Monday, April 13, 2015

Talking Kids - Scary Situations

In 10 days, I have to do something very scary - it's not something I would willfully choose to do, but...my principal asked me and a few others to.....be observed for an administrators training - yikes! YES, there will be 4 groups of 5-6 administrators coming to my classroom for 20 minutes to observe me teaching.  I know - sheer terror - right? Four groups for 20 minutes each! According to our principal, they are learning how to know whether a standard is being addressed correctly or at all. It is entirely for the purposes of their training. But still, how can I not feel like there will be some teacher critiquing going on? I never get used to that!

Now that you know my predicament and my emotional state (terror), what do I plan to do?  Well, my 3rd grade sidekick, partner in crime, confidante, and really good friend (who is also going to be observed) are brainstorming our lesson plan.  We teach ELA using the Reading Wonders series and the lesson will be author's point of view in expository text. Point of view seems to be the most popular reading comprehension skill these days - it is taught ALL THE TIME.  So, how will we address this particular standard?  How will we integrate student talking and collaboration so that we address the true intent of the ELA standards?  Our initial discussions have begun and the first thing we have decided is that it's all about the students and their conversations about the text.  The reason we can start there is that our students have become amazing collaborators and truly discuss their thinking. How did this happen?



This is the ring that I put the talking cards on for
 both Math and Language Arts.

I will start by saying that student talk and collaboration has really improved over the course of the school year.  The main reason it has are the talking cards we use to facilitate our students conversation about their thinking.  The sidekick I mentioned above (Heather) found these really awesome cards that had question starters and being the amazing friend that she is...she shared them with me!  These cards have been a HUGE part of creating a constant conversation about learning in my classroom.  I highly recommend that you have some way to help your kiddos learn how to ask the right questions. 


I love this one because my students use it a lot!
They love to challenge each other to prove their answers.

I also use sentence starters to help them cite text evidence.  Both of these tools have been instrumental in helping our collaborative structures be successful.

This helps my kiddos remember to state their text
 evidence by referencing where they found it.

Our next step will be to plan out the lesson which we will do this week.  Check back with us in a few days.....hoping I can share an amazing lesson plan with you!