My class has just finished reading our final CIA book of the year, Glory Be. As always, it is always bittersweet when we finish a book, but even more so with this book as it is the last time I was going to listen to the great discussions and ideas that my students have about a wonderful book.
Spring seems to be the time for the high stakes assessments. With these assessments came days that did not allow us time to read Glory Be. On these days, my students often asked me if we were going to be able to do CIA that day. I had to tell them no because it was a testing day and we weren’t going to have time. Some of my students responded by slouching their shoulders and looking bummed. This just showed me how much my class looked forward to our CIA time and being able to read a good book.
Have you ever read a book, where you feel like the author leaves you hanging and doesn’t answer all your questions? I know that I have, and I wanted to share with my class how sometimes this happens. After our read in, we talked about the end of the book, and how we don’t know if Glory was going to meet Frankie at the Firemen’s Park the next day. We shared with our turn and talk partners what we thought. Instead of doing our normal sharing out, I had the students write their predictions about what they thought would happen in their CIA notebooks. I really liked this added writing as it helped to give an insight to what stuck with the students in regards to the kind of person Glory was and what they thought of Frankie.
One of my favorite parts of the unit was writing our letters to the author Augusta Scattergood for the formal writing at the end of the unit. We read the Author’s Note at the end of the book to help us formulate some questions we could include in our letter to Augusta. They came up with some great questions, and some that I didn’t think of. One of the ones I didn’t think of was, “Who was Alice?” I asked why they wanted to know this, and they quickly said that maybe she was the Emma for Augusta when she was growing up. That made sense to me, so we added it to the list.
If you use pinterest at all or need an excuse to go to pinterest, check out the Read Side by Side pinterest page! There is a link on the Glory Be 3.4 board for a radio interview that Augusta Scattergood did with NPR, or here it is http://www.npr.org/2013/07/11/201124145/lessons-in-bigotry-and-bravery-a-girl-grows-up-in-glory-be . It gives a brief synopsis of the book, then has the interviewer ask a few questions, followed by questions that students that had read the book had for her. I shared this with my class, and it seemed to help the students make a link with what they could possibly ask in their own letters, and provided some more insight to Augusta’s thought process and her background that she used to help her write the story. I also went online to find a picture of Augusta to share with the class so they knew what she looked like.
In the past, I’ve adapted or created a form to help the students as they were doing their rough draft of the final writing. This time around, I made it a bit more open for my students. I simply made a copy of the “Letter to an Author Frame” that is included within the CIA unit. We talked about the different parts of the letter, and what we could possibly include in our letter. We then started writing, and went thru the complete writing process. When I said, we I mean we. With the help of my class, I wrote my own letter to Augusta. They asked if I was going to send it with their letters, and I said yes. I also really enjoyed the book, and couldn’t wait to let Augusta know that I did.
Our letters are in the envelope and ready to make the trip across the United States to Augusta in Florida. I don’t know the reasoning, but the students really seemed to enjoy writing their letters. I don’t know if it is because of our book clubs and talking about reading books by the same authors, but if my students had their way, Augusta would write a sequel to Glory Be.