Building on Sierra High School’s commitment to literacy, the Literature Circles are a culminating yearly event where students demonstrate their autonomous learning and developing literacy skills. As a final project in the English classes, students choose novels of their own, set a reading pace with their peer group, conducted weekly conversations around their novels, demonstrate their literacy skills in fishbowl assessments and participate in final presentations where they act as docents and present their novels to the public. The purpose of this grant is to supplement the novel sets that are needed to support this project. This Literature Circle project directly supports Sierra High School’s literacy plan by building on students’ skills as they manage their own interactions and learning with novels of their choice and prepare to present their knowledge to the school community and the public.
All students enrolled in English during the school year of 2016-17 will benefit from the Literature Circle project and the grant’s support of the novel sets. Since English courses at Sierra High School are heterogenous, mixed grade level classes, the diverse population of the school site is represented. In addition, the need for credit recovery and credit acceleration from the student population assures that at least 90% of students’ enrolled in Sierra High are enrolled in an English course.
The success of the program is measured by the students interaction with their novels, their peers and their ability to be successful docents at the public presentations.The addition of presenting to the public provides a different audience for students which helps increase their likelihood of success. Because students are responsible for setting how many pages they will read weekly in their groups, which roles they will prepare for weekly conversations and for developing a presentation the whole group will oversee during the final exhibit, they become more independent readers, thinkers and talkers. We see direct carry over of these increasing skills as students learn to manage their learning in other core classes as well.
The Literature Circle project takes place during the last 9 weeks of the school year. Students select novels and peer groups to read with; they create a weekly calendar of how many pages they must read; they assign weekly roles for supporting their conversations around the novels ( for example: the discussion director, the connector, the illustrator); they prepare for a fishbowl assessment where they conduct a conversation in front of all of their peers; and they prepare a visual representation of their novel using a trifold presentation board where they will act as a docent with the public during the final exhibit.
This grant impacts all grade levels of students enrolled in English at Sierra High School during the 2016-17 school year.
Some limited Title I sources for English Language books may be used as well as limited Measure A funds.