Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My OLW for January...pass it on!

Listening.  Trying to hear.  At times this month I became so hyperfocused on my students' thoughts, opinions, and feelings in conversation...one may think that I might be going deaf due to my efforts in "trying to hear."  So...how funny is it that my biggest listening moment this month came over the Internet. Yep...as you read in my last post, my students are now participating on a private discussion board.  To practice social media etiquette, I posted a focus: Tell us about your favorite book so far in fourth grade and why.  As I read the simple words on the board, what I was reading was screaming at me without any extra trying at all.

Book clubs. Book partners.  Book recommendations.  Students were posting time and time again about their need for intra-dependent reading.  The need to exchange thoughts, opinions, feelings...talk.  I see their energy in the room when book clubs and book partners have developed.  The students are more accepting of a challenging text and more engaged with a purpose.  By what came through their simple conversations on a discussion board was a sense of community and pride.  The students were caring about each other's thinking and each other's reading.  As I reflect back to the classroom, it is the actions that developed from caring that are most amazing.  Students are showing they care by checking in on each other, pushing each other to say more, pushing to read more, and wanting to support each other.  It is this authentic opportunity that has the students reading together, thinking together, and talking together.  I did not realize how much the students relied on this structure for their reading life.  I knew they enjoyed it, but I have come to realize they want it.

Not everyone in my class posted that day, but 9 mentioned book clubs and book partners as the reason they selected the book as their favorite.  7 students mentioned that their favorite book came from recommendations that occurred during Status of the Class or share time in our reading workshop.  Here are some sample conversations:

S: My favorite book was Skull Cliff in the Cabin Creek Mysteries series because I had someone to talk to and it was a good book.
           S1: I was your partner and I was glad we both wanted to read that book.  That book was another favorite of mine.  I would recommend.  Would you?
           S2:  I am interested in that book.
           S3:  It does seem interesting…

S: My favorite book is How To Steal a Dog because it is not like all the other books I have read so far.
            S1: I liked my bookclub book too!  It had a lot of mixed emotions.  One minute excited and the next you are nervous.  It is fun with a group and all the talking.

Reading is thinking.  Thinking can be shared through conversation, but also through social media.  How amazing that the one time I was not trying to hear... I listened the most!

Check out the status update on other OLW happenings this month at...

Maria @ Teaching in the 21st Century
Tara @ A Teaching Life
Melissa@ Technology: figuring out how the pieces fit


  1. I love your closing line: Thinking can be shared through conversation, but also through social media. Integrating both of these in my classroom is so important along with listening. Great post!

  2. What a great reflection! I like to learn by "listening in" on students too! :)

  3. My post had to do with book clubs too - through the lens of being "deliberate" - my OLW. I think I enjoy book clubs and all they bring to my classroom as much as my kids do!