Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English Jesse W.

Franzen January 7, 2009

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Overview, Rationale, and History: My project is to create a micro-curriculum, one full unit, for 8thgrade English. The overall design uses the idea of literature circles, where students are grouped by four or five, and the group is given a choice of a book. They read the book, do assignments, and play different roles within their group, like “questioner” or “facilitator”. I’ve spun the idea of literature circles into setting all the books around one theme -- Latin American culture and history. The student project involvesgroup presentations of their book and research on at topic of their choice. This is a new idea for me, one I’ve learned on my own, that requires many hours of preparation, but will fulfill many schools of thought around curriculum development, dissemination, and state content standards. I feel that this project will address issues of student choice and involvement, which should help affect classroom behavior. It uses utilizes small groups, where students become active learners, instead of passive receptors of information. Students will have to not only work within a groupbut also research and present with that group for the other groups. This project also addresses world concepts, real issues that effect us and people around us; Latin American culture is not just a passing trend in the United States, it is a culture that is here to stay, and it is rich in stories and culture. As Alger found in her research on literature circles, “Filtering the literature circle experience through a social-justice lens, the students have made the commitment to engage their hearts and minds with both content and literacy instruction” (Alger, 2007, pg 3). The concept of literature circles is an old idea that is still considereda “best practice” of English teachers. It is a tried and true method for effective teaching. I’ve chosen to do this for various reasons. This project will directly affect my classroom, which will have the most learning and practical application. Also, last fall, I was selected to 2

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English travel to Costa Ricaon a fellowship through the International Institute of Education, where within, I was to create an impact plan for both my community and school. One strand of my school plan was to implement this unit. After traveling there, submersing myself in the environment and culture, I came home with an even deeper passion to create and teach this unit. For one portion of an independent study this past spring, I researchedtitles for this unit. After researching and reading fourteen young adult titles, three textbooks on the region, and viewing countless films, I have created a short list to be used within my class. For this project, I am going to actually create the curriculum. I’ll identify the frame factors, write a rationale for each text in line with my district’s requirements, write application for adoption in line with my district’s requirements, research and write assignments for literature circles, write a student rubric, reflect on how these fit in with the various curriculum perspectives, and create a rubric for this project. Frame Factors according to Posner (2004): Temporal: • • • 4-5 weeks, 55 minute periods, five periods per day, five days per week 8 – 2:45, minus lunch and advisor period Usual classroom disruptions: absences, tardies, intercom, telephone, assemblies, drills, school pictures, etc. Physical: • Classroom: four walls, door, tables, chairs, window, one computer, LCD projector, document camera, and digital camera • Books: must be purchased, monies unavailable through district; grant monies available through Helena Education Foundation and Toyota International Institute of Education mini-grant program for past participants 3

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English • Research: one week available per year in school library, one computer lab available for use when industrial technology teacher isn’t using it Political-Legal: • • State standards for literature, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and media literacy MontCAS test scores must increase, but are aligned to state standards

Organizational: • • Approval of district curriculum director, building administrator, and department Students in Language! class, which is an inclusive, two-period reading program will not be recipients of this program Personal (or Personnel): • I’m on board!

Economics: • I’m ready and willing to find the funding for the texts

Cultural: • My view is that my community of students and colleagues is that we’re predominantly Judeo-Christian, white, middle class, with dashes of poverty and Native Americans. I don’t believe we’re particularly outstanding at any one thing but good at many things: sports, art, theatre, natural environment, etc. Selected Books for Text-Set Unit, based upon reading and reviewing: To view research click here. To view rationale and application for adoption, please click on the hyperlink beside each title. • • Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez Colibri by Ann Cameron rationale rationale application application 4

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English • • • Crazy Loco by David Talbot Rice Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen rationale rationale rationale application application application

Supplemental: • • The Color of My Words by Joseph, Lynn. rationale application

Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy rationale application

The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems & Stories from Mexico by Naomi Shihab Nye (Editor) rationale application

Unit Lessons: My lesson plans are dynamic and sequential, but not split on a daily basis. All tasks should be accomplished in order and when one is complete, the next will follow. To accomplish the sequence will take about four to five weeks. • • • • • Introduce literature circles and what students believe they are Display book choices and give a brief review of each Have students rate the books best to worst Teacher selects groups Students are placed in groups of four or five, each group receives a particular text, and each student receives the book. The book will remain in class for other students to use in other periods. • Groups meet, decide on discussion guidelines, and write a document that will be posted near their area. ○ Example from Schlick (2004): 5

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English
Discussion Elements Looks Like Eyes on speaker Hands empty Sit up Mind is focused Face speaker Eyes on speaker Hands to yourself Hands empty Talking one at a time Head nodding Listening Hands empty Listening Paying attention Nice face Nice looks Eyes on speaker Hands empty Sit up Face speaker Mind is focused One person talking Attention on the speaker Prompt people to share Ask probing questions Sounds Like Speaker’s voice only Paying attention Appropriate responses Voices low One voice at a time Appropriate responses Follow off others’ ideas Nice comments Positive attitudes Positive, nice questions Polite answers Positive, nice talking Wait for people to finish Polite responses Quiet voices No put downs Speaker's voice only Appropriate responses Voices low One voice Positive responses

Active Listening

Active Participation (respond to ideas and share feelings) Asking Questions for Clarification Piggybacking Off Others' Ideas Disagreeing Constructively

Focused on Discussion (body posture and eye contact) Supporting Opinions with Evidence Encouraging Others

• •

Distribute student rubric for book and project Each day will look very similar (to see assignment sheets, please click on the hyperlinks); each student: ○ reads the book aloud in the group taking turns (miles on the tongue) ○ choose a different group role, rotating daily (10pts.) ○ fills out a self evaluation for each day (10 pts.) ○ fills out a discussion log for each day (occurring after roles are known and can be done by every member) (10 pts.)

6

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English • On the reading days and questions, I will be rotating between groups making sure they stay on task, giving direction to the group, asking further questions of the students and generally noting these things from Schlick (2004): 1. Is the student prepared for the literature discussion? 2. Does the student use the text to share passages? To support ideas and opinions? How effectively? 3. Does the student listen actively to others? 4. Does the student ask questions? What kinds? 5. Do the questions get a thoughtful response? Which are most effective? 6. Does the student contribute thoughtful ideas? 7. Does the student make predictions? How effectively? 8. Does the student build on other people’s comments? 9. Does the student keep the group on task? 10. Does the student discuss unknown or interesting words? 11. Does the student make personal connections to his/her life? At what levels? 12. Does the student make connections to other books, authors, and experiences? 13. Does the student discuss the author’s craft and word choice? 14. Does the student discuss literary elements (plot, setting, characters)? 15. Can the student reflect on literature circle participation and set goals? • • 1st week of reading is just the groups reading and setting a pace 2nd – 4th week: ○ Monday: assign research project (culture, history, book) and rubric to be completed on Friday ○ Tuesday: ½ day reading and discussing / ½ day researching in the lab 7

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English ○ Wednesday: ½ day reading and discussing / ½ day putting speech together and creating prop ○ Thursday: ½ day reading and discussing / ½ finishing speech (practice with group) ○ Friday: presentations (book presentations will be two per class period, which will take two to three days) • Have students or myself post as much of their materials on bulletin boards as possible. Reflection on Theoretical Curriculum Perspectives; chapter three of Analyzing the Curriculum (Posner, 2004). Traditional: Relying on the accumulated knowledge of the past and skills as the basis for education is the perspective of Traditionalists. It seems that in our contemporary world, there is so much knowledge accumulated and known that it is not humanly possible to actually learn it all. Another view is that it focuses on “classic” knowledge, such as the “greats” in literature or basic concepts in math. In this manner, this unit does not fit. All the texts chosen are contemporary and Latin American themed, which is not traditional at all unless you qualify it as part of the canon of knowledge that must be learned and passed down generations. Skills being learnedwithin this unit that will be taught lecture style are few. I don’t believe that this unit would fit the traditional framework. Experiential: In this school of thought, the student’s experience is more important than knowledge, so making content real and applicable to life is most important. I believe this to be true, at least for my own learning, but I also know it cannot be the end-all be-all of 8

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English education. In the times of apprenticeships and one-on-one tutoring education, this was the means of learning. In today’s world the trades are great examples of using experiential learning, like building a cabinet or tearing apart an engine. In English, that is much more difficult without the use of airplane to transport us to Latin America, so the experiences that I’ve created are based upon culture. The students presenting on culture, history, and the book, will bring in examples of the place, like pictures, stories, and food. In this way we are proxy Experientialists. Structure of the Disciplines: I like the basic idea of this perspective: “you did not need encounter everything in nature in order to know nature, but by understanding some deep principles, you could extrapolate to the particulars a needed” (Posner, 2004, pg. 57). It seems that this perspective basks in the traditionalist approach and applies it to the gambit of American schools system, but also tries to address the issue of too much knowledge. I think it fair that we must be able to teach ourselves, and that by understanding something deeply we’d understand better. We should teach in-depth on subjects, which this unit attempts to do. Yet, we should also be wary of this perspective, because according to current brain research, skill isn’t transferable. For example, if I am very skilled at analyzing literature and have a depth of knowledge of history, it doesn’t follow that I’d be a master mathematician, or on a lower level, if I’m excellent baker of cheesecakes, it does not mean that I am also an excellent auto mechanic. Thus, the truth, skill isn’t transferable. So in education we must decide as a society, depth on one “skill” or a breath of many. I feel we’ve focused public education on a breath of many, so that we can do many things mediocre, and that if we want to focus on something in more depth, then a person can attend a higher education facility. 9

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English This particular unit is a beginning to something bigger if we as a district or society so plan it that way, but Latin American literature and culture isn’t a major part of our education system as it stands, which makes this unit not follow faithfully the Structure of the Disciplines perspective. Behavioral: The end result, the product, what a child can do is the focus of this perspective. I agree. A student should be able to do something that she wouldn’t be able to do without an education. I believe we teach students music, art, mechanics, home economics, theories of science, algebra, physical health and fitness, how to read, how to write, and to appreciate other people and cultures. They should know more than when they started. I also believe that this is the basis of standardized testing, which speeds up the process and places arbitrary limits on when and to what level students should know something. I also believe it standardizes what we know into a tiny pigeonhole of understanding, when we’re looking for a span of critical thinking. There are a handful of behaviors this unit addresses. A student should be better able to read and write. She should be better able to ask questions in a group. All students should be better public speakers than when they begin, and they should be better able to research a topic. Personally, the most important behavior to be learned is the appreciation of another culture, especially one as pervasive as Latin American in our own country. My hope is that by creating understanding, it will have a direct negative affect on hate, violence, and racism. Acceptance of others as they are is the goal, but the all the behavior goals are works in process, none can be learned in four to five weeks and have it stick for life. These ideas must be repeated often and for long periods of time for them to stick. Constructivist: 10

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English The brain is structured, and the only way for knowledge to stick is for students to create knowledge on their own. By doing something for someone’s self, the lesson will stick longer than if it is simply absorbed through passive giving of information. It seems that Constructivism has close ties with Experientialists in this manner, but break when it becomes the student creating her own knowledge. The teacher then must set up the system and facilitate the student to that knowledge. I feel that this unit most closely follows this perspective. Students are given a book to read to each other, they are asked to make questions, find words that they don’t know, and try to find information on their own. They are to take this story and culture and apply it to their own life. They are to take a topic of their choice, research it, and make it so well known to herself, that she can then teach it to others. These activities are at the heart of Constructivism.

11

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Background Research on Costa Rica and Latin America:
Costa Rica Non-Fiction Books: Coates, A G (ed.). (1997). Central America: A Natural and Cultural History. Yale UniversityPress: New Haven and London. Fisher, F (1999). Festivals of the World: Costa Rica. Gareth Stevens publishing: Milwaukee. Miranda, C A &Penland, P R (2004). Costa Rica. Lonely Planet. Morrison, M (2007). Costa Rica: Enchantment of the World. Children’s Press: New York. Palmer, S &Molina, I (eds.). (2004). The Costa RicaReader: History, Culture, Politics. Duke University Press: Durham and London. Robinson, H (2006). Costa Rica: An EcoTraveller’s Guide. Interlink Books: Massachusetts. Library Videos: WGBH. (1991). “Columbusand the Age of Discovery: In Search of Columbus”. (60 minutes). Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities and Sciences, Inc. WGBH. (1991). “Columbusand the Age of Discovery: The Sword and the Cross”. (60 minutes). Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities and Sciences, Inc.

Text-set Unit Research:
Notable Books for Global Society Award Winners: http://www.tcnj.edu/~childlit/proj/nbgs/nbgs-lists/nbgs2000.html Ada, Alma Flor (Author), Campoy, F. Isabel (Author), Davalos, Felipe (Illustrator), Guevara, Susan (Illustrator), Torres, Leyla (Illustrator). (2006). Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection Alvarez, Julia. (2002). Before We Were Free. (Dominican Republic) Cameron, Ann. (2003). Colibri. (Guatemala) Cofer, Judith Ortiz. (1995). An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio (Puerto Rican Immigrants) Hobbs, Will. (2006). Crossing the Wire (Mexican Immigrants) – YA FICTION Joseph, Lynn. (2000). The Color of My Words. (Dominican Republic) Mikaelsen, Ben. (2004). Tree Girl. Harper Tempest. (Guatemala) Mikaelsen, Ben. (2002). Red Midnight. (Guatemala) Nye, N S (Editor) (1995). The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems & Stories from Mexico Osa, N (2003). Cuba 15. (Cuban Immigrants) Rice, D T (2001). Crazy Loco. (Mexican Immigrants) Narratives: Canales, V (2001). Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales (Mexican coming of age stories) Dolbes, F (1998). Stories of Tatamundo. University of Costa Rica Press. Saldana, R Jr (2001). The Jumping Tree (Mexican Immigrants)

Selected Books for Text-Set Unit, based upon reading and reviewing:
12

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez Colibri by Ann Cameron Crazy Loco by David Talbot Rice Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen Supplemental: The Color of My Words by Joseph, Lynn. Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection by by Alma Flor Ada (Author), F. Isabel Campoy (Author), Felipe Davalos (Illustrator), Susan Guevara (Illustrator), Leyla Torres (Illustrator) The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems & Stories from Mexico by Naomi Shihab Nye (Editor)

Book Reviews:
Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez From Publishers Weekly In her first YA novel, Alvarez (How the Garc¡a Girls Lost Their Accents) proves as gifted at writing for adolescents as she is for adults. Here she brings her warmth, sensitivity and eye for detail to a volatile setting the Dominican Republic of her childhood, during the 1960-1961 attempt to overthrow Trujillo's dictatorship. The story opens as 12-year-old narrator Anita watches her cousins, the Garc¡a girls, abruptly leave for the U.S. with their parents; Anita's own immediate family are now the only ones occupying the extended family's compound. Alvarez relays the terrors of the Trujillo regime in a muted but unmistakable tone; for a while, Anita's parents protect her (and, by extension, readers), both from the ruler's criminal and even murderous ways and also from knowledge of their involvement in the planned coup d'‚tat. The perspective remains securely Anita's, and Alvarez's pitch-perfect narration will immerse readers in Anita's world. Her crush on the American boy next door is at first as important as knowing that the maid is almost certainly working for the secret police and spying on them; later, as Anita understands the implications of the adult remarks she overhears, her voice becomes anxious and the tension mounts. When the revolution fails, Anita's father and uncle are immediately arrested, and she and her mother go underground, living in secret in their friends' bedroom closet a sequence the author renders with palpable suspense. Alvarez conveys the hopeful ending with as much passion as suffuses the tragedies that precede it. A stirring work of art. Ages 12-up. Personal Review: This is a work of art. The story is beautiful, it is based historical events, and the plot is thick and moving. This is a must use. There is much to be discussed and researched. I find nothing that could be thought of as objectionable. Colibri by Ann Cameron From School Library Journal Grade 5-8-Contemporary Guatemala is the setting for this story of 12-year-old Tzunun Chumil (Mayan for "Hummingbird Star"), called Rosa Garcia by the man who supposedly rescued her from abandonment at age four. Rosa and "Uncle" Baltasar travel from place to place, begging for their livelihood as he pretends to be blind. But, despite her dependence on and devotion to him, Rosa is distressed by the dishonesty of their lifestyle and has memories of loving parents. Told by a seer, the Day-Keeper Do-a Celestina, that the child will bring him a treasure, Baltasar takes 13

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English Rosa to the town of San Sebastian where he and a friend develop a plan to steal a valuable statue from the town's church. The plot backfires when Rosa's conscience forces her to seek out the priest and reveal their intentions, and the two men are jailed. Rosa runs back to the kindly DayKeeper, who takes her in and gives her the courage to make a new life for herself. When Uncle escapes, Rosa must confront him and, in a dramatic scene in which he plunges off a cliff, she learns that she was kidnapped. With the help of the Day-Keeper and a scrap of paper found in his wallet, Tzunun is reunited with her parents. Cameron layers her compelling story with vivid descriptions of setting and weaves into the narrative the complexities inherent in the blending of Mayan and ladino cultures and religious practices. This is reflected in the book's title, which is the Spanish translation of Tzunun's name. A well-written and engrossing read. Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY Personal Review: This story is excellent. It is deep within Guatemala, it’s exciting, entertaining, horrifying, seemingly real, and gripping. It’s hard to put down. It details life and culture, and it’s just a great story of survival and finding one’s place in the world. It’s also an adventure story, she’s searching for her family and what is written on a secret piece of paper. There’s mystery and mysticism. Set within a historic time period, and referring to actual events, this work of fiction lends itself directly to speak about recent Central American history and tragedy. Definitely a book to keep on the shelf and use. I find nothing within this text that would raise any community questions. The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph From Publishers Weekly In finely wrought chapters that at times read more like a collection of related short stories than a novel, Joseph (Jump Up Time) presents slices from the life of Ana Rosa just as she is about to turn 13. Through the heroine's poetry and recollections, readers gain a rare intimate view of life in the Dominican Republic. Ana Rosa dreams of becoming a writer even though no one but the president writes books; she learns to dance the merengue by listening to the rhythms of her beloved ocean; and the love of her older brother, Guario, comforts her through many difficulties. The author's portraits of Ana Rosa and her family are studies in spare language; the chapters often grow out of one central image such as the gri gri tree where Ana Rosa keeps watch over her village and gets ideas for her writing, giving the novel the feel of an extended prose poem. The brevity of the chapters showcases Joseph's gift for metaphoric language (e.g., her description of Ana Rosa's first crush: "My dark eyes trailed him like a line of hot soot wherever he went"). When the easy rhythms of the girl's island life abruptly change due to two major events, the author develops these cataclysms so subtly that readers may not feel the impact as fully as other events, such as the heroine's unrequited love. Still, it's a testimony to the power of Joseph's writing that the developments readers will empathize with most are those of greatest importance to her winning heroine. Ages 8-12. Personal Review: This is a personal story, a deep story. It is a book that begs the discussion of metaphor and poetics in prose, which are deep topics. It is also based in a historical time period in a country most students know nothing about. I believe this would be a good book to use in class for a group that has good, deep discussions, is slower for other reasons, or one that is willing to expand and add a couple of the optional texts. Good book, nothing objectionable in the content. Crazy Loco by David Talbot Rice From School Library Journal 14

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English Gr 7 Up-Two great strengths of these stories are the pitch-perfect sense for the speech and thought patterns of teens and the vivid depiction of the daily lives of Mexican-Americans in Texas's Rio Grande Valley. One story focuses on two small-town boys trying to cope when their older and more sophisticated Californiacousins come to visit. Another is about the loving relationship between a girl and her great-aunt, a midwife who retires at age 85 after her grandniece is born. Another tells of a teen who resents having to move in with his grandfather after his parents' divorce and having to adapt to the old man's ways. Rice highlights the details of these ordinary lives-including Spanish words and phrases as well as Catholic practices-while still revealing the universal patterns behind the cultural particularities. The strongest stories here-"Last Mass," "Her Other Son," and "Papa Lalo"-also display a firm control of narrative and dramatic unity, drawing readers on to emotionally satisfying but not predictable conclusions. In the weaker stories, the insights and the voice are still sharp, but the narratives are less compelling. Even so, this is a powerful collection that should enjoy a wide audience. -Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX Personal Review: Rice is an excellent story teller. This collection of short stories is rich in culture, humanity, and real situations we all have found ourselves in. He doesn’t hold punches, nor hugs. They are deep with metaphor and imagery. I’d use these stories in a heartbeat. On the downside, they don’t have a deep connection to any one place. For that reason, they are just about MexicanAmericans, which is a drawback because you can’t point on a map and say, “here’s where the story happened”. I didn’t find anything offensive in the book, nor anything that could be even thought of to be offensive. Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs From School Library Journal Grade 5 Up Ever since his family moved to the tiny village of Los Árboles, Victor has been best friends with Rico. When Rico tells him that he has enough money to pay for a coyote to help him cross into El Norte, Victor is unable to decide if he, too, should go along and look for work or try to feed his family with the pitiful annual corn harvest. The decision is made for him the next day when he discovers that the corn prices have bottomed out and that there is no point in even planting this year. Readers suffer with the 15-year-old as he makes his painful decision to leave his mother and younger siblings and attempts the dangerous border crossing, jumping trains, fleeing thieves and border officials, and suffering from thirst and hunger. His desperation and fear are completely believable as he faces near-death situations and must decide whom to trust. The author deftly weaves information concerning the local geography and customs into the plot. The story is well paced, sustaining readers' attention throughout. Pair this novel with Ann Jaramillo's La Línea (Roaring Brook, 2006) for another fictional view of young people crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Melissa Christy Buron, Epps Island Elementary, Houston, TX Personal Review: I found this to be an action packed thriller that is based in our modern day life. To describe a personal story of a person crossing the Mexican-American border and place good reasoning and explanation to a modern “issue” in American politics and culture. It is also a story of family, values, and survival. This is a good book, and could be read very quickly. I found nothing objectionable, except that it makes it seem alright for a person to break the immigration laws. Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa (Dominican Republic) 15

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English From School Library Journal Grade 6-10-Violet Paz, a 10th grader in suburban Chicago, spends the better part of a year preparing for her quincea-ero, the celebration of her womanhood, that her Cuban grandmother longs for her to experience. While her attention to the plans and her understanding of what the event means wax and wane in her consciousness, she turns her family's personal foibles and social extravagances into fodder for her speech team's Original Comedy competition. She wittily points up the bizarreness of her father's sartorial choices, her little brother's peskiness, her mother's quest to open her own restaurant, and the family's devotion to dominoes. She also struggles to make sense of traditions-including formal gown and waltzing-that are foreign to her life. Violet's father, born in Cuba and brought to the U.S.as a baby, refuses to discuss his native culture with his children, and Violet becomes increasingly anxious to learn more about her roots. Her two best friends are more than simply foils; they provide texture, humor, and tension to the story. In addition to speech team and family affairs, Violet's year includes a first crush and first date, each of which resolves pleasantly. Among the many strengths of this book are its likable and very real protagonist and her introduction to the nexus of politics and family. Too much goes on in this first novel, but the characters are so charming that while readers are in their company, the experience is interesting and engaging rather than frustrating. - Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Personal Review: This book is a little older than my students’ level. The situations she finds herself in are just older, not uncommon, just different than what an 8thgrader would experience. Because of this and my many other options, I think this book shouldn’t be used. It was still a fun book to read. The Jumping Tree by Rene Jr Saldana From School Library Journal Gr 5-9-A lively novel told through vignettes about growing up in Nuevo Pe-itas, TX. Americanborn Rey and his loving family maintain close ties with their Mexican relatives, who live "a stone's throw" away across the border, yet have very different opportunities. Rey's family, though poor, struggles and survives through their kind and honest efforts, religious beliefs, and hard work. Just entering adolescence, Rey yearns to be a man like his father, uncles, and older male cousins. The boys of the barrio play marbles and "king of the mountain," climb trees, and collect cigarette butts. The title comes from one of the boys' challenges: to jump from the upper branches of a mammoth mesquite to another without falling. Unfortunately, Rey is the youngest and his legs are short. Predictably, he falls, and he ends up with a broken wrist. The writing is engaging and accessible, with Spanish-language phrases and names smoothly integrated throughout. Loosely tied together, the chapters create a cohesive whole. Rey is an appealing protagonist who will speak to early adolescents. Salda-a draws extended family together and binds one boy's growth into manhood with real emotion and believable events. - Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA Personal Review: I think this book would work at the 8thgrade level, but I don’t think the interest from the students would be always grabbed. Sometimes the book has no future. You don’t know what is going to happen next, but you don’t really care to find out either. It’s a great mix of Spanish and English. I love the story of a boy’s life, finding himself within his family, friends, culture, country, school, and everything else. Something about the story reminds me of the movie, Stand By Me. Thereare some amazing little tales, but the story as a whole doesn’t move quickly. He does excellent work of relating barrio life to the lives of any middle school aged student. I find nothing within this text that would raise any community questions. 16

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio by Judith Ortiz Cofer From Booklist Gr. 7-12. "Dating is not a concept adults in our barrio really get." The contemporary teenage voices are candid, funny, weary, and irreverent in these stories about immigrant kids caught between their Puerto Rican families and the pull and push of the American dream. The young people hang out on the street in front of the tenement El Building in Paterson, New Jersey, where the radios are always turned full blast to the Spanish station and the thin walls can't hold the dramas of the real-life telenovelas. As in her autobiographical adult collection Silent Dancing (1990), Cofer depicts a diverse neighborhood that's warm, vital, and nurturing, and that can be hell if you don't fit in. Some of the best stories are about those who try to leave. Each piece stands alone with its own inner structure, but the stories also gain from each other, and characters reappear in major and minor roles. The teen narrators sometimes sound too articulate, their metaphors overexplained, but no neat resolutions are offered, and the metaphor can get it just right (the people next door "could be either fighting or dancing"). Between the generations, there is tenderness and anger, sometimes shame. In one story, a teenage girl despises the newcomer just arrived from the island, but to her widowed mother, the hick (jibaro) represents all she's homesick for. Raul Colon's glowing cover captures what's best about this collection: the sense of the individual in the pulsing, crowded street. - Hazel Rochman Personal Review: This is a great collection of stories focusing on character and life for a group of teenage kids living in “el Building” in a Puerto Rican barrio in New Jersey. The stories, like the title all can stand on their own, but if you view them together, all the characters interact. You get to feel what life is like for each of them, but together, you can see the similarities and differences in their lives. It’s a fantastic book. I believe it will be used. The only possible point of contention would be the story where Kenny goes out partying, and gets so messed up that he ends up in the hospital. The plus side is that from there on out in the story, he is totally messed up still, and everyone looks down on him. After that night his life totally changes, which is a perfect consequence for his actions. Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales by Viola Canales Book Description Early in Canales' collection, the young narrator gives her beloved grandmother the perfect Christmas present; she gives her the gift of the world. Through her descriptions, we see that world as she sees it, through the eyes of a child that is slowly moving into adolescence. In this twilight world, the author offers a shimmering picture of a family confronted with the issues that divide lives and love. In this collection of coming of age stories, Canales introduces the reader to the cultural traditions and activities of a community: homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the celebration of the day of the Three Magi, a carousel of unique saints, and a flock of very special pink plastic flamingoes. And through it all, with the passage of time the narrator discovers changes within herself and the community around her. Canales' robust tales inhabit the mysterious and secret land that lies between the United States and Mexico, between child and adulthood, reality and imagination, and between life and death. These haunting stories not only reveal, layer by layer, the fantastic in the ordinary, but, most importantly, the powerful and healing magic inside all of us. Long after the tales are finished, the reader will be left with the taste of orange candy slices. Personal Review: 17

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English I found this book fine. It wasn’t excellent. The stories were “OK” with glimmers of brilliance, and since I have a fine list of books with brilliance, this book drops low on the list. The stories do have depth of character and culture, but they lack in plot, which is essential for Young Adult literature. Because of these reasons, and that I’ve read most of the book list, this one falls short. Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen From School Library Journal Grade 5-9-When soldiers burn his Guatemalan village and kill his family, 12-year-old Santiago escapes with his 4-year-old sister, Angelina. Following the instructions of his dying uncle, he makes his way to Lake Izabal, where he takes his uncle's small sailing canoe and begins a terrifying journey north and across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida. The siblings face starvation and dehydration; lack of sleep; strong sun, wind, and waves; and their own fears and sorrows to win their game of Staying Alive. The present-tense narrative suggests the speech of someone whose first language is not English, and Santiago's first-person account makes the adventure even more immediate. The opening scene is memorable, as the burning of the village turns the night sky red. However, the necessary flashback to explain how a mountain boy learned rudimentary sailing and the almost unbelievable details of the children's trip between their village and their uncle's home give readers pause, rather than pulling them into the suspense of the story. At times, the anger in the author's message almost overwhelms the action. "The rich have no conscience," their uncle's friend says. The first Americans they encounter call them "stinking boat people" and tell them to go away from their private beach club. In an afterword, the author explains that the soldiers who massacred villagers were armed by the U.S. government as part of our fight against communism. Thus, we share the blame for such atrocities. In spite of the heavy-handed message, readers who persevere through the first third of the book will be rewarded with a terrific survival story. Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC Personal Review: This is an amazing book. It is fast paced, heart felt, and has a strong lead character. He and his little sister have to flee death and witnessed the death of the their entire family, and to survive, they must risk death to live. It is action packed, but it really begs the question of what happened in Guatemalain the 1980’s. It would be a great book for a group of guys, and it also lends itself well to the creation of models of objects within the book. The opening scenes may be objectionable, because his entire family is slaughtered. Mikaelsen doesn’t describe the situation with any gore, but all the horror is intact. I find this book less shocking that most Holocaust memoirs, which are more graphic in their real violence, so the only real difference would be that these people are Guatemalans suffering the wrath of genocide. The Stories of Tata Mundo by Fabian Dobles Costa Rica for Dummies by Eliot Greenspan This collection of short stories is based on the character Tata Mundo, a rural peasant, who has come to embody and represent much of Costa Rica’s national identity, or at least the idealized version of that identity – simple, kind, open, joyful, and wise. Personal Review: I picked up this book in Costa Rica. It was the only translated book that any seller recommended for teens that was written or about Costa Rica. After reading it, it is really for the high school level. Each story is told as if it were be told to a mysterious friend of Mundo, who tells it to us “just as he heard it”. Each is difficult to read because of the translation and the style of wording, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The part bringing it down is the themes of alcohol, sex, 18

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English racism, and sexism. It is wrought with the culture of the impoverished. The stories are funny and entertaining, but it would take much explaining and direct instruction for students to understand these underlying tones, which isn’t the point of this student project. Fun book, glad I read it, but it shouldn’t be used for this purpose. Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection by Alma Flor Ada (Author), F. Isabel Campoy (Author), Felipe Davalos (Illustrator), Susan Guevara (Illustrator), Leyla Torres (Illustrator) From School Library Journal Grade 3 Up–The introduction to this delightful collection explains clearly how stories develop and change over time; in fact, the two storytellers heard most of these amusing tales when they were children and have retold them many times since in their own unique styles. Each retelling is accompanied by a brief description of its origin. Included are tales about dancing goats, a turtle that outwits a deer, and a beetle that declares war on a cow; all of the selections are peppered with energetic dialogue and witty detail. Children will relish their humor, especially if read aloud, and teens will also enjoy this lively presentation. Traditional story beginnings and endings are provided in Spanish and translated into English, including one foreboding opening: In a land where you will go but from where you will never return. Four Latino artists provide an interesting variety of illustration. Featured images include a large goat head in a vegetable garden, a large farmer on a very small burro, and a wolf and fox all decked out in finery dancing together. The last page provides information about the authors and illustrators. Many libraries may already have Lucia M. Gonzalezs Señor Cats Romance (Scholastic, 2001), but only one tale is common to both collections. Make room on your shelves for this excellent book.–Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA Personal Review: Beautiful stories, beautiful illustrations. They are very well written, very enjoyable, plot driven with morals like most fables. The stories are short, easy to read, and designed for all ages. They have no material that would be objectionable. I would feel very comfortable using this as extra material for a fast finishing group or for a low reader’s group. Tree Girl by Ben Mikaelson From School Library Journal Grade 6-10-In her remote Guatemalan village, 14-year-old Gabriela is known as Tree Girl for her habit of fleeing to the forest and climbing high to escape the world. When guerrilla warfare comes to her area, her life is changed forever. Soldiers eventually discover the small school she attends, beat and murder her teacher, and shoot the other students. Tree climbing saves Gabi from that massacre, and she is away from home when her village is destroyed and nearly all of her family members are murdered. In the course of her flight north to a Mexican refugee camp, she again hides in a tree while soldiers rape and murder the inhabitants of another village. After arriving at the camp, Gabi cares for two elderly women and her one surviving sister and eventually founds a school. Her concern for others helps her recover from the trauma of her experiences. This is a graphic portrayal of the worst of civil war, based on one refugee's story. The author's anger that the U.S. government trained and supported soldiers who committed such atrocities is clear. Details of Guatemalan life are woven throughout the book, but it lacks the sensory descriptions that would allow readers to visualize the setting. Still, the action moves quickly, and Gabi's courage and determination are evident throughout. Readers not put off by the violence should find this an instructive and satisfying survival story.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC 19

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English Personal Review: I feel this is one of the best young adult books I have ever read. It is real. It is powerful. This book will make you feel. The emotions run deep from fear, oppression, adrenal rushes, horror, love, true hope, and redemption. It is graphic, but it stays true to history. The problem with this text is also its power: it’s about genocide in the modern era. The story of people be slain because of their “race” in our era and so close to home is a tough pill to swallow by many. This text is no more graphic and no less important than any story from the Holocaust. This is a book that deserves to be read by many and have an incredible affect. Because of the graphicness, this isn’t a book that can’t go untamed in a classroom. The issues must be worked through as a group; it isn’t a light read and it demands close attention by the teacher and the students. With that said, it also has the power to changes lives. The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems & Stories from Mexico by Naomi Shihab Nye (Editor) From School Library Journal Grade 4 Up?A most enticing bilingual anthology that unfolds like a tapestry of images, languages, rhythms, and musicalities from all regions of Mexico. In the poem "Lemon Tree," from which the title is derived, Jennifer Clement urges readers to, "Remember,/the tree is older than you are/and you might find stories/in its branches." Each page holds the promise of a small jewel, poems that transform ordinary experience into extraordinary insight. There are several pieces written in Tzotzil, and one in Tzeltal, two of the languages of the Maya. Several traditional and modern folktales also appear, adding to the cosmogony and strengthening the roots of the tree. The illustrations, which appear every few pages as illuminations, employ a variety of styles and mediums, all reproduced in full color. Often magical and sometimes playful, the artwork completes the experience of being welcomed into a mysteriously friendly world in which there is much to be discovered and shared. Thorough endnotes on the contributors, translators, and acknowledgements as well as a list of titles in English and Spanish complete this remarkable volume that holds something for everyone. Graciela Italiano, Weber State University, Ogden, UT Personal Review: This is a great collection of poetry, supplemented with art, from Mexico. Each poem is beautiful on its own merit, and within this collection they form a bond of place. I believe this would be best used as supplementary material. I could present poems to the class, or if a group finishes early, they can then work on poems. This book is very usable, and I did not find a lick of questionable material.

20

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Before We Were Free
(2002)

by Julia Alvarez

Approved for use in: 8th Grade English

Summary of the Work

From Gale Cengage Learning After 30 years of living under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, many people in the Dominican Republic want to overthrow him and build new lives. Anita doesn't understand how deeply involved her family is in the conspiracy and when her favorite cousins leave the family compound for New York, she doesn't realize they're escaping while they can. Gradually it becomes apparent that the secret police watch them and their maid spies on the family. When Trujillo is assassinated, his son takes over and is crueler than his father. Anita's father and uncle are arrested for being part of the assassination plot, her older brother Mundin hides in the Italian Embassy, and she and her mother spend two months hiding in a friend's bedroom closet until they can escape to America.

Rationale:

This text is to be used in a literature circle setting, where students will choose to read this text among others on and about Latin America. Students will research the history, culture, customs, music, art, architecture, etc. of the setting of this novel. They will discuss the text, its issues, and present on the book and their research to the rest of the class.

Professional Reviews and/or Critical Essays

Noted Distinction
Awards: 2004: Pura Belpre Award: Text Award 2002: Americas Book Award Expert Picks: ALA's "Best" Lists: 2003

From Publishers Weekly In her first YA novel, Alvarez (How the Garc¡a Girls Lost Their Accents) proves as gifted at writing for adolescents as she is for adults. Here she brings her warmth, The Best, Notable & Recommended for 2003 sensitivity and eye for detail to a volatile KLIATT Editors' Hardcover YA Fiction Choices setting the Dominican Republic of her childhood, during the 1960-1961 attempt to 2003 overthrow Trujillo's dictatorship. The story Teachers' Choices for 2003: A Project of the opens as 12-year-old narrator Anita International Reading Association watches her cousins, the Garc¡a girls, abruptly leave for the U.S. with their Readability parents; Anita's own immediate family are • Lexile Score: 890L now the only ones occupying the extended • Readability Level: family's compound. Alvarez relays the Learning Resources Guidelines terrors of the Trujillo regime in a muted but • The novel meets the Learning Resources Guidelines. unmistakable tone; for a while, Anita's Standard Alignment: parents protect her (and, by extension, 21

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English readers), both from the ruler's criminal and even murderous ways and also from knowledge of their involvement in the planned coup d'‚tat. The perspective remains securely Anita's, and Alvarez's pitch-perfect narration will immerse readers in Anita's world. Her crush on the American boy next door is at first as important as knowing that the maid is almost certainly working for the secret police and spying on them; later, as Anita understands the implications of the adult remarks she overhears, her voice becomes anxious and the tension mounts. When the revolution fails, Anita's father and uncle are immediately arrested, and she and her mother go underground, living in secret in their friends' bedroom closet a sequence the author renders with palpable suspense. Alvarez conveys the hopeful ending with as much passion as suffuses the tragedies that precede it. A stirring work of art. Ages 12-up. Literature:

Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, analyze and respond to literary works. Content Standard 2—Students recognize and evaluate how language, literary devices, and elements contribute to the meaning and impact of literary works. Content Standard 3—Students reflect upon their literary experiences and purposefully select from a range of works. Content Standard 4—Students interact with print and nonprint literary works from various cultures, ethnic groups, traditional and contemporary viewpoints written by both genders. Content Standard 5—Students use literary works to enrich personal experience and to connect to the broader world of ideas, concepts and issues.

Writing:

Content Standard 1—Students write clearly and effectively. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies in the writing process. Content Standard 3—Students evaluate and reflect on their growth as writers. Content Standard 4—Students write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Content Standard 5—Students recognize the structures of various forms and apply these characteristics to their own writing. Content Standard 6—Students use the inquiry process, problem-solving strategies, and resources to synthesize and communicate information.

Reading:

Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, and respond to what they read. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to read. Content Standard 3—Students set goals, monitor, and evaluate their progress in reading. Content Standard 4—Students select, read, and respond to print and nonprint material for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 5—Students gather, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from a variety of sources, and communicate their findings in ways appropriate for their purposes and audiences.

Speaking:

Standard 1—Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the communication process. Content Standard 2—Students distinguish among and use appropriate types of speaking and listening for a variety of purposes.

22

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English
Content Standard 3—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to speaking and listening. Content Standard 4—Students identify, analyze, and evaluate the impacts of effective speaking and evaluative listening.

Approval:

Submitted to Committee: Approved for Adoption:

Notes on the Text
(The best way to evaluate and understand a novel is to personally read the book in its entirety.)

Connection to the Curriculum:
Please see rationale.

References to revolutionary violence and dissidence Love, peace, and family death Loss of home, country, and family

Additional Connections: AP, Honors,
Essential/Applied, Dramas, Films, etc.)

23

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Application for Resources for Classroom Instruction
(Designated use: Resources NOT approved as district curriculum or library materials) (Approximately 30-60 day process) Title of Resource:_Before We Were Free by Julia Alverez__________________________________________ Type of Resource: Genre: Historical Fiction Recommending Teacher:_Jesse Franzen_______ Grade Level:__8th_________ Film  Fiction X Audio Book  Non-Fiction  Novel  Textbook  Other

Memoir  Unit of Study X Date: July 15, 2008 Yes

School:_Helena Middle School_____

I have checked curriculum. Thisresource is not used at another grade level.

How does the resource contribute to the curriculum?

One selection of literature circle unit on Latin American culture, historical fiction, modern, first person narrative, group discussion, group presentation___________________

_____
How does the resource contribute to breadth and depth of viewpoints? (eg. controversial issues, multicultural disability, gender-fair, etc).

Latin America, specifically Dominican Republic, female narrator, and is engrained in the culture which is increasingly becoming part of our modern life in the United States___________________ It has multiple national awards, Lexile rating within the age, and is recommended by the American Library Association as developmentally appropriate______________

How is the resource age appropriate for the social and emotional development of students at this level?

Please identify one or both (if applicable):

_890L_ Level:________
Lexile Score:

Readability

Attach a favorable review from a reputable 24

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English source. (Your building librarian would provide great
assistance!)

No  If no, please provide an explanation:
Review attached

Yes

_____________________________ __ _____________________________ __
Rationale attached

Attach your rationale for using this material for this level (contact department
chair for a blank rationale template).

Yes No 

If no, please provide an explanation:

_____________________________ _____________________________ ____
Date:

Signature of recommending teacher: _____________________________________ __________________________

Signature of supporting professional who has read, viewed, or listened to the resource: ___________________________ Signature of Department Chair: __________________________________________________________________________ Signature of District Curriculum Administrator: _____________________________________________________________

Statement of Explanation
The Recommending teacher is responsible for reading, viewing, or listening to the resource, completing this application, writing the rationale, and securing signatures required.

Learning resources shall be selected by professional staff to help meet curricular, instructional, and assessment objectives.

Application for Resources for Classroom Instruction

Curriculum Connections (Consider the following.)
• • • Contribution that resource makes to the curriculum and to the interests of the students, based on state and district standards Contribution the resource makes to the breadth and depth of representative viewpoints on controversial issues Contribution of representative viewpoints, including, but not limited to, multicultural, disability awareness, and gender-fair concepts 25

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English • • Contribution the resource makes in developing critical thinking skills Appropriateness of the resource for the age of the students with whom the resource is intended to be used ○ Emotional development ○ Readability ○ Learning style ○ Social development ○ Lexile Appropriateness of the resource for the circumstances of use

Quality of Resource (Consider the following.)
• • • • • • • Favorable reviews found in reputable professionally prepared sources Favorable recommendations based on preview and/or examination of materials by District certified staff. Reputation and significance of the author, producer, and/or publisher Potential user appeal Artistic quality and/or literary style Quality and variety in format, content and production Overall strengths

Colibri

by Ann Cameron Rationale:

(2003)

Approved for use in: 8th grade English

Summary of the Work

From Gale Cengage Learning Stolen from her parents when she was young, Tzunun, now called Rosa, can barely remember her early life, remembering only the time she has spent with Uncle. Told that Rosa will bring him a fortune, Uncle has kept her by his side as they travel from village to village begging; sometimes Uncle is blind and sometimes he's lame, but he's always a thief and a cheat. This bothers Rosa immensely as one memory from her childhood is her mother admonishing her to "be honest." Consulting the fortune teller Dona Celestina, Uncle decides have Rosa help him steal a valuable statue, Holy Maria of the Lilies, from a church in San Sebastian. This dishonesty is beyond what Rosa can tolerate and she gathers her courage to tell

This text is to be used in a literature circle setting, where students will choose to read this text among others on and about Latin America. Students will research the history, culture, customs, music, art, architecture, etc. of the setting of this novel. They will discuss the text, its issues, and present on the book and their research to the rest of the class.

26

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English the plan to the priest, though she's terrified of Uncle's possible retribution. Uncle is caught and jailed and Rosa travels to Dona Celestina's home where she's taken in; one final confrontation with Uncle reveals the secrets of her early life and offers Rosa the chance to be reunited with her family.

Professional Reviews and/or Critical Essays

Noted Distinction
Awards: 2004: Riverbank Review Children's Books of Distinction Awards: Fiction Expert Picks: ALA's "Best" Lists: 2004 The Best, Notable & Recommended for 2004 Booklist Editors' Choice 2003 Kirkus Reviews' Editor's Choice Children's Books 2003 Notable Books for a Global Society 2004 School Library Journal's Best Books of 2003

From School Library Journal Grade 5-8-Contemporary Guatemala is the setting for this story of 12-year-old Tzunun Chumil (Mayan for "Hummingbird Star"), called Rosa Garcia by the man who supposedly rescued her from abandonment at age four. Rosa and "Uncle" Baltasar travel from place to place, begging for their livelihood as he pretends to be blind. But, despite her dependence on and devotion to him, Rosa is distressed by the dishonesty of their lifestyle and has memories of loving parents. Told by a seer, the DayKeeper Do-a Celestina, that the child will bring him a treasure, Baltasar takes Rosa to the town of San Sebastian where he and a friend develop a plan to steal a valuable statue from the town's church. The plot backfires when Rosa's conscience forces her to seek out the priest and reveal their intentions, and the two men are jailed. Rosa runs back to the kindly Day-Keeper, who takes her in and gives her the courage to make a new life for herself. When Uncle escapes, Rosa must confront him and, in a dramatic scene in which he plunges off a cliff, she learns that she was kidnapped. With the help of the Day-Keeper and a scrap of paper found in his wallet, Tzunun

Readability Learning Resources Guidelines
• The novel meets the Learning Resources Guidelines. • • Lexile Score: 730L Readability Level:

Standard Alignment:
Literature:
Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, analyze and respond to literary works. Content Standard 2—Students recognize and evaluate how language, literary devices, and elements contribute to the meaning and impact of literary works. Content Standard 3—Students reflect upon their literary experiences and

27

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English is reunited with her parents. Cameron layers her compelling story with vivid descriptions of setting and weaves into the narrative the complexities inherent in the blending of Mayan and ladino cultures and religious practices. This is reflected in the book's title, which is the Spanish translation of Tzunun's name. A wellwritten and engrossing read.
purposefully select from a range of works. Content Standard 4—Students interact with print and nonprint literary works from various cultures, ethnic groups, traditional and contemporary viewpoints written by both genders. Content Standard 5—Students use literary works to enrich personal experience and to connect to the broader world of ideas, concepts and issues.

Writing:

Content Standard 1—Students write clearly and effectively. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies in the writing process. Content Standard 3—Students evaluate and reflect on their growth as writers. Content Standard 4—Students write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Content Standard 5—Students recognize the structures of various forms and apply these characteristics to their own writing. Content Standard 6—Students use the inquiry process, problem-solving strategies, and resources to synthesize and communicate information.

Reading:

Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, and respond to what they read. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to read. Content Standard 3—Students set goals, monitor, and evaluate their progress in reading. Content Standard 4—Students select, read, and respond to print and nonprint material for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 5—Students gather, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from a variety of sources, and communicate their findings in ways appropriate for their purposes and audiences.

Speaking:

Standard 1—Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the communication process. Content Standard 2—Students distinguish among and use appropriate types of speaking and listening for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 3—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to speaking and listening. Content Standard 4—Students identify, analyze, and evaluate the impacts of effective speaking and evaluative listening.

Approval:

Submitted to Committee: Approved for Adoption:

28

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Notes on the Text
(The best way to evaluate and understand a novel is to personally read the book in its entirety.)

Connection to the Curriculum:
Please see rationale.

This story is excellent. It is deep within Guatemala, it’s exciting, entertaining, horrifying, seemingly real, and gripping. It’s hard to put down. It details life and culture, and it’s just a great story of survival and finding one’s place in the world. It’s also an adventure story, she’s searching for her family and what is written on a secret piece of paper. There’s mystery and mysticism. Set within a historic time period, and referring to actual events, this work of fiction lends itself directly to speak about recent Central American history and tragedy. Definitely a book to keep on the shelf and use. I find nothing within this text that would raise any community questions.
.

Additional Connections: AP, Honors,
Essential/Applied, Dramas, Films, etc.)

29

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Application for Resources for Classroom Instruction
(Designated use: Resources NOT approved as district curriculum or library materials) (Approximately 30-60 day process) Title of Resource:_Colibri by Ann Cameron__________________________________________ Type of Resource: Genre: Guatemalan fiction Recommending Teacher:_Jesse Franzen_______ Grade Level:__8th_________ Film Fiction X Audio Book  Non-Fiction Novel  Textbook  Other 

Memoir  Unit of Study X Date: July 15, 2008 Yes

School:_Helena Middle School_____

I have checked curriculum. Thisresource is not used at another grade level.

How does the resource contribute to the curriculum?

One selection of literature circle unit on Latin American culture, historical fiction, modern, first person narrative, group discussion, group presentation___________________

_____
How does the resource contribute to breadth and depth of viewpoints? (eg. controversial issues, multicultural disability, gender-fair, etc).

Latin America, specifically Guatemala, female narrator, and is engrained in the culture which is increasingly becoming part of our modern life in the United States___________________ It has multiple national awards, Lexile rating within the age, and is recommended by the American Library Association as developmentally appropriate______________

How is the resource age appropriate for the social and emotional development of students at this level?

Please identify one or both (if applicable):

_890L_ Level:________
Lexile Score:

Readability

Attach a favorable review from a reputable 30

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English source. (Your building librarian would provide great
assistance!)

No  If no, please provide an explanation:
Review attached

Yes

_____________________________ __ _____________________________ __
Rationale attached

Attach your rationale for using this material for this level (contact department
chair for a blank rationale template).

Yes No 

If no, please provide an explanation:

_____________________________ _____________________________ ____

31

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Crazy Loco

by David Talbot Rice Rationale:

(2001)

Approved for use in: 8th grade English

Summary of the Work:

From Gale Cengage Learning Based on stories from the author's life, this collection of nine shares daily events of Mexican American families living in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. When the "California Cousins" come to visit, their Texas cousins are ready with boobytrapped outhouses. Though Harry complains about his grandfather when the family lives together, it's "Papa Lalo" who buys him a tuxedo to wear to the quinceanera parties. Pedro is taught to be an altar boy by Father Bob's two current altar boys who more closely resemble bodyguards in "Last Mass." Other stories describe the "Crazy Loco" dog that liked to sit behind the wheel or the chance a young girl receives for an education in "She Flies" in a spirited collection.

This text is to be used in a literature circle setting, where students will choose to read this text among others on and about Latin America. Students will research the history, culture, customs, music, art, architecture, etc. of the setting of this novel. They will discuss the text, its issues, and present on the book and their research to the rest of the class.

Professional Reviews and/or Critical Essays

Noted Distinction

From School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Two great strengths of these stories are the pitch-perfect sense for the speech and thought patterns of teens and the vivid depiction of the daily lives of Mexican-Americans in Texas's Rio Grande Valley. One story focuses on two smalltown boys trying to cope when their older and more sophisticated California cousins come to visit. Another is about the loving relationship between a girl and her greataunt, a midwife who retires at age 85 after her grand-niece is born. Another tells of a teen who resents having to move in with his grandfather after his parents' divorce and having to adapt to the old man's ways. Rice highlights the details of these ordinary lives-including Spanish words and phrases as well as Catholic practices-while still revealing the universal patterns behind the

Expert Picks: ALA's "Best" Lists: 2002 The Best, Notable & Recommended for 2001 Notable Books for a Global Society 2002

Readability Learning Resources Guidelines
• The novel meets the Learning Resources Guidelines. • • Lexile Score: 830L Readability Level:

Standard Alignment:
Literature:
Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, analyze and respond to literary works. Content Standard 2—Students recognize and evaluate how language, literary devices, and elements contribute to the meaning and impact of literary works. Content Standard 3—Students reflect upon their literary experiences and purposefully select from a range of works.

32

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English cultural particularities. The strongest stories here-"Last Mass," "Her Other Son," and "Papa Lalo"-also display a firm control of narrative and dramatic unity, drawing readers on to emotionally satisfying but not predictable conclusions. In the weaker stories, the insights and the voice are still sharp, but the narratives are less compelling. Even so, this is a powerful collection that should enjoy a wide audience.
Content Standard 4—Students interact with print and nonprint literary works from various cultures, ethnic groups, traditional and contemporary viewpoints written by both genders. Content Standard 5—Students use literary works to enrich personal experience and to connect to the broader world of ideas, concepts and issues.

Writing:

Content Standard 1—Students write clearly and effectively. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies in the writing process. Content Standard 3—Students evaluate and reflect on their growth as writers. Content Standard 4—Students write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Content Standard 5—Students recognize the structures of various forms and apply these characteristics to their own writing. Content Standard 6—Students use the inquiry process, problem-solving strategies, and resources to synthesize and communicate information.

Reading:

Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, and respond to what they read. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to read. Content Standard 3—Students set goals, monitor, and evaluate their progress in reading. Content Standard 4—Students select, read, and respond to print and nonprint material for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 5—Students gather, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from a variety of sources, and communicate their findings in ways appropriate for their purposes and audiences.

Speaking:

Standard 1—Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the communication process. Content Standard 2—Students distinguish among and use appropriate types of speaking and listening for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 3—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to speaking and listening. Content Standard 4—Students identify, analyze, and evaluate the impacts of effective speaking and evaluative listening.

Approval:

Submitted to Committee: Approved for Adoption:

33

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Notes on the Text
(The best way to evaluate and understand a novel is to personally read the book in its entirety.)

Connection to the Curriculum:
Please see rationale.

Rice is an excellent story teller. This collection of short stories is rich in culture, humanity, and real situations we all have found ourselves in. He doesn’t hold punches, nor hugs. They are deep with metaphor and imagery. I’d use these stories in a heartbeat. On the downside, they don’t have a deep connection to any one place. For that reason, they are just about Mexican-Americans, which is a drawback because you can’t point on a map and say, “here’s where the story happened”. I didn’t find anything offensive in the book, nor anything that could be even thought of to be offensive.

Additional Connections: AP, Honors,
Essential/Applied, Dramas, Films, etc.)

34

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Application for Resources for Classroom Instruction
(Designated use: Resources NOT approved as district curriculum or library materials) (Approximately 30-60 day process) Title of Resource:_Crazy Loco by David Talbot Rice__________________________________________ Type of Resource: Genre: Mexican American Recommending Teacher:_Jesse Franzen_______ Grade Level:__8th_________ Film  Fiction X Audio Book  Non-Fiction Novel  Textbook  Other

Memoir  Unit of Study X Date: July 15, 2008 Yes

School:_Helena Middle School_____

I have checked curriculum. Thisresource is not used at another grade level.

How does the resource contribute to the curriculum?

One selection of literature circle unit on Latin American culture, historical fiction, modern, first person narratives, group discussion, group presentation___________________

_____
How does the resource contribute to breadth and depth of viewpoints? (eg. controversial issues, multicultural disability, gender-fair, etc).

Latin America, specifically Mexican immigrants, various narrators, and is engrained in the culture which is increasingly becoming part of our modern life in the United States_________________ It has multiple national awards, Lexile rating within the age, and is recommended by the American Library Association as developmentally appropriate______________

How is the resource age appropriate for the social and emotional development of students at this level?

Please identify one or both (if applicable):

_830L_ Level:________
Lexile Score:

Readability

Attach a favorable review from a reputable 35

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English source. (Your building librarian would provide great
assistance!)

No If no, please provide an explanation:
Review attached

Yes

_____________________________ __ _____________________________ __
Rationale attached

Attach your rationale for using this material for this level (contact department
chair for a blank rationale template).

Yes No

If no, please provide an explanation:

_____________________________ _____________________________ ____

36

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Crossing the Wire
Approved for use in: 8th grade English

by Will Hobbs Rationale:

(2006)

Summary of the Work

From www.willhobbsauthor.com When falling crop prices threaten his family with starvation, fifteen-year-old Victor Flores heads north in an attempt to “cross the wire” from Mexico into the United States so he can find work and send money home. But with no coyote money to pay the smugglers who sneak illegal workers across the border, Victor must struggle to survive as he jumps trains, stows away on trucks, and hikes grueling miles through the Arizona desert. Victor’s journey is fraught with danger, freezing cold, scorching heat, hunger and dead ends. It’s a gauntlet run by millions attempting to cross the border. Through Victor’s often desperate struggle, Will Hobbs brings to life one of the great human dramas of our time.

This text is to be used in a literature circle setting, where students will choose to read this text among others on and about Latin America. Students will research the history, culture, customs, music, art, architecture, etc. of the setting of this novel. They will discuss the text, its issues, and present on the book and their research to the rest of the class.

Professional Reviews and/or Critical Essays

Noted Distinction
• • • • •
• • •

From School Library Journal Grade 5 Up Ever since his family moved to the tiny village of Los Árboles, Victor has been best friends with Rico. When Rico tells him that he has enough money to pay for a coyote to help him cross into El Norte, Victor is unable to decide if he, too, should go along and look for work or try to feed his family with the pitiful annual corn harvest. The decision is made for him the next day when he discovers that the corn prices have bottomed out and that there is no point in even planting this year. Readers suffer with the 15-year-old as he makes his painful decision to leave his mother and younger siblings and attempts the dangerous border crossing, jumping trains, fleeing thieves and border officials, and suffering from thirst and hunger. His desperation and fear are completely believable as he faces near-death situations

Junior Library Guild Selection Southwest Book Award Notable Books for a Global Society (IRA) 2007 New York Public Library Books for the Teenage Americas Award Commended Title
Lexile Score: 670L Readability Level: The novel meets the Learning Resources Guidelines.

Readability Learning Resources Guidelines Standard Alignment:
Literature:
Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, analyze and respond to literary works. Content Standard 2—Students recognize and evaluate how language, literary devices, and elements contribute to the meaning and impact of literary works. Content Standard 3—Students reflect upon their literary

37

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English and must decide whom to trust. The author deftly weaves information concerning the local geography and customs into the plot. The story is well paced, sustaining readers' attention throughout. Pair this novel with Ann Jaramillo's La Línea (Roaring Brook, 2006) for another fictional view of young people crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
experiences and purposefully select from a range of works. Content Standard 4—Students interact with print and nonprint literary works from various cultures, ethnic groups, traditional and contemporary viewpoints written by both genders. Content Standard 5—Students use literary works to enrich personal experience and to connect to the broader world of ideas, concepts and issues.

Writing:

Content Standard 1—Students write clearly and effectively. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies in the writing process. Content Standard 3—Students evaluate and reflect on their growth as writers. Content Standard 4—Students write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Content Standard 5—Students recognize the structures of various forms and apply these characteristics to their own writing. Content Standard 6—Students use the inquiry process, problem-solving strategies, and resources to synthesize and communicate information.

Reading:

Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, and respond to what they read. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to read. Content Standard 3—Students set goals, monitor, and evaluate their progress in reading. Content Standard 4—Students select, read, and respond to print and nonprint material for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 5—Students gather, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from a variety of sources, and communicate their findings in ways appropriate for their purposes and audiences.

Speaking:

Standard 1—Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the communication process. Content Standard 2—Students distinguish among and use appropriate types of speaking and listening for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 3—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to speaking and listening. Content Standard 4—Students identify, analyze, and evaluate the impacts of effective speaking and evaluative listening.

Approval:

Submitted to Committee: Approved for Adoption:

38

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Notes on the Text
(The best way to evaluate and understand a novel is to personally read the book in its entirety.)

Connection to the Curriculum:
Please see rationale.

I found this to be an action packed thriller that is based in our modern day life. To describe a personal story of a person crossing the Mexican-American border and place good reasoning and explanation to a modern “issue” in American politics and culture. It is also a story of family, values, and survival. This is a good book, and could be read very quickly. I found nothing objectionable, except that it makes it seem alright for a person to break the immigration laws.
.

Additional Connections: AP, Honors,
Essential/Applied, Dramas, Films, etc.)

39

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Application for Resources for Classroom Instruction
(Designated use: Resources NOT approved as district curriculum or library materials) (Approximately 30-60 day process) Title of Resource:_Crossing the Wire Free by Will Hobbs__________________________________________ Type of Resource: Genre: Film  Audio Book  Non-Fiction  Novel Textbook  Other

Fiction X Mexican Immigration Recommending Teacher:_Jesse Franzen_______ Grade Level:__8th_________

Memoir  Unit of Study X Date: July 15, 2008 Yes

School:_Helena Middle School_____

I have checked curriculum. Thisresource is not used at another grade level.

How does the resource contribute to the curriculum?

One selection of literature circle unit on Latin American culture, historical fiction, modern, first person narrative, group discussion, group presentation___________________

_____
How does the resource contribute to breadth and depth of viewpoints? (eg. controversial issues, multicultural disability, gender-fair, etc). Latin America, specifically Mexico, male narrator, and is engrained in the culture which is increasingly becoming part of our modern life in the United States___________________ It has multiple national awards, Lexile rating within the age, and is recommended by the American Library Association as developmentally appropriate______________

How is the resource age appropriate for the social and emotional development of students at this level?

Please identify one or both (if applicable):

_670L_ Level:________
Lexile Score:

Readability

40

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English Attach a favorable review from a reputable Review attached Yes No  source. If no, please provide an explanation: (Your building librarian would provide great
assistance!)

_____________________________ __ _____________________________ __
Rationale attached

Attach your rationale for using this material for this level (contact department
chair for a blank rationale template).

Yes No 

If no, please provide an explanation:

_____________________________ _____________________________ ____

41

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Red Midnight
Summary of the Work

by Ben Mikaelsen Rationale:

(2002)

Approved for use in: 8th grade English From Gale Cengage Learning Santiago is awakened by his mother who tells him to run as the soldiers have come to kill them. Snatching up his sister Angelina, the two escape the killings of their parents, siblings and grandfather. Told by their dying uncle to use his boat to travel to the United States and tell their story, the two ride on horseback to Lake Izabal where they find his homemade kayak. A neighbor helps stock it with food and, receiving some sailing instructions, the two children sail past Belize into the Gulf of Mexico and then to Florida. The three weeks on the sea are filled with terror as they battle storms, pirates, and the lack of food until finally landing on a Florida beach. Told to leave the private beach, Santiago and Angelina are eventually taken in by more kindly Americans and tell their story to immigration officials of events that occurred often in Central America during the 1980s. This text is to be used in a literature circle setting, where students will choose to read this text among others on and about Latin America. Students will research the history, culture, customs, music, art, architecture, etc. of the setting of this novel. They will discuss the text, its issues, and present on the book and their research to the rest of the class.

Professional Reviews and/or Critical Essays

Noted Distinction

Notable Books for a Global Society 2003 Young Adults' Choices for 2004: A Project of the International Reading Association

From School Library Journal Grade 5-9-When soldiers burn his Guatemalan village and kill his family, 12year-old Santiago escapes with his 4-yearold sister, Angelina. Following the instructions of his dying uncle, he makes his way to Lake Izabal, where he takes his uncle's small sailing canoe and begins a terrifying journey north and across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida. The siblings face starvation and dehydration; lack of sleep; strong sun, wind, and waves; and their own fears and sorrows to win their game of Staying Alive. The present-tense narrative suggests the speech of someone whose first language is not English, and Santiago's first-person account makes the adventure

Readability Learning Resources Guidelines
• The novel meets the Learning Resources Guidelines. • • Lexile Score: 690L Readability Level:

Standard Alignment:
Literature:
Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, analyze and respond to literary works. Content Standard 2—Students recognize and evaluate how language, literary devices, and elements contribute to the meaning and impact of literary works. Content Standard 3—Students reflect upon their literary

42

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English even more immediate. The opening scene is memorable, as the burning of the village turns the night sky red. However, the necessary flashback to explain how a mountain boy learned rudimentary sailing and the almost unbelievable details of the children's trip between their village and their uncle's home give readers pause, rather than pulling them into the suspense of the story. At times, the anger in the author's message almost overwhelms the action. "The rich have no conscience," their uncle's friend says. The first Americans they encounter call them "stinking boat people" and tell them to go away from their private beach club. In an afterword, the author explains that the soldiers who massacred villagers were armed by the U.S. government as part of our fight against communism. Thus, we share the blame for such atrocities. In spite of the heavy-handed message, readers who persevere through the first third of the book will be rewarded with a terrific survival story.
experiences and purposefully select from a range of works. Content Standard 4—Students interact with print and nonprint literary works from various cultures, ethnic groups, traditional and contemporary viewpoints written by both genders. Content Standard 5—Students use literary works to enrich personal experience and to connect to the broader world of ideas, concepts and issues.

Writing:

Content Standard 1—Students write clearly and effectively. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies in the writing process. Content Standard 3—Students evaluate and reflect on their growth as writers. Content Standard 4—Students write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Content Standard 5—Students recognize the structures of various forms and apply these characteristics to their own writing. Content Standard 6—Students use the inquiry process, problem-solving strategies, and resources to synthesize and communicate information.

Reading:

Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, and respond to what they read. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to read. Content Standard 3—Students set goals, monitor, and evaluate their progress in reading. Content Standard 4—Students select, read, and respond to print and nonprint material for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 5—Students gather, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from a variety of sources, and communicate their findings in ways appropriate for their purposes and audiences.

Speaking:

Standard 1—Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the communication process. Content Standard 2—Students distinguish among and use appropriate types of speaking and listening for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 3—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to speaking and listening. Content Standard 4—Students identify, analyze, and evaluate the impacts of effective speaking and evaluative listening.

Approval:

Submitted to Committee: Approved for Adoption:

43

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Notes on the Text
(The best way to evaluate and understand a novel is to personally read the book in its entirety.)

Connection to the Curriculum:
Please see rationale.

This is an amazing book. It is fast paced, heart felt, and has a strong lead character. He and his little sister have to flee death and witnessed the slaughter of their entire family, and to survive, they must risk death to live. It is action packed, but it really begs the question of what happened in Guatemalain the 1980’s. It would be a great book for a group of guys, and it also lends itself well to the creation of models of objects within the book. The opening scenes may be objectionable, because his entire family is slaughtered. Mikaelsen doesn’t describe the situation with any gore, but all the horror is intact. I find this book less shocking that most Holocaust memoirs, which are more graphic in their real violence, so the only real difference would be that these people are Guatemalans suffering the wrath of genocide.

Additional Connections: AP, Honors,
Essential/Applied, Dramas, Films, etc.)

44

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Application for Resources for Classroom Instruction
(Designated use: Resources NOT approved as district curriculum or library materials) (Approximately 30-60 day process) Title of Resource:_Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen__________________________________________ Type of Resource: Genre: Film  Audio Book  Novel Textbook  Other 

Fiction Non-Fiction Memoir  Unit of X Study X Immigration, Civil War, Historical School:_Helena Middle Fiction School_____ Recommending Teacher:_Jesse Franzen_______ Grade Level:__8th_________ I have checked curriculum. Thisresource is not used at another grade level.

Date: July 15, 2008

Yes

How does the resource contribute to the curriculum?

One selection of literature circle unit on Latin American culture, historical fiction, modern, first person narrative, group discussion, group presentation___________________

_____
How does the resource contribute to breadth and depth of viewpoints? (eg. controversial issues, multicultural disability, gender-fair, etc).

Latin America, specifically Guatemala, male narrator, and is engrained in the culture which is increasingly becoming part of our modern life in the United States___________________ It has multiple national awards, Lexile rating within the age, and is recommended by the American Library Association as developmentally appropriate______________

How is the resource age appropriate for the social and emotional development of students at this level?

Please identify one or both (if applicable):

_690L_ Level:________
Lexile Score:

Readability

45

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English Attach a favorable review from a reputable Review attached Yes No  source. If no, please provide an explanation: (Your building librarian would provide great
assistance!)

_____________________________ __ _____________________________ __
Rationale attached

Attach your rationale for using this material for this level (contact department
chair for a blank rationale template).

Yes No 

If no, please provide an explanation:

_____________________________ _____________________________ ____

46

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

The Color of My Words
(2000)

by Lynn Joseph

Approved for use in: 8th grade English

Summary of the Work

From the publisher Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa is a blossoming writer growing up in the Dominican Republic, a country where words are feared. Yet there is so much inspiration all around her -- watching her brother search for a future, learning to dance and to love, and finding out what it means to be part of a community -- that Ana Rosa must write it all down. As she struggles to find her own voice and a way to make it heard, Ana Rosa realizes the power of her words to transform the world around her -- and to transcend the most unthinkable of tragedies.

Rationale:
This text is to be used in a literature circle setting, where students will choose to read this text among others on and about Latin America. Students will research the history, culture, customs, music, art, architecture, etc. of the setting of this novel. They will discuss the text, its issues, and present on the book and their research to the rest of the class.

Professional Reviews and/or Critical Essays

Noted Distinction
Awards: 2001: Jane Addams Children's Book Award 2000: Americas Book Award Expert Picks: ALA's "Best" Lists: 2001 The Best, Notable & Recommended for 2003 Notable Books for a Global Society 2001 Young Adult Library Services Association Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults 2003

From Publishers Weekly In finely wrought chapters that at times read more like a collection of related short stories than a novel, Joseph (Jump Up Time) presents slices from the life of Ana Rosa just as she is about to turn 13. Through the heroine's poetry and recollections, readers gain a rare intimate view of life in the Dominican Republic. Ana Rosa dreams of becoming a writer even though no one but the president writes books; she learns to dance the merengue by listening to the rhythms of her beloved ocean; and the love of her older brother, Guario, comforts her through many difficulties. The author's portraits of Ana Rosa and her family are studies in spare language; the chapters often grow out of one central image such as the gri gri tree where Ana Rosa keeps watch over her village and gets ideas for her writing, giving the novel the feel of an extended prose poem. The brevity of the chapters showcases Joseph's gift for metaphoric

Readability
• • • Lexile Score: 840L Readability Level: The novel meets the Learning Resources Guidelines.

Learning Resources Guidelines Standard Alignment:
Literature:
Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, analyze and respond to literary works. Content Standard 2—Students recognize and evaluate how language, literary devices, and elements contribute to the meaning and impact of literary works.

47

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English language (e.g., her description of Ana Rosa's first crush: "My dark eyes trailed him like a line of hot soot wherever he went"). When the easy rhythms of the girl's island life abruptly change due to two major events, the author develops these cataclysms so subtly that readers may not feel the impact as fully as other events, such as the heroine's unrequited love. Still, it's a testimony to the power of Joseph's writing that the developments readers will empathize with most are those of greatest importance to her winning heroine. Ages 812
Content Standard 3—Students reflect upon their literary experiences and purposefully select from a range of works. Content Standard 4—Students interact with print and nonprint literary works from various cultures, ethnic groups, traditional and contemporary viewpoints written by both genders. Content Standard 5—Students use literary works to enrich personal experience and to connect to the broader world of ideas, concepts and issues.

Writing:

Content Standard 1—Students write clearly and effectively. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies in the writing process. Content Standard 3—Students evaluate and reflect on their growth as writers. Content Standard 4—Students write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Content Standard 5—Students recognize the structures of various forms and apply these characteristics to their own writing. Content Standard 6—Students use the inquiry process, problem-solving strategies, and resources to synthesize and communicate information.

Reading:

Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, and respond to what they read. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to read. Content Standard 3—Students set goals, monitor, and evaluate their progress in reading. Content Standard 4—Students select, read, and respond to print and nonprint material for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 5—Students gather, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from a variety of sources, and communicate their findings in ways appropriate for their purposes and audiences.

Speaking:

Standard 1—Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the communication process. Content Standard 2—Students distinguish among and use appropriate types of speaking and listening for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 3—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to speaking and listening. Content Standard 4—Students identify, analyze, and evaluate the impacts of effective speaking and evaluative listening.

Approval:

Submitted to Committee: Approved for Adoption:

48

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Notes on the Text
(The best way to evaluate and understand a novel is to personally read the book in its entirety.)

Connection to the Curriculum:
Please see rationale.

This is a personal story, a deep story. It is a book that begs the discussion of metaphor and poetics in prose, which are deep topics. It is also based in a historical time period in a country most students know nothing about. I believe this would be a good book Additional Connections: AP, Honors, to use in class for a group that has good, Essential/Applied, Dramas, Films, etc.) deep discussions, is slower for other reasons, or one that is willing to expand and add a couple of the optional texts. Good book, nothing objectionable in the content.
.

49

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Application for Resources for Classroom Instruction
(Designated use: Resources NOT approved as district curriculum or library materials) (Approximately 30-60 day process) Title of Resource:_The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph__________________________________________ Type of Resource: Genre: Film  Audio Book  Novel Textbook  Other

Fiction Non-Fiction Memoir Unit of  X Study X Historical fiction, poetic prose School:_Helena Middle Recommending Teacher:_Jesse School_____ Franzen_______ Grade Level:__8th_________ I have checked curriculum. Thisresource is not used at another grade level.

Date: July 15, 2008 Yes

How does the resource contribute to the curriculum?

One selection of literature circle unit on Latin American culture, historical fiction, modern, first person narrative, group discussion, group presentation___________________

_____
How does the resource contribute to breadth and depth of viewpoints? (eg. controversial issues, multicultural disability, gender-fair, etc).

Latin America, specifically Dominican Republic, female narrator, and is engrained in the culture which is increasingly becoming part of our modern life in the United States___________________ It has multiple national awards, Lexile rating within the age, and is recommended by the American Library Association as developmentally appropriate______________

How is the resource age appropriate for the social and emotional development of students at this level?

Please identify one or both (if applicable):

_840L_ Level:________
Lexile Score:

Readability

Attach a favorable review from a reputable 50

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English source. (Your building librarian would provide great
assistance!)

No  If no, please provide an explanation:
Review attached

Yes

_____________________________ __ _____________________________ __
Rationale attached

Attach your rationale for using this material for this level (contact department
chair for a blank rationale template).

Yes No 

If no, please provide an explanation:

_____________________________ _____________________________ ____

51

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection by Alma Flor Ada & F.
Isabel Campoy
(2006)

Approved for use in: 8th grade English

Summary of the Work

From the publisher Once upon a time, in a land far away... These stories have journeyed far -- over mountains, deserts, and oceans -- carried by wind, passed on to us by our ancestors. Now they have found their way to you. A sly fox, a bird of a thousand colors, a magical set of bagpipes, and an audacious young girl...A mixture of popular tales and literary lore, this anthology celebrates Hispanic culture and its many roots -Indigenous, African, Arab, Hebrew, and Spanish. F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada have retold twelve beloved stories that embody the lively spirit and the rich heritage of Latino people. The work of four leasing Latino artists and illustrators highlights this unforgettable collection.

Rationale:
This text is to be used in a literature circle setting, where students will choose to read this text among others on and about Latin America. Students will research the history, culture, customs, music, art, architecture, etc. of the setting of this novel. They will discuss the text, its issues, and present on the book and their research to the rest of the class.

Professional Reviews and/or Critical Essays

Noted Distinction

ALA's "Best" Lists: 2007 Kirkus Reviews' Editor's Choice Children's Books 2006

From School Library Journal Grade 3 Up–The introduction to this delightful collection explains clearly how stories develop and change over time; in fact, the two storytellers heard most of these amusing tales when they were children and have retold them many times since in their own unique styles. Each retelling is accompanied by a brief description of its origin. Included are tales about dancing goats, a turtle that outwits a deer, and a beetle that declares war on a cow; all of the selections are peppered with energetic dialogue and witty detail.

Readability
• • • Lexile Score: Not Rated Readability Level: The novel meets the Learning Resources Guidelines.

Learning Resources Guidelines Standard Alignment:
Literature:
Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, analyze and respond to literary works. Content Standard 2—Students recognize and evaluate how language, literary devices,

52

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English Children will relish their humor, especially if read aloud, and teens will also enjoy this lively presentation. Traditional story beginnings and endings are provided in Spanish and translated into English, including one foreboding opening: In a land where you will go but from where you will never return. Four Latino artists provide an interesting variety of illustration. Featured images include a large goat head in a vegetable garden, a large farmer on a very small burro, and a wolf and fox all decked out in finery dancing together. The last page provides information about the authors and illustrators. Many libraries may already have Lucia M. Gonzalezs Señor Cats Romance (Scholastic, 2001), but only one tale is common to both collections. Make room on your shelves for this excellent book.
and elements contribute to the meaning and impact of literary works. Content Standard 3—Students reflect upon their literary experiences and purposefully select from a range of works. Content Standard 4—Students interact with print and nonprint literary works from various cultures, ethnic groups, traditional and contemporary viewpoints written by both genders. Content Standard 5—Students use literary works to enrich personal experience and to connect to the broader world of ideas, concepts and issues.

Writing:

Content Standard 1—Students write clearly and effectively. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies in the writing process. Content Standard 3—Students evaluate and reflect on their growth as writers. Content Standard 4—Students write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Content Standard 5—Students recognize the structures of various forms and apply these characteristics to their own writing. Content Standard 6—Students use the inquiry process, problem-solving strategies, and resources to synthesize and communicate information.

Reading:

Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, and respond to what they read. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to read. Content Standard 3—Students set goals, monitor, and evaluate their progress in reading. Content Standard 4—Students select, read, and respond to print and nonprint material for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 5—Students gather, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from a variety of sources, and communicate their findings in ways appropriate for their purposes and audiences.

Speaking:

Standard 1—Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the communication process. Content Standard 2—Students distinguish among and use appropriate types of speaking and listening for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 3—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to speaking and listening. Content Standard 4—Students identify, analyze, and evaluate the impacts of effective speaking and evaluative listening.

Approval:

Submitted to Committee:

53

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English
Approved for Adoption:

Notes on the Text
(The best way to evaluate and understand a novel is to personally read the book in its entirety.)

Connection to the Curriculum:
Please see rationale.

Beautiful stories, beautiful illustrations. They are very well written, very enjoyable, plot driven with morals like most fables. The stories are short, easy to read, and designed for all ages. They have no material that would be objectionable.

Additional Connections: AP, Honors,
Essential/Applied, Dramas, Films, etc.)

54

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Application for Resources for Classroom Instruction
(Designated use: Resources NOT approved as district curriculum or library materials) (Approximately 30-60 day process) Title of Resource:_Tales Our Auletias Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection by Alma Flor Ada (Author), F. Isabel Campoy (Author), Felipe Davalos (Illustrator), Susan Guevara (Illustrator), Leyla Torres (Illustrator)__________________________________________ Type of Resource: Genre: Hispanic Folktales Recommending Teacher:_Jesse Franzen_______ Grade Level:__8th_________ Film  Fiction X Audio Book  Non-Fiction  Novel Textbook  Other 

Memoir  Unit of Study X Date: July 15, 2008 Yes

School:_Helena Middle School_____

I have checked curriculum. Thisresource is not used at another grade level.

How does the resource contribute to the curriculum?

One selection of literature circle unit on Latin American culture, historical fiction, modern, first person narrative, group discussion, group presentation___________________

_____
How does the resource contribute to breadth and depth of viewpoints? (eg. controversial issues, multicultural disability, gender-fair, etc).

Latin America, folktales, and is engrained in the culture which is increasingly becoming part of our modern life in the United States___________ It has multiple national award, and is recommended by the American Library Association as developmentally appropriate______________

How is the resource age appropriate for the social and emotional development of students at this level?

Please identify one or both (if applicable):

_Not Rated Level:________
Lexile Score:

Readability

Attach a favorable review from a reputable 55

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English source. (Your building librarian would provide great
assistance!)

No  If no, please provide an explanation:
Review attached

Yes

_____________________________ __ _____________________________ __
Rationale attached

Attach your rationale for using this material for this level (contact department
chair for a blank rationale template).

Yes No 

If no, please provide an explanation:

_____________________________ _____________________________ ____

56

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems & Stories from Mexico by Naomi Shihab Nye
(editor)
(1995)
th

Approved for use in: 8 grade English

Summary of the Work

From Gale Cengage Learning This book collects from 64 Mexican artists including Alberto Blanco, Julio Galan, Leticia Tarrago, Rosario Castellanos, and Octavio Paz. The poems contained here are presented in Spanish side by side with their English translation as a tribute to the 17 million Spanish speaking Americans. Each poet and artist challenges the reader to imagine a world where dreams can come true.

Rationale:
This text is to be used in a literature circle setting, where students will choose to read this text among others on and about Latin America. Students will research the history, culture, customs, music, art, architecture, etc. of the setting of this novel. They will discuss the text, its issues, and present on the book and their research to the rest of the class.

Professional Reviews and/or Critical Essays

Noted Distinction
1996: Hungry Mind Review Children's Books of Distinction Awards: Poetry Expert Picks: Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners Reluctant Young Adult Readers Committee Selected Titles for 1996 Why Not Poetry?

From School Library Journal Grade 4 Up A most enticing bilingual anthology that unfolds like a tapestry of images, languages, rhythms, and musicalities from all regions of Mexico. In the poem "Lemon Tree," from which the title is derived, Jennifer Clement urges readers to, "Remember,/the tree is older than you are/and you might find stories/in its branches." Each page holds the promise of a small jewel, poems that transform ordinary experience into extraordinary insight. There are several pieces written in Tzotzil, and one in Tzeltal, two of the languages of the Maya. Several traditional and modern folktales also appear, adding to the cosmogony and strengthening the roots of the tree. The illustrations, which appear

Readability
• • • Lexile Score: Not Rated Readability Level: The novel meets the Learning Resources Guidelines.

Learning Resources Guidelines Standard Alignment:
Literature:
Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, analyze and respond to literary works.

57

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English every few pages as illuminations, employ a variety of styles and mediums, all reproduced in full color. Often magical and sometimes playful, the artwork completes the experience of being welcomed into a mysteriously friendly world in which there is much to be discovered and shared. Thorough endnotes on the contributors, translators, and acknowledgements as well as a list of titles in English and Spanish complete this remarkable volume that holds something for everyone.
Content Standard 2—Students recognize and evaluate how language, literary devices, and elements contribute to the meaning and impact of literary works. Content Standard 3—Students reflect upon their literary experiences and purposefully select from a range of works. Content Standard 4—Students interact with print and nonprint literary works from various cultures, ethnic groups, traditional and contemporary viewpoints written by both genders. Content Standard 5—Students use literary works to enrich personal experience and to connect to the broader world of ideas, concepts and issues.

Writing:

Content Standard 1—Students write clearly and effectively. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies in the writing process. Content Standard 3—Students evaluate and reflect on their growth as writers. Content Standard 4—Students write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Content Standard 5—Students recognize the structures of various forms and apply these characteristics to their own writing. Content Standard 6—Students use the inquiry process, problem-solving strategies, and resources to synthesize and communicate information.

Reading:

Content Standard 1—Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, and respond to what they read. Content Standard 2—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to read. Content Standard 3—Students set goals, monitor, and evaluate their progress in reading. Content Standard 4—Students select, read, and respond to print and nonprint material for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 5—Students gather, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from a variety of sources, and communicate their findings in ways appropriate for their purposes and audiences.

Speaking:

Standard 1—Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the communication process. Content Standard 2—Students distinguish among and use appropriate types of speaking and listening for a variety of purposes. Content Standard 3—Students apply a range of skills and strategies to speaking and listening. Content Standard 4—Students identify, analyze, and evaluate the impacts of effective speaking and evaluative listening.

58

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Approval:

Submitted to Committee: Approved for Adoption:

Notes on the Text
(The best way to evaluate and understand a novel is to personally read the book in its entirety.)

Connection to the Curriculum:
Please see rationale.

This is a great collection of poetry, supplemented with art, from Mexico. Each poem is beautiful on its own merit, and within this collection they form a bond of place. I believe this would be best used as supplementary material. I could present poems to the class, or if a group finishes early, they can then work on poems. This book is very usable, and I did not find a lick of questionable material.
.

Additional Connections: AP, Honors,
Essential/Applied, Dramas, Films, etc.)

59

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Application for Resources for Classroom Instruction
(Designated use: Resources NOT approved as district curriculum or library materials) (Approximately 30-60 day process) Title of Resource:_ The Tree Is Older Than You Are by Naomi Shihab Nye (editor)_____________________ Type of Resource: Genre: Film  Audio Book Novel  Textbook  Other

Fiction Non-Fiction X Collection of Mexican poems and art Recommending Teacher:_Jesse Franzen_______ Grade Level:__8th_________

Memoir  Unit of Study X Date: July 15, 2008 Yes

School:_Helena Middle School_____

I have checked curriculum. Thisresource is not used at another grade level.

How does the resource contribute to the curriculum?

One selection of literature circle unit on Latin American culture, historical fiction, modern, first person narrative, group discussion, group presentation___________________

_____
How does the resource contribute to breadth and depth of viewpoints? (eg. controversial issues, multicultural disability, gender-fair, etc). Latin America, specifically Mexico, poems, are, and is engrained in the culture which is increasingly becoming part of our modern life in the United States_______________ It has multiple national awards and is recommended by the American Library Association as developmentally appropriate______________

How is the resource age appropriate for the social and emotional development of students at this level?

Please identify one or both (if applicable):

_Not Rated Level:________
Lexile Score:

Readability

Attach a favorable review from a reputable Review attached Yes No source. If no, please provide an explanation: 60

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English (Your building librarian would provide great assistance!)

_____________________________ __ _____________________________ __
Yes No  If no, please provide an explanation:
Rationale attached

Attach your rationale for using this material for this level (contact department
chair for a blank rationale template).

_____________________________ _____________________________ ____

61

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English These roles are taken directly from LitSite Alaska (Lopez).

Discussion Director
Date: _____ Novel you're reading: ________________________ Pages read to prepare for this discussion: _______ As the Discussion Director, it is your job to write down some good questions that you think your group would want to talk about. List a minimum of five thought provoking questions below. (Think of these starters: Why..., If..., What..., Who..., and How...) 1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) 5.)

Literary Luminary
Date: _____ Novel you're reading: ________________________ Pages read to prepare for this discussion: _______ As the Literary Luminary, it is your job to read aloud parts of the story to your group in order to help your group members remember some interesting, powerful, puzzling, or important sections of the text. You decide which passages or paragraphs are worth reading aloud, and justify your reasons for selecting them. Write the page numbers and paragraph numbers on this form along with the reason you chose each passage. You must choose a minimum of 3 passages. Some reasons for choosing passages to share might include: * Pivotal events * Informative * Descriptive * Surprising * Scary * Thought-provoking * Funny * Controversial * Confusing * Personally meaningful Location Page _____ Paragraph ___ Location Page _____ Paragraph ___ 62 Reason for choosing the passage Reason for choosing the passage

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Location Page _____ Paragraph ___

Reason for choosing the passage

Connector
Date: _____ Novel you're reading: ________________________ Pages read to prepare for this discussion: _______ As the Connector, it is your job to find connections between the novel your group is reading and the outside world. This means connection the reading to: * Your own life * Happenings at school or in the neighborhood * Similar events at other times and places * Other books or stories * Other writings on same topic * Other writings by the same author Think about a minimum of two connections today's reading reminded you of. List the connection and explain how the events are similar. 1.) 2.)

Character Captain
Date: _____ Novel you're reading: ________________________ Pages read to prepare for this discussion: _______ As the Character Captain, it is your job to share observations you have about the main character(s). Select three adjectives that describe one or more of the characters in your novel, and support your selection with an example taken from your reading assignment.

Character
Character: Adjective: Character: Adjective: Character: Adjective:

Specific Example of behavior/action:
Page: _____ Paragraph: _____

Page: _____ Paragraph: _____

Page: _____ Paragraph: _____

Common Character Traits: A List of Adjectives 63

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English adventurous beautiful curious impulsive energetic gentle honest lazy nasty proud rad shy simple warm melancholy iconoclastic awesome brave creative dainty funny generous intelligent messy nice pretty sad short tall witty mellow penurious artistic bold courageous dangerous a fighter happy independent mischievous nosy quiet sloppy smart trustworthy wild aimless belligerent athletic bossy active cheerful

considerate daring exciting friendly humble inventive mean open rich serious studious thoughtful wonderful loud loyal entertaining fun-loving hostile a leader neat poor respectful successful selfish unselfish silly prudent visionary

Artistic Adventurer
Date: _____ Novel you're reading: ________________________ Pages read to prepare for this discussion: _______ As the Artistic Adventurer it is your responsibility for sharing an artistic representation of the material you read for today’s Literature Circle. Some ideas for sharing may include: a character, the setting, a problem, an exciting part, a surprise, a prediction, or anything else. Examples of genres for expression may include: * Artwork * Music * Poetry * Collage * Mobile Have fun! Let your imagination soar! What I shared: __________________________ In the space below please provide a written description of what you shared and explain how it represents a facet of the assigned reading.

Vocabulary Enricher
64

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English Date: _____ Novel you're reading: ________________________ Pages read to prepare for this discussion: _______ As the Vocabulary Enricher, it is your job to look for especially important vocabulary words within the book your group is reading. Words chosen should be: * Important * Unfamiliar * Different * Puzzling * Funny * Used in an unusual way * Interesting List a minimum of 5 words you feel would be worth discussing with your group. Word selected and page # where found: Definition based on context -- use of dictionary is encouraged! Reason word was selected:

When your group members meet, help them find and discuss the words you have chosen. You might discuss the following: ○ How does the word fit in the story? ○ How does this word make you feel? ○ What is the etymology of this word? ○ What images does this word evoke? ○ Does this word carry any specific connotations?

65

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Literature Discussion Self-Evaluation
Name: Title: Date: Author:

What did I do well during our literature discussion? (asked good questions, listened actively, responded to others, supported my ideas using the book, took a risk, compared the book to my life or other books) Give specific examples.

What could I do better next time?

66

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Discussion Log
Name: Title and Author: For Discussion Date: Reading Assignment: Reading Role: A part that I would like to share with my group: (Write the first and last word and the page number.)

One question that I have about the reading:

Wonder Words: Write three words from your reading that you wonder about and want to talk about with your group.

67

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

Presentation Rubric
Name: Title: Dates: Author:

Culture (30pts.): There are many similarities between our culture and that in the book, but what makes it unique? Choose one of the following to research and present: clothing, food, music, religion, home, work, fun, or something else relevant. Make sure you choose differently than your group members. _____ / 10 Is your topic appropriate to the culture represented in the book? _____ / 10 Do you have a visual aid and did you use it well in your presentation? _____ / 10 Did you keep within the time limit (1-2 min.)? History (30pts.): What is special, significant, or different in your book? What issues are the characters and country dealing with? Who else were involved -- specific individuals or countries? How could that affect us here and now? Choose one issue or event to research and present from your book. Make sure you choose differently than your group members. _____ / 10 Is your topic appropriate to the culture and history represented in the book? _____ / 10 Do you have a visual aid and did you use it well in your presentation? _____ / 10 Did you keep within the time limit (1-2 min.)? Book (40pts.): This is a whole group presentation to the rest of the class on your book. Each will work on a piece: characters, plot, setting, or creative (make something: poem, play, poster, mobile, clay model, interpretive dance, song, etc). Within each of these categories, please be creative in your presentation, use visual aids, and have fun! _____ / 10 Individual participation and presentation. Did you speak and present well? _____ / 10 Do you have a visual aids and did you use it well in your presentation? _____ / 10 Did you keep within the time limit (15-20 min.)? _____ / 10 Did you address characters, plot, setting, and create something artsy?

68

Project: Creating a Text-set Literature Circles Unit for 8th Grade English

References Ada, A, & Campoy, I (2006). Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection. New York, NY: Atheneum. Alger, C L (May 2007). Engaging student teachers' hearts and minds in the struggle to address (il)literacy in content area classrooms: a literature circle format was used to create awareness of social issues with preservice teachers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50.8, Retrieved July 14, 2008, from http://find.galegroup.com/itx/start.do?prodId=PROF Alvarez, J (2002). Before We Were Free. New York, NY: Laurel Leaf. Cameron, A (2003). Colibri. New York, NY: Laurel Leaf. Hobbs, W (2006). Crossing the Wire. Danvers, MA: HarperTrophy. Joseph, L (2000). The Color of My Words. Danvers, MA: HarperTrophy. Lopez, J. Group role sheets. Retrieved July 16, 2008, from LitSite Alaska Web site: http://litsite.alaska.edu/workbooks/circle/group.html Mikaelsen, B (2002). Red Midnight. Danvers, MA: Rayo. Nye, N S (Ed.). (1995). The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems & Stories from Mexico. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. Posner, G . (2004). Analyzing the Curriculum. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill Higher Education. Rice, D T (2001). Crazy Loco. New York, NY: Puffin. Schlick, K L (2004). Teaching students how to discuss. Retrieved July 16, 2008, from Literature Circle Resource Center Web site: http://www.litcircles.org/Discussion/teaching.html

69

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful