Teacher's Corner

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Literature Circles/Book Clubs for 2nd Grade

I was so busy my first week back after Spring Break!  With report cards due by the end of the week and with our California State test in less than a month, each day zoomed by.  Since test prep is in the air now, I like to make sure that our day is balanced with fun activities. One of these fun activities is my "what went well this week".

So what went well?  Literature Circles went well!!!  In my 7 years teaching, I feel that this is finally the year that lit. circles will be a success. Why? Well there are a few things I did differently.  First, instead of pulling for guided reading, which I normally do, I spent the whole week circulating the room after my mini lesson.  This allowed me to really see what the kids were doing.  Second, I did not rush through each of the jobs/roles and ALL students had an opportunity to try each job out.  Normally, I rush through this step because of time.  This week, I really honored our Reader's Workshop time even if it meant cutting some other subject.  This help me establish the flow of the lit. circles well.  Finally, because this was an introduction week to lit. clubs, the groups read together the whole time.  In past years, I've had them read alone for a while and then meet with their group.  This year, since I was not going to pull guided reading groups, I had all groups meeting and reading together.  These 3 tweaks made a huge difference to the set up from previous years. 

Although I've done lit. circles before, this is my first year using Lucy Calkin's "Series Reading and Cross-Genre Book Clubs" for 2nd grade. The kids loved the books they got and are have been asking if I can extend Reader's Workshop.  Good sign right?!? I also had to refer back to what the similarities and differences between book clubs and literature circles were because Calkin's refers to her units as book clubs and many educators use these terms interchangeably.  Although very similar, there are slight differences.  Here they are: 
Book Clubs
Literature Circles
         *Are made up of small groups of readers.
          *Meet regularly
         *Members engage in discussions to analyze and synthesize what they read.
         *A variety of open ended prompts are used to lead discussions
         *Members have a choice of what they want to read, even if it’s not at their level. 
         *Members include students and a facilitator such as a teacher or volunteer to front load information and to offer topics of discussion.  The facilitator’s role is to help students become independent readers.
         *Collaborative model for learning; more flexibility for students to take on different roles within a meeting. Students build an interpretation of a text together and can take on any role at any time.
         *Members decide to stay in the same group even if they don’t like the new book being read. Rather they stay because they like the company and/or discussions.
         * Are made up of small groups of readers.
         *Meet regularly.
         *Members engage in discussions to analyze and synthesize what they read.
·       *“Role sheet”; Students take on different roles (connector, questioner, illustrator, summarizer…)
        *Teachers give students choice but within their level.   
·       *Members include the students.  Discussions of topics only come from students.
         *Cooperative learning model; since each member has a role, he/she brings that role to the group and together are able to bring in each piece to complete the reading experience.  
·        *Once members are done reading a book, the group disbands and members find their way to a new group with new book. 

I am currently using the Literature Circles model only because 2nd graders still need some type of  structure and accountability.  All of the roles and posters I used are up now in my TPT store, so check it out if you are interested and become a follower.

On a side note, my linky party was a bust, but no worries. I now know how to create one now.  One day I'll take a stab at it again.  Thanks so much for my 3 friends that did link up, Calling Plays in 2nd Grade, Learning in Spain, and The ESOL Odyssey .  Check out their blogs whenever you get a chance. All three have great ideas and interesting things for you to see/read.  On a happier note, Live, Love, Laugh in 2nd Grade is almost reaching 50 followers!!! So excited.  A raffle will soon be on the way to celebrate.  Will keep you posted.

Finally,  Lita from Learning in Spain informed me that my links were not working! Thanks to her I went through all my links and found out that the majority were not working.   Live and learn. A how to create links will definitely be created ;)

Okay friends.  Many of us are back to work tomorrow.  Spread the life, love, and laughter in your classrooms.

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  1. I love doing literature circles with 2nd graders! Last year, when I began the process (I had many above level readers, and since we do guided reading groups, had over 30 kids in my room during the hour and a half!), it was so hard to find things for that level, where they are just beginning these types of discussions. (This year, I have kids on and below, so it hasn't been as feasible).

    I ended up creating, based on what I found (and my lit. circle jobs from when I taught fourth grade....I had to "bring them down") lit. circle sheets/roles for 2nd grade. Let me know if you'd like to see them! My kids really loved them! Good luck! ;)

    Adventures in Second Grade

    1. Thanks Chrissy! I would Love to see what you use.