Thursday, 15 November 2012

Book Detectives blockbusters style

Last year I was sitting in a staff meeting thinking about how to manage my reading groups when someone mentioned the word honeycomb which my brain translated to me as Blockbusters which in turn planted a seed in the discombobulated jungle eco-system that is my brain.

My problem:
5 reading groups, each needing time with me or my classroom assistant and all needing to be directed towards appropriate comprehension tasks to check understanding.
I was forever having to refocus them on their tasks or remind them of the Book Detective comprehension task that I'd previously given them.

So, I thought about how to hand over control to them, giving the ownership while still ensuring relevant and progressive tasks.
What I came up with were a series of three differentiated blockbuster cards.

The solution:
Each child is given a laminated Blockbuster card appropriate to their depth of understanding. The cards are made up of a grid of hexagons providing a pathway from left to right. Each hexagonal cell contains a Book Detective task. The idea is that children choose their own path with tasks getting 'meatier' as they progress. There is a mix of visual and text-based tasks avoiding too much repetition of the same task.
Children have really engaged with this and enjoy choosing their own path. Towards the end of a book they engage with deeper thinking and more involved tasks.

In order for them to feel that their work is valued I also changed their jotter from a small, skinny lined notebook to an A4 jotter lined on one side and blank on the other to accommodate lengthy writing and proud illustrations. Please feel free to download my cards and try them with your class.

Click here for the PDF files

*** I must make it clear that Book Detectives is a current reading comprehension system that has been used in the school for some time. It is not my own. I have simply created the blockbuster cards as an alternative way to manage the children's learning.

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