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TCH 264: Literature Circles and Launching Writers’ Workshop. February 3, 2014. Today’s Class. Share Writer’s Notebook Review Reading Workshop Introduce Literature Circles Participate in Literature Circles Describe Mentor Text Describe how writers get ideas Explore memoirs.

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TCH 264: Literature Circles and Launching Writers’ Workshop

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today s class
Today’s Class
  • Share Writer’s Notebook
  • Review Reading Workshop
  • Introduce Literature Circles
  • Participate in Literature Circles
  • Describe Mentor Text
  • Describe how writers get ideas
  • Explore memoirs

Article Summary

  • Reading Lesson Plan/Presentation
  • Writing Lesson Plan/Presentation

Lesson plan format is posted on the Wiki

building community
Building Community

….schools shouldn’t be about handing down a collection of static truths to the next generation but about responding to the needs and interests of the students themselves. -Alfie Kohn

No significant learning occurs without a significantrelationship!" -James Comer

creating a community of readers writers
Creating a Community of Readers & Writers

Look in a 4th Grade Classroom


your turn
Your Turn

In groups of 3, share the text you brought.

  • Why did you choose it?
  • How will you use it?
writing time
Writing Time

In your Writer’s Notebook,

  • Bio Poem
  • Self Collage
  • Where I’m From poem
  • I Am..
  • Me in a Nutshell
  • Self
  • Cinquain
what do reader s do
What do reader’s do?

Think of yourself as a reader

  • How do you approach reading?
  • Where do you like to be when you read?
  • What do you do when a text is difficult?
  • What do you enjoy?
  • How does it affect you?
reading achievement and instruction in us schools
Reading Achievement and Instruction in US Schools

What? So what? Now what?


  • What’s happening in US schools?
  • What have you experienced?

So What?

  • How is this affecting reading instruction
  • What does it mean for you as a literacy instructor?

Now What?

  • What does Allington suggest?
  • Why does this matter to you?
  • What do you think you will need to do?
what are you teaching
What are you Teaching?

Explore the Common Core Standards for a grade level

  • Look at Writing and Speaking/Listening
  • Also, look at Science, Social Science and Technology
  • What will literacy instruction look like at this grade level?
    • What skills?
    • What materials?

What insights, thoughts or questions do you have as you explore?

5 behaviors of readers
5 Behaviors of Readers
  • Focus reading attention and set purpose in some way (Predicting strategies)
  • Ability to organize information during and after reading (Categorizing, remember what to keep and what to throw away)
  • Elaborate on ideas and clarify information (Able to answer questions of others or ask questions themselves)
  • Summarize
  • Self-monitor and Self-correct (Understand when they don’t understand)
what is reading
What is Reading?
  • Reading is thinking. Readers are aware of what they are thinking as they are reading and use strategies interchangeably as they read.
  • Reading teachers model the thinking process through “Think Alouds” to model the thinking that takes place while reading
critical literacy
Critical Literacy

Critical literacy is the ability to read texts in an active, reflective manner in order to better understand power, inequality, and injustice in human relationships.

Students’ cultural knowledge and multimedia practices should be used (Comber, 2001, Vasquez, 2000)

When we read we bring with us our past experiences and understandings about how the world works. (Vasquez, 2010)

critical literacy1
Critical Literacy

“The ability to read others”

“…. the possibility of understanding our own and others’ experiences from that many more vantage points”

“Valuing, exploring, and appreciating multiple perspectives in the classroom.”

(Johnston, 1997)

“Critical literacy is social: disrupting the status quo, questioning, studying taken-for-granted assumptions, acting for change. It is reading the world and taking action”

(Van Sluys, 2005)

how can we teach it
How can we teach it?
  • Compare texts- incorporate literature with “real-life” texts
  • Discuss characters’ perspectives
  • Make connections (Text to Self, Text to World, Text to Text)
  • Use children’s literature to focus on social issues
  • Encourage children to take action
  • Incorporate a variety of texts modes
a 1 st grade example
A 1st Grade Example

National Geographic Kids

Kids 4 Seals

article discussion
Article Discussion

...learning is inherently social and people “learn as they do” while being engaged in meaningful work.

In Groups of 3 discuss the following:

  • Use of multimodal tools
  • Use of literature

How do the practices of this classroom illustrate Critical Literacy?

What have your experiences been with learning through “meaningful work”?

What is the value of this type of teaching? Drawbacks?

What questions do you have about this approach?

literature circles
Literature Circles

Reader Response Centered

Part of a Balanced Literacy Program

Structured for Student Independence, responsibility and ownership

Opportunity to apply reading and writing skills

Flexible Groups (don’t stay the same

From Literature Circle Resource Center,

what do you do
What do you do?

Teacher lessons focus on

Discussion Elements


Fish Bowl

literature circle roles
Literature Circle Roles

Discussion Leader

Character Captain

Scene Setter

Passage Master (Literary Luminary)

Literary Critic


Word Wizard



From Harvey Daniels, Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in the Student Centered Classroom

you try it
You try it…

Book Walk (teacher-led)

Meet in your group

Read your book (Decide as a group how you want to do it)

Try out the roles if you like (or plan how you want to structure your discussion)

All summarize

All pick a passage and words to discuss as a group

Illustrate a passage

Do a character sketch of some sort (Share characterization ideas you’ve seen in your classrooms)

Discuss ideas of Citizenship as it relates to your book

Discuss/Research Multimodal Texts that can be used with your book

We will share when you finish

your literature circles
Your Literature Circles

Theme: the central topic, subject, or concept the author is trying to point out. Themes often explore historically common or cross-culturally recognizable ideas and are almost always implied


novel literature circle
Novel Literature Circle

Discussion will take place on the Wiki

  • Have one member set up your book group
  • You will write a Literature Focus Unit based on your book (This will eventually lead to the Integrated Unit)

“It is terribly important for kids to read and write for the reasons that people the world over read and write, which is to communicate, to be delighted, to laugh.” - Lucy Calkins

6 1 writing traits
6+1 Writing Traits

A writing assessment framework developed by Northwest Regional Education Laboratory


  • Develop common language to communicate about writing
  • Develop a common vision of what “good” writing looks like
the workshop approach to writing
The Workshop Approach to Writing
  • Minilessons
  • Independent writing; students writing on a variety of topics
  • Students working at different stages of the writing process
  • Paired revising and editing
  • Publishing center with materials, etc.
  • Conferencing with teacher
  • Authors’ Chair
so what do writers do
So what do writers do?

Writers need:1) Time2) To separate composing from editing3) Response4) Responsibility

Conditions for real writing:1) Personal (choice)2) Interpersonal (social)3) Time/space to do quality work4) Pay-off (purpose/feedback)

(Ralph Fletcher,

use your notebook to breathe in the world around you you can write about
“Use your notebook to breathe in the world around you. You can write about”:

1) What amazes/surprises/angers you2) What you wonder about3) What you notice4) "Seed Ideas" or "Triggers" to generate stories or poems5) Small details that intrigue you6) Snatches of talk you overhear7) Memories8) Lists9) Photos, articles, ticket stubs or other artifacts10) Your own sketches, drawings or doodles11) Quotes or inspiring passages from books or poems

Ralph Fletcher,

other ideas for writer s notebook
Other Ideas for Writer’s Notebook

in schools
In Schools
  • Narrative- A story about a personal experience
  • Expository- Explain it
  • Descriptive- Tell us about it
  • Persuasive- Share your opinion
  • Poetry
  • Narrative/Personal Narrative
  • Descriptive
  • Expository
  • Persuasive
  • Report or Research
  • Poetry
  • Letter writing
  • Journaling
  • Plays
  • Song Lyrics
process writing
Process Writing

Components of the Process






Things to consider:

Writing is not linear, nor should it be necessarily

Think about how to integrate multiple sign systems into the process (i.e., drama, music, movement/dance, art)

mentor texts
Mentor Texts
  • Pieces of literature that you return to and reread for many different purposes
  • They are to be studied and imitated
  • They help students make connections to their own lives
  • Help writers take risks and try new strategies
  • Books that students can relate to and read independently or with support

Rose Cappelli and Lynne Dorfman, Creating Successful Writers With Mentor Texts

using picture books
Using Picture Books
  • Provide models that help students grow as writers
  • Stimulate creativity and interest
  • Rich and beautiful in illustrations that add another layer to the text
  • Contain life lessons
  • Demonstrate the importance of word choice
  • Short enough that they can be shared in one reading

Rose Cappelli and Lynne Dorfman, Creating Successful Writers With Mentor Texts

what do writer s write about
What do Writer’s Write About?

Explore the Mentor Texts on your tables

  • What are the writers writing about?
  • What kinds of feelings and events are you noticing?
writing from our heart maps
Writing From our Heart Maps

Share your Heart Map with a partner.

  • What story would you like to write about today?
  • Talk about that story in detail
  • Brainstorm you words and ideas
  • Select your 6 words for you poem
next time
Next Time

Read :

  • Level about Leveling (Wiki)
  • Ch. 3, WRMSR, Kids Need Books They Can Read

Reader’s Workshop

  • Set up an online discussion page for your literature circle
  • Reader Response (next class)

Writer’s Workshop

  • Write a draft from your heart map