The second half of the 2019-2020 school year has been one of the most challenging and disruptive times ever seen in the public school system. Almost every school was closed, and teachers were trying to keep their students learning and engaged via zoom, google classroom, boom cards, and more.
And what did teachers do? They figured it out. Many teaching for the first time ever on-line. Parents and students figured it out too. For the most part, we are all on the other side of this still pushing forward and looking for the best way to keep our kids learning and engaged.
I, too, have been looking for new ways to bring you resources that will be more versatile and engaging regardless of where you find yourself next year. One of the biggest ways I am doing that is with my novel units. And I hope to get you excited about this whole new way to get your students “reading” the same books their peers are getting exposed to in the general education curriculum.
So, what is this new way to “read” a novel like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? I am video recording the chapters being read aloud (by myself and a few friends). Why do I think this is going to be super helpful next year? For several reasons.
1. More time
One of the biggest benefits I see to having the chapters pre-recorded is that it means you can be doing something else while your students listen to the chapter being read aloud. You could be setting up for the related activity, or you could be helping with classroom management. It is almost like having an extra assistant for those 15-25 minutes.
2. More engaging
Many of our kids find things presented on the screen to be more engaging. Not that I am advocating for more screen time, but if it means more students are exposed to books like The Outsiders, Harry Potter, or Mary Poppins, then maybe it is worth it. Students who often tune out to our teacher voice (that they hear all day long) may perk up and listen more closely to someone else on a screen telling a story.
3. More flexibility
If we are still doing distance learning in the fall, or even if we are not, some parents and classrooms do not have access to certain novels you may want to teach. By having the chapters pre-recorded, then your students can complete the entire novel unit without ever having a book in their hands.
4. More choices
When I was in the classroom, I found offering my students choices really helped with some of the behavior challenges I would often face. By giving them control when possible over their environment and situation, it helped increase their tolerance for those time when there really were no choices. Allowing students to listen to the chapter on a preferred device can be very empowering. You can even offer them the opportunity to follow along in the book as the video plays. Having a sense of control can reap benefits all day long.
Of course, this takes some time and reformatting, so it is a little slow going. But, I am working hard as are the girls I convinced to help me (yes, they are family 😊). So, check back often. Here is what I have so far!!
Click the titles to check them out:
- Charlotte’s Web
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- The Outsiders
- Because of Winn Dixie
In the works:
- The Tale of Despereaux
- Marry Poppins
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Want to see what this looks like? Click HERE for a sneak peak at a chapter from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. (No email needed, but it will force you to make a copy to view it.)