Saturday, February 22, 2014

Class Book Club

This week we had our first book club meeting after school! It was more awesome than I thought possible! We had all read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein.
This book was THE PERFECT first book to help kickoff our classroom book club. It is about some kids that win an overnight in the town's brand new library.  The overnight then turns into a game where the students have to find clues and solve a puzzle to help them get out of the library. The first kid to get out of the library is the winner. This book is filled with numerous literary references, logical thinking, and life lessons. There was so much to discuss about this amazing book!

We started by meeting right after school. I had scheduled 90 minutes for the book club, not really knowing if we would fill the time or not. We started with a quick snack and I called it "chat and chew." They had about 20-25 minutes to eat and just chat with their fellow book club members. One boy said, "This is just what my mom does in her book club!" It was cute! Then we got together in a circle on the carpet to discuss the book. I had some questions that I had prepared and some passages that I had marked for discussion ready to go. We talked for an hour straight about this book and could have gone even longer! 

We discussed the antagonist in the book quite a bit...Charles Chiltington. We talked about his family philosophies and how he played the game. The students had a lot to weigh in on when it came to Charles. We talked about the quote, "Knowledge not shared, remains unknown." We discussed foreshadowing, quotes, behaviors, and favorite parts. The students just went on and on! It was one of those proud teacher moments where you think, "Wow, all of these kids here are so excited to be talking about THIS book!" We tweeted out some photos from our book club on our class site and Chris Grabenstein even retweeted us the following day! The climax of the book club was when Chris Grabenstein emailed back one of the students who had asked him if he was going to write a sequel to this book and to tell him that he had solved the puzzle within the book. This student about fell out of his chair! The email from Chris couldn't have been sweeter, going on about how he was so smart for solving this puzzle and that yes he was going to write a sequel! The sequel is going to be about Mr.Lemoncello's Library Olympics. The students want it to be ready next week...I explained it will take some time! 

At the end of the book club, I gave the students some time to share why they liked this book and they all had such great reasons. They definitely left wanting to have another book club, so I decided our 2nd book would be Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy.  My copy should be here this week! I can't wait to start reading!  If you haven't done so...definitely consider starting an afterschool or morning book club with your students! It was so inspiring to me as a teacher!

I'll leave you with some words that resonated with us from the book club,
"A library doesn't need windows, Andrew.  We have books, which are windows into worlds we have never dreamed possible." -Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library pg. 53. 

1st Book Club-not all students are present for picture

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