What does a group of super-bright, intellectually curious 7th graders choose to read?

Fahrenheit 451.

That was one of the books we chose to read for our book club. My favorite comment when we met to discuss the first part of the book: “I don’t understand, he’s a fireman who SETS fires?”

Our first meeting was an opportunity to discuss censorship and the banning of books. In Washington, DC, the idea of banning books is inconceivable, so this was something the students had never considered. They found it shocking that any book would be banned for any reason. We discussed why books would be banned, who benefits, and who loses out.

To facilitate the discussion, I used a phenomenal set of lecture slides put together by teacher-author Laura Randazzo. There is no way I would have been able to engage the students in such meaningful conversation without those slides.

At our final meeting, I had the students show what they had learned from reading the book by playing an escape room game. The Fahrenheit 451 Escape Game was developed by teacher-author Julie Faulkner. What I loved about this product was that it forced the students to synthesize what they had learned, not just regurgitate facts. And it was super-engaging. They worked together in teams to solve five different puzzles in order to “escape” the room. The puzzles focused on character analysis, figurative language to understand the deeper meanings of Bradbury’s writing, plot, and the central theme of the story. It was a fabulous way to end our book club for Fahrenheit 451.

Hi. I'm Blake!

The path I’ve taken has been long and winding, but two things always remained constant: my love of books and my passion for learning…

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