Sunday, June 14, 2009

Children Taking on Several Roles

We started a new story "The Terrible Techno Turn-Off" by Mandy Hager. It is in a part 3 School Journal and I have found these are great for having some substance to the story. Great because multiple copies are readily available. I put up a pre-question and I had a number of children go in this time to try to answer it. Of course this was just a gut response so we talked about how we might make an informed judgement and the children conducted a Technology Audit for a week for homework. (The story is about children having to do without technology for 2 weeks, the one who shows the most innovative use of their time, wins a prize). The children were able to give evidence to support their opinion from this, so pleased they are learning skills which will transfer to other learning and life. (They can see it too).

For this book I gave the children a Literature Circles package which outlined what they needed to do for 4 roles (Summariser, Questioner, Word Detective and Illustrator). We have been looking more indepth at each of the roles and looking at why the role is important to us. We had been having difficulty with the summariser but have improved on how we do this role with this story. We had a fantastic discussion where the children shared their summaries and discussed what should have been included and why and made suggestions to each other. Yipppeeeee, we had a buzzing bee discussion (not sure of the right term - the children were bouncing back and forward and to each other and I was pretty much obsolete and just added in a comment here and there). And I thought we had killed off discussion.... perhaps we just didn't have anything worthwhile to discuss before.
Had one of the children make a great connection with why the summariser role was important - He thought it was a good role because in other work and reading, if he doesn't quite understand it, he will be able to take out the important parts and put it into his own words.

We now need to look more indepth about what sort of questions we ask. We need to do some skill building on what are good thought provoking questions and what are good question starters.

More and more seeing that working in the online community is driving the children to share more of their thinking and is also making them more careful about what they are writing. They need to be explicit in what they say and it needs to be concise. I think we are moving forward with each story.