Not Show & Tell It’s Discover & Reveal

What does the “Share” do for teaching and learning in a workshop model?  As writing teachers, we made our lists to brainstorm and clarify our thinking around this question.  What we have here is duality.  So we created an exercise to see both perspectives that of teacher and student:

Teaching (Jill)

Learning (Jenn)

  • Looking for transfer (what does and doesn’t and why)
  • Spotlighting points that are learning moments
  • Opportunity to lean in and teach connecting to their authentic work
  • Opportunity to scaffold another student
  • Provides an opening for the “grit” that goes with goal setting
  • Informal assessment to drive instruction\engagement
  • It’s a living structure to promote agency
  • Space to teach into accountable talk and elaboration
  • Use of real life work to serve as models for other students
  • Embraces the ideas inherent in “Growth Mindset”
  • Creates relationships and identities
  • Clarifies and celebrates point of view through reflection
  • Deepens understanding because it is a synthesis of real work
  • Creates authentic opportunities for children to engage in higher level discourse
  • Reinforces the learning culture of classrooms
  • It makes the classroom work have authentic meaning
  • Gives a sense of personal responsibility to learning
  • Allows for revisions in thinking (pluralistic viewpoints)

Our thinking around this came from an experience in Jill’s classroom.  During the reading “share time”,  students were eagerly sharing the great work they had been engaged in during workshop.  Kara, a humble student who is a “beyond the text” kind of  thinker,  began by sharing her work with informational text using the box and bullet strategy . As she did this work she gathered all this information about great white sharks.  Mark quickly connected to her work by asking if she learned about a mako shark since he was doing work around this too.  She honestly answered no and then a conversation begins around sharks.  Mark went on to explain how the mako shark is the “same and different” from the great white shark.  Here was an opportunity to lean in and teach by tagging this thinking with academic language – the question to the group: “What is this kind of thinking?”  Students quickly responded “comparing and contrasting”.  There was the transfer – we have done a lot of work around types of  informational text structures. A plan is made for Kara  and Mark to work together the next day to further this work.  

Now the circle opens up to John who has been reading about Mount Everett.  He has used the information he is learning to write across the three modes of of writing: informational, persuasive, and narrative.  We have been doing this kind of work for a while and find that it is helping students become more flexible.  John is using this approach as a tool to engage his learning.  He explained how the narrative part was so easy because the book was a narrative written about a man who climbed Mount Everest and that the book was informational so that was easy too because his head was “exploding with information” (got to love third grade).  After all this work, it was easy for him to write the persuasive piece because he felt so strongly that everyone should learn about his topic.  There is the elusive transfer through his writing John is becoming a more flexible writer and thinker.  He was transferring strategies around text structure, writing modes, and the informational text genre and he was able to step into the role of teacher – talk about agency.  

The circle expands again to Susie who wanted to share about her guided reading book which was a fantasy genre infused with humor.  She was talking about the writing she did around this book.  She reflected on how the humor affected her as a reader.   In a very dramatic fashion, so true to the type of learner she is, she began telling her narrative.  At first she thought it meant physically, so she said “it affected her stomach by making it expand and burst with laughter.  Then, Mrs. DeRosa told me I should add how it affected me as a reader as I interacted with the story. So I added that to my answer.”  Susie went on to talk about how the part when they tried to mail themselves to Hawaii.  How that part had really made her laugh, and she kept reading because she was so interested in seeing other silly things the family would do.  What was quick to make her laugh, eventually became an annoyance – she talked about wanting to “pull her hair out” because after all, really the car was in the garage.   Many students in the class started laughing and were begging to borrow the book.  

Literacy learning is always centered on making meaning. We teachers are always instructing towards competences in these complex skill sets.  Students are  resilient, engagement means to keep working even when the work gets difficult.  Over time students will get there if we recognize – each child comes to this learning with their own personal goals that they are aspiring towards. This is our work to discover the child and set the pathway for the goal.  The Share is the sweet spot that reveals who our students are becoming.  

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