I am introducing literature circles in my reading classes. I'm nervous about it, because it takes the control out of my hands and gives it to the kids; they're supposed to direct their own learning. I hope it works. It's supposed to help them become better readers and develop their metacognitive ability. I started today with my largest class, which had six groups of four. Two groups got right to work, two took about five minutes to settle down, and two took a LONG time to get started. I know that it's just the first day, and that they need extensive modeling before they go off on their own, and that I shouldn't judge the entire exercise based on one day's work, but ... it's hard to turn over control in the first place, and when things don't immediately go right, I get worried and frustrated. I know that's my issue, not the kids'.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.