Before Christmas, I did a 30-minute book talk on over 45 different novels that I thought my Grade Sevens should read and would most likely enjoy. I included current ‘trendy’ books as well as some award winners and classical favourites. The assignment was simple: in each of the Grade Seven classes each student would choose a different novel and prepare an oral presentation on the book. In addition, they would create a bookmark to summarize key parts of the book. My goal was to expose the students to a wide variety of books and have them promote books to their classmates. They were given 2 months to read their book. We set up a schedule the very next day, with one to two students presenting a day from mid-January to mid-February.
So far the presentations have been AMAZING and on this past Tuesday, the students handed in their fabulous bookmarks. The presentations have achieved exactly what I had hoped. Students are now reading the books their classmates read. In addition, many students ended up reading a book they loved and are now reading other books from that author or from a similar genre.
The beauty of this assignment is that it can be done at any grade level. I have done oral novel presentations with Grade 4's, 5's, 6's, and 7's. The marking load is minimal, and it addresses so many learning outcomes. The students love having a choice, although be prepared for several students to want the same book. As I did my big book talk, I had them write down all the books that interested them. After talking about every book, I then went back to the beginning and asked who wanted each book. If there was a 'hot' book, I left them until the end. Then we did draws etc. This took sometime, but in the end, I would say everyone left happy! I did have to go and find about 5 books other than the ones in my original talk. I took these students to the library and we spent time narrowing down the right book for them!
My name is Nadine Keyworth. I have been teaching for over 12 years, and my passion is teaching Grade Seven. I am amazed by how much the nature of education has changed already in my short career. It can be a struggle to filter through and keep up with everything. My goal is to share my triumphs and defeats as I learn, try, share and explore my way through teaching and technology ideas!