Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Crossover

As I've previously shared, I'm doing Battle of the Books again with the fourth and fifth graders!  This time around, not only do I have a better grasp of what I'm doing and how the competition works, but I also have the help of our school's librarian.  Together, Mrs. H and I seem to have this under control.  

We meet after school for an hour on Mondays with the students who are able to stay.  Since many have sports or ride the bus, we can't force all students to stay.  Plus it wouldn't be fun if we were forcing them to be there.  We want students to want to read.  The fourth graders will also check in with Mrs. H on their recess on Monday (because it coincides with her prep).  The fifth graders will also check in with me weekly during independent reading.  Since there are five fifth grade teachers, I'm just giving each teacher a different day.

The kids will come meet with me for a few minutes so we can touch base on their questions, the book, and their progress.  The work is entirely on them, we just want to help keep them accountable by setting small, measurable goals and seeing how they progress with weekly check ins.

I'm going to try to read all eight books this year, but with all my grading, it does seem a tad daunting.

I tacked the first book, The Crossover, over the weekend.

This book is written as a series of connected poems, which was a new format for me.  I was immediately hooked and found myself literally laughing out loud at certain parts.  One particular moment, when the father is explaining to his son that talking to his twin (who has his first girlfriend) is futile at best, is written as:

Trying to talk to your brother right now is like trying to push water uphill with a rake.

Just let that mental image sink in.  

What a gloriously wonderful way to describe the struggle to communicate with someone who is wrapped up in first love infatuation and resistant to any conversation.

The whole novel is filled with lines like that.  Words that seize you and engulf you with passion.  While I'll admit I had to do some googling for some of the basketball references, I was incredibly impressed with the ease at which the story flowed, mixing sports and real life situations.

It's not a surprise this novel won both the Newbery and the Coretta Scott King awards in 2015.

I was not prepared for the plot twist and had a very emotional reaction to this book.  Fortunately, I was alone at home when I finished this up, so I was able to avoid the looks of strangers.

Part of my assignment as an adviser, I had to write fifty questions to use in the competition.  Since I was writing anyway, I took notes throughout the whole book to turn it into a novel guide.

I'm working this for {TpT} and hope to have it available next week.  Stay tuned!

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