Thursday, January 19, 2012

Literature Circles, Grades 1-2 & 3-5

Literature Circles can be very difficult to implement in your classroom if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want and what you want your students to get from the experience.  Just as I have learned with my guided math, if you stick with it and be consistent then anything is possible!  Here’s a {lengthy} explanation of how I implemented Literature Circles in my own classroom during my second year of teaching WOW!

When I taught 5th grade reading, I wanted a way to motivate my students to enjoy reading and to really think about what they read.  I wanted to train their brain to think about what they were reading as they were reading.  Along with modeling this strategy during our read-aloud time together, I decided to create literature circles for my entire class.  Let me begin by saying that although I have never used the Daily 5 in my classroom, I know read to self is part of the program.  Literature Circles are a great way for students to read to self!

The great thing about implementing Literature Circles in your classroom is that you can modify them to fit your own classroom needs.  I stored all my materials in a 3-ring 1” binder.  Each group had their own binder with all their materials inside.  I have included all the things you will need for your binders in your classroom.  You can use what you wish and toss what you don’t like.  Maybe you don’t want to use binders... you can find a way that works for you :)

Now to the Nitty Gritty.............

To help my students read independently, I assigned leveled books for each group.  At one time in my classroom, I had 3-4 groups reading different novels.  You can choose the books for them, or you can have a selection for them to choose from.  They tend to enjoy choosing their own book because it makes them feel that what they say and enjoy matters.  You can also choose to have all your students read the same book.  This may work better for 1st and 2nd graders since they will more than likely need some type of guidance from the teacher.  I had my students work in the groups independently as I walked around and informally conferenced with the students.  1st and 2nd graders may need to complete the groups in rotations with the teacher and paraprofessional if you have one.

To help organize the chaos of the readings and job assignments, I used a calendar that I stored as the first page in the binder.  I have included a blank template that you can fill in and include in your Literature Circle binders.  It’s great because it is very generic and can be used for every month of the school year!  This method worked well for me.  You may need to think of some other way to organize your readings and jobs.  I liked it because the students {and I} knew what readings were required and who was completing which job on any given day.

Since my Literature Circles were implemented in a 5th grade classroom, our novels were pretty lengthy.  It took some time for students to complete the novel.  The readings were completed at home as part of their reading log {I required them to read for at least 20 minutes each night} and usually took about a month to complete.  My students also worked in our circles every day.  Again, this is something that you will have to consider when deciding what works for you.

As the students would complete their jobs for the afternoon {or week} I would look over their work and provide immediate feedback.  It's important to provide immediate feedback because they can adjust their work if it's not what you were expecting.  Once the students completed the entire novel, they would spend a couple of days working together to put together a poster that they would present to the class.  It's a great way to get a variety of reading completed in the classroom, but have everyone involved!  Many times, the students in the group would present their novel and encourage other classmates to read the book!  It's great when students can help other students become motivated to read and learn.  If you are interested, you may stop by my TpT store and pick up my literature circle packet.  Along with the literature circle work assignment sheets, you also get a title page for your binder, a monthly calendar, and a title page for each job assignment.  If there is something else you would like included in your binder, you may contact me and we can work something out!  Right now, I only have my 1-2nd grade version available.  I am working on my 3-5 and hope to have it complete in the next week. Don't forget to stop by my store and check out my preview.

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  1. Hi!
    My name is Heather and I work for Worth Ave. Group. We’re currently holding a contest for K-12 teachers to win grants for their schools, and iPads or iPods for their classrooms. If you’re interested in participating or nominating a teacher, feel free to email me or visit the link I’ve posted below.
    Have a great day!

  2. great! I can't wait to see the 3-5th ones!

  3. Hi Terri
    I just found your's very cute! I too am a christian and passionate about my family and teaching. Come check out my blog I think you would like it. I write about mother hood and teaching. God bless! ~ vicky
    Traditions Laughter and Happily Ever After

  4. Hi Terri,
    I am in my 2nd year of teaching 4th grade. I love teaching 4th grade and your blog is so amazing. I LOVE your guided math program and I just read the literature circle blog! I went to TpT to find your 3-5 literature circle download but I couldn't find it. Do you know when it will be available? I can't wait to pay you for these awesome ideas :)

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