On Tuesdays, the writing community at Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Everyone is welcome to join in by writing, commenting, or just reading slices from around the world!
I always enjoy days when I get to go to Teachers College, and last Friday was an especially good day there attending an day-long workshop on the Intersection of Author Studies, Interpretation Clubs, and Literary Essays. I went to the conference with a colleague so I didn't have to drive alone, we got out of New York before Storm Anna got in, and we both had a TON of new learning and resources to sort through, percolate, and share.
One of my favorite ideas that Katie Clements shared involved developing student agency during read aloud through assigning specific roles to specified groups of students. Katie taught us this concept by assigning rows of audience members to pay attention to specific aspects of the text she was going to be reading. The various assignments were:
- Tension and
Then, when she read The Stranded Whale by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Melanie Cataldo (one of my favorite new picture books. Order it, borrow it, get your hands on it. So beautiful. I wrote about it yesterday in #imwayr.) we all were supposed to put a thumb up when we had a question about our category. I have to say, I listened to that story very closely because I was paying attention to repetition!
Katie's suggestion was to assess students first so that you know what skills they are ready to work on; character work is more foundational than the understanding of tension and themes. Therefore, for students who may be struggling more, have them be on the lookout for ways they learn about characters' emotions, traits, relationships, and conflicts. Stronger students could be responsible for asking questions that deal with issues, lessons, morals, and ideas that lead into themes. Students are much more apt to listen closely and take the important work of read-aloud seriously if they are put in these sort of leadership roles within their own learning.
If you can ever get to a workshop at Teachers College, I highly recommend them. The Saturday Reunion is now on the calendar for March 19, 2016.