Sunday, August 22, 2010
Last year at the March I tried to start literature circles in my classroom. The thinking behind these is that kids should be given autonomy to choose books which engage them, and they should be trusted to organize themselves into discussion squads which interact with literature in organic and natural ways. I had some success when I tried it, but the fact I had kids lying on desks and counters and walking around reading out loud or vigorously arguing their POVs in my room caused the administrators in my school to freak out. They entered my room several times during reading or discussion time and screamed at kids who were doing any of the above, and then read me the riot act for daring activities which were off curriculum or which didn't involve worksheets.
Now I'm moving to a school where literature circles are expected to happen, and I found this book pretty useful because it models how different teachers do it, and how they schedule the time, train kids how to interact with text and each other, and how they assess it (or not!).
I still need to see the process in order to feel confident with setting them up and letting them run. But that's not an option! I go live in two weeks and in the first few days of school I plan to start training literature circle behavior. God--do I have enough books? Of course not! There are never enough books! But I have enough for each class to choose to have five groups going with multiple copies, I suppose. Some of them might be of lower quality, but whatever.
Here we go!