August 6, 2021

Literature Circles: Skill Focused Activities

Literature circles are about reading and discussing, but also an opportunity to review and introduce skills through focused writing and activities.

Literature circles are not just about reading and discussing in student led groups, teacher led groups, or online. They are also an opportunity to review old skills and introduce new ones. Opting to use mostly skill based activities (i.e activities that focus on conflict or character) rather than text based activities (i.e. activities that are specific to a certain book) allows all students to engage in the same work regardless of what book they are reading. This approach also means much less work for you as the teacher.

Literature Circles: Online Discussions

Students practice providing text evidence to support their ideas and respectfully responding to others in online literature circle discussions.

While I am meeting with literature circle groups for teacher led discussions, the students not meeting
with me participate in their online discussion groups. These "discussions" are written, rather than oral, and take place in a shared Google Doc, to which all students in the group have edit access. 

These online discussion are not just busy work to keep students quiet and occupied while I meeting with other students. Just like our live discussions, these online ones allow students to practice providing text evidence to support their ideas and how to respectfully agree or disagree with other students' ideas.

August 5, 2021

Literature Circles: Holding Teacher Led Discussions

If you are new to literature circles or want enjoy talking about books with your students, teacher led lit circle discussions may be the way to go.

If your students aren't ready for student led discussions during literature circles, teacher led discussions are another option. As I shared before, I am not a fan of using assigned roles during literature circles because students can become overly focused on their role and then don’t have much else to contribute to the discussion. While I've found success with student led discussions, I have found just as much success with teacher led ones.

August 1, 2021

What I'm Reading & Planning in August

School starts up at end of August, but until then I'm enjoying summer. Here's my TBR list for the month and an update on my writing instruction plans.

This summer has been all about making myself feel like me again. Between the struggles of the pandemic and mothering three little ones, I needed to spend this summer on things that make me happy. I've focused on making time for more exercise outdoors and reading even more than I do during the school year. I've been writing blog posts and revising teaching resources. I've traveled to visit family in the Catskills of New York and spent two full weeks plus several weekends at the New Jersey shore with my immediate family. I've taken my girls to playgrounds and splash parks, and filled up bags and bags of library books.