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  #1  
Old 10-21-2010, 12:37 PM
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sillybebe sillybebe is offline
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Question Literature Circles in 4th grade

I am implementing literature circles in my classroom for the first time this year. I am looking for book suggestions for a first timer! I am going to be doing more of a structured circle the first few times. My school really does more guided reading than literature circles so I will be doing it only with my students who are at or above grade level. Does anyone have a great book to suggest to introduce the idea of literature circles to my students? Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2010, 01:17 AM
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mopar mopar is offline
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I would choose a novel that you have previously read. Sachar and Spinelli are great authors with many books that could be appropriate!
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:38 AM
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Because of Winn Dixie
Among the Hidden
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Love that Dog
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Old 10-24-2010, 01:19 PM
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Literature Circles

I love literature circles. A few titles I'd suggest are Because of Winn-Dixie, any Magic Treehouse book, anything by Andrew Clements (No Talking, Frindle etc), any A to Z Mystery book by Ron Roy.

As a side note: I'm not picking because I don't know you, but I wouldn't leave your lower level students out of Literature Circles. It is great for them also. When I start literature circles for the year, I use The Beast in Ms. Rooney's Room. It's a short, easy to read book that introduces students (ALL LEVELS) to literature circle roles.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:03 PM
jenneke607 jenneke607 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillybebe View Post
I am implementing literature circles in my classroom for the first time this year. I am looking for book suggestions for a first timer! I am going to be doing more of a structured circle the first few times.
After reading the book Moving Forward with Literature Circles (2002), I started preparing students for literature circles using picture books. We could all read the book together, either as a read aloud or shared reading, in a short time period, and then practice our norms for discussion. Some picture books I used included Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit (a compelling and somewhat provocative British children's book), and The Name Jar. Use anything that you think might inspire some discussion.

Also: doing lit circles does not have to mean abandoning guided reading! My lit circle groups met either 1 or 2 times per week, and on other days they prepared, met with me for guided reading, or had a reading conference with me. We continued to follow our typical Readers' Workshop model on most days.

-Jenn

ETA: Oh! As I was looking up the title of Moving Forward with Lit Circles..., to make certain I had it correct, I see that one of the literacy specialists at my school wrote it! I had no idea! (Just transferred to a new school, and I am still getting to know everyone.) I will have to find her on Monday to tell her how much I loved her book.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:28 PM
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I love Lit Circles! Unfortunately, we are doing Daily 5 and CAFE this year, and I just can't find the time to meet with strategy groups and lit circle groups and have individual conferences. I could spend all day teaching reading!

I also recommend starting with picture books first. They are shorter, and it will get the students used to the role sheets. I have also started practicing role sheets with a read-aloud book as well. With each section, students practice a different role sheet. I have introduced mine with both Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. (I love Roald Dahl!) Typically when I do lit circles, I focus on a theme. I've done a dog theme with Sounder, Shiloh, The Good Dog (by Avi), and I, Jack. I have also done a Native American theme with Sign of the Beaver, Indian in the Cupboard, Morning Girl, Squanto. You could also do an author study, where the students read different books by the same author (Avi, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, etc.)
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:33 AM
LoveLearning LoveLearning is offline
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[QUOTE=jenneke607;1330379]Also: doing lit circles does not have to mean abandoning guided reading! My lit circle groups met either 1 or 2 times per week, and on other days they prepared, met with me for guided reading, or had a reading conference with me. We continued to follow our typical Readers' Workshop model on most days.

Hi Jenn,

I know you posted this last year, but I am also interested in doing lit circles and guided reading groups. Do you have a schedule of how your week was set up? Or a daily schedule?

Thanks
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:03 AM
teach/reading teach/reading is offline
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Hi guys i am kinda new to this too and i was wondering if anyone had some ideas on the literature circles role sheets that were mentioned. Does anyone have any ideas?
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:33 AM
jenneke607 jenneke607 is offline
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[QUOTE=LoveLearning;1507485]
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenneke607 View Post
Also: doing lit circles does not have to mean abandoning guided reading! My lit circle groups met either 1 or 2 times per week, and on other days they prepared, met with me for guided reading, or had a reading conference with me. We continued to follow our typical Readers' Workshop model on most days.

Hi Jenn,

I know you posted this last year, but I am also interested in doing lit circles and guided reading groups. Do you have a schedule of how your week was set up? Or a daily schedule?

Thanks
As I've changed professional roles, all of my literature circle stuff is on my old computer (somewhere at my father's house)... but I'll try my best to describe two of the models I tried out!

There was one year I started with very guided lit circles, which I regularly observed. (I was heavy into interactive modeling that year.) Therefore, I only wanted one group meeting per day. I think I had 4 different groups meeting, and each one getting a designated "day" for meeting Monday through Thursday.

For our first lit circle cycle, a typical day would be:
9:00 - 9:15 Mini-Lesson (comprehension strategy, modeling a communication strategy for discussion during lit circle time, whatever)
9:15 - 9:55 Workshop Time
  • one lit circle group would meet (they would often get 10 minutes to prepare, meet at 9:25, and then they'd have extra time after they finished meeting. Lit circle meetings got progressively longer as our cycles continued, and high level groups frequently met for that whole time by the end of the year -- and were productive!)
  • conferencing with independent readers
  • guided reading group with students who did not participate in lit circle (often a very quick burst, maybe from 9:45 - 9:55, after the lit circle group would meet)
9:55 - 10:00 Closing/Reflection

We only did that for the first cycle of lit circles (January/early Feb). Each group would thus only get to meet once per week, which was not ideal. The kids definitely wanted to meet more. During subsequent cycles, all groups met concurrently on M/Th, and I would circulate between them. Therefore, the schedule was more like:

Monday/Thursday, Cycle 2+
9:00 - 9:10 Quick mini-lesson and/or prep time for groups (I found that I taught fewer and fewer mini-lessons on these days, because it stressed some of the kids out to have a lesson then prep then meet. They wanted to just prep, especially on Mondays.)
9:10 - 9:35ish Lit Circle Meetings (some lasted longer than others)
9:35ish - 9:55 Reflection in journals, prepping for future meetings, reading just right books. I would circulate and sometimes conference, but often I let kids just write in their journals to reflect without me harassing them
9:55 - 10:00 Closing and Reflective Discussion (sometimes we would stretch this into 10 minutes. Kids were hyper-reflective after meeting, and I would usually pick four books that revolved around a theme for inquiry work. Like the first cycle we did 'building identities,' and kids were explored how our ideas about our self, what others think about us, etc. contribute to our identities. I forget what I did the second cycle... maybe hopes & dreams, and looking at how characters think about what they want/need, and how these desires play out. Were there consequences? What kinds of actions were taken? Because everyone had the same "big questions," regardless of their book, they loved talking about it.)

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, Cycle 2+
(more traditional workshop block)
9:00 - 9:15 Mini-Lesson (comprehension strategies, whatever)
9:15-9:55 Workshop Time
  • students prep for lit circles/read just right books
  • I held guided reading groups. Tried to keep them relatively short, because kids wanted prep time!
  • conferencing, etc.
9:55-10:00 Closing/Reflection

I probably still have some of the resources, inquiry question stuff, if you want, but it would take a while to find. You're making me miss my 4th grade classroom now! I love being a math coach & specialist, but there is something special about having such creative control and design, and your own class of students.

Also: I highly recommend the book Moving Forward With Literature Circles. I used it all the time! It's a great resource, and currently on sale at Amazon for 37% off.
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2011, 11:41 AM
jenneke607 jenneke607 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teach/reading View Post
Hi guys i am kinda new to this too and i was wondering if anyone had some ideas on the literature circles role sheets that were mentioned. Does anyone have any ideas?
Check out some of the later books by Harvey Daniels (e.g. "Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action"), as he wrote one of the seminal texts on Lit Circles. From my cliff notes understanding, he still thinks the role sheets are okay as training wheels, but that they're not to be used long-term. They stifle discussion. I usually didn't have roles, but did lots of mini-lessons on asking good questions (prompts & probes to dig deeper). Personal preference, I suppose. The literature is worth reading in order to do lit circles well. I believe that great lit circles are inspiring and transformative, and bad lit circles are just a waste of time. (I also think I've had both occur in my classroom!)
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