To start today, I take students back to our first novel unit, during which we focused on quality discussion. I remind them that preparation is key to successful discussion, and we review helpful prompts, attached here. Then, I ask students to silently write to reflect on their first reading, answering the prompts posted on the board. Silence is hard to achieve, but I remind students that I'm interested in their individual thoughts right now, not the thoughts of their neighbors (that comes during discussion).
As I mentioned in my previous lesson, my class is currently split into 2 groups, 1 group reading The Color Purple and the other group reading A Walk Across America. Today is the first day I will split my time between the groups. While I work with The Color Purple group for discussion, the other group silently reads.
I open discussion with a review of discussion expectations: everyone should participate, students should talk to one another (not me), and students should call on one another.
Then, we begin. Check out my observations about our first [for this unit] discussion:
As I said above, while I discuss with one 1 group, the other reads. To some teachers, this may seem like wasted time; however, I know my students do not often read what I assign as homework unless they already have a head start (and I'm quite sure I'm not alone in this battle), so this reading time truly helps the class keep up.