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Personal Project: Book Inquiry



An inquiry begins with an I wonder question.

The next step of an inquiry is to collect data.

Data can be organized by creating a system.

The last step of an inquiry is to tell others.

Team 20 is into books! This makes sense. Reading is fun. It takes you places. It helps you think
about and understand life. You have the keys for reading. This personal project allows you greater
freedom to choose books while approaching the books in a deep and thoughtful way. To create
your project, please follow the steps on this sheet.

Step #1: Create a List of Books Reflect on what books you enjoy reading most of all.
Decide on one theme that fits your reading interest. A theme might be books by an author or
books of a genre. Examples of genre include (but are not limited to) fantasy, adventure, sports,
historical fiction, award winners, and girls as main characters. Your list must have at least three
books that fit one theme.

Step #2: Create a Question Inquiry begins with an I wonder question. What do you
wonder about the books you have selected for your theme? Example I wonder questions include:
Which books best describe Rachel Carsons life? Which Redwall series book is the best?
Which book by Gary Paulson is the best? What does the Civil Rights Movement look like from
the perspective of young children? What is the best book with a dog as the main character?
What is the strongest girl character in books? What are similarities and differences in the
strategies that basketball coaches use when communicating with their players? What is the best
Newberry Award winning book? How are Newberry Award winning books, written in different
decades, similar and different to one another? What is the best OBOB book? What is the best
ORCA book? The question that you create must be answerable by creating and using a rating
system to compare your books.

Note: Think carefully about the first two steps on this sheet. Complete these steps on a
sheet of lined paper. Staple that sheet of paper to this one. Please have these papers organized for
your conference with Mr. Mark.

Step #3: Conference with Mr. Mark As you work to create a question for inquiry and
create a list of books, conference with Mr. Mark. He will help you refine your question and build
your list of books.

Step #4: Create a Rating System After you create a question, begin to create a rating
system to answer the question that you made in step #2. A rating system that uses criteria
(standards) is a way to compare data. Your systems criteria must be defined and organized using
a rubric that assigns a points value.

Step #5: Collect Data While reading each book, collect data to answer the question
you made in step #2. This looks like reading some and then stopping to write in your I nquiry
Notebook. Collecting data works in two parts:
1) Collect general information about your book by giving a summary of what you are
reading (focusing on characters, settings, and plot) at several points during each book. A
good standard for assessing the thoroughness of your summary is: If Mr. Lauer read
your summary, but had not read the book before, would he have a good understanding of
what the book is about?
2) Collect data according to the rating system that you made in step #4. How you organize
this part will depend on your criteria. For example, you may want to take note of a
particularly good passage if you are looking for the best book. Or if you are looking
for the strongest girl character, take note of passages in which the character conveys
strength. This will be useful in step #6 and when explaining why this book is best or
why this character is strongest. Specific examples are the best support for an argument.
Again, there is no one way to organize your data collection. Date your entries and when you start
and finish each book. Time wise, read and collect data in your Inquiry Notebook for at least 30
minutes each day during Language Workshop and/or D.E.A.R. You are welcome to take books
home to read (and your Inquiry Notebook home to write in) each evening and over the weekend. It
is your responsibility, of course, to bring your materials to class each day.

Step #6: Tell Others An audience will be defined later through conversation as a team.
One idea that comes to mind is to tell others about your findings through publishing an online
journal or magazine on our blog.