I use this as an introduction to evolution and Charles Darwin. There are 6 pages from a library book on Charles Darwin (not 6 consecutive pages, so the reading does seem to skip a little, but once I explain that to the students they understand it just fine. I chose pages that covered an overview of the Beagle's voyage, Darwin's observations, and his life's work). I have the students read the passage out loud to their groups allowing some groups to go right outside the classroom (but still visible) and other groups staying inside. While reading the passage, the groups have a "Lingering In The Text" chart to fill in with things that they as a group like, dislike, patterns noticed, and problems/issues they have about the text. Each group only fills in one line across. The next day, the groups present their charts explaining what they liked, disliked, etc. At the same time, the audience groups fill in the chart as each group presents. As each group switches to present, a different person records on the chart. That way not one person is doing all the writing during the presentations.
The reading, lingering in the text chart, and group jobs, are all kept inside 1 folder per group. Once the second lesson is done and the students have completed their charts, I collect the charts and display them around the room and the rest stays in the folder until next time ready to go.
I also give each person in each group a job card, which has a description under their job title. I laid out 5 jobs as I have 5 people per table group; the jobs can easily be combined to have fewer group members. The group jobs are timekeeper, facilitator, reporter, reader, and summarizer. I printed the jobs on different color paper, laminated, and stung them so the students can wear them around their necks to remind them of their job, and I can see by the color who has which job.
I teach these 2 lessons at the beginning of this unit, and they have been an easy transition into evolution and studying Charles Darwin.