Extension: Classroom Connection
Try these activities with your students. Each activity is
designed to help students start talking about literature.
Ask students to perform a 10-minute book talk about their
favorite book, persuading their classmates to read the book.
Ask students to briefly tell about the book and why they like
it. Require them to perform a dramatic read aloud with a small
segment from their book. In addition, ask students to create
a visual presentation, which may be a poster, puppet show,
prop, video creation, or costume that represents their book.
Model several book talks for your students ahead of time so
that they understand your expectations. Consider providing
a presentation rubric or scoring guide and asking students
to submit a book talk presentation summary for your approval
before the actual book talk.
The next time you read a piece of literature with your students,
ask them to respond to it with a quick write. Remember that
a quick write is meant to be a brief initial written response
to literature, no more than five to six minutes in length.
Students may need assistance with initial responses, so you
may offer a question or topic for them to consider. Once students
are more experienced with quick writes, they will be able
to get started on their own.
You may use the students' quick write responses as a discussion
starter for class. Remind students that they can respond in
a variety of ways, including short phrases, lists, or webs.
Model the quick write process for your students before this
activity. Utilize the activity sheet Sample Quick Write Response
"Let America Be American Again Teacher Resource"
as you plan for this activity. (See the Appendix in the Support Materials.)
One strategy for preparing students for class discussion is
to use sticky notes. The next time you assign a segment of
reading for homework, ask students to use three sticky notes
to record three unique initial impressions, questions, and
interpretations of what they read. Students should post the
notes next to the passage that sparked their response or question.
Utilize the students' sticky notes the next day in class as
the cornerstones of class literature discussion. Model this
strategy before assigning the activity.
The "insert method" is a strategy for responding
to literature that prepares students for discussion. Here,
readers use symbols to represent reactions to passages of
text throughout a reading. For instance, if a reader is surprised
by new information in a passage, they may mark or insert an
exclamation point in the margin near the passage or use a
sticky note with an exclamation point. These symbols serve
as reminders of the reader's initial response to the text.
You may provide a bookmark with symbols and their meanings
for students' first experience with this activity.
Demonstrate the "insert method" and practice this
strategy in class before asking students to try it on their
own. Once students are comfortable with this approach to responding
to literature, invite them to create their own symbols or
expand the ones you have provided in class. Utilize the Insert
Method Bookmarks Teacher Resource to get your students started.
(See the Appendix in the Support Materials.)
Teacher as a Reflective Practitioner
Videotape a discussion of literature in your own classroom.
Analyze the discussion. Write your response in your workshop
journal. Consider the following in your analysis:
- What about the discussion was successful?
- What parts of the discussion need improvement?
- Did the discussion flow through you as the facilitator
or did students converse with one another? Think about how
this occurred and why.
- How was the class physically structured? Whole groups
or small groups? How did that structure contribute to the
success of the discussion?
- Were all students actively involved in the dialogue? Did
some students involve themselves by listening alone?
- How were students prepared for the discussion and how
did that contribute to the overall success of the discussion?
- How did you prepare for the discussion? What would you
do differently next time?