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#KidsNeedMentors Leads 4th Graders to Out of Place by Jennifer Blecher

The 2019-2020 school year was filled with a vision for our participation in #KidsNeedMentors — virtual writing coaching from Jennifer Blecher, a school visit, and snuggling Out of Place into our ambitious read aloud stack.

What we did accomplish:

  • Touring Jen’s writing space & meeting her dog on FaceTime.
  • Mailing her our finished narrative writing pieces.
  • Drafting scenes to show characters’ emotions using Jen’s strategy.
  • Introducing ourselves to her beloved character Cove through First Chapter Friday.

Back in March, we left our (very) unfinished literary essay work behind in the classroom, along with our hopes and dreams for the spring. One April morning, a motivated writer showed up on Google Meet for small group writing. She introduced her turn to share by saying, “When I was reading Amal Unbound, I wrote a literary essay after I finished it.” Cue my enthusiastic “Oh my goodness! I’m so excited that you did that all by yourself.” As it turns out, she had also done some writing about Out of Place. She reached back to all she remembered from the classroom to write about her reading– the independent effort is worth celebrating! Notice what she learned about friendship and self discovery.

The original plan was to enjoy Jennifer Blecher’s debut novel as a spring read aloud in Room 104. Of course, plans changed, but that didn’t stop readers from buzzing about Out of Place! In an effort to unite our readers across fourth grade, my teammates and I taught a lesson around book buzzing. Our literacy specialist, Susan Kennedy, shared all about the process in May. Check out Evelyn’s book buzz to the right.

Our classroom copy was quarantined within a reader’s book bin at Brown School for a few months, but my heart is happy knowing it was passed between a handful of readers in the classroom leading up to our closure. I’m even happier knowing it sparked some writing ideas for learners while they were at home in the spring!

2 thoughts on “#KidsNeedMentors Leads 4th Graders to Out of Place by Jennifer Blecher”

  1. Ahhhh. Another enthusiastic piece of writing and a great read! Thank you for sharing the student’s narrative.

  2. That’s so exciting as a teacher to have a student work independently on her literary essay- what a strong foundation you have created.
    I always love reading your posts!

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