Book Club Presentations Guidelines
How do we make other people in our class want to read our book?
§ You will have approximately 10-15 minutes for your presentation.
§ You are the teacher during your presentation time. Your job is to teach an introduction to your book. Think about how you like to learn. What teaching methods are most effective? Which are least? How might you utilize this information to make your presentation engaging? As teacher, you can also, before or during your presentation, assign the class to do work which you can, as teacher, expect them to complete. The success of your 45-minute class depends on your preparation as teachers; the climate you establish for this project will determine its success.
§ Thoroughly understand your book. Perhaps even do some outside research (gasp!) into it. Certainly you should be prepared to talk about your author and the book with expertise. You cannot possibly teach others if you don’t have a handle on it yourself.
§ Use multi-media to introduce your book. For example, you can have handouts, make posters, do a skit, make a video, do a survey, have students create stuff, have them read part of your book, put students in groups to answer questions, take the class to a different location, etc.; use your imagination. And if you need any materials (copies, etc.) let your instructor know in plenty of time because she usually get them for you.
§ Each person in your group should have a part in putting your presentation together and in presenting.
§ Each student, on the day after his or her presentation, will turn in a typed evaluation of each group member including him/herself. This evaluation should be a thorough examination of each student’s contribution to the group throughout the quarter, including attendance, weekly discussion participation, leadership and facilitation, staying on task, making the group a comfortable place to learn, idea generation for presentation, planning for the presentation, and participation in the presentation. These areas should ultimately be encompassed in a grade for each group member (including yourself). These grades will determine part of your grade for this section of the course.
For your presentation, you will, for the most part, receive a group grade. There may be exceptions to this, depending on my observation of your participation and on yourself and group evaluations. This group grade is worth 100 points of your final grade. The 100 points will be broken down as follows:
§ All group members are involved. (10 points)
§ The text itself is used to help us understand the book’s content and to enhance the quality of the presentation. Some information about the author is provided. (20 points)
§ A variety of methods are used to accomplish the presentation’s goal, including visual aids. (20 points)
§ The presentation’s goal, to show us what we missed by not reading your book, is accomplished. (20 points)
§ The class is required to participate in some way. (15 points)
The important themes of the book are addressed. (15 points)
Book Club-Examples of Projects Presented
Students are remarkably adept at coming up with creative, engaging ways to teach the content of a book no one else in the class has read. The following are samples of projects presented in Barbara Williamson’s English courses.
· For a book called Rule of the Bone that contains a chapter entitled “Red Rover” and involves a street kid pulled between various forces, the class went outside in the snow to play “Red Rover Red Rover.” Returning to class, they had hot chocolate and cookies and talked about how identity is shaped by competing forces.
· Again for Rule of the Bone, students made a giant game board. Breaking the class into groups, they gave various scenarios from the book and had the groups “make decisions” about which choice would be best. When a group’s choice coincided with what happened in the book, they moved forward on the game board. After the groups moved, the presenters acted out the relevant scenario with puppets they had made.
· For a book called Straightman in which the main character, the chair of a university English department threatens to kill a goose a day until he gets his budget, students discussed character development and then went outside and, using sticks, broke open several goose-shaped piñatas to find candy and quotes from the book.
· For Crown of Columbus, a book about cultural perspectives on Columbus framed by a hunt for a treasure Columbus supposedly buried, students created a treasure hunt which had student groups searching the campus for riddle-like clues, solving those riddles, and returning to class to talk about the nature of “the hunt.”
· For The Monkey Wrench Gang, students created a video, acting out salient parts of the story with Barbie dolls.
· For All the Pretty Horses, student presenters staked out areas throughout the English building and created a walking tour. Student groups walked to different “stations” where various aspects of the novel, like character, plot, and setting, were explored through photo and text collages that a member of the presenting group then explained.
· For Indian Killer, students used characters and information from the book to recreate a murder mystery that teams of student detectives attempted to solve.
· For Alias Grace, students made a quilt that illustrated character relationships and shared it with the class.
These are a small sampling of the wonderful projects students have created. And the best part is other students leave the class saying things like “I want to read that book!”