Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Clubs

This summer I was excited that a group of friends and I resurrected our book club. While our book club doesn’t completely mirror the book clubs in my classroom, it reminds me how important it is to emphasize that literacy is social and that there are some authentic book club norms and social behaviors that students can practice that will help them outside of school.  Below are only some of the considerations that I kept in mind while planning for and supporting book clubs in the classroom.  

Preparing for Book Clubs
Determine Books to Support Unit of Study
  • Is the unit genre-based or skill/strategy based?
  • Ensuring you have enough texts at students’ various levels
  • Some book clubs, students are reading the same text, which means they will need to be at a common reading level.
  • Some clubs are structured differently, for example in Nonfiction Research Clubs students may be in a club with others at different reading levels.  To prepare for these clubs, we begin to organize Text Sets (and as students research, they can add to the text set) that have books, articles, websites, videos.
Offering Choice
  • In my classroom, I would do book talks a week or so before beginning Book Clubs.  Students then had the opportunity to hear about what options were available that supported the upcoming unit and could take some time to see which book was 1) the most interesting 2) at their “just right” level.
  • Students then gave me their top three choices and then I would help organize who was in which club.
Prereading Considerations
  • When I taught a Historical Fiction Book Club unit, I built time in prior for students to engage in pre-reading research to build their background. We used photos, videos, short stories/ picture books.  This enriched their experience navigating their book club books.
Ownership of Clubs and Logistics
Setting expectations / norms
  • I put this in the hands of the students; but we had grand conversations regarding general norms for “clubs / teams”.  Book clubs set goals for themselves and had opportunities to reflect on their group goals as well as how they are supporting one another’s individual goals.
  • Below is a link to a video that demonstrates how to coach a small group to prepare for their book club conversation.
Managing the reading
  • I would have students organize their pages per week or pages to read for their next meeting.
  • Most book clubs were in one book for about 6-9 school days.  They would then move into a different book together.
Coaching into Clubs
  • I would spend time during mini lessons teaching to support book clubs, but most of my coaching took place while book clubs met.
  • It can be helpful to show students an exemplar of a book club meeting.  When I have used the following video, book clubs have processed and reflected on their structures to ensure their book club was functioning productively.
When clubs meet
  • In my classroom, book clubs “formally” met about twice per week for a portion of my workshop time.   However, during my daily teaching share, or closure portion of the workshop, book club members would have structured conversation time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Teaching and Supporting the Writing Process

It is important to teach students how to cycle through the writing process.  Here is a resource that might support students in monitoring their progress in a Writing Workshop.  I have used this tool as an anchor chart and have also provided this as a handout that students kept in their writing notebook.