Teacher Testimonials

It’s fun, and the highlight of the kids’ year, and I do think it’s very worthwhile and creative.

4th Grade Teacher

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I tell parents and teachers that this is very open-ended, whereas a lot of times at school kids are given assignments with a specific rubric they have to follow, so there’s not much room for personal choice. Some kids actually don’t know how to make personal choices – they always want an adult telling them the right way to do something. And in this project there’s no right way. So it’s good for kids to be dealing with open-ended situations and problem-solving.

5th Grade Teacher

The biggest thing I saw was their motivation to follow the plot and understand the characters, knowing they were looking for problems in the book. Every single kid was invested in understanding what was happening and understanding the characters. And it was a fiction book, so that’s exactly what a good reader should focus on. And because of that I did notice a lot more kids asking about the language, about words that would be difficult for 4th graders to know, whereas normally I think they would just try to use the context clues and read on, they wanted to stop and look up the words to know what was happening. So overall they were asking more questions about what they were reading. And this book was interesting because they didn’t actually start building until three-quarters of the way through the book, but they were invested every day, looking for problems, which was great. … And I wonder if we were just looking for problems, and they weren’t even going to build, I wonder if that would be helpful on its own. I think it would be helpful for them in understanding what they were reading, and asking themselves questions, and re-reading if they need to, things like that – strategies I encourage them to do on their own, but they don’t always do them on their own. The project does encourage them to read independently.

4th grade teacher

List of student-generated problems in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

List of student-generated problems in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

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I asked them to pretend that their invention does appear in the story, and to write a chapter about the characters using their invention, and how it would change the story. They really enjoyed writing about that, and I made sure at least one person in the pair could write, so it was great for them to come up with a way their invention could be used. So that brings it full circle back to the literacy: writing part of the book, based on something they’ve created on their own. Sometimes they’d just write some dialog from the character’s point of view, even if it didn’t change the story. But either way, it takes it to the next level, synthesizing their reading;

3rd Grade Teacher