Capture attention and create a dynamic space for students’ burgeoning critical thinking skills with these student-led Discussion Guides... clusters of high-interest prompts and questions designed to boost higher-order thinking.
As well as directing students to think about the stories they’re reading, each Guide includes germane connections to high-interest topics such as taboo social customs, music, and winning the lottery to further nurture deep thinking. I’ve also included topic areas traditionally outside of discussions, topics such as punctuation and parts of speech, to promote new perspectives and fresh ideas.
I’ve also constructed the questions and prompts in each Guide to be USED WITH ANY SHORT STORY OR NOVEL. Which also means that each Guide can be used over and over again as you change short stories or novels in your planning and curriculum.
Each of this resource’s 4 Guides promotes analytic, synthetic, and evaluative thinking skills with a wide span of activities including analyzing, classifying, determining; hypothesizing, imagining, improving; ranking, recommending, debating. In keeping with the literary focus, each Guide is constructed around a literary element, as follows:
Discussion Guide 1 addresses Elements of Fiction
Discussion Guide 2 addresses Plot & Literary Techniques
Discussion Guide 3 addresses Setting & Mood
Discussion Guide 4 addresses Characterization
Worried about students who don’t like talking or taking charge? Worry no more. Each Guide prompts each student in the discussion group to ‘Take Charge’ of 1 prompt... which means that student will ask ‘their’ question cluster of the group, keep time, and ensure that each member responds. Perfect for reluctant leaders and those students who need leadership practice.
Prompts and questions in each Guide can easily be adapted to pair discussions or to written responses, either as journal-type entries or as more formal paragraphs.
This resource is a package of 4 Literary Discussion Guides. Each Guide is comprised of 4 clusters ( A through D) with each cluster offering 3 to 6 prompts and questions. I’ve suggested a time-frame of 5 minutes for each cluster – for a total talk-time of 20 minutes per Guide – but since most clusters actually offer more than 5 minutes worth of talk content, discussion talk-time could reasonably be extended to 30 or so minutes.
With respect to marking, the intention is to assess students primarily for effort or participation, since most questions and prompts have no real ‘right’ answers. I’ve included a holistic rubric that can be used for each of the Guides.
Since each Guide includes 4 clusters of prompts and questions, discussion groups are ideally suited to groups of 4 or 8 students, although adapting group sizes would be no problem.