Book discussions build community. Book discussions are an opportunity for intelligent conversation. Book discussions can lead to deeper understanding of an author's work. Provide enough time for students to complete the reading and/or give them a timeline for reading the book. I also suggest sharing the reading timeline with parents/families so that students will successfully complete the Book - I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake 1906
Students develop speaking and listening skills through book discussions. This lesson focuses on CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1.A which states students come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1.C which states students pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion. During a book discussion, student should also (SP#1) ask questions related to the book, unit concepts, and/or essential question(s), while also identifying and clarifying evidence.
The essential questions (EQ's) for the unit are: How does a disaster affect me? How can I respond to a disaster?
I want students to participate in purposeful conversation so I ask students to use Discussion Moves during the book discussion. It is best practice and especially helpful to Special Education and ELL students to use sentence frames to guide the conversation. I remind students to refer to the Discussion Moves (sentence frames) to keep the conversation positive and on track during the class period. I create and cut a "bookmark" size Discussion Moves for each student to put on their clip board as they move around during the class period.
Each group will have three (3)students. You can alter the size of the group, keeping in mind one "job" for each group member.
I ask students to assign one "job" per student in the group. "Jobs" include: secretary, questioner, encourager. To keep students focused on their role, I post the Book Discussion Jobs on the projector or document camera, or even on a large poster.
Finally, I discuss four (4) important Rules for Group Conversation:
1. Take appropriate turns in conversation.
2. Remain focused on the task.
3. Use appropriate language and Discussion Moves.
4. Encourage conversation!
During a book discussion, students should (SP#7) engage in argument from evidence. This learning experience provides opportunity for students to construct and use oral arguments from evidence in the text "I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake 1906" It also gives a chance for students to compare and critique two student arguments on the same question/topic using evidence and facts from the book. The book discussion is also a chance for students to utilize information from relevant articles used earlier in this unit. The book, news articles, videos, and other text help students to contribute to the depth and breadth of the discussion.
I set up the classroom by creating Book Discussion Posters with a variety of questions for students to comment on during the book discussion. I provide three (3) minutes per poster (question) and encourage students to focus on their "job" during the small group discussion.
Some benefits of a small group discussion include:
students have an opportunity to speak
students have specific, defined roles (jobs)
students have an opportunity to participate actively in their own learning
Note: Each lesson in this unit, Master Disaster, works towards mastery of the NGSS MS-ESS 3-2 which states students will analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
Read. Discuss. Reflect.
I bring the class back together to allow time for reflection. It's best practice. This process holds students accountable for their learning.
I ask students to complete a Three 4 Thinking sheet which is a variety of reflective strategies on one worksheet. I am looking for a reflection related to the text. This is also an opportunity for students to write (SP#1) and ask questions.
It is a classroom expectation that students write and reflect for five (5) minutes. Promoting a reflective classroom ensures that students are fully engaged in making meaning of the text and I guide students in the habit of reflection to secure this process of continual learning.