Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lesson Plan Ideas

Great lesson plan ideas for reading the Roman Mysteries from half a dozen clever sixth grade students from Lebanon Middle School. This term they were reading Roman Mystery #3, The Pirates of Pompeii, with Mr. Klosowski.

Hi, my name is Catherine... I attend Lebanon Middle school in the small town of Lebanon, Connecticut. I just recently finished your outstanding book, "The Pirates of Pompeii". My reading teacher's name is Mr. K and he has read a little bit of another of your amazing books, "The Thieves of Ostia"... When we were assigned "The Pirates of Pompeii", we were given about six scrolls every Wednesday. On Monday when we came back from school, we would have a test on the reading that was due. These tests included about 2 to 4 questions. The tests would see if we had read over the weekend or not. Mr. K would also give us comprehension questions and vocab questions. I thought the vocab questions were very handy because some words such as brazier confused me on what they meant. We would take a good guess at what the word meant, and when we all finished, Mr. K would give us the real definition for us to fill in on the back. One thing that was due when we were all done was the character chart. It would have the names of each important character and we would have to fill in the following: physical description, personality and skills, and the character's actions. Last but not least, we would have a simile worksheet that had different similies from the story. We would have to illustrate what we thought it meant...

Once I started reading it, I wanted to keep going from the assignment that Mr. K gave us. He set a certain amount of pages for us to read, and I found it hard that I had to stop reading at a page filled with so much creativity to put it down and do something else. We had to do certain activities along with the book that I enjoyed a lot. One of them was a vocabulary page where we had to find out the meaning of a word. I found this interesting... Seeing how Jonathan and Flavia used the word, I could really relate to it because it gives me a good visual picture in my head. Some of the words I really use today, and I prefer these words to ones I have kown, but am striding for newer and better ones... Your book was more interesting than a boring textbook... history just came alive!

The reason why I think everybody likes your book so much is because you added so much suspense and action. I personally think that the book is up there with my top 10 favorite books I've read in my life. And the reason why it is my favorite book is because you added so much action. I'm sure you know that every class assignment comes with either homework to do at night, or a little bit of class work during the day. Our teacher would give us a quiz just to make sure we read that week... On these assignments I do pretty well, but sometimes I have my ups and downs with my reading homework. Most of the time I will get 90s and above... As I was reading your book, I noticed that Jonathan and Lupus have some things in common with me. Jonathan is a good shot with his sling shot. When it comes to throwing things at  animals or trees, I can do the same thing... You know how Lupus is good at diving into the water for things? I can do the same thing here at my house when I'm swimming in my pond...

The work my class has been doing on this book is comprehension questions, character charts, and simile pages. The comprehension questions are about what happened and why in the last few chapters to better understand the story. Also the character chart includes physical descriptions, actions describing the person and characteristics about the main characters. Another page we do is the simile page, where we take some of the creative similes you included in your story and talk about what they mean. On these pages I have mainly gotten 100% due to your easy to understand book. We have also watched a few of the Roman Mysteries television shows. I thought the characters looked a lot like the characters in the book. It was so interesting to see a chapter book like the Roman Mysteries, which is so vivid, become a television show... In social studies we will soon be learning about ancient Rome. "The Pirates of Pompeii" gave me a lot of background knowledge about that time in Rome. Things like the Roman beliefs, myths, and the way things were with patrons and slaves...Titus was also a character in your story that was a real person in Ancient Rome, a person who my class will be learning about soon.

I am currently reading the sixth book in the series, The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina. It is very exciting and hard to put down. I also love the way it's elaborately linked to the twelve labors of Hercules. I have not finished reading it yet, but so far my favorite part is when Jonathan and Lupus are hunting an ostrich with Aristo. I could actually imaging the story in my head because there was so much detail. When I am reading it feels like I am watching a movie in my head.

I have many questions for you about many things. Are you working on a new book now? Is it related to The Roman Mysteries or is it a totally different book? Was it hard coming up with so many ideas for this book or do they just come to you? Do you spend a lot of time with your family while you are writing a book or do you stay at your desk a lot? Do you do much research for these books and does it take a while to gather it all? Also, what do you use to find the information? Do you get writers block or do you rarely get it? When the teacher assigns a writing assignment, I usually get a good start but then I run out of ideas. Could you give me advice like some way to get it flowing?

For some more great letters from another class of Lebanon Middle School sixth graders, go HERE.


  1. Anonymous9:39 AM

    wow!!! Mrs.Archer was right!!! you did post our letters! but where are hers and rs.huntington's??

  2. The other letters are here: