Some notes I received directly from students who claimed to love the book particularly touched me. I also appreciate the comments from a few students (mostly sixth graders) who thought the book would be more appropriate for older students. When asked, if a movie were to be made form "The Prize", who should play the leading roles, most answered "real kids, just like us".
Educators who led reading/discussion groups also came forth with a great deal of very useful feedback.
Feedback about the appropriateness of "The Prize" for sixth and seventh grade students was mixed. One educator opted not to do the project in her middle school, but thought the book would be appropriate for the high school in her district. She sent the books to the high school principal. Another educator at a middle school in that same district did several reading/discussion groups with her students. Two other middle school educators opted to read the book to their students instead of having them read it themselves. This technique allowed the educator to skip or reword passages they felt were inappropriate for the age of their students. I have concluded that educators are in the best position to determine whether to use "The Prize" and how to use it with their students.
One middle school teacher shared the books with a group of adult church leaders. The church group reported its intention to use the twelve rules for getting along with each other as a guideline for promoting the fair treatment of others with youth groups.
One principal sent students a formal invitation to a pizza lunch and discussion of the book. Another educator had students roll play the characters in the book. Another had students read a chapter a day and discussed the action on an on-going basis. One reading teacher stated that the best part of the project was the discussion about cooperation that occurred after they had completed the reading.
I have concluded that students are more likely to benefit from reading "The Prize" when there is adult supervision and discussion of the concepts of cooperation.
I will continue to offer a review copy of the book to educators upon request. In an effort to promote discussion of the concepts of cooperation, I will include with the book a copy of the curriculum for the bully prevention program upon which the book is based. After the educator has determined the appropriateness of the book for her/his students and agrees to provide guidance and the opportunity for their students to discuss the concepts of cooperation I will donate ten books to their school's library. This offer is valid as long as my private stock of "The Prize" holds out.
A number of educators volunteered their intention to continue to use "The Prize" to promote cooperation in their schools. I will forward a copy of the curriculum to educators who have already received ten books for their library. Upon request, I will forward a copy of the curriculum to educators who have already received a review copy of "The Prize" and are contemplating using it in the future. (The curriculum is not currently available on my web site.)
Also, I am contemplating doing a second edition of "The Prize" specifically geared for the younger reader.
I would appreciate feedback from educators and students so that I can continue to determine the best use of the book and the bully prevention program.
Monday, May 9, 2011