Class visits this week focus either on the new year--with thoughts on the passage of time, resolutions, and having new books to read; or on the California Young Reader Medal (CYRM) contest, in which Pennekamp participates annually. The CYRM medals are awarded based on student votes, so our participation delivers a civics lesson while creating competitve excitement around book selection. Students all over California read or hear read the same set of nominated books. Participating students (such as ours) engage in thought and discussion about each book's strengths and weaknesses; but further, because this is a vote-based contest, students arrive at an informed position, exercise the power of voting, and observe that the outcome of a vote may not be an individual's own choice but is the choice of the majority. The statewide winners are announced on May 1. I am always interested and sometimes surprised to see which books the students actually prefer (which may or may not be the ones we grownups like and recommend).
Specific readalouds can be found on the Weekly Readalouds page of this site. There is some variety among classes of the same grade to account for the upcoming school holiday on Monday, January 19; I'm trying to keep classes roughly together so that all students in a given grade vote during the same week.
The book club for 5th-grade students is up and running! Our first selection is (by popular vote) A Tale Dark and Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz. The next club meeting is Monday, January 12. The February selection will be Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan. The March and April books are TBD in a runoff vote. May will be Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling.