Choice Novel Unit: Keeping Pace

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SWBAT demonstrate understanding of a literary work's plot and character development through writing and discussion.

Big Idea

Group meetings keep students invested in what they read.

Group Discussion

20 minutes

The students arrive to class excited to share what they have read the night before. They are currently reading novels that they have had a say in choosing. They pull out notes – some on post-its and some a bookmark designed for note taking. To hear a description of what went on today watch this video.

Focus on Struggling Readers

During the time set aside for group discussion, I spend some time with each group to address any concerns or questions that come up and to encourage them in the good work that I see. In my conversations with them I am sure to focus on struggling readers by looking over their notes to check for misconceptions. These students often are the ones least likely to volunteer their thoughts so I ask questions – both factual and inferential- to draw them into the discussion.

Sometimes I take a stronger reader aside and ask him or her to help get a peer more involved. This kind of buddying up works well for everyone involved. The advanced reader is challenged to clearly express his thinking and the other partner gets help with comprehension. A bookmark is a useful tool to guide these conversations among peers. Here a student describes how she uses it.

Check In

30 minutes

I remind the students that they are to begin work on one of three projects they have chosen to complete. These are listed on the Student Contract and described in the Project Menu. I give them time to talk with peers to reinforce accountability to the group and so that students may help one another get off to a good start.

As the day’s class time comes to a close, I have students look at the Daily Log and determine if they met the goals set for the day. I also allow time for silent reading at the end of class whenever possible.