Let the Lit Circle Journey begin!

by Mrs. Nilsen on February 3rd, 2013

Weekly ELA News 1/28 - 2/1

We began a new journey in ELA this week.  Each student started an indepth study of a book with a small group - what we are now calling "Lit Circles."  Each group meets 1 to 2 times weekly to discuss the chapters they've read, discover literary elements and analysis, ask questions that deepen their understanding of literature, and enjoy reading with others.  The group meetings this week were FANTASTIC!  I was really impressed with the discussions already.  The class is split up into groups of 3-4 people per group and they are studying 5 different books.  Check out the books and a brief blurb about the book below (all taken from the Goodreads website [1]. )  I'm hoping to have all students review their books on Goodreads once this unit is over!  Ask your student which book they chose and how they are liking it so far.  

6th Grade Lit Circle Books 2013
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - 3 chapters per meeting
[4.03 of 5 stars]  4.03  ·   rating details  ·  52,727 ratings  ·  4,001 reviews

"When an eccentric millionaire dies mysteriously, sixteen very unlikely people are gathered together for the reading of the will...and what a will it is!"
Al Capone Does My Shirts (Al Capone at Alcatraz #1)by Gennifer Choldenko  - 4 chapters per meeting
[3.8 of 5 stars]  3.80  ·   rating details  ·  15,564 ratings  ·  1,908 reviews

"Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I'm not the only kid who lives here. There's my sister, Natalie, except she doesn't count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook's or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to."
Hatchet (Brian's Saga #1)by Gary Paulsen
[3.6 of 5 stars]  3.60  ·   rating details  ·  86,910 ratings  ·  4,848 reviews - 2 chapters per meeting 

"Since it was first published in 1987, the story of thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson's survival following a plane crash has become a modern classic. Stranded in the desolate wilderness, Brian uses his instincts and his hatchet to stay alive for fifty-four harrowing days."
Old Yeller (Old Yeller #1)by Fred Gipson, Steven Polson
[3.94 of 5 stars]  3.94  ·   rating details  ·  28,275 ratings  ·  764 reviews - 1 to 2 chapters per meeting

"At first, Travis couldn't stand the sight of Old Yeller.  The stray dog was ugly, and a thieving rascal, too. But he sure was clever, and a smart dog could be a big help on the wild Texas frontier, especially with Papa away on a long cattle drive up to Abilene.

Strong and courageous, Old Yeller proved that he could protect Travis's family from any sort of danger. But can Travis do the same for Old Yeller?"
Holes (Holes #1)by Louis Sachar
[3.9 of 5 stars]  3.90  ·  rating details  ·  237,279 ratings  ·  8,010 reviews - 5 chapters per meeting

"And so, Stanley Yelnats seems set to serve an easy sentence, which is only fair because he is as innocent as you or me. But Stanley is not going where he thinks he is. Camp Green Lake is like no other camp anywhere. It is a bizarre, almost otherworldly place that has no lake and nothing that is green. Nor is it a camp, at least not the kind of camp kids look forward to in the summertime. It is a place that once held "the largest lake in Texas," but today it is only a scorching desert wasteland, dotted with countless holes dug by the boys who live at the camp."
Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
[3.98 of 5 stars]  3.98  ·   rating details  ·  4,642 ratings  ·  843 reviews - Reading in class w/ Mrs. Loftus

"Addie is waiting for normal.  But Addie's mom has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta or an empty pantry, jubilation or gloom, her way or no way.  

All or nothing never adds up to normal.

All or nothing can't bring you all to home, which is exactly where Addie longs to be, with her half sisters, every day. In spite of life's twists and turns, Addie remains optimistic. Someday, maybe, she'll find normal.

Leslie Connor has created an inspiring novel about one girl's giant spirit. waiting for normal is a heartwarming gem."

So looking forward to exploring these books with your children!  Good think I like to read!  I've got a lot of chapters to read along with them every week!!

Works Cited
1. "Goodreads." www.goodreads.com N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2013.

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