Novel Study Takes to the Track

My all-time favourite novel is Heartbeat by Sharon Creech.

I have been sharing it with my class all week long. We’ve been listening to the audio book and following along with copies of the novel.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. It is beautiful and poetic and tells a really great story.  That is one of the reasons that I love to use it in a week long novel study every year.

The story revolves around a 12 year old girl and her love of running. As a runner, I really identify with her and her passion for the sport. Perhaps I am a little but biased here but I don’t think you need to be a runner to appreciate where she is coming from.

Anyway, today after our reading, I asked the students to answer some questions based on the text. One of the questions was, “If Annie was my friend, I would…”

I can’t tell you how many of my students finished that sentence by saying “I would run with her.”

Now, I know that most of my students aren’t runners. For a few kids, this may have been a honest answer but I highly doubt it. So after seeing this response for the third time or so, I started to call the students on it.

I said, “Really? You’d run with her? It sounds like she runs quite far and fast. You’d do that with her?”

Most of my students nodded and said that they would.

“Okay,” I said. “Well if you’d run with her, why don’t we go out to the track at recess and run.”

Most of the kids were eager to take up my challenge so when the bell rang, we hit the track. I told them that the goal today was to run for eight minutes without stopping. It didn’t matter how many laps they ran, this was not a race. We were going to run simply for the pleasure of running just like the main character in the novel.

I was surprised that I didn’t scare off any of the eager students with my speech but I didn’t. In fact, I even picked up a few runners from the Grade 5 class.

We stretched together and then set off on our run. I coached everyone as we ran together that they should keep a comfortable pace. Everyone can have a different pace and it is up to you to find yours.

I had a lot of fun running with them and I didn’t mind one bit giving up my break to do so.  It was hard to believe that our novel study took us to the track. I bet that Sharon Creech didn’t think that her words would move my class like that when she wrote this book.

2 responses to “Novel Study Takes to the Track”

  1. Hi Chase,

    What a great idea. I love how your class was so excited to get outside and go running. You’ve taught them a great lesson – it was about running, not about a race.

    You’ve created another great memory for your students. Kudos to you, Chase.

  2. Hi Barbara,

    It was just one of those spur of the moment things that happen in the classroom. Some of the best lessons seem to happen like that. As a teacher it is always good to go with the flow and I’m glad I did.