I heard the clicking of heels on the hallway floor. The clicking was getting closer. It was Kate. She had come to talk about our upcoming Voice/Silence Interactive Read Aloud Text Set, for which we haven’t decided up on yet. We talked for a few minutes, both of us sitting atop the students’ desks when I suggested, “Why don’t you come over to my apartment and we’ll look through some of my picture books? Do you have time?”
“Yep, sure,” she said.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Ten minutes later the two of us were on rainy 95 South, headed towards my apartment in search of the best books (picture and chapter books) to use for our upcoming Voice/Silence Text Set. As we began the afternoon, we had “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros and Number the Stars by Lois Lowry as possibilities.
One hour later, we had reformulated our essential question so many times that we had worked our way into having zero books on our list. Ack!!!! However, we did come up with some killer questions, which I typed up after I put back the deluge of picture books, but before Kate headed home tonight. Here’s what we came up with:
• How do you decide when to use your voice and when to stay silent?
o Is it okay to be silent?
o What causes people to be silent?
o What keeps people silent?
o How do use your voice without silencing someone else?
o How do you find your voice when you’ve been silenced for so long?
So now, we must search for the most suitable texts for this unit so that our IRA discussions continue to be as rich as they have been for the past three IRA units. (Wish us luck!)
I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).
I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.