Into the Wild Literature Circles

What is a literature circle?
Literature circles are small groups of students who gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students' response to what they have read. You may hear talk about events and characters in the book, the author's craft, or personal experiences related to the story. Literature circles provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to books. Collaboration is at the heart of this approach. Students reshape and add onto their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers. Finally, literature circles guide students to deeper understanding of what they read through structured discussion and extended written and artistic response (Noe and Johnson 1999). It may help you to think of a literature circle as a “mini” Socratic Seminar.

How will we use literature circles while reading Into the Wild?
As we explore Into the Wild you will be responsible for completing much of the reading at home on your own time. The book will be broken down into several reading sections, and for every section you will be participating in a literature circle in class. As an active reader, it is expected that you will be questioning and analyzing the work as you go, and the literature circles will provide an opportunity for you to discuss your questions and in-sights relating to the book.
For each assigned reading section, you will have a specific “job” that you are required to complete before meeting with your literature circle for a discussion. The purpose of assigning jobs is to insure that each member of your group is an active participant, and also to ensure that your group discussion will be worthwhile and meaningful. Because each job is so critical to the success of the entire group, you will be REQUIRED to submit your portion of the assignment to my wiki page by the night before the scheduled literature circle. If you fail to submit the required work, or your work does not meet expectations, you will NOT be allowed to participate in the literature circle and you will instead be required to complete an alternate assessment (i.e. a test or essay) while the rest of your class is holding discussions. You will also still be required to submit your missing work.

What is the role of each student in the literature circle?
For each reading section/lit circle there are three required roles. They are:
Additionally, for each reading section/lit circle you can choose from four elective roles to include in your lit circle. They are:
What else do you need to know?

Lit Circle Preparation: Student Examples

Classroom Organization Example

Period 5 Project Pages

Group member Evaluation Form Click Here! Please submit one evaluation for **each** of your group members.

Literature Circle Participation Rubric
Behavior during Lit Circle
Stayed on task during group activities (2 points)

Treated group members with respect (2 points)

Made significant contributions to the group discussion (4 points)

Completed assigned work and came to the class prepared (2 points)

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Lit Circle Keys for Success

  1. Keep up with the reading! How can you discuss what you have not read?
  2. When in doubt, read the directions. Most of what you need to know is explained on this website. You can ALWAYS ask your teachers or group members too.
  3. Read the directions and expectations for your assigned role. Make sure you understand them and ask questions if you have them.
  4. Post your work on your team's Google Doc the night before your discussion or sooner if possible.
  5. Find ways to make your part of the discussion interesting and engaging. Use visuals and explore the optional tools for each role or find another creative way to show your important points. Don't just have a list of discussion points.
  6. Make sure to print and bring any notes that will help you in your discussion. Do not expect to print before class.
  7. Keep your points grounded in the text. Use post it notes to highlight specific examples from the book to support what you say.
  8. Read!
  9. Check the resources page for more information about the book. We will be adding to this as we go.
  10. Read!

Being unprepared--If you are not prepared for your lit circle discussion you will receive a ZERO out of TEN for the discussion points for that section. You will also spend the period completing your assigned role IN CLASS while lit circles are being held. This work will be collected at the end of the class period and you will receive a grade based on what you have completed in class. Please note that not being prepared will affect not only your grade, but your group's discussion since there will be one less voice and less input into the discussion.

Excused absences--You are still expected to submit your work for the lit circle on your group Google Doc. You will complete an alternate assignment to make up for points missed during the discussion day.