Deep into chapter two of Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, part of assignment one for our summer nonfiction book club, I found myself thinking about how our first book discussion might go. I had been thinking that the best way to begin might be with very little advance planning, just to have everyone show up and contribute organically.
But then, I thought about what some club members said about preferring to think about questions in advance. I didn’t want to post a list of questions or discussion topics myself, since I felt that might be too prescriptive. So I considered what would be the middle ground.
Many teachers who are guiding students book clubs ask students to choose their best question or idea and write it on a post-it, and then put it in the center of the table for the club to discuss. The post-its form the agenda for the club, helping to keep the discussion on track and focused.
A way to help students focus their preparation and begin thinking about each other’s ideas right at the start is to create a space, digital or otherwise, where they can post their chosen ideas beforehand for their group members to consider. This way, students can see connections, consider implications, think through possible responses, and find evidence for each other’s ideas, possibly leading to greater depth in the discussion.
If you have time before our book club discussion tonight, please add an idea or a question to this shared document. You might consider coming back to the document before our chat to glance over others’ ideas in preparation for our discussion. What is posted in the document can form the agenda for our discussion. Of course, posting in the document is completely optional, and we will have more time to contribute there for the next reading assignment.
Looking forward to chatting with you!