Encouraging Student Dialogue

Engaging Routines to Try!

Literature Circles!

posted May 28, 2016, 7:20 AM by Jonathan Gillig   [ updated Jan 8, 2017, 9:06 AM ]

Of course Literature Circles have been available as a instructional routine for many years now.  This post presents a video of students engaged in a Literature Circle that you can show the students as well as all the print materials you will need for students to use!!  

Literature Circles Model Seventh Grade.mp4

The resurgence of Literature Circles might seem surprising in light of the new Common Core standards.  However, it makes sense given what we know about the standards - pulling evidence from the text, encouraging multiple perspectives, identifying author craft, etc... Plus, Literature Circles allows students the power of choice which is an essential factor in increasing motivation.  

Many teachers and students struggle with how to get started.  How does it look?  What should students talk about?  How can the conversation extend beyond just what students wrote on their role sheet?  What is important to note is that what students can SEE, student can DO!  Included in this post is a video with students modeling what Literature Circles look like, sound like and how they are arranged.  This video should be used before students engage in their first Lit Circle.  Let them notice what students are doing and what their responsibilities are.  This will help reduce their learning curve sharply and motivate them to engage in their own Lit Circle.  

The basic sequence of how to introduce Literature Circles in your classroom might look like this: 
                            A. Close read of text - have the students read the article I have attached to this post so that they are familiar with the content being discussed 
                                 in the video. 
                            B. Discussion and preparation of Literature Circle roles.  Attached to this post are the role sheets you can have the students use to prepare. 
                            C. Show the video.  Discuss with the students what they notice, what they see students doing and what role the text plays in the their conversations.  
                            D. Have them conduct their very first Literature Circle!  

From here, you're off to the races!  Students can start to really hone their dialogue skills and challenge each other to try more challenging texts!  


posted Mar 1, 2016, 6:17 AM by Jonathan Gillig   [ updated Oct 11, 2016, 10:54 PM ]


Opinion Spectrum


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The Opinion Spectrum is a great way to encourage student dialogue.  In this activity, you pose a question at the top of the page and allow students to form their own opinion on the subject.  Here, it can be based on their background knowledge, text they've read, or any other resources provided in class.  After they form their opinion, students then share and listen to other students.  After each conversation they record the thinking of their discussion partners and can change their thinking.  At the end, students then re-visit the original question to see if their thinking has changed on the subject.  

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