Literature Circle Discussion Day: A Focus on Quizzes (Chapters 1-6)

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SWBAT work collaboratively to understand the novel, its themes, and its characters, expressing their ideas and building on others, through a small-group literature circle discussion.

Big Idea

Beginning to explore "To Kill a Mockingbird" and drawing on each other, students start their literature circle discussions

Introduction & Welcome: It's National Library Workers Day!

3 minutes

It's National Library Workers Day, and I welcome students by asking them to take the time to thank our library staff if they're in the library today. As always, Daily Holidays serve to break the ice at the start of class and build students ownership and engagement. 

Literature Circle Discussion: Student Groups

30 minutes

Briefly, I present the order of events for a literature circle while I pass out the "Lit Circle Worksheet," for students to record their quiz answers and vocabulary terms.

Students pull their desks into pods of six with the members of their groups. Each group is provided with a folder used to turn in their assignments and provide a place to hold their literature circle worksheets. I also return work to students in these folders with each group meeting.

Groups check to make sure each assignment is done, and take note of any absences (in case a member of another group needs to be "taken hostage" or borrowed to fill in). 

Literature Circle discussions begin with the factual, text-based review of the Quiz Maker. 

First, the Quiz Maker writes questions that require students to know strong, thorough, and specific evidence from the text that will be used to support analysis (RL.9-10.1). Members of the group answer the quiz on their Literature Circle Work Sheet. Students format this assignment many ways, including as an oral quiz, as multiple-choice questions, or as fill-in-the blanks and provide copies for the group. As students review, they discuss and clarify the questions. For grades, each literature circle assignment is worth twenty points, divided between naming chapters by providing titles for each (five points) and completing the assignment itself (fifteen points). The points are divided among the parts of the assignment, so for the Quiz Maker assignment, who provides ten questions to review content and plot with his or her group, each question and answer is worth one and a half point each for accuracy and completion. 

Second, the Discussion Director asks his or her questions, and has the responsibility to be the "group leader." The Discussion Director conducts the in-depth conversation about these questions, and only shares his or her responses once the group's conversation has died out. The Discussion Director's questions and draw evidence from the text to support his or her reading analysis (W.9-10.9a), demonstrating and supporting how ideas develop over the course of the text (RL.9-10.2).

Third, the Character Sorter shares the three significant characters he or she identified. These mini-character biographies explore how Scout interact with other characters, to demonstrate how those characters and interactions advance plot and develop the key themes of the novel (RL.9-10.3).

Fourth, the Connector shares his or her connections. The connector also encourages reaction to and discussion about the connections he or she made. gathers evidence to support their ideas from a multitude of sources in order to identify significant connections and comparisons between the novel, their own lives, other literary and artistic works, and the wider world (W.9-10.8), highlighting and explaining how key themes develop over the course of both the novel and their connections, summarizing the key events in the reading (RL.9-10.2). 

Fifth, the Illustrator shares how he or she visualized a scene in the novel, sharing their image and write-up on it. The Illustrator portrays a key scene in the novel in two different media, and then analyzes what they chose to emphasize or leave out (RL.9-10.7).

Sixth and finally, the Vocab Master locates the meaning of "new" words and phrases as Scout uses them and explains the impact of this diction on the text (RL.9-10.4). As with the Quiz Maker, the students in the groups write the terms, their part of speech, and definition on the Literature Circle Worksheet. 

In the event a member of the group is absent, or the assignment is incomplete, a group should ask a member of another group to cover that assignment for them. Students are all informed this is a possibility.

Students are working in literature circles because they are both student-driven and collaborative. Students shape meaning in their interactions, drawing from the novel. The assignments require students to discuss the novel with diverse (teacher-assigned) partners, building a sense of team identity, on a wide-range of novel related topics (SL.9-10.1), including specific details of plot events (RL.9-10.1), and how these details develop themes (RL.9-10.2), characterization (RL.9-10.3), and the narrator's point-of-view influences what we see in Scout's memory of 1932-1935 (RL.9-10.5). Literature circle assignment also require students to determine the meanings of unfamiliar words and their impact on the text (RL.9-10.4). In order to demonstrate and strengthen their own learning, students present their assignments clearly to their peers, in a manner that allows group members to take effective notes on the novel (SL.9-10.4). 

Two-Minute Warning: Wrap-Up and Reminders

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining, I ask students to turn in the folders for their group with their literature circle assignments and literature circle worksheets. I remind students that tomorrow will be a reading day, and while they have significant time to wrap the next section up because of the long weekend, they are expected to be ready despite the longer break (a four-day weekend).