Simone structures book group discussion for her students by providing them with discussion boxes which supports them to effectively participate in their discussion. The students can then use these discussion boxes to guide discussion, but can have autonomy to discuss what they would like to talk about in the text.
At long last, our book talk day is here! The students are very excited and nervous to share their books with the class. I really value the effects of sharing books with a smaller group, so the day before book talks, I asked all of the students to tell me their book titles. I divided each class into 3 or 4 groups of about 8 students each, depending on the size of the class. I made sure that their were no duplicate titles in the groups and I tried to groups students according to interest. I had some students who chose to participate in our book club and were not giving a book talk. In my first group, I trained those students to assess their peers. It went amazingly well, but I knew I couldn't do it with my other classes. When my second class came in, I decided to train everyone in assessment. I went over the rubric in detail and modeled the process of assessing someone. I designated a leader for each group who would talk about each section of the rubric after someone presented. All of the other group members, including the presenter, were involved in the scoring. This process took a little longer, but I really liked it. It forced everyone to listen intently to the book talks, and justify their opinions (which is very common core!). It increased participation and made the kids very familiar with everything needed in a book talk. Plus, the students had a blast grading each other! I noticed that my struggling students especially enjoyed it! ; ) I liked the way the self assessment allowed the students to take ownership of what was happening in their groups. I never appointed leaders, but leaders emerged and each group developed their own system for the process. Most students did a great job presenting although I KNOW that a handful of kids didn't finish their books, but everybody read some! The students that were not reading regularly were on my radar, and I made sure that I was paying close attention to their book talk. Otherwise, I tried to catch a part of everyone's by circulating among the 3 groups. Overall, my book talk goal was accomplished! Everyone read. Everyone talked. Everyone listened and...everyone got excited about a new book that they'd like to read! We will do another round of book talks at the end of the quarter, and now students will be much more prepared.