by Andrew Ellingsen and Sarah Zbornik, DCSD Instructional Coaches, with Sarah Nowack, DMS 5th Grade Teacher
Last week, 5th grade students in Mrs. Nowack’s reading classes were treated to a special event -- a trip to the “Reading Cafe.” Instead of their normal reading class, students had the chance to explore different genres of books without committing to reading the entire book in an event called a book tasting. (You can read more about book tastings in this blog post or in the others linked there.)
With the help of Sue Sander, the collaboration room was transformed. As students arrived at the “Reading Cafe”, Mrs. Nowack, the maitre d’, showed them to their tables. (Thanks to Sue Sander, LuAnn Schmidt, Miranda McGrath and Deb Edwards for lending their tablecloths and other decorations!)
She then explained that the students would have a four-course “tasting menu” of books, with each course giving students a chance to sample a book from a different genre. Books had been selected by DMS Media Associate Beth Wahlberg. Mrs. Nowack, with help from Instructional Coaches Sarah Zbornik and Andrew Ellingsen, served each student at the table a book from that course’s genre. Students had a few minutes to “sample” the book by reading a few pages and making notes in their menu about their initial reaction. After the fourth course had been served, students were served an egg quiche made by DCSD’s Food Director Chad Elliott.
Students were asked to write down their feedback on the experience at the end of their visit to the Reading Cafe. Here are a few of their comments:
"I present new genres to students about this time every year; one of my favorite methods was genre bingo, but when I happened to stumble across a post of another 5th grade teacher asking about how to do a Book Tasting, I had no idea what she was talking about, but I had to learn more. It didn’t take much research into the topic to know I was going to make this happen! I reached out to Sarah & Andrew to help me pull it all together! I loved making it “fancy” for the kids; it definitely made it more memorable for them! And, best of all, kids walked out of the Reading Cafe with an excitement for new genres of books and lists of new books they want to read!"
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