Sunday, April 17, 2016

Great Gatsby companion book project and booktalks

One of my English teachers gave me a challenge for some booktalks.

After her class read The Great Gatsby, her goal was to have them read a independent novel that would also show the themes of the great Gatsby before the end of the year. This, I discovered was a tough thing.  So, if any of you have suggestions...I would REALLY like to hear them!

My clerk and even our Parent volunteer began to hunt. we found classic read alikes (which wasn't really what we needed.) We searched by themes in our library catalog Destiny. I had used to remind myself of the themes.  We were using those as a guide to try to find books with those themes.

I thought- surely some great teacher or librarian has already done this and posted. We found a few sites with suggestions, but no one site with 30 independent novels. :(

With thanks from my english teacher wife we came up with some. She suggested we use the them of the American Dream, or the American Dream gone bad. This helped tremendously, but often I still didn't see the tie in.

I wouldn't say we were tremendously successful in finding perfect books (but to be honest the kids didn't really care to much...they just wanted the romance, or the action or the money/power).  Here is the list of books we came up with ...with teasers posted (by the publishers) on GOODREADS. Take it with a grain of salt...sure could use some suggestions and ideas. We were a bit limited by our I'm looking to beef that up a bit.

As far as presentation, I had a idea. The book club and I just attended the Colorado Teen Lit Conference where the kids and I went to a session Judge the Book By the Cover with  Catherine Boddie (@CatherineBoddie) and Bridget Kiely (@ALDBridget) from Arapahoe Library District. They did this cool thing modeled after ideas they got from where you rate the book by it's cover. They set images of books up side by side in a preso.

So, I attempted (lamely) the same thing. We put covers of books (see my preso) on the screen and the kids judged them. In some cases I had them choose the best cover and I told about that one first. In other cases I booktalked one of the books and they had to choose which one was the right one.

It was just a different way to do a booktalk. I liked the potential of this, but the combination of me rushing to get this done in time and an then presenting to a 7:30am quiet class of underclassment gave it a lackluster finish.

Oh- I almost forgot. I found some really cool resources on the Gatsby Curated by Stephen Cunningham and was blown away by the #6 The Roaring 20's Sound Museum with amazing sound clips, newsreels and stories from NYC in the 1920's. 100's of hyperlinks you activate when you hover over them. We've GOTTA use these next time we teach Gatsby! 

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