Audrey Fine
Marion C. Seltzer Elementary
Cleveland Municipal Schools
Grade 5
Cleveland, Ohio

We have just finished our Literature Circle project.

A little bit about these students -Cleveland Municipal Schools is a 100 percent free lunch school district. Poverty level in Cleveland is the highest in the U.S. among cities of this size (according to the 2000 US census). In the past year, the district has had to lay off over 1000 teachers because of a huge budget deficit. I found myself as one of those 1000 teachers so I have been volunteering in a former coworkers class. These students do not have computers or Internet in their homes. I worked with a group of 6 students (all 5th graders) that their teachers identified as needing enrichment. Because of the budget cuts, any extras - like computer time, etc. have been cut.

Below are the steps I followed (learning along the way with them with what would work).

These students were already very familiar with the Literature Circle process so they were able to do their reading and discussion part independently. The book read was Wringer by Jerry Spinelli. Our extension to this project came in the form of a "blog."

I set up a blog under my (

Because the students had to use an email address, I started with teaching them how to email each other and how to navigate a blog. As they were going through the book, I gave them the "teacher question" they would normally have in their literature circle packet, as a question in the blog. They were required to answer 5 of my questions.

One problem we had was that our Internet access was spotty and would time out while the students were posting their comments. I had to stop and teach them how to type in Word, save their document, then copy and paste their comment into the blog. This ended up being a good thing because it gave them confidence - in the form of the spell checker and grammar check:) After completing those questions, their final assignment was to create their own "fat question" to post on the blog. They then had to comment on at least 3 of their friends blog question. As a final extension, the students have their own blog page in which to publish their own stories to create a portfolio of their writing. This will be an ongoing project throughout the rest of the year.


  Susan Silverman - Literature Circles Extension Projects