The Critics of 256

Ms. Lynam reads a movie review to the 256ers on Friday afternoon.

I have never met a group of kids who love Harry Potter more than the mighty muggles in Room 256. I’m sure if you’ve been following the series this week, you’ve noticed the saga referenced several times both in print and in this blog. It’s not because I’m a Harry Potter fanatic, though I will admit I’ve read the series twice and will be heading to theaters this weekend to check out the newest cinematic installment. It’s because I haven’t gone a full 20 minutes this week without some sort of visual or verbal reminder of the fact that half these kids are making their way through the seven-part series right now. Plus, Enart looks just like little Dan Radcliffe in the first movie, and I can’t look at him without thinking about the young wizard in training.

So during writer’s workshop today, their teacher Laura Lynam pulled out the Harry Potter movie review in today’s Advocate to read out loud. The kids are currently learning how to write a good review in their writer’s workshop. I’ve watched them learn how to do this piece by piece all week long. So far they’ve learned that it’s important to discuss the plot without giving away the ending. They have defined, discussed and identified judgment words throughout the week.

Today they’re writing mini reviews. Right now, Naissie, Philemon and Chris M. are sitting at the back table with me, and I’m peeking at their work (What? I’m nosy!). The boys are reviewing Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and Naissie is reading My Best Friend by Mary Ann Rodman.

The task written on the board looks like this:

In the book __title__ by __author___, ___(describe characters/setting/events briefly)__.

The author ____________________________________.

The students are supposed to fill in the second sentence with judgment words, describing how the author told his or her story.

Here’s what Chris M. wrote:

In the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and the characters are Max and the Wild things. The setting is at  Max’s house and the jungle. Max is acting annoying and goes to the Wild things and feels loved. Later on he goes home and acts normal. I think this book is beatifully (sic) presented. I think it’s beautifully presented because it has interesting events that make readers curious about the world of the Wild things.

Side note: I thought I’d point out how excited I was to see a newspaper used in the classroom (it’s the second time this week if you count the papier-mâché project in art class).

Maggie Gordon