I dislike super structured novel studies. While guidance is needed, formal studies take the fun out of reading. That’s just my humble opinion, but I stand by the idea that learning should be organic and fun!
Sometimes (read: often) reading and guided questions that facilitate an organic class discussion are all that are needed to check for comprehension and basic understanding. I believe most in reading just for reading’s sake.
So what do you do when you’ve reached the end of a novel? I’ve done the whole comprehension test thing. It’s okay, but I want more higher level thinking in my class. I have done essay questions, but I’d rather do reflections in middle school. What I love most, especially in middle school, is when I can incorporate creativity and art into a project.
I love the 4 Square concept. Divide a sheet of paper (legal sized is best) and give structure to what should be in each square. This particular project incorporates student understanding of THEME, CHARACTER, SYMBOLISM, and HIGHER LEVEL THINKING through choice and explanation of a quote from the novel.
I love to display these 4 Square projects in the hallway for all to see. The student conversations coming from them are excellent!