Has any teacher out there used the Shadow children series in their classrooms?
I am interested in trying to do Lit circles using Among the Hidden, City of Ember, and other Sci-Fi/Fiction works. Please help.
I have used Among the Hidden as well as The City of Ember for lit. circles in the past. I was using a common way of structuring lit. circles where each student has a specific job: Discussion Director, Super Summarizer, Literary Luminary, etc. This is a really generic method that can be used with any novel at all, so I wasn't focusing specifically on science fiction. If you're wanting to go that way, you could focus the assignments a bit more, instructing the students to look for specific features related to that genre.
Are you planning to have each group read a different novel, but all of them science fiction? That's a cool idea. Then the groups could compare the ways in which their different novels fit the genre. Some questions along the way could be things like: How does the world portrayed in your novel differ from our own? Is the world in the novel possible? What would have to happen to cause our world to turn into a world like that? Would you have made the same decisions as the governing authorities in the book? It would be great to have the groups share with each other as a culminating project.
Both the novels you mentioned are futuristic, so you could have the kids explore different ideas of what the future will be like and have them come up with their own predictions. This could be a really cool unit.
Hope that helps. Good luck!
I have used The City of Ember during literature circles and I found that this text works well. The students were able to make immediate connections to the text because of the age of the characters and the situations they encountered in the book. Science Fiction can be a tricky genre, because some of the context is out of the realm of our own experiences. If you are beginning literature circles in your class I would start with the City of Ember, because of the high interest level and the amount of connections that can be made. Students conducting their first literature circles should be able to relate to the book in order to keep up their interest in the text.
Literature Circles demand constant management, so make your life easier by assigning roles and modeling each of those roles using fellow colleagues. I've found that modeling a literature circle using fellow colleagues in front of my six grade classes was extremely helpful and it allowed my students to see literature circles in a different light. Many students think that their role in the literature circle is limited to reading, so they read and read without any discussion of the text. The names of the roles doesn't matter, so use what works for your students and you. I hope this helps. Good luck!