Saturday, March 10, 2012

Literature Circles: Week 2

So folks we just wrapped up the second week of Literature Circles with one more to go before we spend the time drilling and prepping for the state exam looming in the future.

I never posted on the "schedule" that I try to follow so let me take a moment to do that.  The kids return from lunch at 11:05am (yes, that early!)...and we have about 10-15 minutes to have them in their "homebase" ELA class until 11:20am.  At that point we switch into the Lit. Group rooms until 12:10pm.  From 12:10-12:36pm we have our original group for "homebase" ELA.  Within that 50 minute block, it usually runs like this:

11:20-11:25---> organizational stuff, get folders, books, settle down
11:25-11:30---> whole group opening activity 
*Translate the letter (below)
*Mini-Lesson: How to ask "thick" instead of "thin" or "right there" questions
*An important quote written on the board
*I Have...Who Has (below)
11:30-11:40ish----> time to complete your role independently
11:40ish-11:50----> discussion time
11:50-12:10-----> whole group extension activity
*"Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" boys v. girls game
*Who is the bravest character? with 4 names/corresponding corners: where students went to one of the four corners of the room to "vote" on their choice before sharing
*Comprehension Quiz
*"Punch and Judy" puppet show---a school appropriate one---viewing on YouTube (this was something mentioned in the text that the students had no idea what it was).  How did people teach before YouTube!??
*Note: if we finish the extension activity early, then students have a chance to begin reading their assigned chapters for the following day!

Anyway, we had some definite improvements this week.  I allowed one group out of my three to go and sit in the "Comfy Corner" on beanbags, inflatable chair, etc.  They loved it and it freed up some space in the rest of the room.  I also introduced these since I had a few kiddos who didn't seem to understand that they had to let others speak, and others that wanted to just sit back and not say boo:

Now, I know these can be cuter.  In the future, they will be and I will add them to my list.  But after realizing this weekend when I wanted to get them ready but everything was at school I had to make these Monday morning.  So basically they are baby food jars labeled on top with the Lit Group's "team names" they made on Day 1.  The side reads, "Participation Jar."  Inside are four chips of each color.  During discussion time, each kid has one color of chips.  Every time they share something valuable they pass in a chip to the jar.  During the discussion everyone has to have all of their chips gone by the end.  This is how I made sure everyone participated.  It was funny---one of my kiddos took it really serious and guarded the jar, only letting people who "said something actually for the conversation" put a chip inside. :)

Other changes included:
"Word Wizard" students got to use these fun pens as they looked up and defined the words!

Students who finish their role early can complete a word search
I just wanted to share a few more things from this week:
On the back of the self evaluations I occasionally give
a quick comprehension quiz on the chapters read for that day.

Edited a template found online here for an "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"
style game.  Of course, I teach 6th so, "We are hafta be smarter, Ms. D!" they told me.

This was the letter I copied out of the book where kids worked
to change the wording from "old fashioned" writing to modern-day wording
A quick round of "I Have...Who Has..." that we started
Lit. Groups with one day!  If you haven't used/heard of this
before I would highly recommend it!

Hope this gave you some new ideas for Literature Circles!


Kim said...

Good Morning, Ms. D!

I like the Participation Jar idea... I think some kids need to be... encouraged!
I've also "rationed" the cubes (that's what we use) to keep some students from taking over. It helps them plan their participation strategically, so they don't dominate. They share their BEST thoughts rather than their first ones--and don't run out of cubes in the first 5 minutes of group.

Thanks for so many good ideas in this post!

Finding JOY in 6th Grade

Emmy de Greslan said...

I've used the Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader template before. The kids loved it and so did I (saved me hours trying to make my own).

I love your Participation Jar. I've pinned it so I can remember to use it on prac. Thanks!

Daydreams of a Student Teacher

Jordon, The Messy One said...

I'm a new follower of both of your blogs! I'm a 5th grade science and comm arts teacher in Missouri. So excited to keep up with your blogs!

Neffer1982 said...

I am another new follower! I love finding other sixth grade teachers online. When I do book groups I use pennies for participation, calling it "putting your two cents in". Each child gets five pennies and puts them in a piggy bank after they share. The kids love tracking with the pennies and when they are out of change they have to wait for others to spend theirs before they bring up another idea of their own. This really helps keep the discussion balanced and even. Thanks for the great ideas!

Mrs. Poland said...

I just found your blog and love it! Where did you find the "wizard pens"? They are so cute. I LOVE the participation jar.

Think, Wonder, & Teach

Des said...

Awesome ideas! I also love the participation jar. I definitely have the extremes in participation - all or nothing. :)
I teach 6th grade and am a new follower. I look forward to seeing more great ideas!

Des @When I Grow Up

Kim said...

Hi Ms. D:

Thank you for considering my blog worthy of an award. Although this “Thank you” message is arriving late, it is still sent with heartfelt gratitude!

Finding JOY in 6th Grade