Coaching Quality Literature Discussions

Don’t get me wrong–we have a LONG way to go in this area!  We have been working hard on this, however, so I thought I’d share a few tips in case you want to start improving the quality of literature discussions in your room!  The information here unfolded during several different reading lessons over the last few weeks.
I am SUCH a visual learner…I thought I would give you a snapshot of what we did…in snapshots!
First, I show my students these four models of “talk” in a classroom…see if you can figure out what each one represents!  
 (Each of these four diagrams is meant to show the different “paths” communication can flow in a class…for example, the top left is a teacher directed discussion…where the dialogue is a two way street where interactions move from teacher to student, and then back to the teacher.  The other models show different ways communication can travel in small groups.  I did a BIG blog post on this last year–just click the picture to take you to that post that explains this a little bit more!)
These are some of the questions we ask ourselves over and over…and even do self assessments after some of our groups to see how we are doing!
Here are some of the ideas we came up with when brainstorming about what our discussion groups would look like and sound like…
We watched a great video of a book club (just click the photo to watch it!) and we “critiqued” it!  We stopped the video a few times to jot down our ideas about what these students did well–and what we thought they could improve upon.
After we jotted down all our ideas, we grouped them together and I “wordsmithed” a little and created this anchor chart for us to use as we move forward with our discussions.
So–we are moving forward with our historical fiction book clubs. We are working hard to have meaningful, student-centered discussions, tracking our thinking in our reader’s notebooks, and really digging deeply into the genre of historical fiction.  More to come!


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