“In the past, introducing literature circles might have consisted in students taking on different roles in the ownership of a novel, studying the novel on their own, and then filling out role sheets and sharing their results with others to create adult-level book conversations.
“Now, to better meet the Common Core Standards in ELA, I ask students to: first make their role sheets more robust by making sure they look closely at the text; pull relevant and strong textual evidence; and offer some interpretations of what they’ve read; next add different discussion protocols, both by asking them to use textual evidence in proving what they’re saying and by giving them sentence stems until they can use them without an external prompt; then create a group work product such as an analytical paragraph discussing the significance of a part of the book; or a one-pager where they symbolically represent something in the novel.
“As a result, I see kids being more confident in their speaking and engaging in conversation at a much more rigorous level. They’re able to better articulate their ideas, and better able to meet the Common Core Standards established for them.
“I’ll be introducing this strategy at our first TeachingPartners Live Workshop session. I hope by the time our second session concludes you’ll have both the understanding and the resources you need to introduce this practice with your own students.”