On 6/11/11 I wrote:
With just a week and three days to go, should I even attempt one last lit circle? Well…why not?! Especially if it’s a genre that we have not studied yet, and one that is guaranteed to hold my students’ interest in these waning days of the school year. With that in mind, last week we plunged into our final genre study of the year: Historical Fiction. We will meet tomorrow for our first discussions, and I am hoping that all the work we’ve done with non-fiction AND fiction will anchor this particular round of book talk.
I kicked off this lit circle with a read aloud to call attention to genre features – we read:
This wonderful picture book is set in a Japanese internment camp during World War Two. I think this particular book works so well to launch a historical fiction genre study because (as my kids discovered) some of the historical information was familiar and some was brand new. For the most part, this is exactly how most of us experience historical fiction – this genre is such an excellent combination of elements of both fiction and non-fiction.
After our read aloud and discussion, we analyzed elements of historical fiction and compared these to elements of fiction in general. All the work we have done in reading workshop was evident in this conversation, and we were soon ready to divide up by groups and decide how to create our reading and meeting plans. I asked my kids to use a lit circle template similar to the ones they used for fiction, and soon everyone was off in a reading spot beginning their reading/note taking.