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Coffee Klatch and Tom Sawyer

Introducing her Word

I have a hard time just repeating what I did the previous school year. Although it would make my life easier,  I am always looking to both grow as a teacher and  for  ways to provide my students with valuable, engaging learning experiences.  This year over Winter Break, I decided I wanted to teach Tom Sawyer for the first time ever!  I hadn't read it in over twenty years but revisited it over vacation.  I downloaded it to my ipad.  Oh how I love my ipad!  It allows me to bring my books to the gym with me.  As I pedaled away on the stationary bike, I became a temporary resident of St. Petersburg, Missouri.  I got lost in Tom's world-a world of good old-fashioned fun and mischief-a world sans technology.  Many times while reading, I would find myself laughing aloud.   I would look around to see if anybody saw me.  I am sure people thought I was nuts.  Numerous times I texted my dear friend and fellow English teacher to tell her where I was in the book. By the way, working with amazing people is just another thing I love about my job!
I gave my students some essential questions to consider as they read the novel.  That way they know what to look for when highlighting and annotating the text.  I always hated when my professors wouldn't give us the writing prompt until AFTER we read a novel!  We read the first chapter in class.  I had two volunteers read the dialogue between Tom and the "new" boy.  That really made it come to life, and the kids thought it was funny, especially when the boy says that anybody that will take a dare can "suck eggs."

There is quite a bit of challenging vocabulary in the book.  Some is antiquated and not worth spending too much time on.  Many of the words can be figured out by looking at the context of the sentence.  For the first three chapters, I selected words that I felt would be useful for my students-words they will see and use!  We had a coffee klatch to introduce our first set of words.    Each student received a paper cup with a word and short definition.  Using a sentence frame, they had to introduce their word to several other students.  Those students had to use another sentence frame to show that they understood the word.  Finally, students  chose three new words and created word maps for each one.   

I hope that my enthusiasm for Tom Sawyer is contagious and that my students can appreciate it as much as I do!

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