Developing Ground Rules for Literature Circles

Illustration Elements

Illustration Éléments

Illustration Sub-competencies


The Teacher’s Voice

The class was doing a novel study. To prepare students for working in Literature Circles, I asked them to work individually to reflect on previous experiences working in groups, and answer questions about collaboration on a graphic organizer:

  • When will collaboration be helpful?
  • What will collaboration look like?
  • What makes collaboration difficult?
  • What do I need from my group to be successful?
  • What do others need from me to be successful?

Students were asked to summarize their reflections by developing their own definition of collaboration.

Next, students met with their Literature Circle group for the first time and worked collaboratively to generate ground rules for their literature circle.

Students were very quick to generate the non-examples, but experienced difficulty identifying the qualities and aspects of collaboration that would help them with their novel study.


Student Work Samples


I can confidently interact and build relationships with other group members to further shared goals.

I can identify and apply roles and strategies to facilitate group work. I draw on past experiences to negotiate and develop group processes.  I am an active listener and speaker — I share my ideas and try to connect them with others’ ideas, I ask clarifying questions and check for understanding when appropriate, and I test my ideas with others and consider their input. I help solve conflicts or challenges as they arise. I recognize how the contributions of myself and others complement each other. I can co-plan and adjust our plan according to our group’s purpose.