We have enjoyed our experience as a “book club” this year with fifth grade students Rheeya, Justin, Virginia, Cyan, Layne, Ellie, Jacob, Sanaa, Jake, Rufus, and Libby. Their thoughts and activities on our three novels are posted on their individual blogs.
We first traveled to ancient China with When the Sea Turned to Silver, by Grace Lin. Students summarized the various stories within the story, pondered the motives of characters, and searched for symbolic meaning. In Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus we learned of the 19th century Japanese wariness of strangers from other lands, especially North America, and how a young Japanese boy named Manjiro grew up to become a bridge between America and his native land. Finally, the modern day tale of Peak by Roland Smith took us to the top of Mt. Everest and all the physical and mental struggles involved in climbing the highest mountain in the world. As we finished the novel, Mt. Everest itself was a current events topic and we were able to understand the dangers the climbers faced after what we learned in Peak. All of these novels were based in Asia because in fifth grade the students learn about Asian countries in their social studies curriculum.
As part of our learning journey we also participated in the 10 week Student Blogging Challenge run by Edublogs. This gave us the opportunity to write for an authentic audience and interact with students and teachers around the world. We learned skills relating to positive commenting, inserting and crediting images, hyperlinking and embedding, and writing for an audience.
The last post created by students was a Bento Box Book Report to pull symbols from one of the three novels and tell how they were related to the story. This was done in a non-linear Google Slides document embedded into the post. We hope you will take the time to look over their efforts this year and leave comments on their writing. We have enjoyed taking this journey with them.