A few things you should know before I tell you what I did.
- My IVs started FVR in Latin II Spring semester. First they started in groups, then individually with small group discussions, and now individually with whole class discussions.
- We try to buy all the novellas as they come out, after the teachers read them and determine if we think our kids will like them.
- Right now we have a wide variety of novellas (although not all or enough in my opinion) and the list of Latin novellas is growing daily! I am so excited.
Last year, Rachel and I did a book study on The Reading Whisperer and Readicide. You can listen to our book study and see our notes here. In May, I spoke to our team (Keith Toda, Robert Patrick, Rachel Ash, and John Foulk) about the possibility of doing a project based on The Reading Whisperer and what she does with her elementary students to get them interested in reading. I expanded it because we are reading in a second language and sometimes it can be daunting trying to figure out if a novella is (a) interesting to you and (b) appropriate for your level of proficiency.
a catalog of the novellas we currently have that includes all the details a student might want to determine if this book was one they wanted to read:
- title + author
- description of cover
- number of pages...
- in the book
- in each chapter (average)
- of chapters
- details about the dictionary
- on the page
- in the back
- a short description in English no spoilers
A Process in 3 Parts
We completed this process in three pieces and this took us about 7 days (15-20 min per day) over the course of 2 weeks.
Students worked individually for ~3 days with the novellas. They took a novella that they hadn't read in the past (ideally) and took notes on the basics of the novella (title, author, pages, etc) and then some other notes on the feel and idea of the book including the difficulty/ease of reading and notes on the dictionary.
Students got into groups of 2-3 and worked together on the books they'd done to get all the information asked for (including the English summary) and submitted it to a survey online. Between 2 classes of Latin IV students, I got ~75 responses over the course of another ~3 days.
Once I got all the responses, I compiled them into lists by novella. I gave each group 2-3 novellas. Their job was to compile all the information into 1 single entry about the novella. They wrote it out and gave it to me. This took about ~30-40 minutes on 1 day.
So, what am I doing with all this info? Well, a few things;
Students received a grade for the notes they took in the beginning. I looked to see whether students communicated how difficult the book was and what notes they took on the subject of the book.
I compiled all their notes into one single catalog. Then, we printed QR codes to go on the backs of the books and had them taped on. Now, any time a kid wants to read a book, but isn't sure what it is about, they can scan the code and get a quick view of all the details of the book.
It's a win/win :)