Saturday, November 8, 2014

No Prep Book Groups

After I reread my post, and looked at the title, I am adding in this disclaimer.  There is A LOT of prep work that went into creating everything in this post.  The "no prep" refers to allowing students to continue reading and engaging in book groups for the remainder of the year with no further work on my part:)

I've always loved the idea of literature groups with students.  What fun is seeing a movie by yourself?  Same goes with books!  Everything's better when you can share the experience with another.  

However, I've never been a fan of overstructured literature circles.  Giving everyone a "job" takes away from the authenticity of the experience, and doesn't promote students to contribute in natural ways.  Adult book clubs don't assign "roles", so why should we?  Plus, it's a lot more work on the teachers part!  Instead, I teach the students to be "active readers".  This process allows students to mark and share parts of the text that they reacted to while reading.

I've used Post-Its, somewhat, for the last few years since reading the book Strategies That Work.  Since becoming a blog reader this past summer, I've seen many others using Post-Its in a similar way to what I've been doing.  This year I decided to refine this even more.

Students are given a Post-It that has these marks on them for reference, and are encouraged to keep a small supply of Post-Its in the front or back of their text.

After we finished Unit 1 of our Wonder series, we read The Lemonade War together as a class.  We would read a chapter a day in class, and they would read a chapter for homework.  As I read the in-class chapters aloud, I would stop and grab a Post-It and make a mark and stick in my book.  Students would see me do this, grab their own Post-It, and do the same.  When I'd show them my mark, they would get excited if they used the same mark as me, which most often did.

** It is important to also tell them that your suggested marks are not the only marks they can use, but just common ones.  At one point in my reading aloud, I stopped to make a mark and told the students that my mark was not one that was listed.  Students started marking too, and one said out loud, "Don't do it!" (referring to the character in the book).  I quickly showed the class what I had written, and it was those EXACT SAME WORDS.  Cool moment for all of us.

Then for homework, they would be encouraged to mark about 3 parts in the chapter they reacted to.  Then the following day, I would have them use their marks to guide a discussion in small groups.   Like with me, students would get excited to see that they often times ended up making the same marks in the same spots!

Once we finished the novel, my Readbox was opened for business.  The students were so excited to finally be able to use this.  My Readbox houses novels in sets of 4.  I've created an interactive Keynote on my iPad that sits on top for students to use in selecting novels at their reading level.  I also keep a supply of Post-Its on top of my Readbox.  My anchor chart was also moved above my Readbox.

It has been 2 weeks since I opened my Readbox, and I am seeing great results.  Students are enjoying reading, reading MORE, and doing better on AR quizzes for the books they are reading in groups.

My next project is to create a place where students can review Readbox books they've read, so that others can use these reviews to also help select novels.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!  I'm off to finish getting my house ready for 30-40 people tonight to celebrate my husband's big 5-0!

1 comment:

  1. I love your read box! My students love text coding and sharing their thoughts with a group! Thanks for sharing!!