Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Conversations in Literature
Conversations in Literature — Workshop

Individual Program

1. Responding
as Readers

2. Envisioning

3. Stepping In

4. Moving Through

5. Rethinking

6. Objectifying
the Text

7. The Stances
in Action

8. Returning to the

Support Materials

HomeEnvisionment BuildingHelpful Hints for Site LeadersLesson BuilderSearch this SiteSite Map
The Stances in Action


Key Points

Learning Objectives

Background Reading

Homework Assignment

Classroom Connection

Ongoing Activity
Additional Reading

Extension: Classroom Connection

You may want to try these activities back in the classroom.

Activity One:
Videotape a classroom literary discussion. View the tape later for analysis, focusing on the quality of the conversation and the stances students and teacher utilized in the discussion. As a reflective practitioner, think about the extent to which you as the teacher and facilitator influenced the dialogue. What can you do in the future to guide the students through all facets of the envisionment-building process? How can teacher comments push the process along? How can teacher comments hinder the process? What questions could you ask that might bring about a richer literary dialogue? What comments could you have made after student interjections that would lead the conversation in a more complex direction? What hints can you pick up from student comments that indicate their level of understanding or lack of understanding? Did you validate students' input? Were all students in the community involved in the conversation? How can you get more students involved? Did the literary community support all ideas presented? What activities might lend themselves well to this process and community? What follow-up activity would benefit the students in this community?

. . .

Activity Two:
Consider implementing literature circles or small discussion groups, where each member of the group has a specific role and responsibility. Allow students to lead their own literature discussions. Circulate throughout the classroom to observe groups as well as to hear threads of discussion. Wrap up the class meeting with the groups reporting about their discussions and accomplishments. Use this time to allow groups to challenge one another, as well as to raise questions. If this is the first time you have implemented small group literature discussions, you might consider utilizing one group the first time, positioning them at the center of the room while the rest of the class observes the group, its roles, the conversation, and how the group works together. This is a “fish bowl” effect. This will allow you to teach the students about the group roles, your expectations, and about how literature groups should work in your classroom.

Online resources related to this activity can be accessed at:

http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr259.shtml, Education World's comprehensive article and resource links about Literature Circles.

http://www.litcircles.org/, for the Literature Circles Resource Center, which includes samples of classroom structuring, units, teacher resources, and more.

. . .

Activity Three:
Using the Envisionment Building Stance Wheel [click here for a PDF version] from the Watch the Workshop Video portion of the print guide for Workshop 7, create questions specific to a piece of literature you are reading with your own students. Use these questions to lead a whole-class literature discussion with your students or print a list of the questions generated from the wheel for use in small group discussions. These questions can be used as conversation starters for the students. Consider mixing up the order of the questions or lay them out on a piece of paper in a random format. Not only will students learn what "good" questions look like, they will also begin to pose their own thought-provoking questions. The Envisionment Building Stance Wheel Sample Questions [click here for a PDF version] may help you get started.

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