Literature Circle Discussions: Part I

6th Grade Middle School humanities teacher, Emily Vallillo, was ready to add another layer to her literature circle discussion. Her learning targets for the literature circles were clear.

Learning Target

  • I can participate in high-quality, text-based literature circle discussions
  • I can support my claim with relevant and specific evidence

Students prepared for their literature circles by going over the chapter read and were writing their questions down on a sticky note.








Literature Circle Protocol

  1. Read Norms
  2. Transition
  3. Clarifying Questions
  4. Deep Discussion
  5. Transition
  6. Debrief/Reflection
  7. Shareout

Each student wrote down a goal their  literature circle. Ex. Keep people on topic more often

The class went over the previously agreed upon  Norms

  • Come prepared
  • share the flow
  • you can read ahead, but don’t talk ahead
  • stay on topic
  • follow protocol
  • be respectful
  • discussion centers
  • be responsible for everyone’s knowledge

Everyone got into their literature circles groups and prepared a camera to film the group. The purpose of the recording is to have evidence of their discussion skills and literary analysis of a text.
Students used the rubric below to rate their participation in the group.


Students got into their literature circle groups and got to work.




Here are some things that were overheard:

  •  “I have a deep discussion questions. What made me think of it was…” (showing evidence of claim)
  • “I think it is on page 1 … ” (showing evidence of claim)
  • “What if  he could…” (fuel discussion, look at different points of view)
  • “But how can he see the future without bamboo?” ( fuel discussion)
  • “Guys, we have to focus”. (responsible for learning of all)
  • “What else? Do you have anything?” (Inclusion)
  • “In the book, it said…right?….yes, the there is also evidence earlier in the book….” (looking or evidence in book)
  • “I have a counter argument…” (listening to others and fueling discussion)
  • “This is off topic” (Owning your learning, staying on task)
  • “I still don’t understand why they left him? It is still confusing…” (asking further questions)

Back in class, students debriefed by writing a blog post about their take away and learning of today’s discussion questions.


The class ended with each group uploading their video from their recording devices to the computer to be edited and annotated.

Sooo, now it was time to take already very well planned, structured and executed lesson in helping students practice and develop skills of a good reader and add another level…. to be continued…