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        The week before vacation I did a variation on your lesson on
fiction spine labels.  I had the third graders sit in a circle and I
passed out a book from the fiction section to each.  I had them hold
up the book with their finger on the front cover, the spine, the
spine label.  Then I said, "Look at the front cover and find the
author.  Then put your finger on the author.  Look at it very
carefully.  Now put your finger on the spine label.  Look at the
letters on the spine label.  Now go back to the cover and look at the
author."  (a few kids gasp and start waving their hands.  I smile and
put my finger to my lips.)

Then I tell them to pass their book to the person to their left.  It
takes a few times before they get this and can do it smoothly.  Then
I go through the whole routine again.  After they've done this 5-6
times, when they have a new book in their hands, I say, "Put your
finger on the author.  Now in your mind, not out loud, make a guess
as to what will be on the spine label.  (pause) Now look at the spine
label.  Raise your hand if you guessed right."  (cheers and much
excitement)  We go through this 5-6 times.  I watch to see who isn't
getting it and scoot across the floor to guide them.  We talk about
tricky things like how to find the author when it doesn't say "by
so-and-so" and what if there are two authors and what to do with
people like Chris Van Allsburg.  When everyone is getting it
consistently, I gather up the books and pass out books from the
picture section and we do the same thing.

I never thought I could teach a lesson on fiction spine labels the
week before Christmas and have such good attention from the students!

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