It seems as though there are never enough "scary" books for my students. So I've had to think outside the box to books in their hands. My go-to genre has become fairy tales. Thanks to authors like Adam Gidwitz (Tale Dark and Grimm, Through a Glass Grimmly, The Grimm Conclusion) and Polly Shulman (The Grimm Legacy, The Wells Bequest), convincing middle school students that fairy tales are indeed dark and sinister has become much easier.
When I'm giving a book talk, the phrase "fairy tale" still evokes an initial skepticism. So, to lower the wall of suspicion. I start with what my students know - or what they think they know about fairy tales.
Wordle and Project Gutenberg made this easy. I simply took the original text of some Grimm fairy tales, pasted them into Wordle, subtracted a few key words, tweaked colors and voila! A PowerPoint/Game/Reading Activity that engaged students and piqued their curiosity. I gave it as a quiz, with a timer for each slide.
At the end of the quiz, as we went back to view and discuss the slides, I gave a quick book talk on the titles mentioned above and the Andrew Lang Fairy Book series with the original fairy tales in them. All books flew off the shelves and re-circulated over the next few months as word spread. I got students reading while meeting ELA and AASL standards. Mission accomplished!
I've put a few sample slides below. If you're interested in the full PowerPoint, you can download it here.
As a teacher librarian in a 6-8 middle school, when I'm not dreaming up all sorts of tactics to get books into my students' hands, I am seeking new ways to harness technology to help them learn.
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