Literature Circles–Book Trailers!

Today is an exciting day for you.  Today you will get to choose the book you’ll read and then discuss with your new Literature Circle!  I hope that this is a great experience for you, both as you make your book choice, and then even more as you learn and grow with your group.  So, now you’ll begin your journey as I give you a sneak peek of the books from which you’ll have to choose.  Please watch the trailers and read the reviews here, and then give me your first, second and third choice for which book you’d like to read.  You’ll write your choices on an INDEX CARD, NOT in the comments here, because I want them to be private.  In your note, please include how you know it’s just right for you and why you’d like to read it. I’ll let you know which group you’re in by Monday, January 28.  Happy book shopping!

1. The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis   LEXILE: 1000

Book Trailer: The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 from Carolyn Martin on Vimeo.


2. A Friendship for Today by Patricia McKissack


3. Ghost Dog Secrets by Peg Kehret  LEXILE: 730


4. Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford  LEXILE: 750


5. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper  LEXILE: 700

Mystery Skype!

What a great opportunity we had today–we did our first Mystery Skype!

Because of the connections I’ve made on Twitter, I’ve been exposed to many new things that seem right up our alley, and Mystery Skype was one of them.  The basic idea is that you Skype with another class–somewhere in the world–only you don’t know where they are (ok, well I knew where they were, but the kiddos did not)!  You ask each other yes or no questions that help you narrow in on the location of the other class.

We waited patiently until 10:35 when they called–Ms. Venosdale’s 6th grade class.  We answered the call, with nervous but excited feelings in our stomachs.  I had already set it up so that they would lead, since we’d never done it before, and so they asked the first question.  They asked, “Are you near a major body of water?”  Our answer, of course, was yes–the Mississippi river is just a hop, skip and a jump to our east.  Our first question was (we hoped) a good one, too–“It’s 10:35 here, is it the same time where you are?”  We had been having a conversation about time zones just before we answered the call, and so they thought this one would help narrow down (and so eliminate) much of the world  if their answer was yes.  And it was!

I wish I had grabbed the list of all the questions, because we kept one, and I wish that we had a picture to share–but we didn’t take one.  We had coordinated “jobs” before we got started: some were charge of the map, some were in charge of writing down what we learned from our new friends, some were in charge of writing down the questions we each asked (so that we could look at them for ideas for the next time), someone was in charge of asking the questions and the rest of us worked to synthesize the clues and figure out what to ask next.  It was really cool how a room full of about 20 people could all be involved in the same conversation in such different ways.

In the end, we found out that our new found friends were actually calling us from very close by in Missouri!  Hillsboro, actually.  That was surprising to them, too, because they’re used to chatting with people from much farther away!

All in all, we had a great time, met some new “friends” and figured out that we need to brush up on our Missouri geography a bit.  🙂  We already have our next Mystery Skype on the calendar for next Friday and are VERY EXCITED for it!  I’m interested to see the way their questions change and improve each time, and for what it will be like when we talk to someone from a place where we’ve never been.  It’ll be very cool to learn what life is like in that other next of the woods!

Until then–have you every been a part of Mystery Skype?  Who did you “meet?”  What suggestions do you have for us as we try again with another class?  Tell us your story–we’d love to hear from you!