- demonstrate the lesson
- enlist students to share what they noticed
- have a student model the skill
- allow the whole group to practice the skill
Reflecting on these steps, I can’t say that we always do all of them with fidelity. If any of them are more apt than others to be forgotten or left out in our classroom, it is the student modeling. However, the phrase “What did you notice” is one of the most common phrases in our room.
I have developed my schedule so that I am in Mel’s class for reading, writing, and frequently math so the two of us have many co-teaching opportunities. This week, we have been re-teaching students how to have discussions about books. We have been using our current read aloud text, The Running Dream, as a subject for book talks and discussions in order to deepen the level of dialogue and depth of thinking when students prepare for and participate in book clubs and parter conversations. Yesterday, Mel and I modeled a conversation. After our three minute conversation (one of the boys had suggested that we be quick so that he could get to reading!) several of the students said “what did you notice?” before we could! Love that!
We use this powerful phrase during Morning Meeting, Writer’s Workshop, Reader’s Workshop, Read Aloud, Math instruction, lining up, transitions, closing activities--you get the idea. When I think about this phrase in our classroom, here are some of the reasons for its importance. In order to successfully respond to this question, students:
- are accountable for what we are saying and teaching.
- must be aware of their environment and the people around them.
- do more reflecting on how lessons relate to them and their own learning.
- must build connections between lessons or classroom events and themselves.
- have greater responsibility for their roles in the school environment.
- provide insights and noticings that teachers might not have have otherwise had.
- become active learners and even teachers in their learning communities.
I return regularly to my notes and books from the Responsive Classroom workshop, but the routine of asking students what they notice remains one of my greatest take-aways. Such power from such a small phrase!