Not to give too much away... but Fish in a Tree is a realistic fiction novel written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt that shares the incredible story of Ally. Ally is a girl who has moved from school to school, her dad is serving in the Army and she goes to bed every Sunday dreading the Rubik's Cube that is school. School does not come easy to her, she often disappears into "mind movies" where she escapes her insecurities in funny ways. She find friendship in two amazing classmates but also in the beloved and inspiring Mr. Daniels, who is her long term sub. He takes time and interest in Ally, which makes all the difference in the world. Throw in beautiful symbolism, analogies for days and themes gallore. This.Book.Is.Awesome... and that is why it is one of the books chosen for the 2015 Global Read Aloud. If you haven't heard about GRA get the 411 here. Basically, you commit to reading one of the nominated books during October 5th through November 14th. There are chapter breakdowns to follow as well as collaborative Google/Twitter/Edmodo groups to connect with along the way. It is a powerful way to connect with educators who are passionate about reading and literacy across the globe. When I saw that Fish in a Tree was one of the GRA 2015 selections I couldn't wait to read it. And when I read it I saw it a perfect fit for my classroom. I too made a mind movie, imagining the rich dialogue that would take place. Because the book is 51 chapters, I knew that I wanted to track my student's along the way, so I created a Novel Guide to help me do so.
There is plenty to do and discuss with this book. I create Chapter Snapshots, for each chapter they draw and summarize the most meaningful part. I chunked the book into groups of 5 (6 for the final part) and created questions that go over inference, making connections, predictions, vocabulary, summary, compare and contrast, cause and effect as well as character analysis. After every 5 chapters I have a 5 question quiz to track along with my students.
There are several respond to the text pieces. There is an interactive notebook (or can be used for a bulletin board in a flipbook) option. This goes over various story elements as well as character analysis and interpreting analogies. I tried to utilize as many different writing options as possible, because my kids need to know how to write and they need to know how to write well so I created different written responses that cater to character traits, cause and effect, themes, quote analysis and compare and contrast. Embedded in these written responses are Thinking Maps and Sentence Stems to help guide their though process.