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


♪[theme music]>>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. ♪[theme music]

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