Monday, July 29, 2013

Modeling the role of talk with our new classroom communities...

I was at the bookstore today and overheard a woman in the aisle next to me.  She was with a friend asking the bookseller, "Do you have any books, picture books, that I could read to promote community and respect?  Did I say...third grade?"  The woman had not found her match with the picture books on display titled, "Back to School."

So of course, if you know me, I jumped in.  I discussed several titles with the two women and let them be to decide #1 if I was crazy #2 to look for the titles we had discussed   Our paths met again in the check out line.  Two of the titles caught her interest and was buying both...Courage and Duck! Rabbit!  She saw the potential in the first book, but questioned the second title. it I used Duck!Rabbit! to model the importance of listening to one another respectfully, understanding each other's point of view, supporting thinking with evidence or own experiences, and talking to start the year.

1.  I paused the first scene from a YouTube reading of the book where it is just the character, no title.  The video is included below.  I asked students to silently look at the picture and write down what they thought the character was while sitting at their seats.  The students then came to the carpet and began sharing their responses.  (notice thoughts are left at their seats so they won't be changed) Right away students began discussing what they saw and pointing to evidence. Students learned quickly to appreciate what they did not notice at first and the value of listening while their peers are explaining.

2.  Then we watched the YouTube reading of the book, pausing at several points to discuss the new evidence we have seen...Has our thinking changed now?  What in the text made you think that?  Has my thinking been persuaded down a new path?  Do I see your point of view but I am still convinced that I was right?

3.  Then the students went back to their seats and wrote about what they thought the main character was now by supporting their thinking with evidence from conversations or text.  Students came to realize that conversation can lift your thinking or take you down a road that was not thought of initially.

Students were engaged and interested in this moment because they came to realize that there is no right or wrong answer.  They began to ask why or why not, determine importance, and realize that conversation leads to deeper understanding because the students are questioning.


  1. I have been thinking about the whole digital piece with book talks this year. Great way of showing the whole process of building community.

    1. I have done this activity with the book and the digital piece...the digital piece was much more engaging. When I used the book, I invited a student up to read with me because the book is written in "two voices",

  2. Thanks for this great model!I love that you hand sold books too!