Friday, December 6, 2013

Book Clubs- Oh the Woes!

On this icy snow day in Texas I'm taking some time to reflect on this week. My students are working on our Media unit. I'm reading some amazing reflections from them over their views on the media and how it affects them. I'm starting to see them mature from 7th graders into full blown 8th graders. I love this time of year with them. 

While in my bubble, I took some time to talk to the other 8th grade teacher about her classes. I teach PreAP and she teaches the majority of the on level students. Needless to say, sometimes I get a little out of touch with the different struggles we have at school. Her classes are starting their book clubs with historical fiction books over the American Revolution and we started talking about how it was going. 

They already chose their books, had their role sheets, and this was supposed to be the first day for their discussions. At the start of the day only a few came to class prepared. This trend continued as the morning went on. I know she was disappointed and frustrated. Managing book clubs is never easy. Add on to that kids who aren't motivated makes an additional challenge. 

What's great about this teacher is that instead of getting mad at the kids or giving up and just reading a whole class novel she changed how they did book clubs. New role sheets were made up. These were more streamlined. There were questions to guide their thinking more. She met them where they were and what they were ready for. It was really great! I need to get a copy of what she did now that I'm thinking about it. 

So, how do you successfully manage book clubs or literature circles in your class? As a middle school teacher it's not an easy task when you have 150+ students and 45 minutes of time.