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Eighth-graders Meet in Book Groups

During the second quarter, English teacher Laura Clemens asked her eighth-grade students to meet weekly in book groups to read and discuss four different novels written in verse. All four novels feature protagonists with different cultural backgrounds who struggle to deal with questions of identity, loss, and discrimination. The novels include “Inside Out & Back Again,” by Thanhha Lai, “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds, “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson, and “Full Cicada Moon” by Marilyn Hilton. In addition to discussing their books, the students extended their collaboration online to answer questions on Google docs, post on a class discussion board, or peer edit analytical paragraphs. This unit also includes opportunities for students to express their own experiences in poetic form in an ongoing poetry journal.