Literature Circles: How does setting affect the conflict?

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SWBAT meet in small groups and determine ways in which immediate and general setting affects the conflict in their novels.

Big Idea

Is this setting immediate or general? How does it add to the conflict?

Direct Instruction: Explain Activity for Lit Circles

5 minutes

First, I present what students will complete and discuss today in literature circles. In order to enact today's lesson, you'll need to set up procedures and standards for effective literature circles. Here are two lessons that display those standards:

Getting Started: Calendar & Schedule

First Day of Lit Circles

  1. STAR your best discussion question. Everyone will read one. If you find that someone else in your group has asked a similar question, try to choose a new one of your questions to present. EVERYONE must weigh in for each question.
  2. Complete the group activity. You will pick a setting out of a bucket. In your group, divide into two mini-groups. Two of you will be devising a realistic conflict that could take place in your setting. The other half will be coming up with an unrealistic conflict. Describe these conflicts on the back of your discussion boxes, leaving the TBA blank for now.

Literature Circles: Discussion Questions & Creative Setting Activity

30 minutes

In literature circles, students discuss their self generated questions, prepared using Student Work: Discussion Boxes, Set 3, as well as participate in a setting and conflict activity.

I have a bucket or List of Random Settings. Each group selects one. Then, in groups, they split into two smaller groups. Half the group creates an unrealistic conflict based on the setting. The other group selects a realistic conflict based on the selected setting.

Kids begin to craft their conflicts on the back of the sheets, all the while asking themselves the question: How does setting affect the conflict? Sometimes I have them participate in a swap. So kids who wrote the realistic conflict stay put and the unrealistic kids move to a different group. Then they read their conflicts to their new group, and the new group tries to determine their assigned setting.

Read Aloud & Continued Mini-Lesson: Immediate vs. General Setting

20 minutes

I read aloud from our read aloud Iqbal. The purpose being, we're continuing the mini-lesson from the previous day's lesson. We review our response from yesterday.

Setting: Immediate or General


Carpet Factory (I)


Conflict generated.

Way that the setting impacts the conflict.

Working all day w/ one break, homesick & lonely bc of isolation, harsh punishments, filthy, unfair rules, starving, sweltering hot, forced into child labor, no separation between work and home, mind-numbing repetition

On the chart, they've already written one immediate setting. Now they add two more settings from the story Iqbal: one general (Karachi, Pakistan) and one immediate (Iqbal's family farm). These are settings previously introduced in the read aloud.

When I finish, I ask the kids to contribute to the t-chart. Can we find ways that this setting could contribute to a conflict? I put students in pairs so they can find ways in which the two other settings could create or affect conflicts.

Here is a finished product:

Student Sample: Setting T-Chart

Independent Work Time

20 minutes

Students complete the TBA from Discussion Boxes, Set 3.

TBA = How does the setting affect the conflict? In this section, students should choose one example of immediate setting from their Middle East/Asia novel. Then, they make a list as they have done in pairs using our mentor text, to figure out how this immediate setting impacts or creates a conflict.

They also have time to work on Discussion Boxes, Set 4, to prepare for their next literature circle.

They read independently, and I help clear up misconceptions from today's lesson.

Discussion and Wrap-up

5 minutes

As a wrap-up, I pose this question to the entire class:


Which is impacting conflict more in your novel? The immediate setting or general setting? Or both?


We sum up the answer to this question through discussion. Usually, kids want to say both, because the two settings are so deeply intertwined. This is a great answer.