My students have done a great job at keeping track of characters for our novels:
So I decided to try a different strategy:
I gave them markers and a large piece of paper to keep track of characters. They were so excited! Their nerdy reaction to their new task warms my heart :)
I can tell who is contributing to the poster because each student is keeping track of one or two characters instead of all of them. They will use a different color each time and I can always tell by their handwriting. They just don't know they're being held accountable for their chart.
Instead of talking with me about how the characters are developing (I know, I already read the books), they'll meet as a group without me to discuss. Since each person is responsible for a smaller portion, they can go more in depth about those characters and how they're changing throughout the novel.
I told all my groups that we're preparing for middle school and that means they get more responsibility. 11/12 groups are really excited for the new challenge! (As for the other...we're working on it. The first task is making sure they do their homework and show up prepared!)