Preparing For Our Literary Discussion

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SWBAT prepare for a collaborative literary discussion by reading and preparing evidence for presentation.

Big Idea

A satisfying literary discussion requires preparation.


5 minutes

Students will be preparing for a literary discussion today, so as a starter I want them to review all of the literary discussion roles.  I will usually have them reread the roles packet so that they remember what all of the roles entail.

The resources and philosophy behind the lessons in this unit can be found in Harvey Daniels'sLiterature 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

40 minutes

When students are preparing their roles for a literary discussion, I remind them that the "good stuff" for a literary conversation comes from close reading.  I ask them if it's possible to do a "close read" on the first reading of a text.  Hopefully, I'll hear that it's not possible and they will articulate a desire to read the text more than once.

I am a big believer in listening to a text and then doing a close second read.  Since this discussion is going to be about chapter 11 of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I will play the audio first.  Once we've listened to the chapter, I will have students reread the chapter and work on their discussion roles.  

Since everyone is doing something a little bit different to prepare for tomorrow, this turns into an independent-work session for the class once we have listened to the audio.  I do circulate to make sure that everyone knows what they should be doing, and I turn their attention back to the sample assignments we did in preparation for our fishbowl discussion yesterday.  

This is why each student has an example of every role in their binder!

Did They Get It?

5 minutes

These preparation notes are a formative assessment, and they're a good way to see if students are interacting with text on a deep level.  I will not let students participate in the discussion tomorrow if they have not completed these notes with a reasonable effort.

If my students are preparing for a discussion with a longer text, I will allow them to work on them at home.  In that case, the discussion role notes become an entrance ticket for the acutal discussion.