This semester, students in READ 6310 Children’s and Adolescent Literature were asked to contribute a post to this blog.
By J. Zambrano
I have read several novels in my 3rd and 4th grade classroom. Nothing is more rewarding than when real world application is done with the students through the use of a book. Taking a snippet of the book and bringing it to life is a fraction of what literature is supposed to do in our lives. Students get a chance to experience a form of what the character experienced or the manipulation of a certain event. What is even more exciting is that the ideas of the extension a teacher can do are conveniently thought of through the publisher’s literature unit books. All one has to do is make the activity their own (that’s what I love about teaching- WE SHARE IDEAS). By cutting and pasting their ideas, the teacher can put together a project that will benefit their students. Of course an extension a teacher creates is always a unique twist. Either way, the goal is for the student to experience, connect, and enrich their wealth of knowledge.
One book I truly enjoy to read is Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. This book is so entertaining and leads to much discussion about sibling relationships. Students will either make a connection with Fudge or Peter, and the points of views are endless. An extension I like to incorporate to this book is an activity titled “Juicy-O.” One of the characters works in advertising and has to market a particular juice. Students are to work in groups and create a unique concoction. Then they must create a slogan, commercial, and a poster. I invite guest judges from the community, people they do not see on a regular base or do not know them. They are to present and they are judged. This activity reaches many objectives. One in particular is public speaking. Students are able to connect with the character and explore their creative side.
Another book I use is Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. I can’t even begin to explain the lessons or discussions this book leads to. Through this book I am able to discuss the issues of belonging, divorce, and abandonment. The activity I enjoy engaging in is taking a trip to the local grocery store and having students work with the weight of fruit, comparing prices on dog food, and having them budget a grocery list with a certain amount of money. This activity helps students make connection with different math objectives and the kind of life Opal led.
I believe literature is vital to the growth of student’s learning journey. Being able to make it part of their own lives and inspiring them to achieve what they have learned is what reading should lead to. I do understand that sometimes the application can be abstract or time consuming, but our focus should always be to enrich our student’s learning experience.