Book Club Roles – More Info

As you all know, the book club meetings will be held this coming Monday via video conference (students can expect a calendar invite at some point tomorrow). Click HERE to find more information on book assignments and roles. I have had some questions regarding the roles in the book club. I am hoping that this post will help clarify the expectation for each role.

Discussion Director

Your job is to write a list of questions that your group may use to discuss the assigned part of the book.  The best questions will come from your own thoughts, feelings, and ideas about this section of the book.  You will also need to write your answers to the questions.

The key here is to think of “thick” questions, not “thin” questions.

Think of starting your questions with these prompts:

  • Do you think…?
  • What might happen if…?
  • How would you feel if…?

During our discussion, you will ask your questions to the group and facilitate the conversation surrounding these questions.


Your job is to draw some kind of picture or create a visual representation such as a graphic organizer related to what you read in the assigned section.  It is best if you choose a pivotal moment in the plot to draw. Don’t forget to write some justification for why you chose to draw that particular scene.

During our discussion, you will show the group your illustration and we will have to guess what part of the book you are trying to depict.

Word Wizard

Your job is to locate a few important words in your reading.  You will find the meaning of words that are puzzling, unfamiliar or very important to the story. If you come across a word that you have not seen before or are unfamiliar with its meaning, look it up and add it to your word list. The goal is to increase your vocabulary. Don’t forget to include the page number and paragraph number that you found the word

During our discussion, we will be playing a word game. You will give the page number of the word and read the definition, then the other members of your group will try to guess your word. Our goal is for all group members to understand the words in our book.

Passage Picker

Your job is to choose a paragraph or sentences to discuss with your group.  Your purpose is to help other students by highlighting something interesting, funny, scary, puzzling or important from the text.  Include your reasons for picking the paragraphs or sections you did.  Don’t forget to record the page number!

As you read if you come across a specific passage that speaks to you, inspires you, or makes you laugh – write it down!

During our discussion, you will be sharing the passages you chose and asking the other group members their thoughts on the passage.


Your job is to prepare a summary of the reading.  Don’t tell the whole story, just focus on the important parts.  The other members of the group will be counting on you to give them a quick statement that tells them about the story and the key points. Best advice for this position is to have the recording paper nearby when reading the book. At the end of each chapter, write down the major event that occurred.

During the book club meeting, you will share your top moments which should summarize the readings. Group members may debate certain events or suggestion other events to include in the timeline.


Your job is to find connections between the book you are reading and the outside world.  This means connecting what you read with your own life, to what happens at school or in the community, to similar events at other times and places or to other people and problems.

As you are reading the book if you come across something that makes you think of something that happened in your own life, or something that happened in another book, or that happened in the world, you can write that down as a connection.
When it says type of connection it means text-to-text which means the thing you thought of reminds you of something from another book, text-to-self which means the thing that you thought of reminds you of something from your own life, or text-to-world which means the thing that you thought of reminds you of something that happened in the world.

Book Clubs

On the Friday before March break, each student received a book and a book club package. I did email all parents of students not at school that they could pick up these resources at the front office but understand if it was not possible. Since we didn’t have a lot of warning that we would not be returning, I had to throw things together pretty quickly.

In any case, my plan moving forward is to have certain chapters/pages of each book assigned each week along with specific “jobs”. Then, each Monday, I will be meeting up with each book group for a 20 minute book club chat using Zoom. This will give us a chance to touch base with each other and share our thoughts about the book. Students should have their weekly reading AND their assigned weekly job(s) completed before the book club meeting.

Here are the reading and job schedules for each book (for those that did not pick up a copy of the book from the school, I have included links to purchase the book):

Book #1: It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime (Adapted for Young Readers)
Group Members: Aaliyah, Carter, Isabelle, Matteo


Book #2: A Monster Calls
Group Members: James, Natalie, Ryan


Book #3: New Kid
Group Members: Mathias, Bailee, Talat


Book #4: Escape from Aleppo
Group Members: Abby, Bridget, Julien


Book #5: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
Group Members: Caitie, Gabby, Krista


Book #6: The Crossover
Group Members: BJ, Jacob, Isabel M


Book #7: The War that Saved my Life
Group Members: Caleb, Isabel G, Kyler

I’m really looking forward to chatting with everyone about the books!

Reading and Writing

Since I have been writing a lot about math and science, I thought I would send out an update on language.

I believe that reading and writing are the most important, fundamental skills that a student can have. Several students expressed their disinterest in reading and writing during the first few weeks of school and therefore over the past three months, I have tried to promote reading and writing in small manageable (hopefully enjoyable chunks).


Now that we have completed our read aloud of “The Bridge Home”, I am asking that students ensure that they have a novel at school to read each day. I will be giving 15-20 minutes each day for students to curl up and read a novel of their choice.

Starting next week, I will be conferencing with students about their novel as well as their attitudes and routines surrounding reading.

Students should also be reading regularly at home and I am inviting students to sign out books from the class library and take them home as well to read.


We have been doing a lot of writing through science labs and investigations, blogging challenges and written reflections following specific experiences. Most of this writing can be found in the KidBlog portfolios. A super HUGE thanks to those parents (and other family members) who have taken the time to go online to read their child’s writing and comment. Knowing that they are writing for an authentic audience is extremely motivating.

A highly encourage parents to take 30-minutes in the next couple of days to sit down with their child and have them share some of their posts.

Since the start of the year, students should have the following in their KidBlog portfolio:

  1. Welcome Post
  2. Awesome Post
  3. 100WC #1 (The Door)
  4. 100WC #2 (“I heard them before I saw them”)
  5. 100WC #3 (“… it looked just like a glass of water…”)
  6. GRA Reflection Chapters 1-7
  7. GRA Reflection Chapters 8-15
  8. GRA Reflection Chapters 16-23
  9. Symbolism in “The Bridge Home”
  10. GRA Reflection Chapters 24-35
  11. GRA Reflection Chapters 36-44
  12. A Reflection on the Amazon Deforestation Hangout with Shelby Riskin
  13. The First Page of the Dystopian Fiction Novel Challenge
  14. 100WC#4 (5 words)

They have also completed one larger writing exercise (Recount) which can be found in their student workspace.

What is Coming Up

Today, students completed a diagnostic test on grammar usage. The results from this will allow me to group students who are making similar errors and work with them in a small group setting to resolve these errors. I am finding that the major roadblock for many students in conventions (spelling, grammar, capitalization, punctuation) and organization of their writing. This will continue to be a focus throughout the year.

Tomorrow, students will be writing a second diagnostic assessment, this time on reading comprehension. Similar to the grammar assessment, I will be using these results to target specific skills with which students may be lacking.

Then, in the three weeks leading up to Christmas, we will be looking at journalistic writing. Students will be reading news articles and examine how these pieces are constructed. We will also look briefly at headlines, “fake news” and tabloids, and sensationalism.

Their final project will be involving the Nativity Story. Students will have to construct a news page from the time of Jesus’ birth. For a complete outline of the project, click HERE.

Thanks (as always) for your support. As a parent of four school-aged kids, I know how difficult it is to find the time to sit down and review your child’s school work. The home-school partnership is so integral to the student’s success and I want to express my deepest thanks in advance.