Literature Circle Strategies for High School Classrooms

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Literature Circle Strategies 

for High School Classrooms

Harvey Daniels inspired a multitude of teachers in the early 90s with his literature circle strategies.  Click hereto see all of Daniels' available books.

Over the last 11 years, I have experimented with literature circles in my middle school and high school English classes and adapted strategies as I learned more about my students, about teaching, and about literature circles.  From 1999-2001, I presented several regional and national workshops on literature circles.  Here is a link to the L-O-N-G handout from that workshop.  It is filled with writing ideas to use as extensions for literature circles.

Since 2002, I have been very successfully using Jim Burke's adaptations of the literature circle role sheets found in his book THE ENGLISH TEACHER'S COMPANION. Burke also has an excellent and comprehensive web site with the actual lit circle role sheets available online.  Click here to visit it.

Writing in the Round:
Writing Strategies for Literature Circles

Capstone Writing Project,  June 2001
Mobile Bay Writing Project, May 2000
 

“Motion is not progress.” -Dr. Jeff Golub,  January 2000

"Readers must analyze and think, producing their own understanding, not simply remember information provided by teacher or textbook."   --Robert E. Probst, 1994,  English Journal

"Writing is both a process of doing critical thinking and a product communicating the results of critical thinking."  --John Bean,  1996, Engaging Ideas

Goals for Student Interaction with Texts and Writing Materials:

  • Students will learn about others
  • Students will learn how texts operate, how they shape our thought and manipulate our emotions
  • Students will learn about cultures and societies, their varying concepts of the "good life," of love and hate, justice and revenge, good and evil, and other significant issues of human  experience
  • Students should learn how context shapes meaning
  • Students should learn about the processes by which they make meaning  out of literary texts
  • Students will  effectively use a variety of writing strategies to encourage reading comprehension, critical thinking, and communicate their understanding of texts to others

--Probst, 1994

How to Help Students Accomplish These Goals:

  • Invite them to respond to the text through writing and discussion and graphic representations
  • Give students time to shape their responses and gain confidence in them
  • Find links among student responses
  • Invite discussion and writing about self, the text,  others, and society
  • Look back to other texts, discussions, and writing and forward to what students might read next, what they might write tomorrow

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