Literature Circles: Shhh... This Conversation is Silent

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SWBAT participate in a small group "written conversation."

Big Idea

How do we keep a conversation going? Students partake in conversational writing to discuss important novel related questions.

Written Discussion

30 minutes

Today's discussion will look slightly different. Instead of having an oral discussion, students will participate in a written discussion/conversation.

Here are the Silent Discussion Directions.

Some tips for enacting:

 1. After the first go around, I pause to take student's temperature about this activity. What is going well? What could be improved upon?

I write the following prompt on the board:

How do we keep this conversation going?

We make a list of all the possible ways to keep a written conversation going...

Ask why the person thought what they did...


Change the topic...


Adding complexity...


Any question that pops into your mind... just ask it.


Add details to your response....


Be more specific...


2. When that student generated list is complete, I make students aware that they will see the Written Conversation that they began more than once... and it is exactly that... a written conversation. They keep going.

3. Here is a Student Video: Silent Discussion in Action, to show the level of focus and concetration required to enact a silent discussion.

Read Aloud: "Iqbal"

10 minutes

I read aloud from the story "Iqbal." Students listen and engage with the narrative.

Independent Work Time: Complete Discussion Boxes, Set 6

20 minutes

For the final portion of the day, students work independently to complete Discussion Boxes, Set 6.

I give a couple of reminders to them about this process, since they've been slacking a tiny bit. : )

1. When they see the "Words They Don't Know" section, they have to write something. They may be familiar with most of the words they're reading or they may be able to define most of the words in context. However, maybe they couldn't define the word on the spot. That's the kind of word I am looking for. Words that you recognize and can figure out, but that you may not be able to recite the definition to.

2. I ask them to remember to add details to their summary.