LIterary Discussion Roles: Word Wizard

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SWBAT use context clues and reference materials to find and discuss the meanings of unknown words and their importance to the meaning of a literary text.

Big Idea

Let's talk about words!


5 minutes

I begin today's lesson by having students take out their Literature Circle Reference Guide from yesterday. I ask them to turn to an elbow partner and tell them one thing they liked about yesterday's illustrator literature circle role, and one part they think they might have trouble with.

I will ask a few students to share out as a way to get us thinking about literature circles and ready to learn about a new role.

Students will set up a paper to be ready to learn the discussion role of Word Wizard.


**The resources and philosophy behind the lessons in this unit can be found in Harvey Daniels's Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in Book Clubs and Reading Groups.  I highly recommend that you get this book and read it.  Mr. Daniels changed the way I work with students in reading groups, and my lessons here do not do his work justice.


Getting Down to Business

35 minutes

Today students are going to work on the role of Word Wizard.  Before they begin working on their own, I go over the instructions with them.  I want them to be aware that this job has five steps:

  1. Find a word you want to discuss
  2. Copy the sentence the word appears in
  3. Write a "best guess" definition using context clues
  4. Look up the word in the dictionary
  5. Write a sentence to explain why you decided you needed to understand that particular word.


I provide sticky notes for my students to use to mark words as they reread chapter 10.  Seventh graders love sticky notes!  I will give them some basic tips for using the notes.  They are a way to mark an interesting word and capture your initial thoughts about that word without interrupting your reading.

This is also a good time to reiterate the importance of rereading.  I challenge my students to find details about chapter 10 that the missed during our initial reading.


Did They Get It?

10 minutes

When there are about 10 minutes left in class, I walk my students through how to share interesting words in a literary discussion.

Before we begin the sharing, I draw their attention to the Discussion Agreements section of the Literary Circle Reference Guide. 

I have each person in the group share one of their words.  First, I have them talk about why they decided to look up a particular word.  Then they should share what they learned about the word.

As students are sharing, I circulate to see how it's going.  I will take notes on what the students are talking about so that I can share my observations with the class afterwards.

I have my students keep the Word Wizard work in their binders until we have gone through all of the jobs.  After our Fish Bowl discussion, I will collect the whole set of work just to make sure everyone's on the right track.