Sunday, May 20, 2012

Book Clubs & Inquiry Circles

So let me preface this by saying this is my first time at the rodeo! I'm trying my hand at book clubs with my kiddos, and I cannot be happier with how things are turning out! If only I'd done this earlier in the year, it's so much fun and they're learning SO much!

We started out a few weeks ago with a Book Pass. My reading coach and I selected about 8 books at various levels for the kiddos to preview. They had 5 minutes to read the back cover and the first chapter, then reflect on the reading. They wrote their thinking, predictions, questions, decided if it was a good "fit" and whether or not they were interested in it and why. Then they passed the book on to the next reader and started all over again with the next book.

From their Book Passes, I compiled 4 groups based on interest and semi-reading level. We watched some book clubs "in action"(Lucy Calkins' A Guide to Reading Workshop videos) to research what a good book club looks like and sounds like. We came up with guidelines and expectations for our book clubs. We discussed and brainstormed ways to talk to our clubs (anchor chart pix coming soon!).

With clubs in full swing, I'm able to make my rounds of conferences as well as meet with clubs to listen in and guide discussions. The clubs have all developed an Essential Question based on what they're wondering about the big ideas in their texts. For my Maniac Magee club that means looking into the topic of racism and how it is effecting the characters in the text. Bud, Not Buddy is trying to understand the Great Depression, a time in history they don't know much about. Group members for each club are responsible for collecting evidence about their Essential Question and must be prepared to discuss their thinking and the evidence they've found (they came up with this, I'm not kidding!).

So, now we're getting close to the end of the text for each club and they're planning where they're going to go next. Enter Inquiry Circles! I'm challenging my kiddos to go beyond their text with their Essential Question and dig deeper into understanding the big ideas and themes in their texts. Several groups are planning on reading books with a similar theme to compare and contrast how the theme comes about in various texts and how characters react to similar hardships. Some groups are leaning more toward a research topic-for example, The Great Depression for Bud, Not Buddy and racism activists throughout history for my Maniac Magee group.

I can't wait to see where they go next with their ideas and topics!


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