Today my district had a three-hour professional development day. While many teachers might cringe as they envision high-priced education bureaucrats and consultants lecturing at teachers in cramped auditoriums, fortunately my school decided to let the staff propose a variety of activities for which colleagues could sign up.
Our tech-savvy librarian offered a workshop on Google Documents. Our special-ed director led a seminar on the school's co-teaching initiative. And I participated in an independent study where I did research and created a new assignment.
One of my most popular blog posts from a couple years ago was about literature circles. During today's workshop, I created six new literature circles roles. When I originally started using literature circles, I had the basics - Connector, Illustrator, Quoter, Question Creator. Click here for my first version. I worked to refine the wording and increase the amount of written response over the last couple of years. At the start of this year, I added two new jobs and tweaked the titles for all. So, in September my students were greeted with this document and presented the following options: Line Illuminator, Connection Captain, Word Warlock, Question Commander, Illustrious Artist, and Summary Sultan. Pretty snazzy right?
For the most part, students got excited about their roles, met my expectations, and effectively used their "jobs" to facilitate both small group and whole-class discussion on the reading. And just when you thought it couldn't get any more exciting, along comes Lit Circle Jobs 2.0! featuring the Character Commandant, Mood Maven, Insightful Identifier, Symbol Sleuth, Mind Muser, and Reactionary Revealer. I'll be trying out these new jobs with my seniors as they read Treasure Island, and my freshmen when we dive into The Old Man and the Sea.
If you have any questions about how I use literature circles, or if you've had your own success using them in your classroom, I would love to hear about it. Those of you who do use my work in your classrooms, please give credit to Mr. B-G, bgenglish.blogspot.com. Thanks!
Circle image from Wassily Kandinsky, www.prints.co.nz/page/fine-art/PROD/7104