OVERVIEW: Book clubs can look many different ways. I've typically asked students to read, and continue to do so in my first year classes, one book, typically a novel, over a longer period of time. Book clubs in that way keep students on task and accountable to the other members of their group for keeping up with the reading--as I've said before, students typically don't care if they disappoint a teacher with missed work, but they very much care if their classmates are going to think less of them because they didn't do the work they needed to do for the good of the whole.
Another way to conduct book clubs are to have students read pieces and use the group to hash out the meaning--much as we did in last Tuesday's class.
An asynchronous book club invites the entire class to act as one group, essentially, to share their journals with everyone in the class rather just a small group and/or the teacher. That's what we are going to attempt with this post.
READ: Please follow this link to the essay "Mixed Blood Stew" by Jewell Parker Rhodes. (click anywhere on that sentence).
POST: Once you've read the essay, 1) write a 300-500 word book club journal that tries to identify what the author's main argument/thesis is in her essay and also what in the essay makes you think that. 2) how might you teach this essay to a class of 12th graders? I don't need a detailed lesson plan, just ideas you have about how you would help your students be the best readers and writers for this text that they could be.
You are doing this on your own time, so my expectation is that you'll have at least 300 words to say about the essay.
RESPOND: Once you've posted, read and respond to at least two colleagues. You can either argue against/modify/or gently correct someone's reading--always including the "why" part of your position or you can extend the persons argument by adding another example from the text that you feel supports what your colleague is arguing. What you can't do is say "oh I totally agree." and leave it at that. Responses should be 100 to 200 words at least.
NOTE: We will use this essay later in the semester when we read more student writing. We'll read a set of reading journals based on this essay. Having read the essay you'll be better prepared to respond to the student's work.
ANOTHER META TEACHING NOTE: Discussion board posts and responses are notorious for being awful. Students often just read what the first person who posts writes and does a version of that--as if teacher's can't tell. But a lot of teachers let them get away with it. And response are sometimes even worse. That is why I am very directive in how you respond to your colleagues. I"m very transparent about not wanting "great answer. totally agree" responses and I give students options for how to respond.