Soulful Studies has been hosting a biweekly Classic Book Club for middle schoolers and the first book club session just came to a celebratory end. Robert Luis Stevenson's classic, Treasure Island, enthralled these young minds for over two months as we met and discussed the book in a Socratic seminar format. Socratic Seminars or Socratic Discussions are a constructive way for students to engage with a text by learning through inquiry. Open ended questions about the text lead the discussion and students hone their skills of attentive listening, critical thinking and articulate positioning of their own arguments. These skills, along with the polite questioning of the others' positions in a discussion, teach collaboration and deeper meaning to the text they just read.
After two months of reading, discussing and looking deeper in to the book, a treasure island themed celebration was scheduled. Here's what we did and below are some pictures of the fun we had!
First of all, each student had to write a short story to continue Treasure Island. They each created and shared a sequel to the classic, using only the characters left in the book. They had to summarize their sequel using the five main points of a story (setting, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution). We listened to a science fiction version of a treasure hunt, a "very close to the classic" version, and one story with a new twist on the good and evil characters.
Right after hearing the short stories, the book club engaged in a character bingo game. Each student got a bingo card with 9 different character names and the facilitator described events or characteristics of a person and the students had to play bingo after deciding who the character was. First person to get three in a row to call out "bingo!" won. For instance, a clue could be something like, "this character was served the black spot but did not die."
Finally, the students played a game of treasure hunt with homemade maps (generated by our host) and two teams of participants ran around trying to read the map and find the treasure chest. The loot was evenly shared by all!
What's a celebration without food? All homemade goodies and snacks highlighted a table for our young pirates and sailors to feast off of and the book clubs ended with a rousing "yo ho ho and a barrel of fun!"
Our next book club starts in January and we will read Johann David Wyss', The Swiss Family Robinson. Register below to join our next session.