At NECC 2008, I interviewed Linda McDonald from Katy ISD, TX about her latest videoconference project format, the Novel Project. You can see the resources for this program online here
If the YouTube video below is blocked for you, try this link to the same video on TeacherTube.
Very interesting. Has this been tried with children in lower grades?
I had several teachers on my campuses participate in this project with Linda–she used 4th and 5th grade because that is really the beginning of where we have teachers who are doing in-depth novel studies.
I could see us adapting it to third grade, or maybe it could be changed to deal with a read-aloud book for first or second grade, although that kind of changes the spirit of the students making high-level connections with what they themselves are reading.
Joe – thanks for clarifying that question and adding more detail! 🙂
Great idea! Our novel projects came out of collaboration with our district curriculum specialists who works with 4th-8th grade students. I have worked closely with 1st – 3rd grade classes as well, but have not tried this format.
I think it depends….
I think our sessions would have been even better (and more aligned with best practice recommendations) if we based the novel sessions on a theme (survival, WWII era, friendship issues, etc.) – with several book choices. Of courses, this only works if all partner classes are offered book choices. From my experiences, not all teachers are comfortable with that classroom format.
3rd grade seems to be the year when students transition from “everybody books” to novels. However, often novels used at this level don’t lend themselves to deep levels of analyzing literature and making connections to world events, so it may take a bit more creativity to get to the meat of the text.
I think the basic structure might work for 1st/2nd grades but the themes would be much more primary – farm animals, an author study, families, seasonal books.
The basic structure for the kick off sessions is:
1. video to activate schema
2. create a word wall
3. information about the author (don’t know how I’m going to change this if we do themes instead of one particular text)
4. poetry connection
5. Questions & Predictions
6. non fiction connection
The basic structure for the finale session is:
1. story map (try to find an unusual format)
2. discussion of theme
3. favorite event/character
4. letter to the author (I got responses from 2 out of 3)
I plan to add this template to CAP space once we get back to school.