This academic year, I have committed to doing First Chapter Friday each week (more on how I’m implementing this soon, but if you need inspiration, check out the posts from Abby Gross).  As I was working on the upcoming First Chapter Friday sessions, I decided to put together some extra resources for our the September 10 edition of First Chapter Friday in addition to the normal read aloud and listening template (I use these from Abby Gross).

My featured read aloud book was Ground Zero by Alan Gratz, and it is one of the best books I’ve EVER read.  I am very picky about my fiction, but I was riveted by the quality of the writing and how he wove together two seemingly unrelated stories.

I began by showing students a trailer for the book to give them some context; we then engaged in our read aloud time (about 10-12 minutes) and gave them the remainder of class for them to absorb what they heard and to continue/finish their listening template.

In addition to the regular read aloud and bonus book trailer, I created a special bulletin board featuring the eleven books I have featured in my virtual book tasting for the students.  Next week I have “Choice Board Monday” (enrichment, makeup/catch up) scheduled for my 9th Honors on Monday and “Choice Board Tuesday” for my on-level 8th grade ELA classes (also enrichment, makeup/catch up); one of the options is to use the virtual book tasting tool (see below) to explore the books, and of course, students can borrow my copies.  Students will put their name on a slip of paper for the books they want and I’ll put them into a cup for each book.  I will then do a drawing for first dibs on each book.  Of course, I will also utilize our media center as well to get students copies of the books.

I am especially proud of this endeavor and special edition of First Chapter Friday as I vividly remember September 11 and feel it is important that schools and educators help this generation of young people understand and learn about this important tragedy.  I am eager to see how many of the books get “check out” from my personal library, but I already have had several kids asking about specific titles as they have been checking out the virtual book tasting and the bulletin board in my room.

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