questions for those who do lit circles

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by Mrs_B, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Mrs_B

    Mrs_B Comrade

    Nov 23, 2006
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    Feb 17, 2008

    I REALLY want to try lit circles. I have 6 books sets of high-interest novels. I looked at Laura Candler's site and like some of her ideas.
    I have some questions for those that use lit circles.

    Are the kids mature enough to decide for themselves how many chapters to read before the next meeting or should I assign a number of chapters? If so, what is a good number of chapters?

    How often do you have them meet? I have 31 students so they will be groups of 6 (one 7) That will make 5 groups so if they meet once a week I could attend each group. At least this first try at lit circles that seems like it might be a good idea. Especially since my class is kind of a handful and doesn't work especially well in groups. A lot of strong personalities.

    Another question, about how long does it take for them to finish the book? I am trying to plan but it is hard when I am not sure of the pacing???

    TIA for any tips you can give me!
  3. blue-eyed mom

    blue-eyed mom Companion

    Nov 10, 2007
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    Feb 18, 2008

    I absolutely loved lit circles when I had 4th/5th graders. I switched grades this year and haven't done them -- but they are so wonderful. My biggest piece of advice would be to model, model, model. I think most people get frustrated with them because they haven't taken time to show the kids what they want them to do. The best way to do this is to read a short class book together in lit circle format. Have your groups going but every group is reading the same book.

    This way you can slowly allow them to take over the process. They are absolutely mature enough to handle this if you've shown them what you expect.

    After you do the class lit book, then give your groups some limited choice books next. By that I mean have 5 or 6 books they can choose from and group them according to their choice. That way you're not just letting them go just yet. After that, they should be ready to make their own completely independent choices.

    Hope this helps.
  4. allyd

    allyd Rookie

    Feb 12, 2006
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    Mar 9, 2008

    I do literature circles with my class and ask for parent volunteers. I have them fill out an evaluation form on each students based on participation, completion of job, communication, and behavior. I run each set for four weeks, and no matter the length of the book I divide each one into 4 sections and assign them. Some groups will have 40 pages to read and others might have 70. I allow the students to vote on which book they would like to read, so they can't complain if they chose the longer book.
    Here are some jobs that I use: word wizard (chooses 5 words, defines them, states why they chose the word), passage master (chooses 4 passages to share from their reading and why they chose it), connector (makes 4 connections with their lives and the book), predictor (makes predictions about what is coming next), summarizer and illustrator (writes a summary of the week's reading and draws a picture). If I run short on parent volunteers, I have the students evaluate each other on a scale of 1 to 10. This works well, especially if I place one student in charge of the group. Good luck!
  5. JustT

    JustT Comrade

    Mar 21, 2008
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    Mar 22, 2008

    I set up the Lit circles according to their instructional reading level. There is generally about 4 groups. Each group has a reading contract which outlines a timeframe and goal ... usually an inquiry question to lead them into a discussion. The contract folder is passed on to the next person to lead the group. There is a small/short activities each group develops while reading the book which they create together for sharing at the end of the timeframe with the whole class.

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