Daily Archives: November 1, 2007

SMART List #8: Andrew Clements gets them talking

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Andrew Clements is a recent discovery for me.  Summertime tends to be a time when I try to read books by those authors I’ve never read before and about whom I feel REALLY guilty and irresponsible due to my general cluelessness about their work. Enter Andrew Clements. This summer, I completed a little Andrew Clements marathon, with much rejoicing and satisfaction. Since completing this lovely immersion experience into Clements’ work, it is now my greatest desire to use a bunch of his books in a literature circle / author study with my Grade 5 munchkins.

Here are a bunch of themes / topics that Clements handles with balance, thoughtfulness and entirely kid-friendly (but completely tight) writing (these themes would be good discussion points / unit themes for lit. circles in the junior grades):

– kid world vs. grown up world

– standing up for your beliefs

– rules (who makes them, breaks them, why we need them)

– being different / judging people with differences

– different ways we communicate

– innovation / invention / creating a “master plan” 

– multiple intelligences – different kinds of “smart”

These are just a few ideas.  His books may be short, but they are rich and thought-provoking, which makes them perfect for lit circles in grades where the reading levels may be wide-ranging.

So here’s a list of Andrew Clements books I think will work best to get kids talking, at home or in school:

No Talking

Lunch Money

The Report Card


A Week in the Woods

The Janitor’s Boy

The Landry News

Experiment time… I wonder if my little children partake of Andrew Clements’s stories, will they become creative thinkers, bold questioners and determined (but appropriate) rule-challengers?

Experiment results to follow.