Concluding non-fiction lit circles

We have come to the end of our experiment with non-fiction lit circles.  My students met in their groups yesterday and concluded their discussions – sharing notes, new information they had learned and questions that remained. The focus was on the “woah” part of our chart – where does all this new learning take us? What questions remain now that we have all this new information?  What really surprised us about our topics and made us sit up and say “WOAH!”??

As I made my rounds from group to group I noticed that conversations were much more focused – the previous mini-lesson on non fiction discussion strategies had really helped (in fact, my students said so) and I left that chart up for easy reference during the discussions  and saw my kids glancing up every so often when they felt the need.
Writing off the post its also helped – there was more to say than just the quick note on the post it.  I was so pleased to see that every single student was prepared and ready to go – no wasted time trying to figure out what to say.
At the end of the discussion time, each group filled out the last section of their group graphic organizer – the “woah” part.  Lots of interesting debate took place around this activity – what was really new knowledge? What made for meaningful “burning questions”?  Each student had to identify one personal “burning question” – this will be the topic they research for their Glogster poster.
Some of their thoughts as we “wrapped up”:

  • reading non-fiction is a whole new way of going about discussions
  • non fiction is harder to talk about – the discussion prompts helped
  • keeping specific notes was really important – you had to remember terms, names, etc.
  • you had to infer in a whole new way
  • you really had to THINK more when you were reading non fiction!!

I’ve taken all sorts of notes I shall have to spend time analyzing over the summer. A resolution for the new school year?? Start this lit circle sooner!

No Lit Circle is complete without Rice Krispie Treats

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