Lit. Studies

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by callmebob, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

    Jul 14, 2010
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    Jan 23, 2011

    I am starting Lit. Study groups and have been trying to gather as much information as I can. I have not done them in a while (this year or last) and was expecting to use roles within the groups, but have come across some sites saying teachers should not use defined roles for the students.
    What are you opinions? And if you use roles, what roles do you find most useful/effective?

    I know I am doing Indian in the Cupboard, not sure the other books yet.
  3. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

    Dec 23, 2010
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    Jan 24, 2011

    Literature Circles

    There are many resources out there about how to set up "Literature Study Groups" or "Literature Circles" in your classroom, and as you've learned there are some conflicting views about the "right way" to do it.

    When I was subbing, I encountered a variety of different styles for "Literature Circles." Almost all had specific assigned "roles," but there were many variations in the actual roles and duties, and different levels of formality. When I returned to the same classroom after a month or two, I'd almost always find that the roles and rules had "evolved," scaffolding toward increased complexity while also adding more flexibility, where role assignments and duties changed for the specific group members.

    You need to identify the specific goals for your literature-circle activities, and you'll probably need to adapt your roles and rules for specific groups of students. You'll probably want to "layer on" increasing levels of detail and complexity (and perhaps flexibility) for each cycle, and you'll want to carefully monitor each group (and each student) to insure that the roles and rules help foster successful reading strategies.

    There are lots of "book-specific" Literature Circle Unit Plans out there (some education programs require their students create a specific plan for a particular book), and of course different books lend themselves to different levels of complexity. When you do look at any "prepared materials" (such as a unit plan), pay close attention to the specific assumptions and skills addressed, and carefully evaluate whether your students' experience and skill levels are a good match for the materials.
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Aug 15, 2010
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    Jan 24, 2011

    Being that you are teaching 4th grade and this is new to your students, I would start with defined roles. You students need to learn the process of having a dialogue about a book with guidance. If you continue to do this throughout the year, then you can slowly take away this support.
  5. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

    Apr 14, 2006
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    Jan 25, 2011

    I use defined roles as well. The jobs rotate throughout the two-week cycle we have designed, but the work well. As the students become more comfortable with these defined roles I often add different roles to the mix or teach them to take the familiar roles in different directions so things do not become stale. Sixth graders like variety. Fourth graders may like the familiarity more. I have never tried lit. study groups with that age group.
  6. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

    Sep 25, 2008
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    Jan 26, 2011

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