In November, the grade 5 and 6 class of Community Christian School in Metcalfe, Ontario, participated in a book tasting café that encouraged them to explore different genres of literature.
Tables were set with platters of books, each with a menu describing the genre of the books found there. Candles and soft music provided atmosphere. At each place setting was a placemat, a napkin, and a bookmark. Student groups gathered round the tables and each student chose a book to sample, then recorded thoughts about the volume on their napkins. After five minutes spent with the book, students offered their opinions to others at the table, and then rotated to the next genre.
It was the first time teacher Danica Harnick conducted the hour-long activity. “It is a Teachers Pay Teachers product I bought upon the recommendation of Diane Bittel from Timothy Christian School in Owen Sound,” said Harnick. “I’m a bit of a thrift store book addict, so I have a very large library, which allowed me to offer several books in each of the five genres I chose based on the interest of my class. I wanted to expose them to genres they may not be familiar with while also including some favorites so that students could have an area of ‘expertise’ to share with others at their table. I also wanted my students to have an open mind toward genres they had preconceived notions about.”
The café was a huge hit and a wonderful learning opportunity. “All of my kids absolutely loved this activity, and they were so engaged, including ones that aren't avid readers,” said Harnick. “There was one runaway favorite, A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Neilsen, which I admittedly steered students toward, because it is one of my favorite historical fiction novels. I find students don’t think they love the historical fiction genre, so I wanted to show them that this genre can be very exciting.”
See more photos on Community Christian’s Facebook page.