Share a Story-Shape a Future Discussion Questions

My response to Share a Book-Shape a Future’s question: “Do you have a favorite chapter book for reading with kids of different ages  (e.g., 4, 9, 13)? “

Share a Story - Shape a Future

I have two favorite read-alouds for my sixth-graders.  Two very different read-alouds!

Every year I love sharing Jordan Sonnenblick’s Drums, Girls, And Dangerous Pie with my classes. It’s an amazing story of of one family’s experience with childhood cancer. Sonnenblick is a former middle school teacher and he captures the middle school voice perfectly. My kids always laugh out loud while we are reading and beg to keep going. They also shed a tear or two when they make connections to their own experiences with cancer. We grow closer as a class while reading Drums, Girls, And Dangerous Pie. Plus, we always tie it into a a service project for the pediatric cancer ward of the local children’s oncology hospital.

Another favorite read-aloud is The Lightning Thief. Like Sonnenblick, Riordan is a former middle school teacher. The Lightning Thief is laugh-out-loud funny and appeals to girls and boys alike. Without fail, most of my students go on to read the rest of the series. But I am a sneaky teacher, because I love to use The Lightning Thief to expose my students to Greek mythology and critical essays/thoughts on literature. For the past few years I have used essays from Demigods and Monsters: Your Favorite Authors on Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series to expose my students to critical literary essays. Because they love Demigods and Monsters: Your Favorite Authors on Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, they don’t fight me when it comes to the essays. Before they even realize it, they are Greek mythology experts and are able to write their own critical literary responses to novels. (See, I am sneaky!)

Because read-alouds are such an important part of my classroom culture, I could write about this topic for hours. In fact, I had a really hard time deciding on just two books to discuss in this entry. I have a list of 25 books I love to share with my students during read-alouds. Then I have thousands that I love to share during book talks. It’s a never-ending list!

What are some books you love sharing with your children?

Slice of Life #11

After school today I headed to the mall to pick up a few things, including lunch.  As I walked through the parking lot, my phone rang and I dug through my bag (as usual) trying to find it.  By the time I walked through the front doors of the mall, I was engrossed in my conversation.  I know the mall layout like the back of my hand, so I was barely paying attention as I made my way to the food court.

Suddenly, I heard a bizarre sound.  A misplaced sound.  Something that didn’t belong in a mall.

“Clang clang!”

“Choo choo!”

Like a deer in headlights, I froze.  In my suburban mall I was standing in front of a train.  Like a full-on, clanging bell-guy in conductor’s uniform-choo choo train.  No tracks, just wheels, driving around the mall.  And it almost ran me over!  What the heck?! I thought.

“I’m sorry to interrupt you, Marisa.  But I am standing in the mall and a train is about to run me over.  I’m going to have to call you back…” I trailed off.

(No, I have no IDEA what was going on.  Or why we have a train giving rides in the mall.  Too bizarre!)