On Friday, my class participated in our first in-school Thinking Thursday. This fantastic idea evolved from a conversation with the principal, Paul Clemens, and I was excited to see the results. When students came into class on Friday morning, they were asked to reflect on what they read and write down a few notes on the author’s message, moral of the story or article, and/or deeper meaning of the text. Initially I was just going to have students reflect on their own, but based on the results of Talking Tuesday, I thought that some brief “talking time” was important. I’m glad that I did this. Often just getting students to share out loud, allows them to refine their thoughts and results in more student success.
Here are numerous video recordings of students discussing their thinking: some students just shared what they wrote, others elaborated on what they wrote in their recording, and others used this time to talk about their books and question each other.
After students shared aloud, they had to write their reflections using a tool of their choice. It was interesting to see the number of students that shared their thoughts in a social network, so that others could comment on what they said, and the conversation could evolve. While you can find numerous posts on our student blogs, below are screenshots of many of the other written pieces:
Reading what the students wrote and listening to their recordings gives me some great next steps.
- I need to look at ways for students to expand on their ideas. Many are sharing great insights, but not giving enough specific details about how they know this. In class, I can do some modelled and shared reading and writing activities where we look together at ways to link our new learning to specific details from the text.
- Some students are finding it hard to articulate the deeper meaning or moral of the story. I wonder if we should brainstorm some general ideas as a class. We can also discuss the meaning and moral of texts during modelled, shared, and guided reading activities.
- Many groups could probably benefit from discussing more in their initial book talk. Maybe I need to spend more time modelling a book talk. A couple of years ago, I remember reading Debbie Miller’s Reading For Meaning, and how she used some parent volunteers to model a “book club” for her students. I don’t know if I need to do this exactly, but this example definitely reminds me of the value in modelling. I will certainly spend time modelling discussions more this week. I wonder if as a class, we could brainstorm questions to help students reflect more and get to this “deeper meaning.”
What next steps would you suggest? How do you get students to have these “deeper discussions” on their reading? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!