Literature Circles

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by tinytee, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. tinytee

    tinytee Rookie

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    Aug 19, 2008

    Hello everyone!!!

    This might be a silly question, but what exactly are the lit. circles that you all speak of? I'm sure reading is done, lol but what all does it entail?

    I'm a 2nd year 6-8th grade Eng. teacher, but my first year was very... not like anything normal lol. I'm still having trouble with understanding how to set up the cirriculum... :( :help:

    THanks in advance
     
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  3. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Aug 19, 2008

    Basically Literature Circles are self-guided novel studies. Students are seperated into groups and read different novels. When I did Lit Circles I had a break down of the chapters I expected them to read and they each had jobs in the group. (I'd have to go find my Lit Circle stuff to give you specifics and its hiding in a box in the basement). Some of the jobs are things like summarizer, illustrator, etc. The kids had to each do two jobs (I had them broken into groups of 4 or 5) and they changed jobs every week so no one person did the same job every week. Then I had a final project that they had to do as a group. It was a lot of fun.
     
  4. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Aug 19, 2008

    Same as what Canadian Gal wrote, but I have all students read the same book and teach the roles and expectations with the first novel of the year. Then I give students a selection of novels around a theme. For instance, this year our first real lit circle will have a theme of Biomedical ethics. The class has a guiding question that everyone answers and does a project using their book.
     
  5. tinytee

    tinytee Rookie

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    Aug 20, 2008

    Thank you guys so much for responding. If it's not too much can you give me an example of how a session would go i.e. time frames, follow- up etc.
     
  6. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Aug 20, 2008

    I would love to, but like I said, all of my stuff is all packed up. I used one term for that work (so about 3 months) and students had reading days, working days, etc. Our theme was Time Travel, and we did other activities (read short stories etc. that followed our theme). I used these in 2005/2006 and haven't used them since (different schools and different resources available!)
     
  7. tinytee

    tinytee Rookie

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    Aug 20, 2008

    Thank you anyway Canadian Gal!!!! I appreciate the effort.
     
  8. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Aug 20, 2008

    A session as in a daily lesson or a session as in for the whole book/theme?
     
  9. tinytee

    tinytee Rookie

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    Aug 20, 2008

    Hey Fuzed!

    I guess a simple daily lesson maybe. Like, is it a whole period and how do you break down each activity within the lit. circle?
     
  10. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Aug 21, 2008

    Tiny - for me it was a whole period. I had the kids seated in blocks in their literature circles (so they didn't need to move desks). They would read, then complete their activities. Some groups read aloud, others read silently.
     
  11. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Aug 21, 2008

    With the first book when I am teaching students the roles and expectations, I use a whole period (about 53 minutes here). The schedule is about like this:

    5 minutes bell work/review
    5-10 minutes - Model role
    15-20 minutes - Complete Activity using the role for the day.
    10-15 minutes - Share out
    5-10 minutes - go over homework for the night (reading is done at night)

    Students sit in their groups for the book. The first week of reading everyone learns all the roles and expectations. Then from the second week on groups assign roles by using a spinner. They have a folder to keep all their work in. Then students have time at the end to work on their group project and presentation.

    Before we start the first book, the students and I come up with an agreed upon schedule for reading. I give them the deadline of when the book has to been done and the groups develop a proposal on the reading schedule. The class votes on each schedule and majority rules. After the first lit circle, then the groups come up with a proposed schedule for me to approve.

    I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions!
     
  12. tinytee

    tinytee Rookie

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    Aug 21, 2008

    Oh wow, Fuzed that did help!! Thank you. Ok, so I'm also a little slow so please bare with me lol.

    So say I'm doing Phantom Tollbooth... I assign a reader, an illustrator etc. for that chapter? Then ch.2 we switch roles within the group? Share out would be presentations? If reading is done at night then what's the job of the reader in class... I'm sorry, just trying to grasp this because I really would like to use this method.
     
  13. crayonfan

    crayonfan Companion

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    Aug 22, 2008

  14. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Aug 23, 2008

    Tiny,

    I don't use a reader as a role. That is one role they all must do. For the first book here is my unit plan...
    Day 1 - Get into groups and introductory activity to book.
    Day 2 - Groups develop and present pacing for reading, class vote (students do first night reading this night)
    Day 3 - Introduce and model first role. Students work together to complete their role task and share with the class
    Day 4,5,6 - Same thing as Day 3 but a different role.
    Day 7 - Students choose or assign role (some groups keep the same roles for the whole books other groups decide on a rotation schedule)
    Day 8 - whenever - students read, discuss, do their roles
    Schedule however long you think they need for their project. Sometimes I have all groups do the same project or they have a choice of projects.

    Sharing out is sharing with the class what they did for the role. For instance, vocabulary role....students would share what words they chose and why (new word, important to understand, used in an unexpected way), how did they figure out the meaning (context clues, someone knew what it meant, looked it up in a dictionary).

    Additionally for each chapter I have a guiding question I want them to be able to answer about the chapter. The guiding question related back to the original them, which I have presented as the question or purpose for reading the text.

    Keep the questions coming. I do not mind a bit!
     
  15. tinytee

    tinytee Rookie

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    Aug 26, 2008

    Sorry, I've been tied up lately...started to decorate my class...

    Crayon Fan, that site is sooooo helpful. Thank you.

    Fuzed, I really appreciate your help. I pasted your info. and I will use it as well... I'll let you all know how it goes!!
     
  16. Alisha

    Alisha Cohort

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    Aug 26, 2008

    Speaking of lit circles...does anyone have a fun final activity to give to each group?
     
  17. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Aug 27, 2008

    my students have really enjoyed making fake myspace mock pages (on construction paper or something else, but not posting it on myspace) for the characters. they also have to explain why they made their choice and use the text to support their choices.
     
  18. Alisha

    Alisha Cohort

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    Aug 27, 2008

    I love the "myspace" thing, fun!
     
  19. IowaLA

    IowaLA Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2008

    Here are a list of group activities I give my kids to choose from. A lot of groups chose the game board and the final products were outstanding.

    1. Reader’s Theater Performance of an important scene from the book.
    2. Recreate the book as a children’s book.
    3. Perform a lost scene from the book. This would be like a deleted scene that could fit into the story line somewhere, but isn’t in the book itself.
    4. Panel Debate: Have a debate over an issue brought forward in the book.
    5. Do a puppet show based on a scene from the book.
    6. Do a read aloud of a section of the book (including reading the section and the discussion)
    7. Create a board game based on the book
    8. Reader-on-the-street interview(s).
    9. Do an impersonation of a character in costume with props.
    10. Do an interview with a character in costume with props.
    11. Do a performance of a news broadcast covering events from the book. This could be based on your (individual) timeline.
    12. Write a song and/or dance based on something from the book: character, scene, event, etc.
    13. ALSO, anything that can be done as an individual activity by more than one person can sometimes be brought to the next level as a group activity.


    Also, I have my kids blog instead of the traditional group discussions.
     
  20. science goon

    science goon Rookie

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    Oct 10, 2008

    I don't teach LA anymore, but my classes have always enjoyed making comic strips of the book. They would have to simplify the plot quite a bit, but each cell would represent a chapter in the book and they would illustrate a major event from that chapter.
     
  21. MizDubya

    MizDubya Rookie

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    Oct 31, 2008

    I love the idea of Literature circles! For those of you who have used them: do you only use them for independent reading books, or do you use them also for whole-class books?

    I am currently teaching a class of 7th Grade English Language Learners (they're grouped under "Intermediate," but some have just come up from ESL, while some have been in Intermediate for a year or two, so their comprehension abilties are all over the place at this point), and we will start Holes in the next few weeks. Do you think this is something I could do with a whole-class book? There are only 11 kids in the class, so I could either have them do it all together, or break them up into 2groups.

    Additionally, what do you do while the students are working in groups? Walk around and monitor for any problems, questions, etc.? Anything else?
     
  22. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Nov 2, 2008


    The first book of the year was a whole class book. I taught the roles each day, then went around to the groups to monitor, sit in on their discussions, model how to include everyone, answer questions, etc.

    Now students have choice of 4 or 5 books and assign the roles themselves. I also give them some guiding questions every so often to monitor for comprehension or other issues.
     
  23. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    Nov 3, 2008

    I have trouble with Lit Circles because 11th and 12th graders are not generally reliable. They don't have Lit Circle training early enough in their academic career, so all students don't see the fun in them. There needs to be 90% participation in order for them to work otherwise students get shorted with a weak experience. I believe t making time to read is not on the top of their list let alone fill out a job sheet.

    I do use Moodle discussion forums with great success.

    Along the lines of MySpace, here's a social networking site just for reading (I just learned about it at a reading conference last week):
    http://www.goodreads.com/
     

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