What Worked? What Didn’t? Where I’ll Go From Here!

I think that reflection is so important. I always try to relook at what I taught, and figure out what worked, what didn’t, and what I’ll do next. Today was no different.

Thanks to a great suggestion from our curriculum consultant, Kristi Bishop (@kkeerybi), and our Arts Consultant, Karen Wilkins (@ArtsHWDSB), my teaching partner and I decided to host a Hot Seat Radio Show on 105 the Hive, where students could discuss the points of view of different characters in the books we’re reading in class. Students are focusing on point of view for our current TLCP (Teaching Learning Critical Pathways), and next week, we want to have students use The Arts to share points of view. Kristi and Karen helped us see that this would be a good segue.

So how did it go? There were lots of positive points, but also some good next steps. First, the positives:

1) The radio show “characters” used the point of view graphic organizers well to share their ideas and support their thoughts with specific evidence from the text. When hearing their discussion, you could see the link between the proof and their conclusions.

2) The radio show people used vocal expression and information about the characters to share their thoughts. The information that they shared aligned well with the text.

3) The summarizers gave a detailed overview of the books. They helped those people that did not know about the books, so that everybody could appreciate the radio conversation.

4) Having various characters from the book present, helped the entire class gain a better appreciation for the multiple points of view. Students could see how these points of view were similar and how they were different. This led to great discussions that happened even after the radio show was over.

5) The radio show “characters” understood the text well enough to answer questions from various listeners. Their answers connected well to the evidence in the text, and all of their answers made sense. To answer many of these questions, students needed to infer based on clues from the books, and it was clear, that students were able to do this easily and support their thoughts.

And now comes the next steps:

1) I needed to spend more time modelling how to write from the point of view of the different characters in the Today’sMeet Room. While students asked many questions about the characters and events, most of them did not “play” these character roles in their written contributions. From their writing in the classroom, I know that the students could do this, but I don’t think that I demonstrated enough of what I wanted them to do. Tomorrow though, I am going to go back and relook at some of the online conversations with the students. We’re going to write together from the point of view of the different characters, and then I’m going to give students an opportunity to write with a partner and individually from various points of view. I think that additional time modelling will help “bump up” these written contributions.

2) I needed to spend more time modelling the types of questions to ask to these characters. Many of the questions in the Today’sMeet Room were about the books themselves, but they were not point of view questions. Tomorrow I am going to address this as well. Together we will look at the types of questions that students asked, and if or how these questions allowed for point of view answers. Then we’ll generate some new questions as a class before writing questions in small groups and individually. I think that this “gradual release of responsibility model” will work well.

3) There were so many characters on the radio show that it was difficult to have them all participating enough. I want to make sure that all students have a chance to fully engage in the drama aspect of this activity. As Kristi initially suggested on Twitter, I’m going to try a “corridor of voices” exercise with the students. Now that they heard and participated in the radio show, they should have lots of ideas to share during this other drama activity. To help increase individual student participation, I’m going to break the students into two smaller groups for this drama exercise before we debrief as a large group. I think that if the students brainstorm their ideas aloud first, and can orally communicate their thoughts, then it will be easier to transfer these ideas to writing. Tomorrow then, I will begin with this drama activity before moving to the writing ones.

These are just my initial reflections after today’s activity. Here’s the link to the radio show and backchannel contributions. What do you think worked well? What are your suggestions for improvements? I would love to hear your thoughts!


3 thoughts on “What Worked? What Didn’t? Where I’ll Go From Here!

  1. It was very interesting for me to get an inside look at what came of the planning by listening in on your students yesterday. Thanks for that opportunity. I agree with your next steps. Having students really get into their POV role is now hitting on Writing 2.2 voice, and oral c 2.4 appropriate Lang & 2.5 vocal strategies. Perhaps laying out the targets using the language of goal setting will help them get this. As for asking the right questions, modelling is certainly one strategy to try. Another you might want to consider (which builds on critical literacy skills) is question deconstruction. Have students look at the questions that were asked – even from the radio show yesterday, and categorize them. Which were POV questions? We’re some literal/explicit/right there questions? Were others inferential? Were some about word choice/decoding? By first categorizing, students have to make judgements about what is or isn’t POV. Then they can create some “rules” based on this about what is a POV question. This can become an anchor chart for students to help guide them. This strategy promotes lots of student talk and thinking that modelling alone won’t give you.
    Loved the enthusiasm your students had. It is really a tribute to your own efforts and to allowing students purposeful demonstrations of their learning. Thanks again!

    • Thank you so much for the comment, Kristi! I completely agree with you. We actually have some of these other expectations as part of our TLCP, so this would link nicely. I really like your de-constructed model for questioning as well. I did something similar earlier in the year for different types of questions. Now we can try it again, but for point of view.

      Thanks for your feedback and encouragement! I really appreciate how you always push my thinking forward!


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