Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Trying Something New: Skype Literature Circles

This blog post is actually a very big "thank you" to @jgriffith2 (JamieLynn): an amazing Grade 2 teacher that has taught me so many innovative ways to use technology in the classroom to really further learning. A couple of weeks ago, we spoke via Skype to set-up a "Global Literature Circle." With JamieLynn's encouragement, we decided to have a group of her Grade 2 students read the same book as a group of my Grade 2 students, and then discuss this book over Skype. After messaging each other a number of different book titles, we decided to use Where the Wild Things Are for our first literature circle.

I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical about doing this. While I loved the idea, I wondered if the students would be independent enough to have a Skype call while the other students in the classroom are working on a different literacy activity. Everything is worth a try though, and I'm so glad that we decided to give this a try.

Today was fantastic! The students were thrilled to introduce themselves to each other over Skype and share some of their thoughts on reading. They also loved making predictions about the book, and they can't wait to read the book too!

Sharing Thoughts On Reading

Making Predictions

Making More Predictions

Both groups of students are going to read Where the Wild Things Are now, and then share questions about the book, summarize the book, and share some some pictures that show different events that happened in the book as well. We are going to continue to work on building good conversation skills: responding to what the other students said, and moving the conversation forward.

This is meaningful book talk, and I can't wait to see the progression in the students' reading and oral language skills over the coming months. For those of you that have done literature circles before, what advice do you have to share? What are some of your success stories? I would love to hear your thoughts!


An Update

Participating In The Skype Literature Circle

On Friday, January 21st, this group of students met again to discuss the book. It was great to see them engaging in a meaningful discussion on this fantastic book: Where the Wild Things Are. While the students still needed some support, by the end of the Skype call, they were getting better at responding to each other's questions and really talking to each other. They are going to meet again in a couple of weeks, and as these students continue to meet and discuss books, I think it will be great to see how independent they become at this.

As something different, on Friday I also had my other students completing centres at the time of the call. These were special literacy centres for our Experiment Day, but even so, it was wonderful to observe how engaged the rest of the class could be in their own activities while this was happening at the same time. This was one of my biggest concerns about these Skype Literature Circles, and watching the students on Friday proved to me that this can work!



jgriffith2 said...

Glad that our readers are off to a wonderful start! It will be an adventure in reading and communication. I look forward to seeing their progress through the interactive Skype discussions. Working with Andrew Kauffman & his readers last year proved to be worth all the organizational effort. Thank you for your willingness to give this all a try!

Aviva said...

I'm so glad that you asked me to be involved in this! It was great to hear the conversation between the readers today, and I can't wait for the students to continue their reading journey together. Thanks for the comment!


Anonymous said...

well thtas a great idea. even i would like to participate in this litracy circle.

Summer Diamond said...

Oh I LOVE THIS IDEA! I am a total newbie to Skype, but am willing to try anything. What would be the best way to go about finding another class to participate? Any suggestions and tips are appreciated. Thanks ladies for sharing your experience!

Summer Diamond said...
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