November 29, 2018

Idea mill: Social issue book circles for students

Falmouth Forecaster, ME -Middle School teacher Katie Coppens hopes to make her students more aware of social issues and inspire them to find solutions through literature circles.

Coppens said literature circles, or social issue book groups, are a good way for small groups of students to read at the same pace, while also being introduced to issues ranging from the environment to poverty to civil rights.

She said it allows them to gain both knowledge and perhaps a passion for a specific topic.

Students are participating in the literature circles this fall in preparation for an upcoming unit called the solutionary program, which was first tested as a pilot program in the sixth grade last spring, Coppens said.

In the solutionary program, Coppens said, students first learn about a range of social issues, then select a topic of interest and work in a group to learn about the root causes of the problem and the systems that perpetuate it. Then each group creates an action plan to solve the problem.

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