Setting Norms and Goals for Book Club Discussions

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SWBAT analyze complex characters as they propel plot by participating in a book club discussion for their dystopian choice novels.

Big Idea

Today is our first book club meeting. As a group, students will determine what roles, responsibilities and goals they want to work together to accomplish.


10 minutes

We will start class with ten minutes of reading time. I will read with students during this reading time. 

Book Club Requirement Overview

10 minutes

Today will be the first official book club meeting for each of the dystopian choices novels. Prior to class, I will organize students into mixed ability, common novel groups of four or five. Before I project these groups up for students to move into, I will review the requirements for book clubs as a whole. The students were allowed to choose any of the four novels that interested them, so I will have smaller or larger groups for some novels, but am going to try really hard to limit all the book clubs to four or five participants so that everyone can have an assigned role and a chance for their voice to be heard in meetings. 

All eight of the 10th grade cores are converging with this unit, so this assignment sheet and the actual structure of the structure of the book club meetings  represents a great deal of collaborative work. After reflecting on how this unit went last year, it is clear to my collaborative team that students need concrete requirements and structures within the open-ended choice reading, student led discussion format of this unit. We are choosing to do a book club format because it puts the onus on the students to become the masters for their chosen texts, but also provides a support system for their reading, which, due the choice nature of this project, needs to be pretty self-sustaining, which is what we hope these book clubs will be. 

We will have five official book club meetings over the course of the unit, with four happening prior to spring break (i.e. in the next two weeks). As you can see on the assignment sheet, there is a pretty fast-paced reading schedule to go along with this meeting schedule. Students will be done with their novels prior to spring break. 

In regards to the actual requirements of the book club meetings, they are fairly simple. While the main goal is for the book clubs to support the independent reading of these complex texts (RL.9-10.10), students will also be assessed on each of the following things for each meeting: 

  • Come prepared for discussion with the specific written work required of their role (SL.9-10.1a)
  • Participate in discussions using the textual support and analysis they have prepared in advance (RL.9-10.1)
  • Post a written summary/analysis of their group's discussion in our Horizon High School 10th grade course (more to come on this later). (W.9-10.9 and W.9-10.6)

I don't want to overwhelm kids with all of this today, so I am just going to discuss the pacing and calendar logistics as a whole group. I will allude the role descriptions and ask them to decide collaboratively who will complete which role for each meeting (these will rotate so students will fulfill each role once). 

Book Club Organizational Meeting

30 minutes

Once I've answered questions and reviewed requirements, I will post the group lists and ask students to convene with their book clubs. 

Students did not have anything to prepare for today's meeting other than reading to a certain point in each book, so I will provide them with a simple graphic organizer that asks them to review what they've read through the development of main characters (RL.9-10.3).

I will also include a thematic question that connects their reading to our Create Your Own Utopia activities earlier this week. I will ask students to consider what the intended utopia is in each of their novels and consider what has made these utopias dystopian. We will return to this thematic questions as we continue to read (RL.9-10.2).  

I will also ask students to create a group folder, group name and to fill in a role sheet for the group so that each student knows what role they will fulfill for each meeting (SL.9-10.1b). 

I will circulate the room during this time to answer questions. The students have been reading independently for almost a week, so I anticipate that there are likely some structural, comprehension questions that have arisen. Hopefully, I will be able to answer them all in this short amount of time. 

Wrap Up and Next Steps

5 minutes

I will use the last few minutes of class to organize the room (we are testing in this room tomorrow, so the desks have to be set up a certain way and the room needs to be cleaner than normal). I will also ask students to hand in their group folders with their completed role sheet and each group member's character chart so I can check their work and monitor their comprehension/thinking.