Waiting for the end of the school year is like waiting for the tea-kettle water to boil. Or for rain to come during a drought. Or for pigs to fly. Seriously! So I’ve decided to challenge myself: think positively every day and have fun every day. Today’s “beginning the book club” with my honors class was focused, fabulous, and fun! (For me, anyway. Yes, my opinion.)
First, I talked. Just a mini lesson, I promise! A few minutes of Great Expectations — “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s your turn. I’ve taught you all you need to know. Now it’s time to show what you know!” I told them that they would read choice books during a book club. Current expectations include reading during reading time (always), writing to respond, and discussing their books with each other. As the hands raised, I smiled to myself. “They are going to ask me how I want this all done.” 🙂
The students knew this was coming. We wanted this to happen in March, but we never got around to it, with sickness and testing getting in the way. Now it’s time. These procedures will help students guide themselves for the next few weeks. I will be what a teacher is truly meant to be — the facilitator. The hands were still up. “Ok, I’ll get you started. What do you want this to look like? You have to decide for yourselves. I’m just the observer now. I want to SEE IT HAPPEN.” I told them the clubs needed to write out their protocols. Decide…
1) How will you take turns?
2) How will you talk?
3) How will you be responsible, active listeners?
4) How will you make sure everyone in the group gets a chance to take part?
I gave each group a piece of chart paper. “Go!” (Still hands!) “No! I’m not helping. Ask your group. Decide and write it down.”
Then, it just clicked! The groups split up, started talking, and writing, and reading. I stopped them one more time before the end of class. “Hey there! I just want to make sure. Did you finish today’s work, or will you have homework?” When one group assigned 4 chapters to read for tonight, I did butt in again, only for a moment, to ask, “Do you have time to do that much homework tonight?” They adjusted and moved on, each participant agreeing to do the work. Their decision. Their plan. Their work.
I’m now the observer during reading time. I want my students to show what they know. I cannot wait to see what happens!
April 28, 2015 at 7:41 PM
It will be interesting to see how they move forward with this task. Giving them control is the game changer. What a great feeling to watch it unfold!
April 28, 2015 at 7:54 PM
I think your slice shows how much students grow over the course of a school year. I bet there was no way that they could have accomplished this earlier in the school year. You have cultivated a room of independence, motivation, respect, and love of reading!!
April 28, 2015 at 8:08 PM
What fun! Now you can see what they can do independently or more importantly – from my 2014 #olw – what transferred? Awesome! How much fun for you as the observer!
April 28, 2015 at 9:37 PM
I will keep you all updated! It is fun to be the observer.
April 28, 2015 at 8:30 PM
Well done! Can’t wait to read about the next stage.
April 28, 2015 at 8:44 PM
Great way to foster independence. Love when kids get to work with CHOICE and groups 🙂 Hope you blog more about this experience. Would love to hear about it.
April 28, 2015 at 9:03 PM
Wow! That sounds fantastic. I want to do one more literature circle round this year & would love to try it your way! That they have control & that there is accountable talk truly interests me. Please give us an update later!
April 28, 2015 at 9:36 PM
I will, Stefanie!
April 28, 2015 at 9:23 PM
Thanks for reminding me, how as teachers, we really just need to get out of the way!!
April 28, 2015 at 11:52 PM
Great job of putting your students in charge! Sounds like a fun way to end the year!