Today was our first day back after Spring Break.
The kids were chatty at first, but quickly got down to the task at hand.
They had think time.
And, I tried something new.
Instead of the usual flow of a back and forth litany of questions and answers without pausing to consider what is being said, I tried to linger with each child’s response just a little bit longer than usual.
I asked for elaboration by saying: ‘Say more’.
I asked who agrees with what James (not the child’s real name) said. And, then again, ‘Say more’.
When it seemed like most of the possibilities had been exhausted, I asked: ‘Who disagrees with what Joan (not the child’s real name) said?’
And, at one point, I said: ‘Can anyone repeat what Andrea (not the child’s real name) said’?
Finally, I asked: ‘Does anyone have anything to add or a have a different idea they want to share?’
The conversations today allowed the kids to pause and consider others’ viewpoints. It forced them, in a non coercive way, to listen to each other with purpose. It allowed me to hear my students’ emergent ideas and prevented me from making assumptions about their thinking.
Tomorrow I’ll continue experimenting with the intent of deepening collaborative dialogue in my classroom.
Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Story Challenge.