They used to call them book reports, back in my day. Plain and simple, with your neatest handwriting. There was a word count, and you learned the tricks for padding your prose.
Book reports were generally a chore, and squelched the joy of reading. Some short-sighted classmates would “borrow” information from the inside of the book jacket or back of the book. Yeah, the teacher’s never going to pick up on that.
We didn’t have the Internet to troll for, ahem, examples of how the book report might be written.
Maybe that’s why kids these days have a “book share,” instead of a book report.
Reading the book is just the first step in a book share. The real labor is in creating the presentation.
It needs to be colorful, creative, and even interactive, if possible. It helps to have something to do with the book.
You can get away with a poster — on one of those tri-part foldout boards. That’s what our daughter used for her last book share, a biography. She chose accomplished dancer Maria Tallchief. Our daughter was drawn to this colorful person because she overcome obstacles on her way to becoming famous and respected.
But the poster was a blank slate. Mom and daughter spent hours scanning the Internet for pictures that reflected Maria Tallchief’s life and career.
The report earned an outstanding grade. She was nicked for one point. As a portion of the book share, students write a three-paragraph summary, and read it aloud during their presentation. Students are expected to maintain eye contact with the audience. She wavered.
Other students had PowerPoint presentations (we did that last year), and prop-filled productions that included distribution of candy — always a winner with the 3rd grade crowd. A biography of Milton Hershey, for instance, featured an over-sized Hershey kiss that distributed foil-wrapped candy bits to students who correctly (two pieces) or incorrectly (one piece) answered questions.
Our daughter’s report is on “Who is Sally Ride,” a strong choice for a 3rd grader. It includes frank details about Ride’s personal life.
Parental involvement: I spent nearly two hours this afternoon scouring the Internet for NASA logo stickers. Tiny NASA logo stickers. Fit on a Barbie-turned-Sally Ride spacesuit sized NASA stickers.
Sure, there are plenty of large stickers, decals, patches and the like. I did find two sites that offered, at least in a search, a sheet of NASA stickers that included the small ones I was looking for.Alas, one site no longer existed, and the other site had lain fallow since 2012.
The third site I found was blocked by my Malware evil Web site detection and defense.
The stickers were necessary because the spacesuit we found and ordered from eBay had only the Barbie logo — not NASA or USA. Sally Ride would never wear a spacesuit with a Barbie logo. Then again, Sally Ride might find it a delicious irony to be portrayed by Barbie.
I turned my search back to Barbie wardrobe-land, and found a better suit on eBay, one with a NASA logo on one shoulder and USA on the other.
Earlier, I found and purchased a model of the Challenger space shuttle, Sally Ride’s vehicle to the stars (or at least above Earth).
One hitch: The model is only 7 inches long — just about pony-sized for a straddling Barbie. The shuttle also was missing a couple of pieces, including a rear engine jet cover and one of its wheels.
Not to worry, says daughter, who is notoriously exacting in her approach to such matters.
Her book share display will be a mobile, with Sally Ride, the shuttle, the satellite she deploys, and a few planets hanging from its arms. All of the items will appear in perspective, she said.
What about that missing wheel?
No problem, she offered. Break off the one that’s there, so it’s a matched set. This shuttle isn’t landing, anyway.
If only all of getting the “book share” to take flight was that easy.
(Speaking of Space … please visit my online store: http://buymytrekstuff.com … Thanks!)