Favorite Books in Just 15 Words

I am a huge fan of Pernille Ripp's blog, where she posts honest reflections about engaging 7th graders in the quest to become well-rounded readers and writers.  She recently posted about this idea that she tried with her students that sounded worth trying with my students.  You can read her post here.

The challenge: 

Students take their favorite book of the year and explain/promote it to the class in 15 words, no more, no less.  And the words have to create complete sentence(s).

I was a little hesitant to try it with my sixth graders, but I thought it could be a fun, thought-provoking way to explore language, requiring them to choose words carefully to convey intent.  I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of students who are working away at this, stimulated by the challenge, sharing their thoughts with friends to get ideas, and asking for my opinion.

How I Introduced It:

Using the book I was reading aloud to them, we brainstormed words to describe it.  Then, we worked on a quick plot structure to remember important elements.  Together, we brainstormed a sentence.  Then I handed out this graphic organizer to help them and set them to work.  You can grab the graphic organizer here.  

Some of their examples:

For Salt to the Sea:
        This adventurous book leads you through harsh cold and drops you onto an overcrowded boat.
        During WWII, a group of secretive people must survive the deadly journey to freedom ships.

For The Rules for Disappearing:

         With romance and suspense, Meg MUST find out why she is trying to be killed.

For Blended:

        Isabella's blended family is more divided than ever; piano playing helps, but is it enough?
       Isabella's family is biracial and she's trying to feel whole but home challenges aren't             helping.

I am so pleased by their hard work and the way they tackled finding just the right words.  I'm excited to see what they come up with when they present these on Friday!  

Have a great week!

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