Lens: something that facilitates and influences perception, comprehension or evaluation

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Genre Challenge- Do you have what it takes?

Recently I collaborated with Amy Wheeler, a 5th grade teacher at FES, to create a group genre activity. All of our 5th grade students take part in the 40 Book Challenge inspired by Donalyn Miller's work in The Book Whisperer. In addition to reading 40 books in 5th grade, students are required to read across seven different genres. Students study the characteristics of the different genres in reading class. Amy's goal was to find an engaging way for students to show what they had learned about genres because during the year students are asked to figure out the genres of the books they read. 

Amy came to me with an idea to create a Survivor style group challenge. After putting our heads together we had the perfect plan. It required a lot of prep work on our part, but it paid off. We selected books from the seven different genres then created a card for each book. The front of the card displayed the cover of the book, the summary from the inside flap and a sample page was glued on the back. Amy cut and covered seven large shoe boxes in different colored paper.

We assigned students to five different groups. Each group was given a set of cards and were challenged to figure out the genre for each book. Students had to work as team to complete the challenge. This was tricky because some of the books could fit in more than on genre. Since our library's fiction collection is organized by genre, Amy had a great idea that we could place boxes in the genre sections to get students moving around the library. We awarded points based on the number of correct responses.

Once all of the teams finished depositing their genre cards into boxes, Amy and I pulled out the cards and discussed the results with the whole class. What makes this book fantasy? What words in the description made you think this was a mystery? 

The genre challenge was a huge hit with students, and it met the objectives Amy and I had set. Students had rich discussions about the elements of genres, all students were engaged, and they worked as teams. Some students even asked to check out books they had read about on the genre cards.

1 comment:

  1. This is a fantastic blog! If I need to know the genre of any book, the place to go is Wing C - Upstairs!