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How to Set-Up Literature Circle Roles & Responsibilities | Book Club Jobs

Before we jump into setting up Literature Circle Roles & Jobs, and why your students will love them, If you haven’t already, make sure to check out these posts as well.

As a teacher, setting up, planning for, and implementing Literature Circles in my classroom was one of my favorite things to do! Literature Circles were where I felt most confident I could introduce students, especially reluctant readers to the magic of reading. Literature Circles allow for the use of popular novels and absolute classics, all while allowing student choice = motivation + accountability. 

Likely, you are not naive to the fact that often Literature Circles started with the best of intentions, can end with a feeling of lackluster. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my 6 Steps for Effective and Engaging Literature Circles.  One of the steps that I found that leads to the magic that can be found in a well-established Literature Circle is to create meaningful and deliberate roles.

It’s not enough to assign cutey roles|jobs to each student and hope that they will rise to the occasion and their discussions will all of the sudden have the depth you so desperately want them to experience. I firmly believe that nothing independent should be assigned to a student without proper modeling.

If you are looking to establish roles in your literature circles begin with a short whole-class novel, that will allow you and the class to practice first-hand exactly what you will be asking them to do, (on display to their peers.)

Steps for Effectively Implementing Roles in Literature Circles:

First, consider how long you want the actual literature circle to run, and the maximum amount of students you will allow in each group. In my opinion, 4-6 on both considerations is the sweet spot. Meaning you will need to model 6 literature roles before starting the actual run. (I’ve created 10 different roles that you can switch in and out throughout the school year to keep things fresh and new. Pick from the roles, and decide what you want the students to begin with.

Next, think of what you can use as a whole-class example. If doing digital learning you could try a novel from epic, or check out your school resource library to see what grade level books you have a class set of. ***If you haven’t done this you may consider checking scholastic each month for their Dollar Deals. I was able to get a few class sets of novels at only 1$ per book! Break the book that you will be using to model literature circle roles into how many literature circle roles you will be modeling. If there were 12 chapters and you need to model 6 roles, consider using 2 chapters for each role. You could do also do one chapter together, with lots of support and scaffolding, and then turn the second chapter over to students to complete with a partner or with support from you, reinforcing the same skills covered in that specific literature circle role. ***Bottom line: your objective is to make sure students are comfortable with the literature circle role expectations, and feel confident in meeting the standard you are asking for.

I would model one lesson|literature circle role a day until completed. From there, I would then set-up, divide, and organize the actual literature circles where students will get to experience the literature circle roles independently. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out this blog post: How to Set Up Literature Circles in the Upper-Grade Classroom for more information.

Why Should I Implement Literature Circle Roles?

Couple thoughts, sometimes literature circle roles, or jobs get a bad rap. I’ve seen many that lack the depth and complexity that I feel my students are capable of. I’ve also heard the argument of not implementing roles because educators want their students to do ALL of the roles. To that, I say, “Me too!” That’s the whole point of explicitly teaching students these strategies. You can’t expect a student to meet an expectation unless they know what it is, what it looks like, and what it feels like.  By keeping your literature circles focused on skills and strategies you are able to isolate what you want the students to do. Again, it is not enough to have great resources and give them to students only to hope they “get” it. The entire point and end-goal of isolating skills and strategies are that students will begin to naturally do ALL of the roles. 

Tips for using Literature Circle Roles in the Classroom:

  1. I’m all about choice when it comes to literature circles. Student choice creates motivation and accountability that can’t be imitated. I use this same approach when it comes to assigning literature circle roles. Technically, the students have already been introduced to and experienced each role that I wanted them to during the whole-class novel when each role was modeled… Also, by allowing students to choose which role they will complete each week FREES me of having to keep track and come up with a rotation of roles schedule for each group! The only requirements I have are:
    • Only one student, per role, per reading assignment (No two the same)
    • No repeats during a literature circle run
  2. With the ever-changing, quickly adapting classroom model I highly suggest using a product that can accommodate both digital and in-class learning. There is great value in establishing familiarity with what you will be assigning to students and what they will be expected to do. Keeping that common thread whether students are in class with you or in their own home prevents a lot of confusion and anxiety. This simple step also simplifies your workload 10-fold. I will link the products I created below. Every Literature Circle product includes the printable version as well as a digital version that can be used in a distance-learning classroom. 
  3. The crowning point of literature circle roles should take place in the group discussion, this is where the discussion should come alive with the students excited to share their thinking. Roles are a great way to scaffold and support their discussions. Each student comes prepared and has something to contribute. Allow students time to also have free-talk. Free-talk is where students can talk about anything ABOUT the book. The only rule is that they must stay on topic. With 5th graders anywhere from 3-5 minutes were plenty, however, it’s during that time we are allowing students to practice and explore the skills they are practicing. To learn more about how I scaffold or support student discussions in literature circles, click here. 
  4. Allow students to discuss their roles and findings with other groups reading different books. I would group my literature circle runs by a commonality. This allowed there to be a central theme that all students could relate to, despite all reading different books. Discussion from members that completed the same role for different books also lead to interesting discussion and perspectives. Especially when you task them to find something in common with the books they are reading. This can also be done as a whole-class discussion when you come back together, after group discussions.
  5. Reward depth in a discussion with recognition. While students are meeting and discussing the reading in their groups, go around, listen, and participate. Take notes of notable discussion moments, and when you return as a whole class, share those moments! Ask students to share their own highlights from their group’s discussion. This simple practice will reinforce the skill you want students to execute!
  6. As mentioned I have created 10 literature circle roles. Because all of the text is editable, you can edit the roles to your own classroom needs, even simplifying the tasks or adding depth if necessary. Introduce other roles into your literature circle runs as you go. Students get excited, and it’s a fun way to change things up!
    ***Remember to model each new role before implementing the activity in a literature circle run.

Tips for Going Digital or Setting Up Roles in A Distance Learning or Hybrid Classroom

  1. As previously mentioned, begin by using resources|roles that can easily adapt to any classroom environment, including digital.
  2. Zoom, Google Meet, and Flip Grid are great FREE resources that make it easy to implement Literature Circles Digitally.
    • Benefits to Zoom: Zoom is a video conferencing tool that allows you to meet with your students in real-time. Zoom offers breakout rooms which are PERFECT for your Literature Circle Groups to meet and discuss the weekly reading. This “live” time is also a nice way to partially meet the social needs of your students. Essentially you would begin the conference call as a whole class, and then students would divide into their breakout rooms to discuss their roles and the reading as a group. Click here for more information on breakout rooms. 
    • Benefits to Google Meet: Google Meet is another video conferencing tool that is wonderful for distance learning. Because it’s through Google the integrations between Google Classroom and Google Meet are pretty seamless. If using Google Meet, you will have to separate “Google Meets” for each group to use, instead of meeting as a whole class first and then breaking off while staying on the same call. Head here for more information on Google Meet.
    • Benefits to Flip Grid: Flip Grid is a video response tool. Instead of meeting live, during a conference call, students would instead have the option of creating a video of themselves responding to the reading and posting it to their group’s discussion board. From there, students can interact, like, and comment on each other’s Flip Grid Videos. This is a great alternative if students are unable to attend a scheduled conference call. This blog post offers more information.
  3. Go COMPLETELY Digital with EBooks and Digital Passages. I’ll be the first to admit I’m all for getting a real, old-fashioned, concrete book in your student’s hand. However, I’ll also be the first to admit that it may not be an option at times. With all the resources available to teachers in the form of Ebooks, don’t stress for one second, you have thousands of quality E-books and classics at your disposal many of them are even Free. Check out this list for more information! 

 

Literature Circle Roles | Jobs Resources:

This product can be used and implemented in grades as young as Upper elementary looking to study chapter books or novels, to your middle school upper grades and High School Students. All text is editable so you can completely customize the roles | jobs to your classroom’s needs.

These Literature Circle Role, Reading Response Bookmarks were created to be used as a weekly assignment in my Literature Circle Groups. Because of the shift in learning and the need for effective digital products in the distance learning classroom I’ve also added a full-size Digital, Literature-Circle Role Response page that can be edited through Google Slides and easily assigned in Google Classroom.

Literature Circle Roles Included:

  1. Director
  2. Linguist
  3. Analyzer
  4. Questioner
  5. Creator
  6. Predictor
  7. Examiner
  8. Sleuth
  9. Profiler
  10. Reporter

Watch the video above for a full preview of what’s included in the Literature Circles Roles|Jobs Bundle

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Achieving true ward or branch unity may be as difficult as it is rare. But great progress can be made in each ward and branch of the Church as leaders and members apply the following principles: (1) learn the doctrine, (2) eliminate contention, (3) forgive others, (4) watch over and strengthen each other, and (5) sacrifice for the kingdom of God. […] Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are one, even as we must become one. Let us, therefore, be fully committed as disciples of the Lord to become united as a church and as a people.

-Be Ye One: By Elder H. Aldridge Gillespie
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Loved these thoughts from the Strength of Youth magazine:
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“There’s a style of painting called pointillism where artists apply small colored dots all over a surface to create an image instead of mixing colors together on a palette and using large brush strokes. When you stand close to these paintings, all you can see are individual dots of color.
However, when you take a step back, the dots blend together to reveal a picture.
The individual colored dots all work together to create something beautiful. Just like the dots, we are all unique individuals. Heavenly Father sees the “full picture.” He sees us all as His sons and daughters, “heirs to the kingdom of God” (4 Nephi 1:17). If we can also learn how to step back and see the bigger picture, we can learn how to love and work with people who are different from us. Here are some things we can do to work at being unified.
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As you work to build unity with others, you might see we’re not as different from each other as we think. As we learn to see each other as Heavenly Father sees us, we will come to understand that everyone is needed and belongs in the kingdom of God. We are each a wonderful dot of color in a beautiful mural. And let’s face it, it just wouldn’t be the same without you.”
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Not sure about you, but while reading through the suggested activities to try with your class or family in Come Follow Me, the activities dealing with the idea of being one… felt EXTREMELY relevant to my little family, and my little children, and their little rivalries. I thought I would make a quick printable to go along with this suggested activity:
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“To teach children what it means to “be one,” you could help them count the members of your family and talk about why each person is important to your family. Emphasize that together you are one family. You could help your children draw a large 1 on a poster and decorate it with names and drawings or pictures of each family member. You could also write on the poster things you will do to be more united as a family. You might also watch the video “Love in Our Hearts” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org) or read Moses 7:18.”
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“I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep. “As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists” (Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. [1938], 37). ...

On Easter Sunday we celebrate the most long-awaited and glorious event in the history of the world.

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On that day, my life changed.

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LOVED the @followhimpodcast this week with guest @brotheranthonysweat their discussion on spiritual and temporal matters was something everyone should listen to! @johngbytheway also recited this quote, and I knew I wanted to share it with all of you....💛
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“Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ.

No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon.”

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Looking to make Easter a little more meaningful? This is one of my favorite FREE Downloads for members 💛Celebrate the WHY of Easter with this FREE Paper Chain countdown. Use the strips to create a paper chain, or roll them up and hide them in plastic Easter Eggs. This countdown comes in 3 different and editable versions and follows the Holy Week’s events. Use the QR code’s to watch inspirational videos about Jesus Christ, His atonement, and His resurrection. Read the scriptures that correlate with Holy Week. There’s a differentiated countdown for everyone including toddlers, young children, youth and families. #hearhim #easteractivities #easteractivitiesforkids ...

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This idea came after watching this week’s Drawn In episode by @davidbowmanart💛 See two posts back for more info!
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If you are like me and ready to “repent” or my favorite repentance synonym... to “turn around” and become more commited to scripture study and family prayer each morning, I’ve created the following printable to help stay on track. This printable works as a visual reminder as well a place to keep track of your progress. Color in a letter each day and see if you can keep up the habit for 34days!

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“I like to think of this spiritual armor not as a solid piece of metal molded to fit the body, but more like chain mail. Chain mail consists of dozens of tiny pieces of steel fastened together to allow the user greater flexibility without losing protection. I say that because it has been my experience, covering many more years than you have yet been privileged to live, that there is not one great and grand thing we can do to arm ourselves spiritually. True spiritual power lies in numerous smaller acts woven together in a fabric of spiritual fortification that protects and shields from all evil.”
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We LOVED following along and learning to draw the Armor of God for this week’s #comefollowme @davidbowmanart Drawn In Subscription is the only paid resource I use for Come Follow Me at this time💛 my kids love the videos and each week I’m blown away by David’s creativity and focus on the principles of the scriptures and how they apply instead of just the story. (Plus it doesn’t get much easier than pushing play on a Sunday) 🙈😬🥴
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Like a warrior we need our spiritual armor at the start of the day!
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Need #bulletinboardideas for March.... I’ve got you👊 like almost all of my Bulletin Board Kits, they center around student work and are made up of EASY TO CUT, Editable 🙊, ready to print and assemble slides!
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If you’ve followed me for long you know I love all things March and Irish ☘️ it’s in my blood 🙃
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My love of March shows in my resources, of all the months to have the most projects... March (of all the months???) is at the top of the list!
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Emma Smith. Call me a cynic, but if you put value on the fact that none of the witnesses ever recounted their testimony of the Book of Mormon, I put 10 fold that value on Emma.
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My heart swells and breaks a little when I think of dear Emma. She is someone that I can not wait to meet, to hug, and to cry with. She endured SO much, and loved Joseph with a depth that seems unobtainable.
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I know we need to be careful putting early Saints on a pedestal, but that’s just it, much of the pedestal I place her on is grounded in how “human” she is to me.
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Emma often doesn’t get the credit she is due based on other’s quick assumptions. I used to be one of them.... What I do know is that the more I learn about Emma, the more I love and look up to her. If ever there was a model of strength, courage and endurance, it would be her.
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What do you think? Comment below 💛
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This beautiful depiction of Emma and Joseph is by the incredibly talented @rosedatocdall I dare say it’s my favorite to date. 💛💛💛
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“I have never seen a woman in my life, who would endure every species of fatigue and hardship, from month to month, and from year to year, with that unflinching courage, zeal and patience, which she has always done; for I know that which she has had to endure; that she has been tossed upon the ocean of uncertainty; that she has breasted the storm of persecution, and buffeted the rage of men and devils, until she has been swallowed up in a sea of trouble which [would] have borne down almost any other woman.”3

-Lucy Mack Smith
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Art that stops you in your tracks... If ever there was a picture that perfectly illustrated the scripture, D&C 25:12, “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart...” I think it would be this one?
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What’s your favorite hymn? Drop it in the comments below!
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I loved reading @comefollowmemusic thoughts on this and had to share! Do you follow @comefollowmemusic ? Each week they share a FREE schedule based on music that correlates with what we are learning in #comefollowme
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What’s a song that you feel in your soul? Tell me in the comments💛
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🎨 @pattic.art (one of my absolute FAVORITES)
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Had to share this caption from one of my new FAVORITE accounts to follow while studying Doctrine and Covenants for #comefollowme @saintsofhistory takes an early saint and posts a brief but extremely entertaining biography about each individual. I’ve been waiting not so patiently for the post dedicated to Emma! Read an excerpt of @saintsofhistory post below. Also check out this early artwork by @emilyshayart another one of my favorite artists/ illustrators 😭😍
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In 1825, 21-year-old Emma met 19-year-old Joseph Smith when a guy named Josiah Stowell hired Joseph to help him dig for purported lost silver near Harmony, PA. The Smiths often took random jobs like this to help provide for the family, but Joseph’s current living + all the rumors about him still didn’t impress Emma’s dad. But she was done being with all the single ladies, so she put her hand up and Joseph liked it so he put a ring on it—they eloped and were married on Jan. 18, 1827 in South Bainbridge, NY.
Fast forward to June 15, 1828: At the same time Martin Harris was losing 116 pages of The Book of Mormon, Emma nearly died. After an agonizing labor, she gave birth to her first child, but the baby was very frail and died soon afterward. Little did she know that her first three children would not live beyond a day, and of the nine children she bore, only four would grow to adulthood. Emma and Joseph named this first baby Alvin.
Now let’s jump to July 1830: Soon after Emma’s “memorable” baptism day (see Joseph Knight Sr. post), the Lord sent a revelation just for her, now known as Doctrine & Covenants 25. (Go read p.36-38 in “Revelations in Context”—good stuff.) Among other things, Emma is assigned to “make a selection of sacred hymns.” Today, 26 of Emma’s original selections are still in our hymn book. Zero came from Beyonce.
Of course, Emma later became the first president of the Relief Society, fulfilling, at least in part, her designation by the Lord as an “elect lady” according to Joseph in 1842.
Emma was a leader in public and in private—often left to face life’s challenges alone when her husband was falsely accused and imprisoned.
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Selection Sunday and PI Day falling on the same day... Somebody pinch me. Two of my very favorites because of the projects you can start in your classroom 😍 Take for instance my March Math Madness PBL
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Think March Madness + Fantasy Basketball + Lots of Math + A sprinkle of ELA = Engagement & Excitement & Learning 💛🏀💛
Students are separated into the 4 divisions then work together to put together a new starting 5 from players in their division. #dreamteam Each round their individual players are awards point values for how they played. At the end of each round students will calculate their team’s total points and decide which dream team comes out victorious! There are some really great opportunities to see Math in action. There’s opportunity for measurement conversion, converting fractions to decimals, ordering decimals, ratios, mean-median-mode, adding and subtracting decimals, multiplying decimals...etc. This is quickly becoming another tried and true favorite in the classroom!
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Also if you think your too late to the table, the only thing you are late for is brackets! The dream team activity can be started before any round! Second round would actually be ideal 👊🏻👊🏻 LOTS of FREEBIE extensions for this product that can stand on their own! Head to the website for more details!
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