Virtual Literature Discussion Circle

Virtual Circle

Assignment: You are to read the following article in the groups you have been assigned to. Each of you has been given a job. As you read you will complete your job based on the job description. You will report back to your group with the results of your job.

Goal: Students should learn about civil rights and important times in history that civil rights were advocated for. Students will complete a final project at the end of the unit based on what they have learned about civil rights.

Position Job Description
Rights Reviewer ·         Summarize the article

·         Be sure to cover points that the article addressed that relate to

o   Oppressed groups and how they were oppressed

o   struggles faced by oppressed groups when trying to gain rights

o   civil rights movements

o   significant events that happened in the Civil Rights Movement (e.g. protests)

o   the differing opinions that people had about the government 

Rights’ Rhetoric Revealer ·         Define the following terms:

o   Segregation

o   Civil rights

o   Discrimination

o   Opposed

o   White supremacy

o   Legislation

o   integration

Rights Regulator ·         The mediator should help conduct the discussion

·         Encourage group members to give their opinions on the article

·         Regulate discussion and ensure that all members are being respected

·         Encourage members to form an opinion on oppression, oppressed groups, and how civil rights movements addressed these issues.

·         Ask every group member for their definition of civil rights after reading the article

Rights’ Relish Respondent ·         Identify any biases in the article

·         Which ideas were relished? Which ideas were opposed?

·         Was the author biased in any way? What words revealed the author’s biases?

·         How does the author feel about democracy? About civil rights? About the government?

·         How could you tell what the author’s point of view was?



  • Tuck, Stephen. “Civil Rights Movement.” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 04 March 2016. Web. 17 June 2016.

Professional Reading

The use of picture books would be beneficial in my special education classroom because many students with disabilities can hear a story and may know how to read and understand, but have difficulties picturing what the story is talking about. By having pictures accompanying a book on their grade level (ie. middle school), they could possibly read age appropriate books and be capable of understanding the key elements of the book such as characters, plot, conflict, climax, resolution. Furthermore, illustrations can help students increase their vocabulary and learn about different literary strategies in a way that is applicable and enjoyable.

Zoom In Zoom Out

Zoom In: Picture Books are used to illustrate what the text is saying in a way that students can comprehend. Writers use techniques and strategies when they are writing to make a big picture- the story.

The article talks about how zooming in on some stories may allow students to literally see the details (ie. two girls that are friends).

Zooming in on a picture in a book may allow students to see how good writing and techniques (“little things”) can make a big picture.

Zooming in on the picture may bring the student’s attention to an underlying theme or meaning in a poem. Poetry can be challenging for students, especially those in a special education classroom.

Zooming in and looking at pictures that accompany a piece of writing may help clear up any misconceptions or confusion.

Zoom Out: Many students struggle with books that use elevated language or methods of writing that may make the point vague and confusing.

Pictures in a book may provide students with a thorough understanding of how the techniques that a writer used served their purpose. For example, a writer may have used similes and when a picture was drawn showing the comparison of one object to another, students would understand how the simile made it easier to understand the way an object was because it could be compared to another more familiar object.

Zooming out helps students see how the little details that are displayed in the picture relate to the story as a whole.

The article talks about how zooming out allows students to see how details, such as two girls that are friends, really represent an allegory and they are used to describe a traumatic/historical event, like the Holocaust.


Lesson Plan Review 2: E-pals Around the World

Content: Language and Writing

Grade Level: 8

Theme: E-pals Around the World

Common Core/Literacy Standards:

  • Students should develop and strengthen their writing by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach
  • Students should focus on the purpose and audience when writing
  • Students should write routinely over different amounts of set time
  • Students should exhibit proper grammar
  • Students should recognize and correct their mistakes when it comes to verb voice and mood
NC.CC.8.W.   Writing Standards
    Production and Distribution of Writing
8.W.5.   With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
8.W.10.   Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
NC.CC.8.L.   Language Standards
    Conventions of Standard English
8.L.1.   Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
8.L.1.d.   Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood.


  • I would integrate the following Common Core Standards:
    • W.4 to work with my students on producing clear writing that flows well and is focused on the main point.
    • W.6 to implement technology and the internet into the students’ writing.
    • L.2.a-d to help students work on their spelling, grammar, and use of proper punctuation.

Alternate Text Resources: The alternate text is a friendly letter distributed by the teacher and a simple email projected on the board. These serve as examples of what the students should be writing to their e-pals. Students will also be reading emails and letters that their peers practice writing.

Lesson Phases:

  • 10 Phases
  • Phase 1: Preparation by the teacher with signing up for the e-pals on the e-pals Global Community Website

Phases 2-7: Letter Writing

  • Phase 2: Students view a sample friendly letter, identify the parts of the letter, and brainstorm ideas about what they want to talk about in their letter
  • Phase 3: Students write a rough draft of their letter independently
  • Phase 4: Students get with a partner and think, pair, share with proof reading, editing, and revising their partners’ letter
  • Phase 5: Students use the letter generator to write the final draft of their letter
  • Phase 6: Teach the students how to address an envelope
  • Phase 7: Students address an envelope independently and prepare their letter to be sent

Phases 8-10: Email Writing

  • Phase 8: Show students a sample email; teach them about the different parts of an email (BCC, CC, subject, recipient); explain spellcheck and talk about grammar
  • Phase 9: Students type a rough draft of their email to a partner independently and send it to a common email address; students think, pair, share their email with their partner where they will peer edit for spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Phase 10: Students type their final draft of their email, submit it to the teacher for review, and then send it to their e-pal

Instructional Literacy Strategies: Think, Pair, Share to practice writing letters and emails.

Student Engagement:

  • Peer editing with think pair share
  • Brainstorming about what to mention in a letter
  • Practice with typing and sending an email

Thinking Skills:

  • Think about what they want to write about in their letter.
  • Think about their peer’s work and how to respond to it.
  • Think about what to write about in an email.
  • Think about different parts of a letter
  • Think about how to write an email, the subject, and the concept of BCC and CC

What I like:

  • I love the idea of having students write letters to e-pals.
  • This lesson prepares students for future work writing letters and papers on a computer, on their conversational skills, and on their English skills when it comes to communicating.
  • I like that students are involved in the preparation for writing process as they brainstorm different things to write about.
  • I like the sample letters that students are given. This allows them to see an example. Some students in special education learn better by seeing an example than by learning from a lesson with a teacher talking.
  • I like the idea of peer editing. Students always learn so much from one another!
  • I like how students are learning life skills like addressing an envelope, formulating an email, using spellcheck. This is such an integral part of special education.
  • I LOVE the letter generator and the fact that it helps students learn how to write a letter by providing guidance in a technology-oriented fashion.
  • Students learn how to make new friends online (in a safe way) and correspond with someone via email.


  • I may need to let a student use an Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) device when preparing the letter, typing the email, or participating in think pair share.
  • I may have to scaffold and provide support and assistance to some students as they formulate their letters and emails.


  • Projector is used to show an example of an email.
  • Letter generator to help the students write a letter.
  • Students need technology to write a practice email.
  • Students need technology to find an e-pal using the website and to write emails to their e-pal.


Lesson Plan Review 1: Creating Class Rules: A Beginning to Creating Community

Content: Speaking and Listening: Class Rules

Grade Level: Kindergarten

Theme: Creating Community

Common Core/Literacy Standards:

  • Students should participate in conversations and collaborate with partners
  • Students should have conversations in large and small groups
  • Students should follow discussion rules
  • Students should be able to hold a conversation and go back and forth (listening and talking)
NC.CC.K.SL.   Speaking and Listening Standards
    Comprehension and Collaboration
K.SL.1.   Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
K.SL.1.a.   Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).
K.SL.1.b.   Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.


  • This lesson could be integrated with Common Core Standards:
    • SL.3 by having the students ask questions, ask for explanations when there is confusion, and seek help when they need it.
    • SL.4 by having the students describe familiar events, people, and places in their conversations with one another
    • SL.6 by having the students speak about their thoughts and express ideas clearly.

Alternate Text Resources: There is not one set text that the teacher listed to read, rather there is a list for a teacher to choose from. Therefore, there are several alternate text resources

Lesson Phases:

  • 3 Phases
  • Phase 1: Read book about friendships/relationships/community
  • Phase 2: Brainstorm and record why they come to school
  • Phase 3: Brainstorm and record how to reach the goals/achieve the purpose of coming to school/formulate class rules

Instructional Literacy Strategies:

  • Read a book off of the “Books about friends, relationships, and community” list that the teacher provided. This book will serve as a way to get students thinking, a reference point, and a means for having students listen and respond to a piece of writing.
  • Summarize information (class rules) written
  • Students will remember making a chart/table of their ideas as they see it throughout the year with the class rules
  • Using a book can help students remember what they talked about, as books are more memorable, and they can associate the class rules with parts of the book.

Student Engagement:

  • Listen to story about friendships and help summarize
  • Help create classroom rules
  • Brainstorm why they come to school
  • Brainstorm how they can reach goals that they have set for coming to school
  • Help set class expectations

Thinking Skills:

  • Listen to story and help summarize
  • Brainstorm why they come to school
  • Review items and ideas for why they come to school
  • Brainstorm how they can reach goals that they have set for coming to school
  • Ideas of what expectations may need to be in the classroom

What I like:

  • I like that there is a list of books that the teacher provided to choose from when a teacher is using this lesson. The book can be picked based off of the teacher’s preference and the classroom dynamics
  • I liked that there was a lot of student engagement. This keeps students interested and it makes them feel important- like they have a role in the classroom.
  • Students get to have a say in their classroom rules
  • I like that this lesson focuses on classroom rules and community building. This helps the students develop social skills (extremely important in a special education classroom) and it makes the classroom a safe space.
  • I like that students are instructed to brainstorm. This is a great way to teach them that their opinions and ideas matter and that they are capable of coming up with good ideas.
  • I like that students have to think of others and be considerate when calling out answers to the questions and when formulating rules.
  • I like that students take turns when talking and giving reasons for coming to school and how to reach goals/class rules.


  • When students are responding to the prompt “Why are we here?” I would have them record their responses on the paper, rather than doing it myself, if they are capable.
  • I may need to ask more prompting questions since I will be in a special education classroom and sometimes students need more information to go off of when brainstorming.
  • Students may not have the ability to read the list of rules that we create. I may need to read the rules to them when we summarize them and all that we have created.


  • The teacher listed various books about friends and relationships that could be used as an introductory to the lesson. These books could have been pulled up on a Kindle/Computer/iPad/SmartBoard etc. to implement technology into this lesson.
  • Instead of writing class rules and how to follow them on paper they could have been written on the SmartBoard and then printed off.