Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mysteries...who knew? And board games?

    I don't often challenge my students to all read from the same genre, but we were reading some "unsolved" mysteries (Amelia Earhart, one kind of dinosaur, Pompeii, etc.) and I thought they might enjoy reading a mystery of their own.  The response was pretty lukewarm at first.  I got a couple of, "I tried reading a mystery once but I didn't like it."  I knew I had to be a little more persuasive if this genre was going to be explored the way I thought it could be.

   With the help of one of our librarians, we talked to students about what made a story a mystery, and then she showed them about 100 different books she'd selected for them to look through.  Surprisingly, they went pretty wild over the books.  Over the next few weeks, I heard things like "Wow, I never thought I'd like this book but last night, I read ___pages!"

    It was pretty sweet.  So then tweaking a product that I purchased from Rachel Lynnette on
Creative Book Reports w/ Student Instructions & Grading Rubrics

TeacherspayTeachers, I gave students the choice to create one of nine different projects.  Most of my kiddos loved the choices, and the sheets I used with filled with good suggestions for success.  Now, with only two exceptions, I used projects that students had created in the past.  Rachel's directions were just so much better than mine because they included so many more details, and she'd created a good rubric.  I copied the directions on one page and two copies of the rubric on the back.  The top one was for the students to check off and make sure they'd done everything expected of them, the bottom one was mine.

    Today, I finished grading my 66th project (yeah, maybe I need to reconsider my timing) and 21 of them were game boards.  A lot of them were truly wonderful, but 1/3 of my students picked the same project out of nine choices?  Last year, I think only four or five students did.  I wonder why game boards were the big ticket item this year....I'll post pictures of some of them so you can see them.

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