Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book Reports As You Never Seen Before!

If you are like me, I am always looking for new and interactive ways to make book reports/literature responses (what ever name you call them) more engaging for my students.

This is the very reason that I created my Book Report Menu Kit. It provides a way for students to have choice EVERY month/quarter (the kit provides a format for both).

In that kit there is an option for "Other" where the students can design their own project. I have had some pretty amazing projects submitted over the years under the "other" section. This got me to thinking about a fun idea that I have been kicking around in my head for some time.

What if I turned one of my popular dodecahedron kits into a book report format. Hmmmm....
How would my students react to having to do 12 mini-projects (these are 6th graders mind you).

Would it be too much (dare I say it) WORK (heaven forbid)?
Take too long?
Too cheesy?
Too cutesy?

Undeterred by the prospect of critical feedback (my students are none to shy on sharing their feelings about projects/assignments- they are 6th graders after all!) I started putting together ideas on paper.

This spurred me into action and thus my Book Report Dodecahedron Kit was born. Creating it was the "easy" part. Now to get my students to buy into it.

Well, let me tell you.

We had just completed my Christmas Dodecahedron Project and I thought for sure they would balk at having to do another dodecahedron... boy was I wrong.

I am not sure what magical power a dodecahedron has, but my students never seem to tire of them. This was the 4th one we have made this year and they were still excited. Here a few shots of my kiddo working on them:

 I loved that they had to do a lot of little projects that didn't, according to them, feel overwhelming. I will say that it took about 3-4 days of 45-60 minutes each day to complete. This was the week for before winter break so there was flexibility, but, if it were to be sent home, I would totally have sent it home in small chunks, or used it as a "read-aloud time" work on project, or both. Another thought I had was to have them work on it throughout reading their book. That way it is spread out over the month and very easy to do.

Now... keeping track of all the pieces might be a different story, but I also thought about having them turn in each circle as it is completed. That way I could grade each piece at a time, and then I wouldn't be left with a HUGE pile of dodecahedrons to try and grade after presentations. That part I REALLY like!

 One of my favorite parts is having them hang around the room/hallway. They are just eye-catching, and I find that students are always under them trying to see/read what they say.

When I have sent home my dodecahedrons in the past, I just sent a note saying that if a parent wanted to keep it for a memory book, to simply remove the staples/carefully separate each tab and then you have a "booklet" of 12 circles. Easy Peasy.

Wahoo! Another successful project!

I hope this post will inspire YOU to try something new and brave in this new year. Give you and your students a NEW BEGINNING!

Good Luck and Happy New Year!


P.S. If you are interested in looking at my book Report Dodecahedron Kit, click HERE or on the picture below:


  1. Great project! I used to do "Circle Boxes" with my 3rd graders, and found that doing them piece by piece was a lot easier too (for them and for my correcting)!

  2. Hey Amber-
    Thanks for your insight and comment! It is nice to have you join us here at An Educator's Life! :)
    Happy New Year to You!

  3. It was a great project, and having them create them in class took away most of their excuses.

    Another successful creation. Well done. :)

  4. My students absolutely love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Your dodecahedron project looks fabulous. Very creative!

    Elementary School Garden

  5. Hey Mindy- Thanks for your kind words!

    Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your kind words. Have a fantastic day.

  6. I've modified it so that each side meets a different level of Bloom's. Thanks for the great idea!

    1. I'd love to see this. Do you have a sample posted anywhere?

  7. Greetings!
    So glad you found us here at An Educator's Life. I wish you great success with my Book Report Kit.
    MrHughes :0)

  8. Is there enough room for sixth graders to write in the detail they should? Do you get the quality you should from them?

  9. Greetings Laura-
    This is a great question. I put enough lines to get a concise summary or response from my students- which is an important skill. I found with this project, when they had a limited amount of room to share all the details they needed, they became much more selective of what/how they wrote. If you wanted MORE writing from them, you could always have them write smaller and write two lines for each line.

    If you want more insight, check out this link of a blog post by a teacher who purchased the project, completed it, and then found me to share her results:

    I had no idea she was doing this project until she contacted me. I hope that answered your question. I have never had an issue with the amount of writing space with my 6th graders.

    Thanks for stopping by and for asking your question. It is always a pleasure to meet and visit with my teaching colleauges! Let me know if you have more questions!

  10. I love the free comprehension graphic organizer and plan to use it immediately!

  11. I would like to purchase the resource for the dodecahedron project, but I can't figure out how to. It appears to be on sale for $6.80. Please help! Thanks.
    Joy Cleaver

    1. Hello Joy!
      Thanks for reaching out. I am happy to help.
      There are two different options.
      1) Just the dodecahedron which can be found here:

      2) A bundle that has our book report menu resource and the dodecahedron project. That can be found here:

      Thanks so much for your question. I have sent you an email as well! Have a great night!


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