For our second set of book chats at the end of January, students spent two days working with a partner or in a trio discussing the 4Cs about our memoir books; our books included:

  • 1st Period:  The Distance Between Us (Young Reader’s Edition)
  • 4th Period:  Bad Boy, Becoming Kareem, and Someone Like Me
  • 5th Period:  March Forward, Girl and Somewhere There Is Still a Sun
  • 6th Period:  Farewell to Manzanar

Students formed pairs and trios to do their collaborative thinking and book chats; they created their posters as they worked for two days using these prompts (borrowed and adapted from Project Zero and Think from the Middle, an amazing resource for all things Making Thinking Visible):

Students worked very hard for two days!  Though many groups did not finish talking through all the prompts for each quadrant, students engaged in some extremely thoughtful conversations with their partner(s).  Having to write out their ideas and knowing the results of those book chats would be shared with other classes motivated students to go a little deeper with their conversations and thinking!  I do apologize that a set of photographs from Day 2 seems to have vanished from my iPhone that shows the students’ work more complete, but hopefully what you see will give you an idea of where they were going with their thinking and work.

One piece of advice:  make sure students know they are working together and not dividing and conquering!  Some pairs just wanted to divide up the quadrants and write without talking, and I had to make sure they understood we TALK, THINK, WORK, and WRITE together.   This is an alternative way of doing a book chat, but overall I was very pleased with the quality of discussions that I heard and saw across all classes.

Students were able to complete a self-assessment of their work through a Google Form; they were asked to share what they felt they did well and what could have been stronger.  In addition, students also discussed what they learned or understood better about their memoir books through their 4Cs chats.  Students shared a variety of understandings and insights, including:

  • Understandings about people in their own lives, such as parents (seeing them through the lens of the people in the memoir books)
  • Character traits/motivations/behaviors of the author of the book as well as other significant people in their lives
  • Conflicts/problems from different perspectives
  • Motifs
  • Connections between the books and their own lives
  • Ways the author of the book is growing and changing through his/her life experiences (for the better)

Here is the breakdown of the grades they assigned themselves:

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