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Friday, March 4, 2016

Tales of a Fifth Grade Book Club: Part 6-- Echo Pages 300-400

Part 6 of my fifth grade book club tackled the second half of Part 2 and the first 3 chapters of Part 3. Please refer to the other posts in this series and the discussion guide I compiled which includes a summary of ECHO.

Once again, we started the discussion by playing the music mentioned at the start of Part 3.  While the kids are finishing up their lunches, this is a great way to focus them on the fact that the discussion is about to begin.

Also once again, the kids are in a groove when it comes to bringing the discussion points to the table on their own.  At this point, we just let them start off and run with the information they most want to share. This is a great tactic for multiple reasons:

  1. They are able to discuss the issues and topics of most interest to them right away. They do not have to wait for us to get around to it.
  2. All it takes is one kid to be excited about one thing. The enthusiasm is contagious. They all want in on the action.
  3. They feel ownership in the group. They get to drive the discussion, while as adult leaders we merely keep them under control and asked the next level questions, such as making them express why a character or event makes them feel a certain way.
Now on to what we actually talked about:
  • Last week someone said they felt like Mike's situation was all too good to be true. This prediction turned out to be correct
    • Mike found papers cancelling the adoption even though Mrs. S promised to adopt Frankie.
      • Maybe the adoption papers are just a misunderstanding.  
      • The kid perspective caused misunderstandings before. Hmmmm
    • Mike may be dead at the end of the section-- at the very least badly injured.  Yikes.
    • Maybe he survived.  The wind blew through the harmonica and made a sound. The harmonica protects the owner, so maybe he is fine...
    • Remember, Friedrich's section ended just as badly. He was about to be arrested by the Nazi police. We don't know what happened to him either.
    • This book is very emotional-- all emotions-- good and bad.  It makes me want to cry and keep reading.
  • Someone brought it back to Part 1 and Friedrich, then the kids starting pointing out all of the ways the stories were overlapping still. They love finding these connections:
    • Mike fell out of a tree.  Remember Otto's story that began the whole book was in the forest.
    • When Mike fell he heard three sounds-- they were all sounds that corresponded directly to the 3 sister's voices at the start of the novel. Someone read the sections. Very cool.
    • Friedrich's story ending with him conducting and saying 1-2-3 to himself.  Mike's ended with the three voices. What will be Ivy's 3 at her ending?
    • How will all of their stories overlap in the end? The most common answer was that the characters will all meet up at some point, somewhere, and they will bond over the harmonica.
  • Speaking of the harmonica....Mike still had it when he fell. How did Ivy get it in California?
    • As the leader I probed them to think about the clues that the author gave us. Yes, it was not a literal transfer this time (like the last time), but....
    • The kids remembered that as part of Mike's try-out with Hoxie they were told that after the finals, they could donate their old harmonica to Hoxie who sends them to poor kids in CA.  
    • This led the kids to more speculation on what happened to Mike.
    • Maybe he survived the fall and made the band. Then he gave in this harmonica to be donated.
    • Maybe he died or was very injured so Frankie donated the harmonica in sadness.
    • We know Ivy in CA has it though.  We learned that in her first 3 chapters. It is the same harmonica with the big M on it. But it is also a few years later, so a lot has happened in Mike's story during that time.
    • Then we started talking about how old all of them would be when Ivy's story started.
    • They are all 12 in their stories but each story is in a different year. They are all different ages "now."
  • I asked if there were any final things they wanted to say about Mike's story before we talked about Ivy.
    • Mrs S reminded one girl of Elsa in Frozen.  We talked about this a bit and it is a good comparison. [One thing in general I have noticed about doing a book club with kids-- they are much more willing than adults to make random readalike suggestions on just one character or aspect of a story. They are less bound by making the readalike an overall match.  I love this attitude. It more closely fits with how stories are enjoyed and will lead to better readalike suggestions overall. I wish adults could be a little more free in this way.]
    • Someone predicted that Mr Howard and Mrs. S are going to get married.
    • Someone else predicted that Mike and Frankie will runaway to NYC and try to find Mouse.
  • We made the transition to Ivy's story when someone said, "Each story has a sibling that watches over our character, and then that sibling goes away."
    • Elizabeth for Friedrich
    • Mouse was a brother figure for Mike and he left
    • Mike is for Frankie, but Mike has to leave.
    • Ivy's brother Fernando has already left for the army when our story begins.
  • We noticed that while Ivy's story is starting off badly for her as a kid, things are looking up for her family. This is different than the previous 2 stories where things were going well and then took a big turn for the worse at the end.
  • The kids are very eager to read more of Ivy's story next week. I reminded them hers is the longest and we will only get through half of it for next time.

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