Book Groups: Analyzing Characters & Send a Question

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SWBAT conduct thoughtful, productive discussions about their independent reading novels (Something Wicked...or Hill House)

Big Idea

How does it work when students run the discussion?

Latin Roots Warm Up

10 minutes

This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day.  The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.
Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard.  Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means.  After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.

The students compile these daily activities in their class journals.  After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.

Discussing Characters & Developing Questions

20 minutes

Before coming to class, the students had chosen a character to "specialize" in -- I asked them to choose one person (and the house/carnival were options) and they were supposed to describe and analyze the role that character played in the story.

 I formed groups at tables by trying to mix the "characters" -- in other words, I tried to not have a table full of "Eleanors" for a discussion of Hill House.  However, since I hadn't assigned characters to students, some were just naturally more popular. 

We started this portion of our class with discussion.  The students haven't had much time to just talk about the book, to pose questions to one another, or to get help or clarification.  So, the students took a few minutes to jot down questions or topics that they wanted to discuss and they talked about them.

Then, I had each table/group write a question to "send" to another group who had read the same book.  That question was to serve for the basis of the group's discussion.


Sharing and Responding to Questions

15 minutes

After the students finished their questions, I distributed them and the students talked about their questions in their groups.  ALL of the groups (surprisingly) really prepared good questions and, in turn, did a great job of discussing the questions that were posed by their peers.

While they worked, I circulated, asked questions and redirected the conversation if the students got off on a tangent.