So, I finally opened my new Scholastic brochure yesterday and BOY was I in for a SURPRISE!!!
A Hallmark Channel original movie? Say WHAT! Debuts September 20th – lots of things going on this year because it’s the 50th anniversary of the church bombing. O-M-G. It gets even better. Are you ready for the BEST NEWS YET?
It’s the $1 book in this months TAB for Middle School! YUP!
This means you can get yourself a class set for – what – $25? Wowza! Or, you can do like me. I actually just ordered a brand new set of 60 copies of this book a few months ago because my old ones were 10 years old and falling apart. SO… I used about 2,000 of my Scholastic bonus points to order 55 MORE copies of this book for my current 7th graders! I’m going to leave those new class novels in the closet and let this year’s kids have their OWN copies…. and you know what THAT means… that’s RIGHT… ANNOTATING!! We’re gonna mark that book ALL UP! Woo hoo! Can you FEEL my excitement about this?
Wait a minute. Do NOT tell me that you aren’t already signed up with Scholastic book clubs. Surely everyone is, right? If you’re not, go sign up here and you can order your copies today. Over half of my huge classroom library comes free through Scholastic Book Clubs. Seriously! You are missing out.
Back to The Watsons. I love, love, love teaching this novel unit with my 7th graders. I’m always surprised at how naive so many of my kids are when it comes to racial issues. I really, really enjoy some of the mature conversations I can initiate with my students when we read this book.
So, what will we be annotating? Why, figurative language of course! This book is majorly JAM-PACKED with excellent figurative language examples. In fact, my whole figurative language unit in 7th grade revolves around this book! I really step it up with my 7th graders and expect them to both identify and analyze figurative language. If you teach this novel or plan to, you are definitely going to need to check out Margaret Whisnant’s stuff for this novel. Specifically, get her Vocabulary Pack, and you’ll be ALL SET for teaching figurative language with this novel!
Check it out here: The Watsons Go to Birmingham Vocabulary Study by Margaret Whisnant
I would go so far as to say it’s the most useful $4 I’ve ever spent on TpT. And hey, you might as well go ahead and get the whole novel pack if you can swing it! Margaret’s stuff is always of the absolute highest quality.
Now.. I haven’t even told you the BEST part about teaching this novel. It’s the audiobook. Seriously! LaVar Burton narrates the audiobook and I have *never* heard a better audiobook performance – and I listen to audiobooks daily. Do you remember him?
Child of the 80’s or 90’s? Go ahead and press play. You know you want to! LaVar Burton is the Reading Rainbow guy. And let me tell you. He narrates this story with so much personality, fun, and humor, that every kid in your class will LOVE it. I swear it. You will enjoy it, too! I’ve listened to it so many times for my own pure enjoyment. Really.
As for as the actual story itself… I could go on and on about this awesome, heart-filled family book, but watch the trailer above and you’ll have a great idea about the book. It’s the 1960’s, and you’ll see an African American family travel from the comfort of Flint, Michigan, to a racist south that they could have never imagine existed. And it isn’t even too serious. There is so much humor in this book. Have you started reading it yet? Go, go, go!
There will be so many resources out there this year with the 50th anniversary, movie, etc. so go ahead and get your super-cheap novel copies and prepare to teach this book! I plan to start in September.