You may want to try these activities back in the classroom.
Ask your students to create three open-ended, thought-provoking
questions related to the literature you are currently reading.
A good time to do this is at the end of a segment of reading,
where students are more likely to have thoughts, questions,
and hunches about what they just read. Use these questions as
the basis for classroom dialogue the following day. Consider
organizing students into small literary discussion groups and
then inviting whole class discussion afterwards. When organizing
the literary discussion groups, you might implement ground rules,
as well as specific roles for each student to take within the
groups. Another variation of this activity is to place students'
questions into a basket for drawing. Students can take turns
posing questions and leading parts of the discussion, calling
on classmates, as well as adding their own responses.
Literature Circles Online Resources:
For an introduction
to Literature Circles, teacher resources, student resources,
examples, role templates, and basic information about how Literature
Education World's comprehensive
article and resource links about Literature Circles.
For the Literature
Circles Resource Center, which includes samples of classroom
structuring, units, teacher resources, and more.
When thinking about your current unit of study, what instructional
approaches can you immediately implement that would lead towards
an envisionment-building classroom? Keep in mind the following
student learning goals, based on Judith Langer's Envisioning
Literature, as you consider immediate instructional strategies:
Students will be able to:
Activity Three: Dramatic Variations
- Share initial impressions after reading.
- Ask relevant questions about the work being read.
- Go beyond initial impressions in order to rethink, develop,
and enrich understanding.
- Make connections within and across texts.
- Support interpretations with logical reasoning and with
- Consider multiple perspectives within the text and across
groups of readers.
- Reflect on alternative interpretations and critique or
- Use literature to gain understandings about self and life.
- Engage in ways of reading that indicate sensitivity to
other cultures and contexts.
- Use writing as a way to reflect on and communicate literary
- Talk and write about a piece in ways that are characteristic
of discourse about literature.
Use reader's theater to invite student interpretation of the
text you are currently reading. Students should be given time
to prepare their lines, as well as props and facial and voice
Visit Reader's Theater Online Resources:
A tablueau is a dramatic representation of a literary scene.
As the actors move into position, they pose in a "freeze frame."
The scene typically represents something meaningful, or at least
an interpretation of the scene from the text.
- Divide students into acting groups of 4-5.
- From the literature the students are currently reading,
ask each group to discuss a character's dilemma, actions,
or choices. Students should discuss why they think a character
acted a certain way and what they would have done in that
- Based on the discussions, each acting group will create
a tableau that represents the character's dilemma or actions.
Then, one student from the group may step outside of the
tableau and provide commentary on the scene, as well as
what the group would have done in the character's situation.
This same activity can be adapted for use with poetry. Typically,
this form of dramatics is impromptu, but if planning is
allowed, students might consider using props.
- A variation for organizing this activity is to ask student
groups to draw scenes and characters out of a hat. Ask student
groups to dramatically present their interpretation of the
character or scene from the text they are reading. Invite
the group and class to provide commentary.
Consider utilizing multiple texts in your classroom, based on
student reading groups. Allow student groups to select their
own text. Create response-based activities around broad themes
or learning concepts, lending themselves to discussions about
life and the human condition. Some possible themes you might
consider include friendship, family relationships, death, romance,
growing up, and a variety of adolescent conflicts. Create activities
that provide opportunities to compare and contrast texts, considering
how each one informs the other.
Visit the online Lesson Builder,
which allows teachers to renew current instructional practices
with envisionment building strategies.