Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Literature Circles

So a teacher in my district reached out today with a question:

"I'm trying to do literacy circles with my high reading groups. I'm not feeling it though...
 Do you have any suggestions on books or blog posts I could read over the break to make my groups more meaningful and beneficial? Right now they're just reading a chapter and answering some comprehension questions together. How can I make it better? Thanks!"


I'm sure she's not the only one out there, "not feeling it", so I thought I'd answer it on my blog! 

The whole goal of Lit Circles (made popular by Harvey Daniels) is to foster voice and choice for kids in reading and to allow them to engage in student driven conversation and deep thinking about texts. As always, it is easier said than done!  Getting kids to a level of independence with ANYTHING requires a lot of teaching first!  

One way to foster this independence is to give students specific jobs, Harvey called these roles and provide students with role sheets- these are tasks to complete and prepare for their group meeting. Each role asks students to look or do specific things in order to create deep conversation and often times unique perspectives to shine.  The more kids work with their roles and in Lit Circles, the better they get and as a teacher, you can sit back and let them SHINE!  

So how would I introduce this to my students? Slowly... but surely! 

The number of kids in the group determines the number of roles I am going to have my students tackle- one role per student.  BUT, I need to teach them.  So, I would introduce them in a small group (AKA Guided Reading) or to the whole class if my whole class was going to be participating. I would teach one role to the whole class or to the small group- and the entire class, or group would practice that role for a day or so.  Then I would introduce the 2nd.  The goal is that students are so familiar with these roles that each student will have their own role each week (and a different one the next) so as to foster lots of rich and varied conversation in the group.


I went home and realized I was still holding onto a file from back in the day when I used to do lit circles with my students!  So I shined it up a bit (still not as CUTE as others for sale on TpT, but it's the best I've got!) 


My role sheets are for use with elementary kiddos- I've used them in 1st-3rd, but are good 1st-5th. Some for older kids (middle school perhaps) can be found hereI also appreciate the resources/explanation on this site

What are you waiting for? Head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers site and get yours for FREE! This may be JUST what you need to spice up your text talk for kiddos in your class after the Thanksgiving holiday! We get the WHOLE WEEK off next week in Elgin Texas!!!! 

Gobble! Gobble! Have I told you lately that I am thankful for hard working teachers like you?
Melissa

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Melissa