Engaging Literacy with Student Response Groups Sheila Newell Long Middle School Houston ISD Jane Long Middle School, HISD • 1550 students • Students from over 50 countries, a number of whom are refugees. • 80% from homes with languages other than English. • 90% free or reduced lunch. • Zip code has highest juvenile crime rate in Texas Reading Response Groups— by any other name. . . • Literature Circles • Book Clubs • Reading Discussion Groups What is a response group— literature circle—book club? • Small, peer-led reading discussion groups • Grouping is by text-choice, not by “ability” or other tracking. • Discussion arises from student interest and inquiry—not teachers or textbooks • Teacher does not lead groups, but facilitates. Why Response Groups? Greater student engagement because: --Everyone participates. --Students select their own reading. --Adolescents are social animals. --It’s fun! Why Response Groups? • Encourages student responsibility and citizenship. • Supports critical thinking. • Meets standards for “best practice”—active, collaborative, experiential, authentic. . . • Promotes a lifelong love of reading Let’s give it a try . . . • Read “Waiting” by Peggy McNally, annotating as you read, using the symbols on your bookmark. • Silently identify a significant idea or something that stands out to you. • With your group, follow the “Save the Last Word for Me” protocol. Getting Started With Response Groups: • Start small— *small groups—pairs are great! *small pieces of literature • Build routines before ‘jumping in the deep-end.’ • Allow time for de-briefing and/or self assessment at the end of each session—what worked, what didn’t. Other Cooperative Learning Tips: Teach students interpersonal skills explicitly: --mutual respect --attentive listening --appreciation --right to pass --Discovering Gifts in Middle School, Jean Gibbs Four Agreements Posters Mutual Respect Appreciation Attentive Listening Right to Pass Writing in Literature Circles • • • • • • • Role sheets—On a limited basis Journals/Response Logs Post-it Notes Text Coding with notes Book Marks Drawing Written ‘conversations’ (also called dialogue or partner journals) --From Harvey Daniels Literature Circle Workshop Let’s Try a Written Conversation. . . 1. 2. Read the poem. Write a response — What does the poem make you think about or remind you of? or How does it make you feel? or Borrow a line from the poem and see where it takes you. 3. Pass your response to your partner(s) and let them respond to your writing. --Adapted from Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles, Harvey Daniels Why Written Conversations Work: • Writing is thinking. • Everyone gets to respond. • “Legalizes” the impulse to write notes. Note: this is a great activity to get kids started in response groups. Assessment • Most assessment is done through teacher observation and student self-assessment. • Group and/or individual assessment is appropriate Forms of Assessment . . . • Teacher observation/anecdotal records • Group or individual selfassessment sheets or rubrics • Post-discussion journaling or letters. Forms of Assessment, cont. Artifacts from reading, writing and discussion: • Journaling • Bookmarks • Post-it notes • Artwork and maps • Membership grids • Culminating projects—group and individual. Group Extension Projects • • • • • • • Readers’ Theater Tableau Talk Show Songs Mock Trial Class ‘quilts Group portfolio with art, writing, reflection on book. • And so on, and so on. . . Individual Extension Projects Just a few ideas. . . • CD Cover • ABC Book • Quilt Square for Class Quilt • Poetry • Multi-genre Portfolio For many more extension ideas go to Literature Circles Resource Center http://fac-staff.seattleu.edu/kschlnoe/LitCircles/ Tung’s Reading Portfolio Story Map Illustration Diary Entry A Character’s Dying Thoughts Letter from One Character to Another Contact Information Sheila Newell Jane Long Middle School 6501 Bellaire Blvd. Houston TX 77074 [email protected] or [email protected] Bibliography* Daniels, Harvey and Nancy Steinke (2004.) Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles. Portsmouth: Heineman. Daniels, Harvey (2001.) Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in Book Clubs & Reading Groups. Portland: Stenhouse. Gibbs, Jeanne (2001.) Discovering Gifts in Middle School and Tribes. Windsor: Centersource Learning Systems. Literature Circles Resource Center, College of Education, Seattle University. http://fac-staff.seattleu.edu/kschlnoe/LitCircles/ McDonald, Joseph, et al (2003.) The Power of Protocols: The Educators Guide to Better Practice. New York: Teachers College Press. Steineke, Nancy (2002.) Reading & Writing Together: Collaborative Literacy in Action. Portsmouth: Heineman. * These are the primary sources used for this presentation. For a more detailed list of resources, see the handout provided.