reflecting on charts.

Yesterday in Sue Price’s sixth grade language arts class, I led the sharing.  Her students are in the middle of reading their research (on a topic of their choice) in order to write a two page magazine spread.  One of the components is a feature article.  At the end, all of the magazine spreads will be compiled into a class magazine.

So, part of the workshop time was spent reading research and the other part was spent talking about their reading.  I was impressed by the quality and depth of the conversations following the reading.  (I also kicked myself for not having my video camera!)

During sharing, I asked,  “Were your conversations worthwhile?”

“No doubt,” one student responded, “I was able to explain my learning and understand my topic more now.”

Which led me to the next question, “Why did your conversations go so well?”

I then took notes in my reflective journal as they responded.  One of the things I took away from Debbie Miller was this technique.  Instead of creating a chart in front of students as they respond, she jots down their responses in her notebook.  I’m amazed at the amount of time this saved (no need to slow down for neat writing!).

Then, I was able to reflect on their responses and create a usable chart.  This process made me a stronger teacher.  I was able to firm up the language I used in talking about conversations with students.  I believe this is going to be the approach I use for making charts from here on out.  Plus, if I were a secondary teacher, I wouldn’t have to make 5 charts on the same thing due to the 5 blocks during the day — just one chart as a compilation of the best thinking.

Below you’ll see my reflective journal notes + the chart.