5/2: Class was spent reviewing POV skills though a BREAKOUT where students had to complete a variety of challenges and solve a variety of clues in order to be able to escape from the grasp of Mad Scientist Jeffers.

Today’s class started with students reviewing an example of a good explanation I provided last week and then moving into IR. As they read, I looked through their Day 2 literature circle task.

After reading, students completed their Day 2 Literature Circle Journal. The prompt is below for anyone who was absent today and needs to make it up:

What words would you use to describe the protagonist so far? Come up with at least three main adjectives that capture the personality of the character.

Then, keeping those ideas in mind, imagine your character is a new student at PVJH. How would he/she respond? What activities would he/she participate in? Why those? What classes would he/she excel or struggle in? Why? What group of friends would he/she fit into? Explain.

For five minutes, write your thoughts about this. You will begin your discussion by sharing your ideas.

After writing, students received a handout that outlined the learning targets of this unit.

  • I can come to a discussion prepared by having read the text and completed my task.
  • I can refer to my preparation in order to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
  • I can pose questions that elicit discussion. (Inquire)
  • I can respond to others questions/comments with relevant observations of my own. (Bounce/Spin)
  • I can acknowledge new information expressed by others. (Sum it up)
  • I can build off information expressed by others. (Bounce/Spin)

Last week on Thursday, Mrs. Ruff/Mr. Runkle and I sat in on the group discussions, and we took some notes on where each student was with each of these learning targets. This wasn’t for a grade or anything; instead, it was the pre-assessment for the unit. Students received their results from that today after I talked through what we were looking for for each of the targets. Students talking with their group members about areas they need to improve moving forward.

Out last day of literature circles is on 4/17, and this is the day students need to bring their A game to their discussion! This will be the “post-assessment” of their discussion skills, and they want to do everything they can to show off their skills in each area. We will also be having a few checkpoints before then, so students can see how they are progressing.

Before students dove into their own discussion, I wanted to show them what these discussion moves look like in real life because they are not just something to use in language arts class. Instead, they are what good communicators do! We watched a clip of the ESPN show “Around the Horn” and talked through examples of Bounce, Spin, Inquire, and Sum it up.

Summing it up is where almost every single student struggled, and this is an important skill to develop in order to ground conversations, make sure everyone is understanding things correctly, and remind the group of what has been said. Therefore, this was the focus of the day, and I challenged students to try summing things up AT LEAST two times during their discussions.

After this minilesson, students moved into their literature circle discussions.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. Complete Day 3 literature circle task for THURSDAY
  3. Review POV stuff for the checkpoint tomorrow