2 different ways to teach a novel study

Nicole at Apple Tree Resources
2 different ways to teach a novel study

Whether you're considering starting a novel study for the first time or have been doing it for years, you won't want to miss this episode where I share my top tips for teaching a novel study. In this episode, I share a few gems of wisdom to help you lead and organize your upcoming novel study with ease. Tune in to learn more!


Resources Mentioned:  

5 Activities to Use With Any Story - Free Resources Click to download



Want to read instead of listen? Check out the podcast blog below.

Hey there, amazing educators! Welcome back to another episode of Let's Chat Teaching, the Apple Tree Resources Podcast. I'm your host, Nicole Sanders, a passionate educator with a background in the classroom turned online course creator. I'm here to bring you valuable insights, tips, and strategies to make your teaching journey more enjoyable and effective. Today, we're diving into the world of novel studies, exploring two fantastic ways to plan and set up an engaging and meaningful experience for your students.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking, "Nicole, I've been teaching novel studies for years. What's new here?" Well, fear not! Stick around because I promise there might be a few gems in today's episode that can add a touch of ease and innovation to your novel study routine.

So, let's jump right in. Novel studies aren't just about reading a book aloud to the class. Sure, that's fun, and there are benefits, but a true novel study is a blend of shared reading, in-depth text analysis, comprehension practice, and exploration of literary concepts like foreshadowing, point of view, and various types of conflict.

The first key to planning a successful novel study is to align it with your state or province's learning standards. This might not sound glamorous, but it's crucial. Print out those standards, keep them handy, and highlight what you've covered as a class. This way, you're always planning with the end goal in mind – ensuring your students grasp essential concepts and are set up for success in the future.

Now, I know going back to standards might not be the most exciting part of planning, but remember, we're professionals. It's all about laying a solid foundation for our students, and sometimes that means going back to basics. By revisiting these standards, you can identify any gaps and focus on them in your novel study, creating a more targeted and effective learning experience.

But wait, there's more! I love to mark any standards that students found challenging or struggled with during the year with a little asterisk or star. It's a handy visual cue to remind myself to revisit those concepts, reinforcing them and ensuring my students truly grasp them.

Now, when to teach a novel study? Anytime is a great time! Whether it's early in the school year or later on, novel studies can be a fantastic addition to your curriculum. Personally, my sweet spot is right after Christmas break, that magical time before spring break when interruptions are at a minimum. It allows for a more extended, uninterrupted unit, perfect for diving deep into a novel.

Now, if you've already covered short stories or writing your own short story units before diving into a novel study, you've set yourself up for success. Building on that foundation, you can choose to focus on more challenging concepts like point of view, exploring them over several days to ensure a thorough understanding.

But what if you're introducing a novel study before covering these foundational concepts? No worries! Start with the basics. Introduce elements of literature notes – yes, they might sound boring, but they're invaluable. These notes will serve as a reference throughout the novel study and can be reused for short story units or writing your own short story units. It's all about efficiency and not reinventing the wheel.

Now, let's talk activities. When choosing activities for your novel study, aim for ones that directly correspond to your elements of literature and story structure notes. Repetition is key. By revisiting these concepts in various activities, you're giving your students the opportunity for deeper understanding without overwhelming them with new information.

If you're a visual learner and want to see examples of activities that work with any novel, check out my store on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have a product called "Activities for Any Story" with over 30 versatile activities. But, of course, if you already have resources, take a look at the preview to see what might align with your novel study.

Now, let's shift gears a bit and talk about logistics. How do you organize your novel study? I have two favorite methods that bring ease and clarity to both students and teachers. First up, interactive notebooks. These are activity books where students glue in various activities and notes. It creates a chronological record of their learning, making it easy to reference.

Prep the entire novel study in advance, photocopying class sets of each activity. Keep them behind your desk, and each day, pull out what you need. This method, known as front-loading, saves time and keeps the unit focused.

The second method I love is creating booklets. Make a master copy with all activities in chronological order for yourself. Then, make full-size booklets for each student. This method is fantastic for providing clarity and structure. Students don't lose their materials, and parents, administrators, and other support staff can easily follow along.

Of course, front-loading is essential here too. Prep the entire unit, and you're good to go. If you need to skip or add activities, it's easy to manage. However, it might not be as flexible as the interactive notebook approach.

And that's a wrap for today's episode! Thank you for joining me on this exploration of novel studies. I hope you picked up some valuable tips and ideas to bring into your classroom. Remember to hit that subscribe button, so you don't miss any future episodes. And if you want five free activities to use with any story right now, head over to appletreeresources.com/storyactivities.

Thank you for spending your time with me. I appreciate each one of you, and I can't wait to chat with you in the next episode.

Until then, happy teaching!






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