Teaching in a low socio-economic area, I'm well aware of the challenges many of my 5th grade students face when making decisions between right and wrong, standing up for what they believe in, and understanding that it is okay to follow their own path. Peer pressure is a powerful thing and many fall victim to it during the tumultuous middle school years. Six years ago, I happened across the novel Wringer, written by Jerry Spinelli. The book is about a young boy who struggles with peer pressure and wanting to fit in with the 'in crowd'. I was so excited about the potential life lessons that my students might learn from this novel that I bought a class set. It has been a great tool to deliver lessons regarding peer pressure as well as an avenue for my students to express their own fears and concerns about 'fitting in' as they prepare to head off to middle school. Often, I find that books we read as a class either appeal to the girls or the boys, but seldom both. Wringer is an exception! This novel engages all of my students so completely that I use it not only as a way to get them talking about the realities and challenges of peer pressure, but to allow them to demonstrate their understanding of reading strategies that they've learned throughout the year. This is accomplished by having students respond to the story in their Readers' Response Journals. The excitement is seldom containable when it is Sharing Time. Everyone has some connection they want to share, or questions they've been pondering. Our indepth study of this novel usually takes about 6 weeks. Sometimes more! Well, six years have now passed and I've noticed that this much loved, well-worn set of books has pages dropping out like autumn leaves and covers that are barely there. Alas, the time has come to replace them! A class set of 30 books will give my students, present and future, the opportunity to connect with a great book!
|Wringer Jerry Spinelli, Cliff Nielsen (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble||$5.85||30||$175.50|
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