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spx5thgrade spx5thgrade is offline
 
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spx5thgrade
 
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Book Club/Groups
Old 04-18-2010, 11:19 AM
 
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I'm getting ready to start 'book clubs' in my lang. arts class. I'd like to have either 4 or 5 books for the students to choose from & put them in groups based on their selections. If you do this, what books do you offer the students? And, do you feel that they (the books) have to have something in common (i.e. genre, theme, etc?) or is OK to let anything go? Any tips on how to manage and what you have the kids do in these groups?


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A lot of it depends
Old 04-18-2010, 12:31 PM
 
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on what class novel sets you have. I put mine in 3 groups and have them rank their selections from my choices, knowing that you may not get your first choice. Then I look at their choice and try to get them as much in ability groups as I can. I tend to pick stories within a genre when I can, but it doesn't always happen that way. I've had one rotation that was Tuck Everlasting, Among the Hidden, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH which all had a biblical component (I teach in a Christian school). I had a packet for each group with basic comprehension questions for the lower readers and more thinking questions for the higher ones. We then wrote our persuasive essay on the biblical topic of each novel. I try to tie reading and writing together as much as possible.

I met with each group once a week to discuss things - predicting what would happen next, discuss character traits etc. The other days of the week they would spend doing their assignment in the packet or working one of the literacy crate activities in the room.
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book groups
Old 04-18-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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I'm about to finish my first round of book groups and I've been really pleased with the way things have gone. I used 4 different books and didn't give the kids the option of choosing. I'm starting a new round of book groups this week and am considering giving them the option to vote. Of course, I'll still have the final say. My books didn't have anything in common...I had to rely on the multiple-copy sets the library had available. The groups met with me once a week to discuss the week's reading and any questions/comments. Each student also had a role to perform (I can explain more about those if you're interested) during their group's "student-run" meeting (which was separate from the meeting with me). I also created a journal prompt for each week that each student responded to in their journal. I'm sure none of this is groundbreaking stuff but it worked really well in my classroom and I'm looking forward to doing the groups again. Let me know if you have any questions...good luck!
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Lit Circles
Old 04-18-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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Doodle730-I've just done literature circles for the first time in my class and I found that they rushed through their "jobs" in the group. I didn't feel that they were responding to each other in the group.

How do you avoid this? I did model it and have talked to them about it too. I feel like I shouldn't have them do a "job" and do something else instead. I just don't know what
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Lit. circles
Old 04-19-2010, 05:39 PM
 
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I'm working on this right now. My students love it when they get to pick their book. I have 5 books going on right now. What I do is give each student an index card in the beginning. I read the back of each book to give them all an idea of what the book is about. Then, I have them write from their first choice to least choice of what they would like to read. I do remind that they may not get their first choice, but I do what I can. The purpose isn't to all read the same book. I have a pretty good idea what their interests are in reading, so I have final say. The choices were Sign of the Beaver, Crash, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Maniac Magee, and Johnny Tremain. In each of the books, the main characters grows emotionally and learns from from their own mistakes. Johnny Tremain is a new book for this lit. circle. I personally chose the students for this book as it's a higher level reading book. They were excited that I chose them to read it.

What we do every day is begin our lit. circles with a round group discussion. We move our desks around so that we are in one large circle and that we are all able to look at each other while we're talking. In our discussion group time, we talk about how the character is changing in the book, would you make similar decisions, or what's been going on in the book. We also get a chance to read their question of the day from the prior day's to do list in lit. circles. I assign one question a day that is general so each group can write to it. For example one question was: If you were the main character in the book, would you make similar decisions as he/she is making? Give at least 2 reasons to support your answer. I ALWAYS give them a minimum number of sentences (at least 8 sentences). Most go over the # of sentences. These reading responses have greatly improved from the beginning of the year to present day, and I even saw a difference on their PSSA reading responses as well. I only give one question a day. During the discussion group, they can choose to read it outloud or pass. They have to read at least 2 a week though. And no answer is a bad answer. I read them all at the end of the week (yes, I take them home). Before we break to read, they are free to ask other groups questions about the other books going on. Discussion group doesn't take too long, and they do seem to enjoy it.

Once we've finished group, I assign the books their page numbers to read, write the question of the day on the board, and also assign the worksheet that maust be completed. It's may be a noun review paper where they have to find 15 nouns in the pages that they read; or an adjective paper which is similar to the noun review paper, or a vocabulary share paper.

A colleague of mine bought a book on Lit. circles (not sure of the title; in my room) and it gave me most of the questions I ask and the english/reading papers I assign them. It's been the best book I've ever read about lit. circles.

Sorry this is so long, but I have to be honest that I love doing my lit. circles this way. The students absolutely love them as well and can't wait until we get to it in the day. We've been away from it due to testing that's going on.

I hope that helps you a bit.


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Old 04-20-2010, 09:03 AM
 
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thebeach - when you get back to your class could you let me know what the name of that Lit Circle book is? I want to get away from the "jobs". I saw a post here on PT about how they write "thick and thin" questions and I like that idea which goes along with the way you have a discussion group first.

Do you have EACH group get in a circle or the WHOLE class? I wasn't sure from what you said.
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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Cooper 5,

The name of the book is Literature Circles; Using Student Interaction to Improve reading Comprehension. This book is printed by Creating Teaching Press. I highly recommend it.

We have a whole group discussion in the beginning. Each of the books have a common theme. It's a great opportunity to show books with similar themes throughout various genres. I forgot to say though that the last choice for a book is Maniac Magee. Not everyone wants to talk, but most do surprisingly. And, they are really insightful. Their answers aren't the "thin" answers like you had mentioned. But I do have to give minimum # of sentences.

I do score their responses aligned with our state's writing rubric with the modes of focus, content, organization, style, and mechanics. Although, it's more kid friendly. It's been very successful!

I've done the "jobs" in the years past, and they drive me crazy! I just wasn't happy with what I was work being produced from my students. It didn't work for me.

This I like.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Good luck with your Lit. Circles!
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