This term, the Upper Primary students began their literary circles. This is an approach that embodies the Montessori principals of collaborative – creative learning, independence, responsibility, respect, and grace and courtesy while increasing comprehension and literature appreciation.
To start, the students listen to a synopsis of different books and prioritize them in order of preference before breaking into groups of six or seven students with common preferences. During their weekly meeting, roles such as organizer, tea and snack maker, chair, grapher, illustrator, and minutes taker rotate amongst the group members.
For example, in the literary circle that chose The Giver, by Lois Lowry, Lea as the organizer, chose to have the circle on the veranda at 10:30 on Thursday. She reminded everyone of the chapters to be read, set up a table cloth and put out flowers. She also helped Ryoma, our tea and snack maker to prepare and set out the appropriate number of tea cups and snacks. Ryoma prepared and served tea using mint grown from our garden and prepared an inviting snack. Enzo, the chair for this week, opened the discussion with a summary of the required reading for the week. He then asked Jaden to present his graph showing the action of the story thus far and Brian to show and explain how his illustration conveyed the main theme of the chapter read. As the questioner for the week, James provided questions for interpretation, analysis and general discussion. Lea let everyone know when the time for the discussion was coming to close and Enzo provided everyone’s new roles for the upcoming week. Kai, the minute taker, had been keeping notes throughout the meeting which he then typed up and posted for viewing. Everyone cleared and washed up their tea cups while Ryoma and Lea took care of the rest of the general tidying and washing up, ensuring everything was in order for the next group.
Through the discussions, students reveal the different literary devices the author is using which helps develop the student’s comprehension and critical thinking skills. The literary circles have been a huge hit with the students and their capacity to run the circles independently has increased significantly. It is a fun way to strengthen their love of, and appreciation for reading as they learn through the diverse perspectives of their classroom community. Here are a few comments from the students:
Raine: “The circles are fun because we get to share the experience of reading the same story and learn more about it hearing about what other people think.”
Enzo: “What I like is how we can chat about the book in different ways. The best part is how the students get to organize and manage and have different roles and responsibilities. It’s like having a job.”
Categories: News, Upper Primary