- Write a short entry about a character, event, or other aspect of the novel
- Respond to other entries in a written "conversation" about the book
- Respect the opinions and thoughts of others
- Computer lab or classroom computers
- Printer access
- Determine a schedule for students to write responses. If you don't have a computer for each student in the classroom, you could schedule time in the computer lab. I have six computers in my classroom, so I designate one computer for each novel and have students rotate out of whole class work to their station throughout the class period.
- Create a folder on your classroom computers or network for each novel read in the Literature Circle unit. Students will save their responses in these folders.
- Brainstorm some possible prompts to begin literature responses, such as:
- Write about a character in the novel. What kind of person is this character? Did the character change during the book?
- Comment on the author's use of description or other author's craft in this novel. Are there things a student writer could learn from this author?
- How would you feel to be in the situation that the main character was in? Would you make the same decisions?
Step 1: Assign each student to write a response to some aspect of the novel read in their Literature Circle. Suggest starter prompts such as those above, if desired.
Step 2: Have students sign their written response with their initials or class numbers, then name the document with a brief description of their response (for example: character-growth-in-Esperanza Rising). Have students save their responses in the proper folders.
Step 3: Allow another hour of class time for students to read the responses that match the novel they have read. Encourage them to respond underneath the original writer's text. Students can ask questions or comment on the topics raised.
Step 4: Have students sign their comments with their initials or class numbers, then save the document.
Step 5: Allow the tech conversations to go through all of your classes a few times and then announce a deadline for a final entry. Print all the entries for each novel and allow students to reread if desired.
Supporting All Learners
Every student can offer an opinion, ask a question, or comment on a portion of the novel, so all learners succeed.
Have students check the book reviews on Scholastic's Share What You're Reading activity. Students can also post their own reviews.
Invite parents to read the Literature Circle books (they could borrow a copy from the local library if you can't send your books home with students). Parents could be involved with the book conversations via email comments or questions.
Each student is required to write and respond to book comments for the Technological Grand Conversation on their Literature Circle novel.
Look over the printed transcripts of the conversations.
- Did everyone participate?
- Is there a mix of questions, comments, and opinions that keep the conversation going?
- Were students able to go beyond the superficial chat about the book and discuss the deeper issues and themes?
I grade students on participation for this activity the first time around. As students gain experience with both live and technological book conversations, you could require a certain number or type of responses and award points accordingly.