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February Classroom Connections

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Using Caleb & Kit in the Classroom

We are so excited to hear about how teachers use Caleb and Kit in their classrooms! We have a few ideas for tying it into curricular standards and driving deep conversation with your students.

Character Traits
Beth Vrabel fills Caleb & Kit with well-developed characters. Have your students explore the character traits they would use to describe Caleb’s parents, Caleb’s brother, and even Caleb’s camp counselor. Do your students think Caleb would choose the same character traits to describe the people in his life? 

Ask your students what they think about the title Caleb & Kit. Do they think the story was more about one character than another? If they were to put themselves in the author’s shoes, would your students choose the same title? Why or why not?

What did your students think of the ending? Was it enough resolution for them? Not enough? What questions were they left asking at the end of the story?

Supporting Your Students

As teachers, we work to meet the needs of all students in our classrooms. If you are teaching a child with cystic fibrosis, it’s important to be knowledgeable about CF. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has a guide for teachers so that they can best support students and their families. “As a teacher, you can provide reassurance to both parents and students by working with them and CF health care professionals to maximize your student's overall learning experience, while helping to maintain his or her health.”

Buddy Reads

One of my favorite ways to use the DBC middle grade picks within my classroom is by doing a buddy read. It has been such a personal way to involve my students with each month’s pick. This month, I’m reading Caleb and Kit with a student who has a lisp and barely speaks in class. When we meet to talk about Caleb and Kit she lights up and speaks more than I have heard her speak in class all year. The small group setting along with the engaging literature have given her the confidence she so desperately needed. 

So what can you do? 
1. Grab an extra copy (or two!) of each month’s pick from your school or local library
2. Book talk the pick with your students and ask students if they would like to join you in a buddy read
3. Set up a reading schedule (I suggest 2-3 chapters a night depending on the age)
4. Meet each day to chat!

I keep it light and fun. Book club/Buddy reads are about enjoyment, not assessment. I come prepared each day with a few questions, but I mostly let the students lead the conversation with questions they have or things they loved about the previous night’s reading.

More Resources
For even more resources relating to Chronic Illness, be sure to check out the Related Resources for Caleb and Kit in the DBC forums. 

Do you have ideas to share? 
We'd love to hear how you're using Caleb and Kit in your classroom and addressing the theme of chronic illness. Feel free to share your ideas in the thread below!