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Teaching Strategies for Introducing Literature Circles to a 4th Grade Class



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>>Jacilyn: It was five inches wide and three inches long.

>>Aubrey: Ok, could you please read what you wrote on your paper?

>>Anne Marie: It was interesting when they found the paper filled

with rooms. It was five inches wide and three inches long.

>>Aubrey: Yeah Jacilyn?

>>Jacilyn: But how-why shouldn't they be looking for

the paper? Didn't they know the quote by heart?

>>Anne Marie: No, because they-it was like mixed

words it was like. It was mixed words like A C B...F.

>>Aubrey: Ok. Gael, you have something to say?

>>Gael: Um, yeah, I think she...

>>teacher: I've been doing literature circles for four years

and the trickiest thing is the beginning. It's just teaching

routines, modeling it, teaching the rules, teaching my expectations because if you

don't take a lot of time at the beginning it's going to fall apart all

through the year. They need to know what you want and how to do it and what not to do.

Ok. So we are going to communicate, create, critically think, and collaborate.

Communicate means talk and listen. Create, we're going to be creating really good

sentences using our mind to create something very fantastic. Critically

think, think solve problems and we're going to collaborate which means work together

to create something amazing. In literature circles it's a four day

activity what we'll be doing is we'll be reading a new story called Journey to

the Center of the Earth, and I chose this book because in science we're learning

about life cycles and how everybody relates to life and we need environments.

And in environment we need life, and I chose this book because in social studies

we're learning about land forms and regions and you're going to see all that in

this book. So I think this book you'll find very interesting.

On Tuesday I introduced the book. I tried to create

some motivation and...a will for them to want to

read it. I introduced the jobs, I introduced their groups, I introduced

what was expected.

These are the jobs... the first one is community connector. Repeat

>>class and teacher: Community connector >>teacher: And what we're doing with that

is I want you to refer to

details when explaining the text. So when you're reading the text you're using the

details from the text to explain what you want to say. Ok? And so this is what the

job description is, so pay attention if this is what you want to do then um you

will probably want to talk to your leader and

discuss and give them your opinion of what job you want and the supporting details

of why. We've been practicing supporting details; backup your opinion with details.

So you need to make connections between characters in this book, other books, your

life or someone else's life. So while you're reading this book if something

reminds you of your life or another book you'll list that.

The first day was just a lot of

teaching a lot of modeling-actually the whole day was pretty much teaching and

modelling and showing what I wanted and what I didn't want so that they would when they

worked on their own they could do the assignments.

>>student 1: Who wants to be...besides the art... whatever it's called...

the other ones-like the other jobs. Who wants like another job? Which one?

>>student 2: The...the super summarizer. >>student 1: You want to be that one?

>>teacher: To choose their roles, I had the table leader, or

the captain be in charge. And I just said you're in charge, I

wanted them to take leadership, I wanted them to problem solve, and I-I combined the

PBiS skill which we're learning right now which is

disagreeing appropriately because I knew there'd be

disagreement somebody would want probably the artistic adventurer, somebody would-would

not want the summarizer. So I told the leader, you're in charge, you decide how

you're going to give out the jobs. Maybe they can give you their opinion and back

it up with-a supporting details or you can decide whatever way you think

is fair, but I wanted them to take the leadership and decide who gets what job.

Good morning class. >>class: Good morning Miss Richardson.

>>teacher: How are you today? >>class: Good. >>teacher: Good.

Ok, yesterday we had our first lesson on literature circles. I

explained what it was, what the purpose was, and what the expectations were,

I'd like to re-explain that just to make sure we're clear on what we're expected to do

and why we're doing literature circles. So what literature circles are -

you're reading a book...

everybody's reading the same book at this time. We're all reading the same

pages. Pages 1 through 18 I think we decided on yesterday. You are responsible

for those pages on Friday...because on Friday we will be doing an activity with

those pages. So you are responsible for reading the book, pages 1 through 18 and

completing your activity sheets. You have different activity sheets; all of these

activities sheets are encouraging you to create and to critically think.

All the sheets will be different, nobody will have the same answers, you'll be

creating your own answers using the book, using text.

I do literature circles for many reasons.

One, I want them to love reading, I want them to talk about the

reading and yes, I guess I do want them to find enjoyment and find a um a connection

with among themselves for reading, but also at the end they talk and I think

that's very important, the collaboration communication, because they're not used

to talking about a book, they're not used to talking educationally. Alright so what

we're going to do today, I will be pulling you as groups. I'm going to start

with the vocabulary enricher because I know that's probably the most confusing

activity we have, so I will work with you. Then I will work with the other groups

also. If you have a question, you're stuck you're not sure, this is the first day

we're doing this, if you have a question you're not sure: try, keep reading, and

know that I will pull you as a group so any questions will be answered.

The next couple days the kids would work on their assignments individually and I would

call back each group, I would explain what I wanted, what I didn't want, and

they would ask questions, and then they would show me what they had and then I

would say yes that's appropriate or no let's add a little bit to it. So it's just a

lot of modeling and a lot of showing what's right and what's not right so

that they will see what the expectations are.

So whenever you're reading a book There's always words you don't know.

or maybe there's words that are puzzling, words that are confusing,

or you just like them. So I want to use context to figure out these words. So

what we're going to do is let's read. Let's just start with page one.

Um, the most most difficult job I think was the vocabulary enricher,

and I really had to show them how to use a dictionary and how to use context to predict

and um probably I'll have to show them a couple more

times because that's a very hard job. And a lot

of components that go with it. So my prediction is I'm going to put a title

somebody's name. That's my prediction; I used the context of the capital letter

just to help me figure it out. So everybody's prediction is right; the

reason is, you're using context. But now let's find out what the real definition is so

when you're doing this I never want you to change your prediction. As long as

you use some type of context whether it's the whole paragraph maybe the whole

page or maybe using - a lot of people used parts of a word. That's fine as long as

you use some type of clue, your prediction is good. If you just guess it's not right

but you have to use some type of clue. Well let's figure out what the

definitions so now we're going to look up professor in our dictionaries. You may begin.

Once they have the routines down and the roles,

they will continue to work; they will continue

to do their pages and their activities, but I will also continue to call them

back in small groups even if they have it down, they know what they're doing

I want to increase their depth of knowledge. I want them to grow. I want

them to continue to getting better and better at whatever level they are

whether that the lowest level or the highest they keep on growing. So I am

always calling back groups they're always working, and we just work as a

team to get better together. You find they're not participating, they're feeling

a little shy you could go, Oh, so what do you think of Alexis? Or you could can say, Oh

we haven't heard from Mia yet? Um or, Do you agree with Jaclyn's response? So you guys

can use the soliciting a response to help you. Ok? Every week I'm going to

talk about a different section but I think these two: expressing an opinion

and soliciting a response will be very helpful for tomorrow. Ok...

While I was working with the group, the students were

reading their assigned pages, they were completing

their assigned jobs, and if they finished early they were able to reread the pages

so they were ready for the discussion

or they were to read AR books or I also had a character map which they could

analyze the character and go a little bit deeper into the book. Today we're going

to do our last day of our literature circles. It's probably one of the most

important days because we're doing something different. We're going to be

working on the communication and the collaboration piece. So the last day was a fun

day it was nerve-wracking because I didn't really know what to expect since

it was the first time we've done this. And I explained exactly what I wanted

as far as working together, collaborating in groups, communicating together.

Are we ready to start our discussions? Who's going

to have a great discussion? Who is going to

build on each other's ideas? Who is going to express their own ideas and not be

shy? Just express yourself. I like it!

Alright I'm excited to see what kind of discussions you have. Table leaders you

are ready to lead. You may begin.

>>student 2: Ok, discussion director...

>>student 4: What might happen if Lidenbrock had lost the paper with the code?

>>Aubrey: I-I would think that like the-that they would have to go like halfway

through the world to actually find it. Jacilyn?

>>Jacilyn: But they'll rush until they find it. I think they'll look everywhere.

>>Aubrey: Dillon? >>Dillon: They'll look underground to find that little piece of paper code.

>>Aubrey: Anne Marie? >>Anne Marie: I think that they will like go everywhere and look everywhere.

>>Gael: I think they'll go out to outerspace to look for it. >>Aubrey: Ok...

>>teacher: Um, today the group that we looked at, they did a great job,

but they seemed a little bit structured. They had a list to follow and they

they followed that list very well. I hope in the future they don't need the list, I

hope in the future it's natural; they have the questions that flow and it becomes

more of a natural discussion. That's what literature circles

are - it's just a discussion. It's a collaboration, it's a

group work. So I want them all to feel happy talking and comfortable talking.

And eventually they won't even need the active discussion strategies and sentence stems

They can just talk like they were talking on their own.

So that's my goal for the next few weeks.

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