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Literature Circles

This week I had the AWESOME privilege to go into my friend's classroom and get a literature circle started! It was so much fun!! I first began using literature circles when I taught the 5th grade, gifted and talented blend. It was a HUGE change for me, seeing as I had always taught students with disabilities. But of course, it turned out to be awesome. In my 5th grade class, I had a chart created and posted next to our classroom library. My students needing enrichment would be given their role for the week and assigned chapters.

They were expected to complete their reading and their literature circle role BEFORE they came to group. My job was simply to observe discussions, the "discussion director" facilitated conversations! It was INCREDIBLE! Talk about kids taking ownership and responsibility for their own learning... and let me tell you... that was the year of book on tapes for me in the car driving back and forth to work! I had a hard time keeping up with all the different chapter books I had to read before I assigned them!! Ha! Click on the image above for a copy of the literature circle assignments I gave each child to complete before they came to group!

Now, when I moved down to 2nd grade... these assignments were a bit too complex for their little minds! So I modified it! I still had kids that were ready to have additional responsibility for completing reading outside of our guided reading group. But they needed accountability and a challenge to go with it. So I created reader's response questions to several book that kids could read and discuss at their independent reading level. To make things more fun, I even set up a kidblog account and had them blog their responses to each other.. but that's a story for another day!

So this week when I went into my friend's class, I taught the kids how to read the question before they read their chapters in the book. We chose the book Magic Tree House Dinosaurs Before Dark because it's a guided reading Level M (Fountas & Pinnell) and that is the independent reading level for the group. We discussed how good readers are detectives and need to search for the answers to the questions while they read! We also talked about how good readers will also come up with questions of their own to discuss with the group. 

The kiddos set off to read their chapter and record their responses. We gathered at the end, to discuss their answers. The collaboration was AWESOME. Before we discussed as a group, they shared their answers with a partner... using TEXT BASED EVIDENCE to support their thinking! If one partner noticed something the other one hadn't, they just added the details to the response sheet! They were so proud of themselves and I was proud of them too!

Thanks for stopping by! If you are interested in using these Magic Tree House Dinosaurs' Before Dark literature circle questions, click on the picture above!

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