Book Clubs

Term 2 2018
Socratic Smackdown...

10 June
Wow! It is so good having the group back together again, we have had so many interrruptions to our sessions this term...
Today we discussed an Indian Folklore 'Seeing the Light.' A king, looking for a successor between his two sons, gives each of them a coin and asks them to bring something to fill the great hall. He is looking for wisdom as criteria to choosing his successor. We discussed what we would bring with our coin. Suggestions included a candle and match (to make light), 2 stones (to make sound), a photo (to bring memories), people, and turning out any light (to create darkness).

What would you bring?

We then went on to discuss what criteria would make a good successor. We were practicing playing 'devil's advocate' having a opinion (that is not necessarily our own) that will help the group to think in new ways. This took a bit of practice, but everyone did a great job and we could see how much this thinking tool takes our thinking and our discussion in exciting new ways!

8 May 
This term 2 teams of year 5-6 students engage in rigorous debate each week to discuss the 'big issues.' Each student will score points for their team by demonstrating key thinking and discussion strategies in their reasoning. Each week students will be given a short text to read, along with a question for discussion. By preparing evidence, using other texts, and examples students debate their perspective; learning to consider alternative viewpoints, seek clarification, ask questions and make connections!

We had a practice run this week with the following question prompt and news article about 'Earth Day'

                  "whose responsibility is it to look after out earth?

What's your perspective? Add your comments and viewpoints each week to challenge and inspire our thinking!

Term 4 2017

Week 1
It is so exciting to be working with a Bookapedia group again after 2 incredibly busy terms, but it was very hard narrowing down students to work together to explore our 2 texts


Wonder by RJ Palacio explores the life of Auggie, a boy entering the public school system for the first time. The plot explores themes such as identity, belonging, kindness, and bullying alongside Auggie, who has a cranio-facial deformity. Wonder is a class novel across all senior classes this term and we will be going to see it at the movies later in the term - everyone is very excited!

Our complimentary text Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, explores the life of Melody a student with a photographic memory. Melody has Cerebal Palsy and is judged by others as being mental challenged - and she can't tell them she certainly isn't! Melody challenges everyone who interacts with her to see past her body to connect with her mind. This book explores themes such as belonging, bullying, inclusion and acceptance. It is a MUST READ!

This week we considered the concept of kindness through the lens of symbolism as part of language, symbols and texts. As a stimuli, we read a complimentary text Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, which tells the story of a young girl who ignores invitations from a new girl in her class to be friends due to peer pressure. Unlike most stories, this one does not have a happy ending as the new girl moves away and the young girl, reflecting on her actions, does not get a chance to put them right after her teacher shows them a demonstration on kindness. We did a similar demonstration adapted from this pennies of time  blog to better understand kindness.

Our essential question was:

Do lots of smaller acts of kindness create the same impact as a large act of kindness? 

Using a bowl of water we observed the water displacement and ripples caused by dropping a stone (large act of kindness such as being friends with a new kid). We then observed and discussed what happened when multiple small items were dropped into the water which represented small acts of kindness like smiling at someone, saying something nice etc.) 

Below is a summary of our thinking so far:
*  wiggling teeth and solar energy both add up to a big impact, so does smaller acts of kindness
*  big acts of kindness have more potential to seek recognition, or something back to the giver. With smaller acts of kindness you don't necessarily expect something back
*with ripples from a big act the ripples may be bigger but they can 'bounce back from the edge' to the giver or others
* it works both ways: the ripples that flow out from an negative act are the same as those that flow out from a positive act
* smaller acts keep the ripples going because they can be more regular and ongoing.

What do YOU think?...

Week 2

Today we talked about empathy. We created a shared definition, and looked in texts to see how an author builds empathy between characters and form the reader. We notice the author uses words and phrases to describe thoughts, body language and actions to build empathy. 

Here is an excerpt from Out of My Mind that we found where the author helps the reader to connect with Melody and builds empathy for the frustrations she must face:

"Then, in the toy section, I saw them. Brightly colored packages of plastic blocks. Just that morning I had seen a warning on television about that toy—they were being recalled because the blocks had been painted with lead paint. Several children had already been hospitalized with lead poisoning, the report had said. But there they were—still on the shelf. I pointed to them. Mom said, “No, sweetie. You don’t need those. You have enough toys.” I pointed again and screeched. I kicked my feet. “No!” Mom said more forcefully. “You are not going to have a tantrum on me!” I didn’t want the blocks. I wanted to tell her they were dangerous. I wanted her to tell somebody to get rid of them before a child got sick. But all I could do was scream and point and kick. So I did. I got louder."

We also discussed R.J. Palacio's inspiration and purpose to write Wonder. Palacio wanted to explore the concept of difference and belonging with readers after her son's reacted awkwardly to someone with a cranio-facial deformity. Palacio is actually a graphic designer and this is her first book! This inspired us; we don't have to stay in the comforts of what we know and are good at to learn and make a difference. Interestingly, Palacio was inspired by how readers were reacting to Julian, the 'bully' and she wanted her readers to feel empathy for him so she wrote the Julian Chapter, which is from Julian's perspective. I wonder what R.J. Palacio wants us to learn about showing empathy to others even when it's hard to do so...

What do YOU wonder about?.....

Week 3 Leadership

                                What does leadership LOOK, SOUND, FEEL like?

*it feels smooth

                         *feels rough because you are trying new things

*maybe its rough then smooth?

                                                   *you have to have a growth mindset

                                 *it starts with attitude

                                                       *you have to step up your game!

*leadership is like a mouth: sometimes its good to be open and other times keep it shut!

                                *it's about taking the right way over the easy way

                   *leadership looks like helping

                                                                 *you're learning new things as well

                                   *everyone having a turn, helping others to 
                                    learn new things but learning new things 
                                    about others at the same time

Leadership is like captain taking the wheel steer others somewhere new
                             ...but you don’t have to do everything!

Over the next few weeks groups of students are working on change. Everyone agreed that Wonder and Out of My Mind are books with themes we can't ignore. By reading them we have passed through a doorway that we can't go back through. We are now entering a 'SO WHAT?" phase.

Stay tuned...

City of Ember
This term some year 5-6 students are exploring the novel 'City of Ember' by Jeanne Du Prau.
To get us thinking about some of the themes in this novel, our first task was to draw a picture, but there was a scarcity of resources. Everyone coped with this and problem solved in different ways, although everyone found it very pressurised and frustrating!

We Are Learning To...

To achieve our goals we are keeping tack of key events in the story that help to make the plot successful. We also have some interesting vocab to tune into as we read. At the end of term we are going to watch the movie and compare the book to the movie - everyone is very excited about this.

Our first task was to draw a high-quality piece of art about our most precious possession. Unfortunately there wasn't enough paper, horribly big crayons and not enough colours except for white! It was a harsh introduction to a scarcity of resources that our characters Lina and Doon were going to face in our novel City of Ember. Below are some reactions from students...

April 2017

This year we entered 2 teams in the Regional Lit Quiz.  We also took a team of passionate year 5 readers to support the teams and get a taste ready for next year. As you can see we were a very excited group! Congrats to both year 5-6 teams, it was a long day of concentrating and you were wonderful!

March 2017

Bookapedia have been 'speed booking!' Rebecca has been putting aside brand new books for us to look over first. We got 3 chances to explore 3 books, including one we might never give a second look to. It was a VERY quiet session and then a frenzy of book issuing...

Term 2 2015              You be the Judge!

Well the books have gone to trial and sentence has been passed. A huge thank you to Troy and Jean from RSS and Ross from PN City Library for being our amazing judges. Not only did they manage to narrow down the suspects to just 10, they are ranked them!
 Here is the verdict:

10. Tom Gates
9. The Secret Garden
8. Wonder
7. Harry Potter
6. Narnia
5. Nanny Piggins
4. Holes
3. Percy Jackson
2. David Williams books
1. Out Of My Mind 

Everyone did such an amazing job of representing their book(s) that our librarian, Rebecca,  was taking reserves from students, teachers and parents during the trial breaks!

Term 1 2015
Parents are always asking what books would be good for their child so we have decided to come up with our '10 must read books by the time you leave RSS.' Mmm What a choice! We tried to come up with a master list. Ana was nearly tearing her hair out in despair - "It's like choosing between my best friends!" she cried. Bella's brain was fighting with itself  - but we have managed to come up with a list of books. Watch this space! Soon we will put up which of these books made our final list and then we will put these on trial; with lawyers, a judge and jury and lots of drama!

Term 3-4 2014               The  Wonder Experiment
As part of our Wonder unit, the students wanted to know what it would feel like to have an impairment that would affect their schooling. Some people were restricted to wheelchairs, others walking aids. Some students lost the use of their voice. They were amazed at the attention it brought - and they didn't like it! It made everyone think about how they treat people, and how they like to be treated.

Week three vocab extension
Wonder is full of juicy, rich words and we have enjoyed exploring their meanings and why the author might have chosen them to create imagery. Today we used all those juicy words the author used in Via's perspective of Wonder and had a bit of a play. Students sorted the words into categories of their own choosing; the only brief that they had to meet was for the purpose 'of extending their own vocab and understanding of words.' So, how to sort them? This evoked lots of discussion, with the most common ways by the amount of syllables, and prefixes/suffixes/root words. Who thought words could have caused so much discussion and experimentation? We had a ball, and in the process learnt a lot more about words. Below Ben shows how he sorted his words into syllables.

Ben was fascinated that the most common syllable length of these juicy words was 2-3 syllables - surely great readers like us would be hungry for more complex words? "No," Jacob quickly intervened,  making a connection. You get confused and quickly bored with really long words you don't understand like science and medical books. This got them thinking about writing. Is there a 'recipe' to successful writing so that the reader is challenged by words but not put off? Does our society want words with longer syllables or are we lazy and go for shorter, easier ones? A quick trip to the library and few dictionaries issued later and I think there may be an experiment in the planning from these two...
Ana sorted her words by prefixes/suffixes/root words.  There was lots of discussion about root words and their origins, with lots of cross-checking of dictionaries. It was fascinating to find out the origins of some words and make connections that would help us to remember what the word meant. Sorting the words quickly showed patterns of common suffixes, and lots of predicting of what prefixes like 'dis' mean. How amazing it would be to have a job making up new words everyday!

 Term 1 2014  Novel Studies

A parent recommended this book to me and from the moment I picked it up I couldn't put it down. Written from different perspectives there are some important themes and issues this book raises and a call to social action - perfect for Bookapedia!  Published in 2012,  R.J. Palacio’s first novel ‘Wonder’ is about ten year old August who was born with rare facial deformities that have caused his life to be anything but ordinary...and ordinary is what he wishes for more than anything.  Auggie feels ordinary on the inside, but he is constantly reminded of his flaws by how people respond when they see him. August displays remarkable understanding toward those who make him feel like a monster and he shows us the bravery it takes to face the world. One cannot help but want to be a better person after reading this book. This is a story that will touch the heart of every reader - I am sure you will enjoy reading it too.  It is a 'must-read' for 2014. 

This year Bookapedia is being run as part of the students' classroom reading programme and they have identified personal reading goals from their school report's next learning steps in reading. Bookapedia students are typically challenged to make connections text-text and beyond to their own lives; analysing the authors message and style. This term I will also be working with these students as part of their in-class writing programme. We will be exploring the author's approach of perspective to connect with the reader, as well as the symbolism and precepts that are explored across the book.

The BookTalsies will be finding out the history of their Book Club name by exploring the novel  'Frindle' by Andrew Clements. As part of their classroom writing and reading programme we will be having fun with words. Looking at why authors choose the words they do to create impact and exploring the origins and connections between words to help meet their personal reading goals of developing vocab and building a range of strategies to make connections beyond the text. Frindle is about Nick, a challenging student and Mrs Granger his English teacher.  
 “Everyone knows that Mrs. Granger, the language arts teacher, has X-ray vision, and nobody gets away with anything in her classroom. To make matters worse, she's also a fanatic about the dictionary, which is hopelessly boring to Nick. But when Nick learns an interesting tidbit about words and where they come from, it inspires his greatest plan yet: to invent a new word. From now on, a pen is no longer a pen -- it's a frindle.

It doesn't take long for frindle to take root, and soon the excitement spreads well beyond his school and town. His parents and Mrs. Granger would like Nick to put an end to all this nonsense. But frindle doesn't belong to Nick anymore. All he can do now is sit back and watch what happens.”  
Bookapedia and Book Talsie student blog's are amongst those on the left. Click through to see what they have been learning, and the connections they have made toward their personal reading goal this term. They welcome feedback and comments!

    Imagine...expect the unexpected!

This has been the catch phrase for both Bookapedia (year 5-6) and BookTalsies (year 3-4) in term 3. After exploring Norman Messenger's new book 'The Land of Neverbelieve' we decided to launch the book to our Library Hub in style.  As passionate readers, we want other students in our school to see books the way we do: as opportunities to escape into adventures, fantasies and facts only limited by our imaginations.

Book Talsies are writing their own short stories morphing two well-known book characters into one. Ever wondered how Scaredy solves mysteries? Or what kinds of magical confectionery Willy Potter might dream up? Keep watching this space as there are some amazing stories coming soon....

Bookapedia split into skills groups and worked on transforming the Hub to encourage students to try new genres. The adventure section is now enclosed in its own cave hiding an adventure map to keep any explorer busy. The horror section is closely guarded by an enormous spider who ‘gobbles horror books for breakfast’ while Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Santa Claus are fending off a ferocious dragon in the fantasy section.

We loved the trees on Norman Messenger’s Island of Neverbelieve so much we just had to recreate them in our Hub! Now we have our very own knot tree, that rather than tying knots in itself to remember, it ties knots in itself to hold new books coming into our library. Our very own brick tree  is going to be used to recommend great books to others. Here are some photos:

But to get those books off the shelf, we first had to get people in the door. So an enthusiastic team set about transforming the entrance to our hub with a story mountain framing the door. Check out some pictures of our hard work below.

It has been a busy term and we couldn't have done it without the help of our Librarian, Rebecca, and parent, Miriam. Thank you so much for your time, enthusiasm and amazing talents! Bookapedia met as a group at the end of term and reflected on our purpose and products. Here are some of the comments that arose: 

I keep picking projects that are too big.
It cuts through boring stuff in my other class.
Books are like a secret world. They are like a rocket to take you to that secret world.
Separating us into groups was good because you get to work with some people not everyone.
We have been successful because we have been making different stuff in a different way
It has been sparking imaginations

Have you opened a good book lately?

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