I know it is summer, but I found (especially as a new teacher) that setting aside a good chunk of time to go Beast Mode* on a specific strategy truly helps in its implementation during the next school year.
This summer, I’m planning to reflect on how our literature circles went this past year and figure out how to weave it into new Common Core-aligned curriculum. In my previous post, I gave a lengthy explanation about how I introduced literature circles into my 8th grade classroom and gave three short book reviews. I recognize that there are areas of growth in my own facilitation, so for this post I’d like to open up the floor for you guys to shed some light, share experiences, or submit questions concerning this teaching strategy. I’m also going to share a few resources that helped me jumpstart this strategy in my classroom.
Why do I want to keep growing in this area? Simple!
- It allows for specified differentiation among reading and interest levels.
- It allows students to build their Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) through preparation, discussion, and various circle roles.
- It builds metacognition as students reflect on their preparation and contributions.
- Once students understand how it works, it practically runs itself!
So without further ado, here are a few websites that offer insight into the implementation of literature circles.
- There are many websites that explain various Literature Circle roles and have the related handout. I’ve adjusted mine for the uses of my classroom, but a few documents that you could borrow are found either by searching “literature circle roles” on Google or you could look at these links below:
- Read Write Think has a great reflection tool online, which students can fill out after each discussion. Another idea might be to recreate this via Google Forms so that you can have a spreadsheet of your students’ responses.
- LitCircles.org is a very comprehensive resource, and if you get a chance to go on “beast mode” and tackle this for a few hours, I’d recommend it. For those of you who don’t have has much time, I really appreciated their Choosing Books and Written Response links as they both gave explicit steps in the respective implementations.
Do you have favorite resources, ideas, or anecdotes from your own experiences with this strategy?
* Beast Mode: Periods of intense concentrated effort as exemplified by former Cal running back (and Oakland native), Marshawn Lynch.