Monday, August 30, 2010

Listening for what next

After a week with my students, I have learned so much about each one of them by simply making time to talk with them. I think the biggest chunk I have for real conversation that I can also tie to instruction is during writer's workshop. Today I had conversations with 4 boys sitting at a table sharing ideas.

One was illustrating a new story he shared during morning meeting about a party he went to at church. He was excited about the fact that his grandpa was in charge of the popcorn machine. His illustrations vividly depicted the details of the story he shared orally.

Another boy was balancing a pencil on his kness and I knew he was ready to have some help talking through some ideas. He sat a bit blank after I asked him if he had stories about his weekend in mind. So, we read through some stories in his folder from last week (a great strategy for triggering ideas, editing and revision without kids realizing it early on). He proudly pulled out a story he wrote by himself about how he went to the beach. He noticed he didn't have the word beach so, he stretched through the b-e and I taught him /ch/. After reading through his older stories, he sat a bit blank again. I tried to connect back to the book I had read before workshop about a little monster's day at school. I asked him if he wanted to write about a favorite part of school. And he said no. I sat and he sat. And then after a minute, he blurted out..."I did see a toad at the park!" But then he sat defeated, " I don't know how to draw a toad." I reminded him about the lesson I had taught last week about being brave with pictures (try your best and keep going). He seemed to pep up a bit. Then I walked him over to the non-fiction books and told him we have books with pictures of toads that might help. He found one and he was looking as a happy as he did when he thought about writing about the toad.
I knew I could leave him to begin another conversation. I asked him to share with everyone about what happened to him as a writer and we had great conversation about his struggles and bravery during share.

The third conversation was with a writer who had drawn an aquarium with two fish and a snail on his paper. I listened to the conversation he was having with the boy next to him and it wasn't so much about his illustration so I asked him about it. He told me a ton about his idea. From the big fish eating the other fish until 2 were left to how he drew his snail like the one (Gary) in Sponge Bob. I asked him to share his story with everyone during share. The kids loved hearing about his pets and their adventures!

The fourth conversation I had was with a boy who wrote about playing soccer. He had drawn many players on the field including himself. When I asked him about the story, briefly told me about kicking the ball and how another played bumped into him on the field. Then, He told me about how he used to do karate but isn't doing it anymore because he pushed someone. He told me about how he took swimming lessons and liked them. I listened to everything knowing that not only was I getting to know him as a writer but I was establishing trust and understanding.

From these 4 writers, and a little help from Lucy Calkins, I planned my lesson for tomorrow.
First to read Memoirs of a Goldfish by Devin Scillan. This book I think will be a great read for all of us as we remember the story of the aquarium from the day before. It also is told in a day to day diary sort of fashion by the goldfish himself. (secretly hoping just exposure to the text will invite kids play with this structure). I will likely read it before workshop.

Second to focus our mini-lesson on telling as much of a story as we can with illustrations. Knowing most of this group of kiddos isn't yet diving into text, I am feeling like I want to get as much as I can out of kid's work with illustrations. I am going to model how writers tell many details in the story by using the pictures. (I am going to tell my story about watching Brody). Bob Graham does this so well in one of my favorite books: How to Heal A Broken Wing. This is a great mentor for breaking a picture into scenes ( Thanks Katie W Ray from In Pictures and In Words). I'll attempt to do this with my story. I 'll also remember how to give kids time to talk through their stories with a partner so their ideas are heard.


Mrs. Johnson said...

This is a great idea. What a way to make writing relevant to kids by finding texts that they can easily make connections with. I also like the fact that you already know it will be engaging because your the writing your student shared was engaging.

lauralee said...

what lucky lucky kids to have you!!!

Emily Kissner said...

I just wrote about how reading Diary of a Worm led several of my fourth graders to trying out the diary structure themselves--I'll have to check out Memoirs of a Goldfish, too! It's fun to see how different kids work through the challenge in different ways.

Mary Lee said...

Being brave. Love that. Borrowing it for next week and forever.

Rabin said...

Giving yourself the opportunity to have conversation with your students seems obvious, but bears repeating. Many teachers find themselves unable to fit that into the daily curriculum, yet it's crucial to a child's self-esteem that they feel somebody cares about what they have to say. It also develops oral language skills that are particularly useful to ELLs. Thanks for sharing!

Jocelyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jocelyn said...

I like the idea of sharing stories, but i have a question about the amount of your students: how many students are there in your class? 4? or each time 4 kids share their stories? I'm eager to know that. Reply me plz.:)

online essays free said...

good idea I think. agree with most of commenters -it could works. good luck

Loralee said...

Love looking in your classroom and picking up something else I can use!