Big Read Info
Information about Big Read Events for the Pioneer Library System
By Jenny Stenis and Valerie Kimble, PLS Readers Services
For children too young for Tobias Wolff’s Old School, Pioneer Library System offers a Little Read: a selection of books suitable for younger children to read and discuss. The themes of these titles relate to lying, copying or other forms of cheating. These titles are offered as book discussion kits with multiple copies of the book and a folder of questions, information, and activities—everything needed to conduct a successful and fun program and to get the children thinking about this common ethical dilemma in their everyday lives.
The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman GR 4-6
Twelve-year-old Gil Goodson is determined to enter this year’s Gollywhopper Games held by the Golly Toy & Game Company in his hometown of Orchard Heights. Many obstacles threaten to destroy his chances. A lot depends on Gil’s winning--mainly to have the money to move and make a fresh start. Everyone in town (even his sports and school friends) seems to have turned on his family since “The Incident” which involved Gil’s dad being accused of embezzling money from the Golly Company. Gil has practiced for months on problem solving and he knows every fact about the history of the Golly Company. The day of the games brings many challenges for young Gil, both mental and physical--competing against thousands of other kids at extraordinary puzzles, trivia and stunts. And every step—every mistake—will be broadcast on national television!
The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman GR 4-6
The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker--Brenton, Sam "Snick,", Judy and Kelsey, respectively--are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together and attracting a lot of attention. Attention is exactly what you don't want when you are keeping a secret. Before long, members of the D Squad (as they are called at school) are getting strange Instant Messages from a shady guy named Milner; their teacher, Miss Rasmussen is calling private meetings with each of them and giving them pop tests that they are failing; and someone has leaked the possibility of a homework machine to the school newspaper. Just when the D Squad thinks things can't get any more out of control, Belch becomes much more powerful than they ever imagined. Soon the kids are in a race against their own creation, and the loser could end up in jail...or worse!
Junie B., First Grader: Cheater Pants by Barbara Park GR 1-3
No one wants to be a cheater pants, a 'nasty, rotten ratty pants,' especially not first-grader Junie B. Jones. One day when she neglects to do her homework, she leans over to copy prissy, perfect, punctual May's paper. After being busted in an embarrassing fashion, Junie B. laments in her journal, “I wish I could disappear into thin hair.” Fortunately, with the help of her teacher, Mr. Scary, she learns her lesson: she wasn't 'borrowing' May's homework; she was, in fact, cheating. Or was she?
Fancy Nancy, Splendid Speller by Jane O’Connor GR 1-3
Nancy, who loves to use fancy words, and her friend Bree are proud to be the best spellers in their class, but when a spelling quiz proves tougher than Nancy thought, Nancy is faced with a difficult decision.
I Repeat, Don't Cheat! by Margery Cuyler GR K-3
Loyalty is the theme in this lively picture book. Jessica is a worrywart, and her latest source of anxiety is her best friend, Lizzie, who copies Jessica's spelling words and lies to the teacher. Should Jessica say something to Lizzie, to the teacher, or to Mom and Dad? If she tells, her friend will be mad. If she keeps quiet, she will feel dishonest and angry. When Jessica writes a poem that Lizzie is praised for, she finds it difficult to hide her feelings. The situation comes to a head when Lizzie takes advantage of her once again and Jessica loses her temper. Finally, she explodes, and the teacher talks to her about what helping means. Of course, the friends make up. The happy ending about forgiveness will spark as much discussion as the conflict will: neither is easy, and both words and pictures capture the complexity of the situation, to which there is no neat resolution.
Kits contain 12 books and a notebook with activities and book discussion questions.
Gollywhopper Games and Homework Machine kits contain an activity and guide book with additional material called Plagiarism, Plagiarism: 25 Fun Games and Activities to Teach Documenting and Sourcing Skills to Students by Kathleen Fox.
Junie B, Fancy Nancy and I Repeat, Don’t Cheat! also have The Boy Who Cried Wolf with complementary activities.
These kits will be available beginning January 1, 2013. Call Jenny Stenis at 701-1835 or Valerie Kimble at 701-1836 to book them.
For more information on Tobias Wolff and the novel Old School, follow these links.
Lesson plan page from NEA
Tobias Wolff and Hill School
Dr. Elizabeth Betsy Ballard taught English, debate and competitive acting before she retired in May after 36 years at Norman High School.
During her tenure at NHS, Dr. Ballard was named the Norman Public Schools Teacher of the Year, was recognized as a Distinguished Teacher by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, and received numerous state, regional, and national awards for excellence in speech and drama education. Dr. Ballard received National Board Certification in 2002 and is the 2012 winner of the Medal of Excellence in Secondary Teaching from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
She said she has learned over time that the best gift teachers can give students is to “open the doors … and get out of the way as students step forward on their own journeys.”
To that end, Ballard incorporated more student-led learning projects into her curricula. In her advanced Aegis English classes, juniors write original one-act plays, some of which are now directed and produced on stage by fellow students. She advises debate students as they set up their own in-class mini-tournaments, encouraging them to critique each other and help others develop their best arguments and speaking styles.
“Dr. Ballard created a classroom environment where the norm was wicked intelligence, where the drive to get better was instilled in very real, creative ways,” said Sara Doolittle, a former student of “Doc” Ballard’s, who now teaches the Norman High Aegis English class that Ballard developed. “As her students, we were pushed to our capacity but loved that someone trusted us and valued our opinions.”
Dr. Ballard will serve as a teacher resource and mentor for the educators who will be teaching the novel Old School to their students as part of the 2013 The Big Read of the Pioneer Library System.
This fall, Dr. Ballard will conduct an in-service teacher training at the nearest PLS home town library to participating teachers. The session will introduce the lessons prepared by the National Endowment for the Arts and Ballard will discuss ways to customize the instruction to meet the specific needs and goals of each student and teacher.
The teacher workshops will be scheduled at times and locations appropriate and convenient for the participating teachers following the October 19 deadline for registration to participate as a teacher in the 2013 The Big Read. Documentation for CEUs will be provided.
If you're a teacher who works in Cleveland, McClain, or Pottawatomie County, you can get everything you need to teach this beloved American novel in your classroom: a Teacher's Guide with lesson plans aligned to the Oklahoma PASS standards for a two-week unit of instruction; Reader's Guides and copies of the novel to check out to your students; and links to online resources and support materials. Teachers and students studying the novel will have priority seating to meet the author, Tobias Wolff when he visits Moore, Norman, and Shawnee in April, 2013. Applications can be found in your hometown library or here.
As part of its 2013 The Big Read, the Pioneer Library System is looking for high school teachers to go old school in their classrooms by teaching the novel Old School by Tobias Wolff. Participating teachers will receive copies of the novel to check out to their students, a two-week lesson plan prepared by the National Endowment for the Arts, support materials and access to online resources, and advice and mentoring from one of Oklahoma’s most respected educators.
The teachers and their students will also have the opportunity to meet the author of Old School, Tobias Wolff, when the Pioneer Library System brings him to Shawnee, Norman, and Moore in April 2013.
“Old School is a great choice for high school students because it has teen characters, is set in a private boy’s school in the early 1960s, and it is full of references to popular authors of the day such as Robert Frost, Ayn Rand, and Ernest Hemingway,” says Gary Kramer, Public Information Officer for the Pioneer Library System. “The conflicts in the novel deal with issues of honesty, self-identity, competition, peer pressure, and responsibility. These are great topics for discussion with teens.
“This novel could be easily and effectively substituted for The Catcher in the Rye or Lord of the Flies, and would be a nice component of any class that teaches the novel, American Literature, or creative writing” Kramer adds.
Dr. Betsy Ballard will serve as a teacher resource and mentor for the educators who will be teaching the novel. Ballard taught English, debate and competitive acting before she retired in May after 36 years at Norman High School.
This fall, Dr. Ballard will conduct an in-service workshop for participating teachers. The session will introduce the lessons prepared by the National Endowment for the Arts and Ballard will discuss ways to customize the instruction to meet the specific needs and goals of each classroom and teacher.
The teacher workshops will be scheduled at times and locations appropriate and convenient for the participating teachers. Documentation for CEUs will be provided.
Any public, private, or homeschool educator working in Cleveland, McClain, or Pottawatomie County is eligible to participate in the 2013 The Big Read. Applications are available at public libraries in Blanchard, McLoud, Moore, Newcastle, Noble, Norman, Purcell, Shawnee, Southwest Oklahoma City, and Tecumseh. A PDF version of the application is also available for download.
If you’re a teacher who works in Cleveland, McClain, or Pottawatomie County, you can get everything you need to teach this beloved American novel in your classroom:
- A Teacher’s Guide with lesson plans aligned to the Oklahoma PASS standards for a two-week unit of instruction
- Reader’s Guides and copies of the novel to check out to your students
- Links to online resources and support materials.
Teachers and students studying the novel will have priority seating to meet the author, Tobias Wolff when he visits Moore, Norman, and Shawnee in April, 2013.
Take the opportunity for your classroom to learn more about Old School by completing the Old School Reservation Form
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest designed to promote literary reading. The book selected for the Pioneer Library System’s 2013 The Big Read is Old School by Tobias Wolff.
This coming-of-age novel is particularly well-suited for high school readers. It is appropriate for any instructional unit that addresses the American novel. We are inviting you, along with other educators in Cleveland, McClain, and Pottawatomie counties, to incorporate Old School into your 2012-2013 curriculum or lesson plans for the second semester.
The Pioneer Library System is preparing instructional kits for use by teachers. Each kit contains 30 copies of the novel, 30 Reader’s Guides, a Teacher’s Guide, an audio CD that features an interview with the author, and links to online resources. The concepts and activities presented in the Teacher’s Guide have been developed with National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) Standards in mind and are in alignment with the Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) Standards.
Homeschool parents will receive a set of teacher materials plus a copy of the novel for each student.
Kits will be checked out to participating teachers for a two-week period during the 16-week project, January 7 through April 30. Participating teachers and their students will also be invited to attend a presentation by the author, Tobias Wolff, when he visits Moore, Norman, and Shawnee April 25-26, 2013.
To participate in The Big Read: Old School, home school teachers will be asked to attend a training workshop to be held in a public library near your home. The two-hour workshop will include a discussion of the themes and issues in the novel, an overview of the teaching materials and resources, and documentation and evaluation procedures.
Please return the Reservation Form to us by Friday, October 19, 2012. You may make as many copies of the form as needed. Scheduling priorities will be given according to the date the reservations are received. Once the participating teachers have been identified, the Pioneer Library System project staff will work with them to prepare a schedule for the workshops and dissemination of materials.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this opportunity for you and your students.