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NCTE Boston 2013 Reader's Roundtables

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Glenn Powers

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of NCTE Boston 2013 Reader's Roundtables

Reader's Roundtable:
Developing Readers Through Critical Talk
Common Core & Reader’s Roundtable

Compulsory reading is absurd. We should only concern ourselves with compulsory happiness.
Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights, "Poetry"

By adding one Reader’s Roundtable a week, you could meet:
5th & 6th Grade Reading--Literature, Standards 1-6, 9, 10 (all but one)
5th & 6th Grade Speaking & Listening, Standards 1-4, 6 (all but one)
5th & 6th Grade Writing, Standards 1, 4, 8, 9

Glenn Powers
Center for Teaching and Learning
November 2013
Reader's Workshop
A classroom demonstrates what it values through:
assessment criteria
teacher/student expertise dynamic
structures & routines

The Context:
Workshop Asessment Criteria

Reader's Roundtable
How-to & Planning

Conducting a Reader's Roundtable & Follow-up
Assessment Criteria #1
Above all . . .
Above all: Be a happy reader—in the reading zone, engaged & mesmerized.
How much you read is not important to me at all.
Happy readers find themselves in the reading zone constantly.
This is not a race or competition, our main goal is experiencing the books as if you are inside them, not numbers of pages or numbers of books.
It’s how deeply you engage your book that we want to develop & value.

My Assessment Criteria
Criteria on becoming a reading sommelier, a reading connoisseur.

Criteria on speaking & listening critically about your reading experiences.

Criteria on writing critically about your reading experiences.

Criteria on keeping track of your progress and reflecting on your growth as a reader.

Criteria on becoming a reading sommelier, a reading connoisseur.
#1 Above all . . .
#2 Choosing Books
Find books, authors, subjects, themes, & genres that you care about & help you feel emotions, laugh, & make you think about your life & the world around you.
#3 Expanding Tastes
Try new books, authors, subjects, themes, & genres: expand your knowledge, experience, literary appreciation & tastes.
#4 Planning as a Reader
On the “Someday” list of your handbook, keep a running list of the titles, authors, & genres you’d like to try someday, especially in response to book-talks & recommendations.

#5 Reader Self Awareness
Notice the conditions an author creates to put you in the reading zone & be able to share those experiences with me & the class in Roundtables, literary letters, conferences & book-talks.
Be a happy reader—in the reading zone, engaged & mesmerized.
# 6 Developing Criteria
Know & be able to explain your own criteria for selecting & abandoning books. Develop your own criteria for abandoning a book. Recognize which books you enjoy & didn’t enter the reading zone with & identify why.

#7 Finding Patterns
Notice your patterns: what are you enjoying?; celebrate your accomplishments; & understand what appeals to you at that moment.
#8 Commitment to Practice
Read at home for at least 30 minutes, everyday, seven days a week.
Criteria on speaking & listening critically about your reading experiences.
#9 Speaking & Listening Critically in One to One Conferences
In conferences, step back from your book & think about how the experience changed you: notice what the author did, how you feel, what you wonder, what struck you as interesting, describe how the book makes you think, how it affected you.

#10 Speak & Listening Critically in Whole Group Roundtables
Participate in Roundtable discussions by coming prepared with specific examples from your book that support your statements. Actively listen, ask questions, & purposefully fill out the score sheet fully. Reflect & expand on the roundtable discussion thoroughly in recaps and summaries.
#11 Recommend engaging literary experiences to the group
Give book-talks to help pique the interest in a book you loved. Figure out how to excite your peers about a book that was amazing to you. Be specific, be prepared, & share your experience in the book in a way that creates a buzz.

#12 Written Preparation for Weekly Roundtable
Participate in Roundtable discussions by coming prepared with specific examples from your book that support your statements. Actively listen, ask questions, & purposefully fill out the score sheet fully. Reflect & expand on the roundtable discussion thoroughly in recaps and summaries.

#13 Literary Letter Commitment to Practice
Write a literary letter every other week about what you think, feel, notice, & appreciate about the writing you’re reading. Respond to my & friend’s letters genuinely.
#14 Literary Letter Content
In literary letters, step back from your book & think about how the experience changed you: notice what the author did, how you feel, what you wonder, what struck you as interesting, describe how the book makes you think, effected you.

Criteria on writing critically about your reading experiences.
Workshop Components
Predictable structures, mini-lessons, and classroom routines that students are vested in.
Systems of record keeping, both for students and teacher to monitor progress, keep record of the discourse, and form goals.
Daily status of the class (page and title)
Daily conferencing notes
Student record keeping logs.
Abandoning sheets and reflection
“Someday” lists
Poetry folder
Self evaluations and periodic goal setting

Weekly critical, deliberate, sharing of books and reading experiences in writing.
Bi-weekly Literary Letters
Weekly Reader’s Roundtable written preparation with two paragraph minimum

Daily (& weekly), critical, deliberate talk about books and reading experiences.
Daily teacher--student conferences
Weekly book-talks where students share their tastes and favorites
Weekly Reader’s Roundtable critical discussions

Choice & Applied Practice
choose books
abandon books
interview books
reflect and share experiences in books
access to library books or a classroom library
time to read at school
time to read at home
time to deliberately choose books that make them happy
time for browsing the library and interviewing books
predictably scheduled mini-lessons
mini-lessons that develop reading sommeliers
predictably scheduled weekly shared poetry readings
predictably scheduled weekly booktalks
predictably scheduled read aloud

How-to: Scheduling & Time
My Example Schedule
MONDAY (15 minutes)
Roundtable Prep
I introduce focus questions and goals
I teach a mini-lesson for concepts, if needed

TUESDAY (45-50 minutes)
Actual discussion with warm/cool feedback in session

THURSDAY (15 minutes)
Roundtable summary mini-lesson
(I hand out typed up notes from discussion)

How many Roundtables can I conduct?
Once a week?
Every two weeks?
Every month?

I conduct one roundtable per week which equals around 30 discussions for the year.

Finding Topics & Questions
Teachers determine the topics, focal points, goals, and questions for each roundtable throughout the year.

Scope and sequence determined by the number of roundtables you want to conduct.

Topics & questions should have specific content, skills, or literary analysis associated with each.

Preparations for a Roundtable
Reader's Roundtable
Reader’s Roundtable is whole group, multi-text based discussion around a shared topic or set of questions that the teacher provides and the students research from their own reading experiences, write a two paragraph preparation, and then lead orally.
Allows whole group text-based discussion in multi-text classes
More accessible than Socratic Seminars
More accountability and instructional focus than Literature Circles
Roundtables can cover many CC requirements without reinventing your class. Plug and Play.
1. Roundtable preparation mini-lesson and topic introduction (15-20 min.)
(Best the day before the discussion)

2. Roundtable discussion with warm/ cool feedback (35-50 minutes)

3. Roundtable recap with summary mini-lesson (15 minutes)
(Best the day after the discussion)

Total: 60-80 minutes a week
**Used in A/B block, traditional 43 minute blocks, and large block.

Topic Categories
Happy Reading Habits:
How do you know a book is good before you read it?
What are the signs to abandon a book? What strategies do you use to make sure you should or shouldn’t abandon it?
What is a just right book? A challenge book? A holiday book? How do we use these different definitions strategically in our reading plans?
What book has changed you as a person? As a reader? As an author?
When you are in the reading zone, what happens? What does it feel like in the reading zone for you?
How have your reading tastes changed over the last year? trimester?
How does the genre you choose depend on your mood?

Characterization & Character Development
Who is the protagonist and antagonist in your book? How do you know? How does an author define those roles in a novel?
Who is the antagonist in your book? How does the author write in obstacles for the main character through the antagonist?
Are antagonists “bad” or “evil” in all cases? Are protagonists always "good"?
Who makes better lead characters: boys or girls? How do authors create effective lead characters?
How do authors create compelling protagonist/antagonist pairs?
How are your protagonists and antagonists alike?
What was the moment that your character changed? What was your character’s “butterfly moment”?
How is the butterfly moment related to (or different from) the moment of truth in the book?
How do authors use flat and round characters, as per EM Forester's definition? How do authors use static and dynamic characters?
Why do authors contrast reluctant heros/characters with fervent ones?
Plot and Narrative Theory
What was the moment of truth in your book? What happened? What types of moments of truth are there and how does the genre affect it?
How does an author build up to the moment of truth?
What is the problem of your book? What makes a problem compelling?
What types of problems are there for the various genres?
Why does an author use a particular narrative point of view?
How do authors write effective endings? What makes an ending of a book satisfying?
How does genre affect a problem? How are problems created by authors? How are problems resolved?
How does the author move the story along? What was the shape of your books’ plots?
What plot devices does you author use? What function do they serve in the plot?
What's the difference between the problem of your book and the conflict? Explain.
Given the traditional list of "conflicts" in literature, which does your author use? What other, more modern conflicts may be missing from the Greek's?
Which is most effective: 1st person narrators or 3rd person narrators? Why?
What are the pro's and cons of first person and third person narration?
What is the shape of your plot? How does it differ from Freitag's Triangle?
Critical Lens Analysis
“I like flawed characters because somewhere in them I see more of the truth.”
“What I like in a good author is not what they say, but what they whisper.”
“It is curious - curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare”
"Things do not change, we change."
"We never step in the same river twice."
"There is heroism in crime, as well as in virtue."
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."
"From caring comes courage."
"A friend to all is a friend to none."
"Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes."
"A man's growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends."
"No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow."
"A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love."
"The best proof of love is trust."
"Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect."
Comparative Literary Analysis
"Slugs" Brian Swann
"Spitwads" Michael McFee
"Making a Fist" Naomi Shihab Nye
Any poem by Naomi Shihab Nye
"Language Lessons" Alexandra Teague
"At 14" Don Welch
"Neglect" RT Smith
"In the Well" Andrew Hudgins
"Biscuit" Jane Kenyon
"To Stammering" Kenneth Koch
"Blue Willow" Jody Gladding
"Loyal" William Matthews
"Saying Goodbye to Very Young Children" John Updike
"Those Winter Sundays" Robert Hayden
How do we (readers) become consistently deliberately happy readers?
How do authors create effective, engaging, memorable characters?
How do authors create effective, engaging, memorable plots?
How can we use a famous quote to frame our analysis of literature?
How can we use a poem, memoir, excerpt from a novel, or critical essay to analyze literature?
Introduce the questions
Clarify the goals of the discussion
Provide Mini-lesson Direct Instruction
Question & Answer Period
Clarification & Guided Practice
The Day Before Roundtable
During the Roundtable
Teacher’s Role
Create focus questions and set goals
Review rules and points system
Moderate the conversation
Rephrase and repackage student comments
Add questions to the “floor”
Take notes on the conversation
Score student participation using the scoresheet

Students' Role
Come prepared with written analysis and response to focus questions
Participate within the rules of the roundtable
Peer score fellow students consistently during the roundtable
Take bullet-ed notes on the conversation
Provide group feedback using a “warm” and “cold” protocol

The Scoresheet
Student Preparation
Scoresheet Examples
Follow up and Summary Mini-lessons
copyright 2013
The Center for Teaching and Learning
Week Long Teacher Intern Intensives

Come to the Center for Teaching and Learning in Maine for a four day immersion in the teaching methods that Nancie Atwell developed, honed, and then shares in our demonstration school. We have hosted over 1000 teachers in our classrooms, from all over the United States, and from all over the world. By observing all of our practices, either K-4 or 5-8th grade, you fully experience reading and writing workshop and have daily feedback sessions with the lead teachers to answer any questions. It's a unique professional development opportunity.

Check out: http://www.c-t-l.org/internships.html
for more information.
Roundtable: Explain the difference between a plot driven book and a character driven one.
Roundtable: Explain EM Forster's essay flat vs. round characters using examples from your reading.
Roundtable: How do authors create engaging leads?
Roundtable: What are the various characteristics of the various genres?
Introducing a topic: Pre-talk Mini-lesson
Full transcript