Nothing fosters the higher-level thinking that allows students to form ideas and opinions about real life, more than hashing through a story in a discussion circle. What begins as an imagining in the mind of the writer is translated to story, and in turn, transferred to real life through group discussion.
Blackbird & Company literature guides have discussion questions built into every section, providing the framework for weekly interaction between you and your students. Questions are designed to spark student’s memories, trigger their interpretations, and get them thinking beyond the page about how a story can relate to their actual lives. In time, students who participate regularly in a discussion circle will become excited and amazed about what they glean from books.
Consider the following when putting a group together:
COMFORT & SIZE
Gathering in a comfortable area, whether in chairs or sitting on the floor, helps set discussion time aside as special and relaxed. Groups of 6-8 work best for allowing everyone to participate.
Clustering students with similar reading skills alows the group to coalesce. As students begin to feel comfortable with their group even reluctant speakers will share what’s on their mind.
Having a regular scheduled time each week helps students pace through their reading and builds anticipation.
Be inspired by student responses and guide the discussion where it wants to go naturally. Don’t worry if things get a little off track as long as students are thinking creatively.
Feel free to use the questions creatively. For example, assign each question to a different student for presentation to the group; allow two groups to take sides and debate the pros and cons of a particular question; use the questions as writing prompts for paragraphs or essays; allow students to role play their response to a question. Use your imagination. The possibilities are endless.
April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate by making poetry accessible and relevant to your students with one of these gems. Both by award-winning authors, they are written in verse style while masterfully telling a profound story in the process.
Love That Dog
by Sharon Creech
Level 1 (Grades 2-4)
I don't want to
don't write poetry.
Meet Jack, who tells his story with a little help from some paper, a pencil, his teacher, and a dog named Sky.
by Jacqueline Woodson
Level 3 (Grades 5-7)
Lonnie Collins Motion is eleven,
and his life is about to change.
Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper. And suddenly, Lonnie has a whole new way to tell the world about
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
did you know?
As a child, Albert Einstein seldom spoke. His parents were fearful that he was retarded—of course, their fears were eventually laid to rest!
Learn more about this great thinker
in DK’s Albert Einstein, A Photographic
Story of a Life:
This book makes a great companion to Madeleine L’Engle’s classic science fiction tale A Wrinkle in Time
this month’s contest
What common mechanical device first inspired a young Albert Einstein to think about science and the way things work?
Email your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org, with E=mc2 in the subject line, before
April 21. All correct answers will be entered in a drawing to win a free level 1, 2, or 3 literature bundle of your choosing.
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We love books! Reading is a passion in our families and classrooms and we believe that great stories have the power to instruct, inspire and enlighten. With beauty and clarity, we desire to provide tools that will foster your student’s delight in learning and encourage them to become lifelong readers!
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