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Curriculum Details for
Spaghetti Book Club

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Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
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Practitioner Expert Background

Two practitioners were interviewed for this review of Spaghetti Book Club.  One practitioner has been a teacher for 12 years, and has used Spaghetti Book club with a second grade classroom for the past year.  She uses it about once a week, until close to publishing time, when she used it on a daily basis.  She has 16 students, majority African American, including some English language learners.  The other practitioner has worked with students in an afterschool setting for many years, and has used Spaghetti Book Club for four years about once a week.  She has used it with elementary school aged students, most of whom are recent immigrants with a limited English background.

Logistics

Training
  • Attended a brief training, approximately 1-2 hours, going through the materials with a representative from Spaghetti Book Club.  Felt confident that she was able to implement the program.
  • Both felt that the company’s customer service was excellent. Creator of the curriculum is still very hands-on and involved with supporting Spaghetti Book Club users.
Set-up/preparation
  • Following program guidelines explicitly helps decrease preparation time.
  • A small group of students, less than 12, is ideal for using this program.
  • One practitioner implemented the program with only one computer, but recommends having access to a computer lab to reduce workload for instructor.

Student Engagement

  • The end goal of publishing reviews on the Internet maintained student interest and motivation. Students seemed to have a sense of accomplishment and pride when finished.
  • Highly effective at engaging students.
  • Students enjoyed being able to express their opinion and write a recommendation as part of their book review.
  • Students developed the skills to explore books on their own, by using the back of books and inside covers to access others’ reviews and recommendations.
  • While the Spaghetti Book Club community can expose students’ work globally, their identities remain anonymous and their privacy protected.
  • The students enjoyed drawing pictures of themselves. They were original and imaginative in illustrating the book they reviewed.
  • Parents enjoy seeing their children’s work published on the Internet.  Families are invited to attend school for a celebration of the final product.

Content

Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Structure is appropriate for the goals of the program, with plenty of opportunity for instructors to add their own creative twist to the script.
  • User-friendly and adaptable to the needs of the students.
  • Students can work in groups or pairs, according to instructor’s needs and goals.
General skills taught
  • Program guides students through the writing process from start to finish.
  • Skills with technology, computers, and Internet.
  • Peer reviewing offered an opportunity for students to work together and develop social and teamwork skills.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Had students of very different learning levels, but the structure of the program was such that students could pick books at their appropriate reading level to read and review.
  • Students of different levels can work together on reviews.
  • Students of all backgrounds have been engaged in the curriculum. They pick their own book to read.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • Total connection with literacy, both reading and writing.
  • Internet publication is motivating for students.
  • Structure teaches students to work independently.
  • Breaks the end goal down into smaller tasks for the students.
Challenges
  • Teacher needs to be organized and plan ahead, or could become overwhelmed with keeping track of student materials and preparing for publication.


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