I think this is such a fabulous idea for a linky party. I actually discovered Holly's blog and Jivey's blog through other people who linked up to this linky last week. I am already in love with both of their blogs!
Have you tried Readworks.org? Next to Read Write Think, it is my favorite free education resource on the web. There are lots of great passages! Did you know they also have novel units? I am extremely excited about these. I had decided that we would be starting a round of book clubs or literature circles using mysteries. I had my students rank their order of preference for Chasing Vermeer, The Westing Game, and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
I already had a novel unit with questions and activities for From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, but I needed chapter questions for Chasing Vermeer and The Westing Game. I happened to be on Readworks.org last week looking at passages and saw they had novel units for both of the two books I needed. Score!
Actually, the novel units are fantastic. They include chapter questions, vocabulary activities, and a unit assessment. On top of that the units include full lessons, so that if you taught the book as a whole group or read aloud full lessons are already ready for you to use as a resource. The novel units are considered for 5th and 6th grade, but there are some great titles I would use for grades 4-6.
Tomorrow I am going to hand them a calendar with due dates of when the groups will meet and what chapters need to be read by those dates. They will then plan out how much they read each day to have the reading/assignments done by due dates. I am going to be having my students make a detective notebook to include info on setting, characters, and clues on the mystery. This will give some consistency among the three books. We will also make Wanted Posters for a character they think is suspicious/guilty mid-way through the book. For Mixed Up Files, I will probably have them make a missing child sign instead of a Wanted Poster. We will also do all three types of writing during the 4 weeks they read the mysteries. They will write an informational writing based on a topic inspired by the book, they will write a persuasive of who might be guilty or what the solution to the mystery might be, and the narrative at the end will be to write their own mystery story.
I will use the chapter questions and unit assessment from Readworks and my other novel unit as quizzes for the material. Have you used Readworks? If not, check it out. You won't be disappointed.