Monday, April 15, 2013

"Flutter"! Best read aloud of the year!

We finished it today!

I cannot recommend the book "Flutter" highly enough for a read aloud for 4th or 5th graders!  I am not exaggerating when I say that all 22 students ranked it a 10 out of 10--seriously, when does THAT ever happen?

We did SO much thinking about this book . . . there is SO much to it!

 . . . foreshadowing
 . . . symbolism
 . . . flashback
 . . . deep characters
 . . . conflict

After we finished the book there was just silence . . . and the students then just started chattering about the ending and how the pieces all tied together.  I don't want to give too much away--but I would highly recommend that you put it on your "I should read this over the summer!" list.  We took some time to add to our mobile--we have had SO many comments on it from visitors!

So, what to do next?  SUMMARIZE!  We have been working so desperately hard to refine our summarizing skills--how to take the "essence" of a text and write about it in such a way that the story is captured without a retelling.

I challenged the students to summarize the novel in 4 sentences.  They worked alone, then shared, then revised, then we went to the computer lab and typed them up.  We knew we wanted to do something special with them so . . .

We traced . . .

We added the veins . . .

We cut out heads and added googly eyes . . .

We used paint with cotton swabs to add the details . . .

 . . . and then hung them up with their summaries!

Aren't they gorgeous?  The students were so excited!  It was a great way to end the novel.

Several of you have asked me more details about our "Fluttermobile"!  Here are the questions we have hanging from our ceiling:

  • What symbols do we discover in this book?
  • What conflicts or struggles happen in this text?
  • What would be on Maple's "Top Ten" list?
  • What is MY opinion about this text?
  • What do we learn about the characters as the text unfolds?
  • What message(s) do you think the author wants us to take away?
  • What lessons are learned in this story?
  • Why is the book called "Flutter"?
  • What theme does this book represent?
  • Do we see any evidence of foreshadowing in this text?

We still haven't finished discussing all of them with respect to the end of the text...tomorrow we will vote on and decide which 10 items that we have been brainstorming along the way will make it to Maple's "Top Ten" list.  We also need to talk about lessons learned and "theme".

And there you have it!  Now . . . to pick the next one!  Perhaps the One and Only Ivan?  Wonder? Any recommendations from YOU?


  1. I just finished reading The One and Only Ivan with my students and they loved it! I am thinking Flutter is going to be our next read aloud! Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. Well, we can do a "Trade" then...I think it's going to be Ivan! :)

  2. Your display looks awesome!!! We're about to start The Green Book tomorrow as the first book in our genre study this term. Sci Fi - I love it!! I'm thinking of doing Mr Hughes dodecahedron book report for it and having them color them like planets (the book is about leaving a dying earth and going to a new planet) Still trying to decide though...


    1. I'm not familiar with that one--I'll have to check it out!

  3. You have me wanting to read Flutter! I may have to pick it up this weekend and read it myself. How long did it take you all to read it in class. Sounds like a great read aloud to start after testing is finished.
    Thanks for the suggestion!
    Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies
    Visit my facebook page

    1. I want to say it was about 3 weeks. It is 27 chapters I think--some are short enough to read 2 in a day, others were a little longer. I have to be honest--I LIKED it when I read it to myself...the fun was the reading aloud--the students really hung on every word.

    2. I just bought it on Amazon prime so I will read it myself when it comes in and then start it next week, Wednesday or Thursday :)

    3. I hope your students like it as much as mine! There are a few graphic scenes...we talked about why the author chose to describe them that way--they figured it was to try to make THEM feel the way the characters felt.

  4. I'm reading the One and Only Ivan with a guided reading group and Wonder is my current read aloud! I'm going to grab Flutter right away :-)


    1. Nice! I need to decide SOON what I'm going to do!

  5. After your post, I am definitely going to read Flutter! Adding it to my library books on hold! Those butterflies turned out beautifully! I have read both the One and Only Ivan and Wonder, both great books, but I would definitely pick Wonder.

    Eclectic Educating

    1. Thanks, Amy! I am going to reread each and then make my decision.

  6. You never cease to amaze and inspire me! WAHOO! Thanks for being so creative.
    -Mr. Hughes
    An Educator's Life

    1. Oh, Pish, Mr. Hughes. Flattery will get you nowhere. Have you read Flutter? It was inspiring!

  7. Sounds like a great read and one that makes the kids feel something. Our kids seem to always gravitate toward the same kind of books all the time-I guess the easy ones. :)They never seem to pick up any of the ones that will make them feel some kind of emotion. I'm determined to change that next year if I teach 6th grade reading. :)

    I'm marking this one as a WANT TO READ NOW!


    1. Isn't it fun to find new titles? I think teachers should get a day off a month for "professional" and classroom reading to keep current! Anyone on board with THAT?

  8. If you are looking for a great fantasy book then I suggest Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. We are now reading the second one and we are on pins and needles waiting to see what happens next. The other book that I read to my class for the first time this year is Out of My Mind. It is a fantastic book that is written from the perspective of a girl with cerebral palsy that is confined to a wheelchair and can't speak. The kids loved this book and it prompted some great discussions. Thanks for recommending Flutter and sharing your ideas.

  9. Oh, this book is new to me, it sounds like a must have. Thanks for step by step directions for the butterfly, so many discussion topics, and the lesson ideas.

  10. I've read Out of My Mind to students and it had a huge impact on them - it's a great book. Wonder is also very good. I've also read The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had, which is historical fiction and needs to be read carefully, but generates tons of discussion. I've never read Flutter, so I'll have to put that one on my summer reading list.

  11. Would this be appropriate for a 3rd grade read aloud?

    1. may be a little graphic. Maybe pick up a copy and see what you probably depends on the group! :)