In class this week students eagerly shared their thoughts on the first few chapters of the novel. We enjoyed discussing all the humorous and challenging obstacles Shirley faced when she first came to America and began life at her new school. We talked briefly about what it means to be an “ambassador” and in what ways Shirley is an ambassador for China. All students had a chance to read aloud the answers to their homework journaling questions from last week, and we learned a bit more about each other as everyone explained the new name they would choose to represent themselves - just as Bandit did before she left for America.
Students then split into two teams (The Jackie Robinsons and The Three Cousins), determined their line-up, and played a rousing game of “Vocabulary Baseball”. Each player up to bat
was “pitched” one of the week’s vocabulary words in various forms (definition, sentence/context, synonym), with a correct answer resulting in a base hit. The list of words was long and challenging and I was very impressed with the obvious time the students had spent familiarizing themselves with the meanings. We had many hits and several exciting instances of bases loaded, but no runs scored…yet. We look forward to continuing the game next week, with new words!
Next week in class we will begin creating a Character Collage, or visual representation, of Shirley. Students should bring to class several items to add to the collage. These may include pictures, drawings, maps, words, fabric/material, or most anything that can be added to our poster board to illustrate the setting of the story, Shirley’s personality, challenges, and activities in the story.
Everyone seemed comfortable with the amount of reading (three chapters) assigned last week. This week we will aim for reading the next four (April – July). I provided the students with a homework handout with new vocabulary words to learn and a journal question to write about. Also, please have them continue to fill in Event/Changes log for each chapter/month and record Shirley’s progression through the novel.
Happy Reading! See you next Monday!