In my last post, I outlined how I organized a topic tasting, how birds of feather interest groups were formed, and the planning that student groups did collaboratively to divide and assign readings within their topic area from the text set. In today’s post, I’ll share the prep work we did over four days to get ready for our reading club meetings we held today.
Prep Work by The Teacher
I began by crafting a reflection/noticing handout for each article. The first two reflection/noticings handouts for Articles 1 and 2 were similar though there were some differences in the final reflection pieces. You can view the handouts in this folder in Google Drive. It took me awhile to get my groove, but I wound up organizing the prep packets with these materials: the three article prep sheets, the roster of reading assignments I copied from the groups (green sheet 1), and a copy of the original planning work by each group. You can also watch this short video explaining how I organized their work (my ultimate goal was to have a neat and consistent order to the packet because it will eventually go in the students’ literacy portfolios (note: I thought I had the phone in landscape view when I filmed, so I apologize for the vertical format).
Handing the Keys to the Students: Steps to Success
We began by reviewing our reading assignments (in the packet) and our timeline:
This timeline was ambitious, but with only 10 “pure” instructional days from the time we returned from Thanksgiving break to our next holiday break, I had to push students a little to make these deadlines. Thankfully, most students met the work plan for each day; some students came to the “War Time” academic makeup time last Thursday to catch up. I collected student work–finished or not–each day so that students would not lose their work. In addition, collecting their work made it easier to have their materials laid out at the beginning of class the following day and maximize class time.
I also incorporated some warm-ups into the activities for Days 2 and 3, including a think and write as well as a sharing of HOTS (higher order thinking skills) questions to create a gallery inquiry.
Yesterday students had the first half of the period to finish any incomplete work. We then used the last half of the class to:
- Highlight three questions/statements from each prep sheet (total of nine highlights) that we wanted to bring up for conversation today.
- 1st and 4th periods used tiny sticky notes to mark a passage in each article that we might want to bring up for discussion.
- 5th and 6th periods used tiny sticky notes to mark three passages in the third article only (the common read) for discussion.
- Reviewed our reading club manners and etiquette as well as expectations for interacting and participating. The list students brainstormed became the basis of their self-assessment they will complete tomorrow.
- Reviewed their “emoji discussion cards” they could use if they got stuck on what to say or sentence starters for responding to peers. As I will share in my next post, these worked like a charm!
- We also reviewed the discussion structure to expect for the meeting.
At the end of the period, I collected all their work so that I could easily distribute it today for our reading club meetings. In my next post, I’ll go into more detail about how I structured the reading club discussions and tips for helping students new to book or article discussions be confident and successful as well as our self-assessments we’ll complete and final products we’ll create.