard of blackout poetry... How fun! I bet your children love it!!! I'm going to give that a try! Thanks!
    Grade 4 Buzz

    1. They do! Near the end of the year I photocopy pages from ALL of our read alouds we read that year and let the kiddos do black out poetry. They reread the page, decide what novel it came from, and remember what they loved about each novel!

  2. These are amazing ideas! I'm so glad you linked up with August Book Club. I can't wait to see what's planned for Sept. I'm on my way to grab some amazingness from your TPT store!

    A Teaspoon of Teaching

    1. Aw! Yay! I'm glad you're enjoying the link up! I loooove The One and Only Ivan! I hope your kiddos like it too!