I immediately wondered how I should do that. Did I have to buy 27 copies of a novel that we would all read together? Did I need to invest in one of those expensive iPad apps with ebooks installed and questions embedded? The answer was NO!
I downloaded "Kindle for Mac" (for free) onto one of my classroom computers that was hooked up to our projector. I purchased one Kindle copy of the book, "Wonder," and I started reading. As I read, I noticed things that I wanted to discuss with my students, so I highlighted the text and inserted comments. When something came up in the text that I didn't think my students had a lot of background knowledge on, I researched the topic a bit and inserted a link for my students to check out. When a video could explain something better than I could, I inserted a link to a YouTube video that we would watch as it came up in the story!
As I reached parts of the text with highlights and links, I stopped and shared my notes with them.
I felt that it was also important for my students to analyze the text a bit, so I embedded some activities for students to do while reading. Early in the story, my students have been asked to analyze two of the main characters in the book so far (Via and Julian), by identifying a character trait and providing an example from the story where that character demonstrates that particular trait. Since my students were limited on which character traits they knew, we did an activity where we created Character Trait Word Clouds for our Character Trait Visual Thesaurus. This activity provided them with a larger vocabulary with which they could describe each character's personality.
As my students submitted their character traits for Via and Julian, I copied and pasted them in Tagul to create a word cloud for each character. At the bottom of this post are the two Taguls we came up with to describe each character. We will take a moment tomorrow to look at these and see which character traits we agree with and which we disagree with (and why).
In the coming days, students will be provided with many new opportunities to analyze the story, and prepare for the rigorous expectations of the Common Core! In my opinion, this teaching technique is far more effective than having students listen while doodling or laying their heads on their desks. And they still come away with a real love of the book (maybe more so since they understand it better)!