Sunday, November 25, 2012

Partner Conversations in Nonfiction Unit: Part 3

This is the 3rd post in a series about our Nonfiction Unit.  To read my previous posts, click below: 
During our nonfiction unit, students still read their fiction chapter books so I have students meet with their partners in the middle of reading workshop, instead of at the end, to clearly split up the nonfiction and fiction reading. For example, after the mini-lesson, students go off to read their nonfiction texts.  After about 15-20 minutes, I pause them for a mid-workshop teaching point that leads them into their partner conversations.  In our classroom, we have Partner 1 and Partner 2 identified in partnerships so each day I alternate between having one of the partners do the teaching, while the other actively listens and asks questions to deepen their understanding and thinking.  After talking for about 5 minutes, I have students end their conversations and switch to their fiction reading.  During this unit, some partnerships have chosen to read nonfiction texts on the same topic or the same text, while some have chosen to read texts on different topics, but read the same fiction chapter book.  

During their partner conversations, they use: 
  • their texts to open up and point to specific information
  • their reader's notebooks to share information and thinking they jotted in their notes 
  • the post-its they used to mark important places in the text. 
I have modeled how to use the text and notes during a conversation to actively involve and teach their partner as well as how to be an active listener and ask questions to deepen your partner's thinking and learning.  We also have numerous fishbowl conversations, where partnerships model a conversation in the middle of a circle and we listen, watch, and notice what they are doing to have a powerful conversation.  This helps students see what a successful conversation looks like and the visual helps them be able to try out those conversational moves and strategies in their own conversations.  

Below are some photos showing the partner conversations in action: 

Happy Reading, Writing, and Talking about Nonfiction! :)

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