Literature Circles

Independent Novel Unit Margaret Hua & Dawn Hogue, 2002
Updated 05/09/2006 by Dawn Hogue

 

| Literature Circles | Literature Circles Rationale  | Literature Circles Explanation | Literature Circles Weekly Log Sheet | Literature Circles Final Presentation | Literature Circles Final Presentation Rubric |


Literature Circles
 

Literature Circles Rationale

Literature circles are historical an old idea. People have long enjoyed gathering to talk about the books they have read. Today, we call these circles book clubs. Oprah Winfrey spurred a whole new culture of book clubs. There are even local and national book clubs for young adults.

The first step is to find several other students who want to read the same book you do. You will be meeting weekly with them to discuss what you have read.  By participating in literature circles in this class, you will gain several very valuable skills. You will learn how to take part in academic discussions by doing the following: moderate, record notes, listen critically, provide feedback, argue a point, and work with others to meet deadlines and complete tasks. 

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Literature Circles Explanation

Much of the reading will be on your own time outside of class.  On occasion, you will be provided time in class to read.  You will be notified in advance so you can bring your book on appropriate days.

On a weekly basis, you will meet in class and discuss your book, revise/set progress goals, or work on your final presentation.  Each week, one student will serve as moderator, another as recorder.  Each week, these roles are switched. By the end of the quarter, you are expected to complete 6 group logs worth 5 points each and complete an oral presentation with your group members.

Below you will find more detailed information about the group discussions and log sheets you will need to complete, as well as information about the final presentation.

At the end of the quarter each group will have 10 minutes to present their novel information.  The presentation must include an integrated visual aid, book information, author information, and a dramatic component.  Each group member should fully participate in the presentation. 

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Literature Circles Weekly Log Sheet

Date:_______________________________________ Group Members:
Title:_______________________________________ _____________________________________
Moderator:__________________________________ _____________________________________
Recorder:___________________________________ _____________________________________
  _____________________________________
Directions:
These weekly logs are to be completed by each group and will communicate to the teacher what the group is doing and how well they are doing.  

Remember that each week a different student will take on the role of moderator.  The moderator starts the discussion, keeps it going, or moves the group on to a new topic.  The moderator will come to class with three questions/ideas for the group to discuss.  The moderator will prompt other members in the group to elaborate on answers and to back up responses with facts or evidence from the novel.  The moderator will make sure that all three questions/ideas are discussed fully that day.  He or she will lead the discussion.  If the moderator knows in advance he/she will be absent, that student must appoint a substitute moderator and then serve as moderator the next week.  

Each week, a different group member will assume the role of recorder.  The recorder fills out this sheet.  If the recorder knows in advance he/she will be absent, that student must appoint a substitute recorder and then serve as recorder the next week.

Each week, each group member is responsible for adding to discussion in the following ways:

  • Consider the ideas and opinions of others thoughtfully before responding.

  • Extend the discussion by adding relevant information or by asking pertinent questions.

  • Explain and advance opinions by citing evidence from the text or other relevant sources.

  • Be aware of and control counterproductive emotional responses to a speaker or ideas conveyed in a discussion.

  • Convey criticism in a respectful and supportive way.

This sheet will be graded on how well you show levels of thought, insight, and questioning that show you are engaged in the reading with a deeper than literal level of understanding.  Effort and readability (clear margins, legible handwriting, complete and clear ideas) will also be considered.

 

1.  We read pages _____ to _____ for today.

2.  In this section, we will give a brief summary of the main details.

3.  Our moderator presented the following questions/ideas for discussion; our responses follow each question/idea.

        A.

        B.

        C.

4.  We rate our use of time this week as excellent/good/fair/poor (choose one) because . . .

5.  Our work goal for next week is . . .

 

 

 

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Literature Circles Final Presentation

Follow this format specifically in terms of the information provided.  The dramatic portion and the visual aid can be incorporated at any point.  All members of a group share in the presentation.  Lines indicate where you fill in information.  Information in parentheses provide specific details you should present.

The oral presentation will be graded on completeness, accuracy, general oral presentation skills (see Falcon Skills & Style Handbook), the visual aid (integrated into the presentation), the information described above, including the author information, the dramatic element, and the participation of all.

Format:

We read _____ by _____, which is about _____(state the main theme).  The main character is _____.  (Describe him/her including appearance and personality or character traits.)  He/she learns (to, that) _____ through his/her struggle with _____.  (Is the conflict internal or external and who is it against specifically---man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. society, etc.  How is the conflict resolved?  Is the resolution of the conflict satisfactory or not?  Explain.)

The book takes place in _____ (geographical location and time in history.  Decide if the setting is a key element in the novel.  In other words, could the events of the story take place anywhere or only in this particular setting?  Explain.).

The ideas in this novel are connected to the time in history _____ (state the specific ways in which the themes or events in the novel relate to historical fact).

The title of the book means _____.  It relates to _____ (specific aspect of the novel) and shows _____.

Humor/Suspense (choose one) is created in the novel when _____.  The author achieves humor/suspense through his/her use of _____ (verbal, situational, or dramatic irony, or through some other means.  Explain how.  Provide examples.).

Our favorite part of the novel is when _____ because _____.  This _____ (shows, makes us realize, etc.) that _____.

The author of this novel, _____ (his/her name), has also written _____ (list several other titles by this author).  He/she _____ (provide a brief biography of the author).

We recommend this book to _____ (state a particular literature circle).  We think they would like it because _____, _____, and _____.  (State at least three reasons that you back up with facts or examples.)

The oral presentation will be graded on completeness, accuracy, general oral presentation skills (see Falcon Skills & Style Handbook), the visual aid (integrated into the presentation), the information described above, including the author information, the dramatic element, and the participation of all.  See the rubric for specific details.

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Literature Circles Final Presentation Rubric
 

  10 9/8 7 6/5 0
  Above expectations-All directions followed precisely and extras are added Good, at expectations---some minor problems distract; your work is less precise than it could be Good attempt, not quite meeting expectations---several deviations exist.  Attention to detail and directions is limited Not up to par---you misunderstood expectations or had too many mistakes or omissions You didn't do this at all, or your attempt is so poor, so limited that no points are given
Completeness
Use complete sentences, reveal an excellent understanding of the novel, use introductions and conclusions appropriately, sufficient length
         
Accuracy
All details of the novel are presented correctly
         
General Oral Presentation Skills
Enunciates clearly, projects well, offers excellent eye contact and facial expression
         
Visual Aid
Attractive; relevant to novel; integrated within the presentation
         
Dramatic Presentation
Relevant to novel; integrated within the presentation
         
Required Information
Information is provided and sufficient detail is given
         
Participation
No one is left out; all have equal roles
         
Totals: 100 points possible          

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Dramatization Ideas:

Create a conversation between the novel and the author, arguing over how a certain part should be written. Create awards to be given to the major characters and have group members role play the characters accepting the awards. Do an interpretive reading of a particularly moving scene.
Create a series of frozen scenes while one group member explains them. Take on the persona of different characters, and give your presentation that way. If any characters in the novel die, hold a funeral service.  Groups members can take on various roles.
Rewrite a scene into play form and act it out. Have a panel of students act as the voices in a character's mind as he/she deals with a conflict presented in the novel. Act out a "deleted scene" that you think should have been included in the novel.
Create an interview between a character and someone else. Create a panel discussion between several of the characters who have been invited to a talk show to discuss an related topic. Make a commercial for a product related to the novel.
Perform a puppet show based on a segment of the novel. Write and perform a rap/poem/song based on the novel. Come up with an original idea to discuss with your group members and teacher.

Visual Aid Ideas:

Prepare your presentation as a PowerPoint. Create a model of the setting. Paint/color a poster/mural that relates to the novel.
Create a photo album showing "characters" doing activities described in the novel.  Have it available for students to look at afterwards or make using PowerPoint. Create a "yearbook" for the characters in the novel.  Have it available for students to look at afterwards or make using PowerPoint. Compile a newspaper based on events in the novel.  Have it available for students to look at afterwards or make using PowerPoint.
Make an overhead transparency of relevant material. Create bumper stickers appropriate for the novel. Make a map that shows the setting.
Create an illustrated timeline of events. Create an illustrated plot line. Create a new book cover available for the novel.  Have it available for students to look at afterwards or make using PowerPoint.
Make a web page for your presentation. Create a wax museum of major characters.  Dress as the character would have dressed.  Prepare a sign telling who you are and some key facts about you. Create a mobile that relates to the novel.

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