Literary Discussion Roles: Literary Luminary

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SWBAT cite textual evidence to support analysis in preparation for a collegial discussion of the text.

Big Idea

What makes a passage worth discussing?


5 minutes

As we continue our training session for a Harvey Daniels Literature Circle discussion, I have students prepare for class by taking out their Literature Circle Reference Guide and a sheet of paper. 

I ask them to set up a new sheet of paper for the role of Literary Luminary and to turn to the instructions for the role of Literary Luminary in their guide.

Getting Down to Business

30 minutes

Before I have the students  begin their work as the Literary Luminary for chapter 10, we go through the instructions together.  I guide them through highlighting important information as we go. 

When we talk about possible reasons to share a passage, I talk quite a bit about why a passage is worth discussing.  I let them know that making a note that the passage is "interesting" is not a sufficient explanation or reason.  We talk about what the words important, surprising, funny, confusing, informative, controversial, well-written, and though-provoking mean. 

I let them know that they can think about the elements of fiction here too.  If they find a passage that is important to the plot or tells us something about a character or maybe sets the mood for the chapter, that is an "important" passage to share.

In our conversation about the word "controversial," I will bring up the use of the n-word in this chapter.  I let them know that it's okay to talk about why Twain used the word and why people think that this word does or does not belong in this book.

We talk about "well-written" and "thought-provoking" I will talk to them about quotes that teachers put up on walls or that students write on their binders as an example of what one might consider to be examples of those two criteria.

Their job at this point is to reread the chapter looking for those discussion-worthy passages.  I have them cite the passage on their paper (page and paragraph) and write the first three words of the passage, so they can easily reference it during a conversation.  Then, they write a sentence or two that explains why they selected that passage for discussion.

Did They Get It?

15 minutes

When there are about 10 minutes left in class, I walk my students through how to share interesting passages 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 passages.  I have them talk about why they decided to focus on that passage. 

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 Literary Luminary 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.