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Normandale Elementary

5701 Normandale Road, Edina, MN 55424

Office: 952-848-4100 | Attendance: 952-848-4102

Normandale Elementary

Junior Great Books

Program Details & Leader Information

Grades 1 – 5 / Normandale Elementary

What is Junior Great Books (JGB)?

JGB is a proven, recognized language arts program that improves students’ achievement in reading, thinking, and communicating. JGB combines interpretive discussion and activities with children’s literature to help students of all abilities learn to read for meaning, think critically, engage in dynamic discussions, and synthesize ideas in writing.

When does JGB meet?

Classes meet once a week during the months of Jan, Feb & Mar (between Winter and Spring break). Classes are held during the lunch/recess period.

What kind of commitment is needed from the student?

Readings are assigned each week. Students are expected to have read the stories before coming to the meeting. They should be prepared to talk about the story and to participate in the lesson prepared by the discussion leader.

How to register

Fill out the registration form and return by.

What about being a Discussion Leader?

Moderated discussion groups are lead by trained leaders. This program depends on support from volunteers who serve as our leaders. At times, entire grade levels have been jeopardized due to a lack of leaders. In addition, the success of the program depends on keeping class sizes manageable and not overcrowded. As a volunteer, you’ll have the chance to work directly with students. Your own enthusiasm for literature and for sharing ideas will foster the students’ love of literature and learning.

What is the time commitment for leading a discussion group?

Classes meet once a week during the months of Jan, Feb & Mar (between Winter and Spring break). This amounts to 10-12 classes. Class is held during the lunch/recess period, on a day that is convenient for the leader, assuming a room is available that day. You may or may not be team leading (with one other person). It depends on what each leader wants to do, and on how many leaders we have. It’s okay to miss a couple of classes for personal reasons, but we also try to plan ahead for subs when possible, or trade with other leaders.

What is expected from the leader and the children during the class?

Your class will have no more than 10 children (may be higher if co-leading) and they will be responsible for reading the selection for the week twice before class (or having their parents read it to them). The leader will read the selection before class and prepare discussion questions (the leader guide books are extremely helpful with this). The leader will need to collect the children and take them to the designated classroom. The children will eat their lunch during the discussion, and will be asked to help clean up the area afterwards. In the past we have used various rooms in the community center to teach our classes, or actual classrooms.

Why do I need training?

The Great Books Foundation uses a method called “Shared Inquiry” for discussion. Training is necessary in order to learn how to lead a class using this method. Children partaking in the program will develop Critical Thinking skills, Literacy skills, Language Arts, and Listening skills. The training is actually quite interesting and leaders pick up valuable information on questioning strategies that keep the discussion lively and focused. The training class for parent volunteers is one day.

Who pays for the cost of training?

Our Normandale JGB program will pick up the cost for training if you commit to leading a class for a minimum of two years. However, they ask that the leader pay for the cost of the training up front and they will reimburse 1/2 this fall, and another 1/2 next fall.

For more information or to volunteer, please contact one of the PTO
Co-Presidents:

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