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Touching Spirit Bear (by Ben Mikaelsen) Student Journal/ Novel Study
WHY JOURNALS? I needed a resource to engage kids every step along the way of reading a novel. What I did NOT want my kids to do was read and answer comprehension questions and look up vocabulary, which all the other novel studies I looked at seem to do. That kills the fun of reading!
This journal allows kids to discuss opinions, ideas, predictions- all fun things to do with a good book. My sixth grade classes thoroughly enjoyed the interactive journals as they studied, argued over details, made personal connections, and even reluctant readers became fans of the story. (I will admit that some of the more abstract questions were hard for my still-concrete thinkers. We did a lot a sharing out, think-pair-share, and talking through answers.)
I also needed to address certain standards. From the Common Core, this included:
• Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
• Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, or elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).
• Use details from the text to identify plot, including problem/ conflict, climax, and resolution.
• Identify and explain examples of sensory details, figurative language, and basic literary techniques in text, emphasizing literary techniques previously introduced.
• Develop vocabulary through text, using context clues.
SET-UP: These 30 journal pages are intended to be printed out, copied front and back, three-hole punched, and put into a three-pronged folder. While this might seem like a lot of copies, the novel study will last about a month. This equals 30 pages copied, (15 papers, front and back), for each student. Less than one page a day!
Each day has a mini-lesson, reading time, and post-reading activities. There is a writing project for both Part One and Part Two. Some student examples are included in the Teacher's version.
A teacher's version of the journal, complete with notes, will help you plan out the novel study to fit your kids and your class time.
Download the preview above to see the Table of Contents, the Pre-reading Lesson, the Ch. 1 & 2 lesson, and the Ch. 3 & 4 lesson.
The zipped file includes PDFs and a word document.
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