We were reading Houdini today, and it’s been kind of a slog lately, because I have such a mixed group, and it’s in Russian, so it’s actually too high a level for most of the kids. We had put it away for a bit, only talking about it as a kind of re-tell situation.
We were so successful! I pulled up a parallel kid to answer questions about his life as we asked “Brandon” questions about what was happening, and everyone was responding and smiling. I guess that I’ve been going too fast at times lately, and today it worked out a lot better. Every time we found out something new about Brandon, we found out something new about the parallel kid. I learned some things I hadn’t known about one of my quieter students, and the rest of the class seemed to enjoy it too.
The other successful tweak was that I put a high-energy kid at the board on a high stool to point at the vocabulary that kids needed to see there. It slowed me down, because every time one of those words came up, I would turn toward the board, and the rest of the class would then look that way, and we would all click on the meaning. As Ben Slavic has said in the past, I could actually feel those words dropping into their heads.
I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that earlier.