TGIF: what went right about the schoolday

Text: Fever 1793

Some small behavioral worries aside, I am very happy with the way my students worked together today.  I tried a modified version of lit circles today in class.  I needed to get through four chapters of reading today to remain on-track with my novel completion goals.  Here’s how it worked… very well.

We read as a class, but pairs of students had tasks to complete:

  • 3 volunteer narrators (one per chapter who received a smidgen of extra credit for being the first volunteers)
  • 1 “voices” Impersonator for the characters’ dialog
  • 2-3 Study Guide Scouts (“Look ahead at the questions, and note the pages where the answers are as we read…”)
  • 2 Vocab Alarms (“Using the ‘Vocab in Context’ worksheet that we completed before the reading, alarm us when we see the word used, so we can mark the page to get more context.)
  • 2-3 Prediction Monitors who will respond to the class predictions when we make reading stops
  • 2 pairs of  Theme Trackers (4 students) who note the page numbers and references as to when a theme or related words pop up in the text.  In our book’s case, tracking Freedom and Sickness.  These students will keep the class Theme Log and also be offered EC if they type up the document and email it to me.

Some other tasks I am considering:

  • 2-3 Background Knowledge Experts to reference when we see things that popped up in our summaries of the historical Appendix
  • 2 Character stalkers to focus on how a character develops traits over time
  • 2 Questioners to ask questions as we go

Our Impersonator was identified by an early survey of random skills that I had students write down on their Contact Cards.  He loved the job, and seems to have really propelled students into the text by providing some comic relief.

On a side note: students were aghast at the concept of blood-letting.  The discussion came up after an activity we did using the historical Appendix, but elaboration today took us 10 minutes into a discussion of what medicine used to be…  I need to find an article to practice summarizing that type of information.

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