Monday, April 8, 2013

Dear America & Prezi

With all the madness of standardized test prep, I wanted to give my students a little shift in our classroom tone. I felt it was time to implement book clubs, but I wanted to challenge many of my readers to stretch outside their comfort zone.  A small percentage of my readers engage in historical fiction and I wanted to expose others to the greatness as well. First, we started with an introduction to what historical fiction is: 

Bless Pinterest for the assistance I needed with this anchor chart. Although, I can't quite find the source at the moment. I'll keep hunting!

Then, I went to the library and checked out almost all of the Dear America series of books. We have a wide variety of male and female diaries that cover a vast timeline. Immediately, I thought about the incredible conversations students can have across topics. How is WWII experienced from a daughter of a newspaper editor? How is that different from a solider? How about from a resident of Pearl Harbor? I presented the books to my students with great excitement. I let them check out the books and their synopsis with their small groups and approve my selection. I wanted the students to be interested in the subject matter and not feel like I'm forcing them to read them. Surprisingly, all of my students kept their books. Now that they're finishing the stories, I have several students swapping titles. :) I can also thank the 4th grade teachers in my building who read the Oregon Trail book to my kids. 

While students have been reading, I've given them time to chat within their small group about the plot, setting, and most importantly: perspective. Since we're reading "Wonder" right now, we've had great discussions about the power of perspective writing and reading. 

So many titles - So little time!
As a final product, students are creating presentations in Prezi. I gave my students a mini tutorial on Prezi and warned them that at times, it is easy to get frustrated, but to stick with it! Each book group was given a Prezi Planning Guide. If you want a copy of my planning guide, email me! [] The planning guide helps students draw out themes, character traits, historical events, golden quotes, and so on. Several groups finished their novels today and got started on their planning guides. Also, the project can be modified to create power points or poster presentations instead.

One of my girls finished her story, "Early Sunday Morning", on Friday afternoon. I was a little alarmed when I heard, "WHAT! IT'S OVER?" from across the room. I walked over to chat with her and she was very distraught over the ending and how the author could just leave her.... like that. It was obvious she was extremely invested in the story and her character, Amber. 

How's everyone else out there? Swimming through test prep like us? 


  1. You do the BEST lessons. Pinned your anchor chart!



  2. My kids love the Dear America series of books! I've bought several for my classroom library, and we always read The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple in November to go along with our study of the Pilgrims and the New England colonies.

    Man...clearly my anchor charts need a woman's touch. Mine look so boring compared to the one in your picture!

  3. SEMAS ACADEMY TÜRKIYE subelerinin kurulum ücretleri, isten saglayacaginiz kazanca göre çok düsüktür. Il Temsilciligi ve Sube almak için bölgenizde merkezi lokasyon üzerinde tutacaginiz isyerinin, Semas Academy Türkiye sözlesmesinde belirtilen sartlara uygunlugu yeterlidir.

  4. What a wonderful idea! I'll be switching from primary to 5th grade next year, and am constantly looking for new ideas. This sounds like a terrific unit!


Add This


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...