Monday, May 7, 2012

Using "annotating" to liven book club discussions...

13 of my girls...wanting to end the year reading the same book.  How cool is that?  So we decided to end the year with boy and girl book clubs.  I met with each group and talked about the type of book that they would like to challenge them through the last few weeks together.  My girls determined that they wanted  to work through a "historical fiction" novel together.  They talked about how it was a genre that interested them, but felt that they needed support.   We decided to use An Elephant in the Garden.  To support the girls, I found newspaper articles that would build their background knowledge about this true event in history...see earlier post for articles.

I brought the book club together.  13 girls in a circle with chairs and clipboards.  I passed out the article and they annotated away!  Then, we used the annotations to talk with the peer next to us.  Then, like a ping-pong match, we discussed the article using our thinking to guide and liven the discussion.  One person would share and then another would comment using their jots and text to discuss.  No hands in the air...we call it turn taking with our eyes, authentic wonder, true vulnerability, and true confidence. :)  The conversation danced around determining the meaning of unknown words, to why public safety was a concern, to sharing the answers to questions that were wondered at the beginning of the article and were now answered at the end.  I got to sit back and watch, listen, encourage, and wonder along with them.  I jotted too as I read the article.  I shared with my partner next to me...the one student who had mentioned she was nervous about reading historical fiction.  I got to listen and was left with a treasure of thinking to guide tomorrow's group.  The annotations livened the discussion and the annotations left a trail of their thinking while reading.  Below are some samples of their amazing thinking that tells me how and when they entered into engagement with the text.


Since it was a newspaper article, lots of wonder about unknown words...evacuee, sanctuary, saviors... 
Questioning to understand historical context and wondering why it was kept a secret.


Monitoring comprehension on the right...

Pausing to think about what she has read...talked a lot about public safety and the role of the zoo in discussion.
  

1 comment:

  1. You grabbed my attention with these two lines: "No hands in the air...we call it turn taking with our eyes, authentic wonder, true vulnerability, and true confidence. :) The conversation danced around determining the meaning of unknown words" I love the verb danced (reminds me of working together). Authentic reading at it's BEST!!

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