Literature Circles

Emily Venson
9th Grade
New York City, NY

This website documents Emily Venson’s use of literature circles in a ninth grade Humanities class in a small public high school in Manhattan in March and April 2007. In order to respond to the different strengths and needs of her students, Emily formed 6 groups (based on students’ reading fluency and comprehension) in which students read Habibi, Princess, or Kite Runner. The unit was designed to help the students to develop a critical perspective and to recognize their own biases as well as those of others.  The class depicted on this page includes a mini-lesson focusing on the strategy of “taking it back to the text”, lit circle discussions in which students use the strategy, and group work on a project to compare the representation of conflicts in their books and to other conflicts in history (read full overview).

Unit Overview

Video Archive

Reflective Interviews

Curriculum Materials

Student Work

Printable PDF of This Page

About this website: This website has been created for the purpose of exploring the practice of teaching. It has grown out of work that Thomas Hatch and colleagues started with the Knowledge Media Lab at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and is being continued at NCREST: The National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools and Teaching, based at Teachers College, Columbia University. This website was designed and produced by Thomas Hatch and Pamela Gutman.