The air is turning cooler, and the leaves are changing color. Satsumas are ripening on our satsuma tree. They are so heavy the branches are dragging on the ground. And when I take Charlie out at six in the morning, it’s dark, very dark, and the sun doesn’t rise until we are almost home. All these signs should have made me realize that the first nine weeks of school is ending.
Each grading period, I ask my students to revisit all the books they have read and select one to present to their classmates. This is a fun activity for them. I also want to make it a learning activity, so we talk about elements to include: title, author, genre, tone, characters, setting, plot…
Madison was excited about her book trailer. Animoto was her choice and she carefully selected pictures, music, and background. When I looked at her finished product, I noticed that she had identified the genre of the Warrior Cat series as realistic fiction. This gave me pause. Maybe she just didn’t have a clear understanding of genres.
I started a private discussion with Madison that I’m afraid made her cry. I was confused about her tears. She just kept repeating, “It’s the point of view of the cats.”
I finally realized that to her the story was very real. By then a few other classmates had joined into the conversation. Jacob recalled that they had learned about lucid dreams. He said, “It’s like that lucid dream when you feel like you are really doing all those things.”
Ding! The Aha bell rang. I told Madison that it was OK that she feels like the story is real. The author writes as if everything is real, like a lucid dream.
The next thing I knew, Madison had created a new genre, the lucid book. At this point she excitedly went back to her video and changed the genre to lucid. I did not correct her this time. Some things are best left to the imagination of children.
To see Madison’s Animoto book trailer, click here.