There will be a minimum of five field trips to the New Haven Public Library where students will become familiar with comfortable surroundings and read lots of children's books, and write annotated bibliographies (a skill itself). I have engineered these field trips with major success. As a result of these trips, teenage students should feel comfortable about walking into the children's department of the library any time, especially when they want to take a young sibling, niece or nephew, or their own young children to the library.
It is important that these trips to the children's department are well structured and students understand the expectations. It should be made clear to students that in order to earn a particular letter grade, they must read and write an annotated bibliography for a specified number of books. For example to receive an A, students must read and write an annotated bibliography for 50 books that deal in some way with exclusion or being different. While 50 books may seem like a lot, for only five trips to the library, I plan to gather books each time we make a trip and bring them back to the classroom, where students may read stories and write annotated bibliographies in class.
There is a model for an annotated bibliography in the lesson plan section of my unit. In keeping with the subject of exclusion and "being made to feel different," students will include in their annotated bibliographies, along with whether the story has a conflict, a character that grows or changes in understanding and a universal theme or lesson, what kind of exclusion each book deals with. The class will be studying types of exclusion through the books that I described earlier in the unit.
Students will make field trips to elementary schools where they will read stories they have practiced reading out loud and do activities they have prepared prior to the trip. Children love to be read to by "big kids" and teenagers love the attention they get from reading to the children. Everybody wins!
t is very effective for students to act out short stories for the class. Previously in the unit, I suggested that the book
lends itself to this activity. It is possible, after two teen-age students have acted this out, that two young students might want to model the teen-age students.
In order for students to read to children effectively, they must learn how this is done. I think the best way for them to learn this is for the teacher routinely to model effective story telling/reading techniques. Story tellers/readers must embody emotions, body language, voice inflection, and sounds. I believe this is crucial if students are to become successful story readers and I have written a lesson plan focusing on it.