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Literature Circles

January 1, 2012

 

Literature Circle summary.

Literature Circle summary.

Literature Circles

Literature Circles are great and there are a lot of ways to do them.  I was assigning my students different “jobs” but I felt like some of the students were missing out of the vocabulary building and summarizing work that they needed more practice at, so I came up with this form.

My students seem to enjoy sharing their entries every week.

Literature Circle (242.9 KiB)

For addition information on Literature Circles, check out:

  • Laura Candler’s website has additional information on Literature Circles that answers lots of questions on how to organize and start one.
  • You can also do the separate roles for your students that can be found on Super Teacher Worksheets.
  • A variety of forms for the different roles and a rubric to evaluate how each student perform each role at Worksheetplace.
  • This is a great resource of an Overview of Literature Circles can evolve over time and as your students become more comfortable do the activity

The following chart may give you a feel for how literature circles evolve over time as teachers and students themselves change — gaining experience, confidence, and insights to do things differently.  The chart isn’t based on one teacher’s experience, but a composite of some of the possible steps teachers take as they work with literature circles.  Think of this as a continuum of development — flexible and highly subjective.  The point of the chart is to show that we all begin somewhere and grow from there!

How Literature Circles Evolve  (* How Literature Circles Change Over Time ...)

Component 
Some First Steps . . .
Teacher Beliefs
– There is only one way to do literature circles
– I have to do them the “right” way

– There are many options for literature circles
– I’ll try out some, refine them, try others

– This is what works in my classroom
– What works now may not work next week, next year
–  My students and I are constantly learning and changing how we do things
Goals
 
– Learning the structure and survival
– Choosing one piece to focus on
– Refining structure
– Learning how to discuss
– Adding on components
– Deepening students’ understanding of and engagement with literature
– Developing meaningful response, higher levels of thinking
– Integrating lit. circles with other subjects and with themes
Timeline
GradesK – 2

– Groups read, discuss, and respond in 1 – 2 weeks; no response project
– One to two literature circle cycles, then other literacy activities
– ~ 1 – 2 weeks including simple response project –  ~ 1 – 3 weeks with more elaborate response projects
Timeline
Grades3 – 8
– ~ 3 – 6 weeks
– Emphasis on learning the process
–  ~ 3 – 6 weeks; emphasis on developing response
– Timeline varies by complexity of books
–  ~ 3 – 6 weeks; emphasis on deepening response
– Timeline varies by complexity of books, organization of theme/topic
Scheduling
GradesK – 2
– Teacher sets schedule
– Ex.:  read on Mon.; discuss Tues./Wed.; prepare responses Thurs.; present responses Fri.
– Teacher sets schedule alone or in consultation with students
– May meet more than once a week
– Teacher sets schedule alone or in consultation with students
– May meet more than once a week
– Extended time for response projects
Scheduling
Grades 3 – 8
– Teacher sets schedule (how long cycle will take, how often groups meet, when to present extension projects, etc.)
– Groups discuss once a week; read, respond, work on extension projects when not meeting
– Teacher and students determine how long cycle will be (how often groups meet, when to present extension projects, etc.)
– Groups discuss on student-set schedule; read, respond, work on extension projects when not meeting
– Groups decide how long entire book + extension will take and set own schedule within that time frame
Choosing Books
– Whole class reads same book
– Books chosen by teacher
– Read from anthology or
– Books selected because “they’re what we have”
– Two or three choices
– Books selected because they are engaging, meaningful, and generate strong student interest
– Four or five choices
– Books selected because they relate to a theme, topic, genre or author focus and represent good literature
Forming Groups
– Teacher gives booktalks
– Teacher forms groups
– Teacher or students give booktalks
– Groups formed by student choice
– Teacher or students give booktalks
– Groups formed by student choice of book or choice of theme/topic
Reading and Preparing for Discussion
– Limited choice of response prompts given by the teacher
– Students read individually, in pairs, with taped book, with specialist/volunteer support
– Teacher offers choice of a few response prompts
– Students and teacher generate possible responses
– Students read individually, in pairs, with taped book, with specialist/volunteer support
– Students choose from a menu of ideas — or their own
– Students read individually, in pairs, with taped book, with specialist/volunteer support
Discussion
– Teacher sets schedule for the whole class
– Teacher facilitates group; Teacher participates as group member; or Teacher sits near group but observes; or Students facilitate own group, teacher roams
– Use roles and forms
– Groups meet on a rotating basis
– Teacher facilitates group; or Teacher participates as group member; Teacher sits near group but observes; or Students facilitate own group, teacher roams
– Students generate discussion guidelines; modify/adapt forms
– The groups set their own schedule
– Teacher facilitates group; or Teacher participates as group member; Teacher sits near group but observes; or Students facilitate own group, teacher roams
– Modify forms to fit or don’t use them.
Written Response
– Limited focus of response prompts given by the teacher
– Response to each chapter/book
– Try out a few forms
– Teacher offers choice of a few responses
– A given number of responses per week; written only
– Modify/adapt forms
– Students choose from a menu of ideas — or their own
– Flexible number of responses per week using a variety of response formats (e.g., written and art)
– Modify or dispense with forms
Focus Lessons
– The “how to” of literature circles
– Literacy strategies
– Literary elements
– and whatever comes up!
– Refining literature circles
– Literacy strategies
– Literary elements
– and whatever comes up!
– Perfecting literature circles
– Literacy strategies
– Literary elements
– and whatever comes up!
Extension Projects
– Teacher gives one option
– Teacher determines if project is group or individual
– Teacher offers a choice of a few options
– Students choose (group or individual)
– Students select from a menu of options — or their own
– Students choose (group or individual)
Assessment and Evaluation
– What assessment? – Use one or two forms
– Try out limited amount of student self-assessment
– Students choose a few responses to be graded; begin to evaluate discussion
– Modify forms and develop own
instruments
– Take and use anecdotal notes
– Use extensive student self-assessment
– Students still choose a few responses to be graded but greater emphasis put on discussions

*Taken from Overview of Literature Circles

 

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One Response to Literature Circles

  1. chandrabose21 on January 10, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Short and simple, but very informative!
    Student Self Evaluation Form

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