Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thinking Across Texts in Historical Fiction Unit

I love thinking across texts with my students by connecting themes, characters, lessons, symbols, and relationships.  When students are able to make connections across texts, they lift the level of their thinking and comprehension about the texts by synthesizing and interpreting information.  Students become to expect me to ask them to think across multiple texts in various ways so they begin to do it independently too.

Currently, in our Historical Fiction Unit we are connecting historical events and character actions/decisions within time periods. For example, thinking about how the time period impacted/caused the characters' actions, decisions, and conflicts during the Civil Rights time period by analyzing and connecting Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles , Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Weatherford, and The Other Side by Woodson.  Or by looking across The Butterfly by Polacco, The Harmonica by Johnston, Behind the Bedroom Wall by Williams, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by Boyne to connect how the World War II, internment camps, and the Nazis impacted lives, decisions, and actions of the characters  and  people living through that time period.  I am always eager to find different picture books, chapter books, and nonfiction articles we can add to our text sets that we are thinking across and connecting.
 Last week, one of my colleagues, Heather, lent me Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood to read.  As soon as I began reading it, I instantly knew that it was going to connect to Freedom Summer on many levels and was so excited to begin thinking across the two texts.  Both Freedom Summer and Glory Be are set in the 1960's during the Civil Rights time period when African Americans were not allowed to drink out of the same water fountains, eat in the same diners, or swim in the same pools as white people.  In both books, the swimming pool is a main focus and the main characters share similar feelings about the laws being unfair and that the color of your skin should not matter.  My students loved reading and talking about Freedom Summer so I am excited to share Glory Be with them this week.

Happy Reading! :)


  1. Very inspiring and informative! Helps us reflect on how information fit in with what I already know. Great selection of stories, I will have to add to my reading list. As an aspiring teacher, I found your blog post encouraging!

  2. Thanks for another great post.
    I read this earlier this year. We thought of it as THE HELP for kids. Scholastic has this book in paperback already. The cover is different. It would be a cheaper way of getting the book into students' hands/your classroom.

    If you search, you can find Scattergood reading the beginning aloud. I also think she did an interview on NPR.