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Small Reading Group Conversations #2

As I wrote in my last post titled, Small Reading Group Conversations, I have been giving my students in grades 7 and 6 time to engage in small group conversations about books and reading. The latest iteration of these small group conversations in grade 7 has resulted in students selecting their own groups.

Today students in grade 7 met in self-selected groups based on the following categories: fantasy, the Divergent series, graphic novels, Percy Jackson, and realistic fiction. As I stood back and watched the groups engage in their discussions, I was encouraged by the buzz in the room. Every group exhibited a charge of sorts as students talked with each other. Some students said they would want to stay together but many others said they preferred to change on a daily basis. The grade 6 students weren't able to get themselves in groups that made sense to them and to me. So, we have postponed making any changes for another time.

As I walked around today, I heard my grade 7 students remind each other to comment on what someone else had shared before moving forward. I heard authentic conversations among kids about books. I saw kids cover their ears as others shared spoilers from books they have yet to read. And, I observed some kids standing back looking sullen or disinterested. I don't expect perfection or total buy-in. Nevertheless, there has been progress. This little experiment is working.

I will keep watching, listening, asking.

Next time, I will bring my students voices to the fore to share their perspective on this new modality in our classroom.

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers 
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I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!