Nathan and I started a thread here a while ago about how to get students to re-read a text. Yesterday I attended a class with the wonderful Sarah and Laurel. Sarah was the teacher who convinced my daughter to go to Argentina, where she interned in a music studio a few years ago!
Sarah shared two techniques with us that made us re-read and re-think about texts.
The first was to write a 30-word summary of a two-three paragraph piece we’d read. It had to be 30 words, no more, no less. (Honesty requires that I admit to not having followed the instructions. I thought I knew what to do, and did it my way. It was a little embarrassing to find out I hadn’t…oh well. Now I understand how my kids can miss things.) After we wrote our summary, which was on one of several different pieces on 21st-Century Education, we stood in double lines to share with a rotation of other students. All of us had similar pieces that made us think about what this new world of education is.
I’ve done something like this in class: often I have kids look for the ten lines in a story or three sentences in a text piece that sum it up, and I usually have them share with a partner. I haven’t had them write a summary, but I’ll try that to change things up a bit. I also had them share only with one person, not several.
The next exercise Sarah had us do was something she called “Stand and Deliver.” We had to jot down a list of aspects of 21st-Century Education that we considered important. When the time was up, we had to stand and share one each. If anyone said the same thing we had written, we checked it off. (We could also add ideas that we wanted on our list.) Once there was nothing on our list that had not already been shared, we sat down. I can imagine using this with interesting ideas from the text, questions we could ask about a text, proof from a text to support a claim, and so on. “Stand and Deliver” lets weaker students hear more ideas, and gives stronger students the props they need without putting down others. They’re just going to be standing longer.
In the end, Sarah typed up our group definition of 21st Century Education. We each contributed an idea that we thought was the most important. It was okay if we had the same one someone else had mentioned. That way, we got to hear ideas one last time, and we also got to watch Sarah put them into parallel form.
It was great to be learning with colleagues again.