We open class with an introduction and welcome to "Fintastic Friday," a day for shark awareness. Fro a "Friday Favorite" class poll, I ask students if sharks are "freaky" or "fascinating". As with all Daily Holidays, my objective is to build a sense of community and trust in the classroom as they students share their ideas and react to each other. Giving students an opportunity to justify their "Friday Favorite" views in class provides them the opportunity to qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections (SL.9-10.1d).
(Teacher's note: Due to an extended absence, students had two days in class to independently prepare for today's literature circle discussion.)
Students pull their desks into pods of six with the members of their groups, and take the folder for the group. These folders are 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).
As students discuss today, I circulate the room, providing clarification and focus as needed, and especially listening for how students address the focus idea for this section: what role and importance does Boo Radley play in the novel? How is he a monster, a protector, a friend, a neighbor; what does Scout learn from him? Because the reveal of Boo Radley is such a significant moment for Scout, and he has played such a powerful and influential, if behind-the-scenes, role in Scout's life, I ask students to address the character and their own reactions to him.
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 Worksheet.
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 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). The connector also encourages reaction to and discussion about the connections, actively incorporating others into the discussion (SL.9-10.1c).
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. (Vocab Example 1, Vocab Example 2)
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).