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"The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane": A Literature Circle based Book Club

Mrs. Russell, M.S. Ed.
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(367)
Students will read the fantastic book "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" by Kate DiCamillo and participate in a Literature Circle based book club discussion, rotating responsibilities and presenting their findings to the group.

Class experience

US Grade 2 - 5
Students will rotate through each of the following roles during the course, completing 7 of the 9 potential roles.  Chapter and role assignments will be given the week prior to the first class meeting.

Discussion facilitator
This role involves developing a list of questions that the group might discuss about the section of the novel to be discussed for that meeting. Questions should be designed to promote lively conversation and insights about the book; they should be open questions. A person with this task asks these questions of the group to prompt discussion; overall, the job is to keep the group talking and on-task. Questions that a student might ask could be: "What was going through your mind when you read this passage?" or "How did the main character change as a result of this incident?"

This role involves locating a few significant passages of text that are thought-provoking, funny, interesting, disturbing, or powerful. The quotations are copied down with properly cited page numbers. A student with this task can read the passages out loud him/herself or ask other group members to read as well. Commentary and discussion will be generated from these passages. and also draw a part of the scene that locates where the person took place

As the term implies, this job entails drawing, sketching, or painting a picture, portrait or scene relating to the appropriate section of the novel. Collages from magazines, images from the internet, and other media can also be used. The student with this role then shares the artwork with the group, explaining the passage(s) that relate to the art. Often students who do not like to write do very well with this role. The pictures usually generate interesting group conversations.

Connector or reflector
This role involves locating several significant passages in the novel and connecting these passages to real life. The connections might relate to school, friends or family, home, the community, or they might relate to movies, celebrities, the media etc. Students should also feel free to connect incidents or characters with other books that they have read. Of all the roles, this role is often the most personal in its focus.

This role involves preparing a brief summary of the reading that was assigned for that day's meeting. The summary should include the main ideas or events to remember, major characters, symbols or other significant highlights of the passage. Good summarizers are important to literature circles, as they can help their peers see the overall picture (DaLie, 2001). Also include important events and details.

Vocabulary enricher
Also called the Word Master or Word Wizard, this role is to record important words for that day's reading. Words that are unusual, unknown, or that stand out in some way are usually chosen by the student. Their page number and definition is also recorded. Often students do not see this role as particularly stimulating; however, it can be a role suited to students who are still developing confidence in English classes or textual analysis.

Travel tracer
This role involves recording where the major shifts in action or location take place in the novel for the reading section. Keeping track of shifts in place, time, and characters helps students keep track of important shifts in the novel. Artistic students also are drawn to this role, as artwork can be incorporated into this role as well. The student's role is to describe each setting in detail, using words or maps that illustrate the action.

This role includes investigative work where background information needs to be found on any topic relating to the book. Historical, geographical, cultural, musical or other information that would help readers connect to the novel is often researched and shared with the group. The research is informal in nature, providing small bits of information in order that others can better understand the novel.

Figurative language finder
This role includes identification of various types of figurative language, including but not limited to simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, and idiom. This may lead to discussion about the author's craft - why the author chose to use those particular words or phrases, and whether or not they were effective. This in-context identification can be more relevant and memorable than isolated instruction by the teacher of these types of tools.
My name is Carie Beth Russell.  I live in the Kansas City area with my husband, two daughters and two cats.  I am a former elementary teacher and gifted education specialist.  I have been “home” since my second daughter was born, but have remained active in the field of education by teaching educational summer camps, tutoring and teaching at a homeschool enrichment program. 

My professional priorities center around student-led learning.  It’s my strong conviction that supporting children as they learn, rather than dictating how and what they learn, is the way to encourage their inborn patterns of curiosity, wonder and problem-solving that will serve them well in all stages of being human.  

While my own children attend public school, we very much view education as something we own and must take personal responsibility for.  We work hard at educational advocacy within the public school context.  I teach my daughters to communicate with their teachers, ask for what they need and request amended or extended: depth, duration and scope of projects, units, skills and personal areas of interest.  

Gifted Education services often provide these things for students who have been identified as such, but these standards and the definition of “giftedness” vary from state to state, based generally on funding, and doesn’t allow for many students to qualify.  This leaves an enormous group of students who have “need of different” but no access to a more open-ended and curiosity-led education.  Please understand that when I say enormous, I mean ALL.  

Out School, and other platforms like it, allow students who are enrolled in public schools to adapt their learning modalities and pursue interests and learning pathways that intrigue their own very unique minds.  This is great, but certainly not financially accessible to all.  Teaching students to participate in Student Led Learning, in its various formats, allows them to continue on in their own investigations of an amazing planet and human experience, studying past, present and future as they forge their own distinct path. 
Homework Offered
Homework will include weekly reading assignments (approximately 25 pages) as well as completion of student's "job" in order to present to the group at the live meeting.
1 - 2 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Observational assessment available upon request.
Grades Offered
A copy of the book for 7 weeks.

Printed documents provided by the teacher via Google Drive.  Access to a Google account is necessary.  
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
This book does deal with the illness and death of a child (although this is only a short part of the book) and it also deals with an "absent" and emotionally neglectful parent who drinks (although this is also only briefly mentioned).   

You might also consider reading this part WITH your child in order to support him/her emotionally, especially very sensitive children.  I consider this book LESS tragic than others, such as The Velveteen Rabbit etc, and I do consider it  age appropriate for the ages I listed.  Depending on our families, our stories and our different sensitivities - some children (and their parents) may find this reading too activating at this time.   These two themes are not MAJOR in the book, but they are present.  

Please feel free to communicate with me privately about any concerns.  I am including a link to Common Sense Media - as it references the book.  Please know that I will not dwell on these themes, but they will be discussed and not omitted.  I will also be very sensitive to the age group.  

Lastly, I would add that literature is often a really SAFE place to explore painful subjects.  It's called "bibliotherapy" and can be a great resource for you and your child, if used sensibly and with intention.  

Carie Beth Russell

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(367)
Hello and Welcome!

**Beginning August of 2024 I will no longer be teaching classes during the school year months, as I have taken a job teaching full-time at a middle school.  I will still be offering classes in the summer months.  Please reach... 
Group Class


for 7 classes
1x per week, 7 weeks
60 min

Completed by 22 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 7-11
4-8 learners per class

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