Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sharing an Idea-Don't Underestimate the Power of Conversation

"It is not what we learn in conversation that enriches us. It is the elation that comes of swift contact with tingling currents of thought." Agnes Repplier

In our classroom we use conversation all the time, in large groups, small groups and in pairs. This week we used conversation to help organize our thoughts as we started our fiction writing unit.  
We used the somebody, wanted, but, so, then fiction framework. We have used it with summarizing fiction and this time we used it to organize the students' writing.  

For homework this week, students were asked to have conversations with their families about their story ideas. In school they had time dedicated to having conversations with each other about what will happen in their stories. They were encouraged to ask questions and offer their thoughts about each other's ideas. 

They talk to each other all the time (often when the timing is not great) but when they are given permission to have a conversation, suddenly they have nothing to say. It took a while to get the conversations flowing. Soon they wanted to tell anyone that would listen about their ideas. They were also asking great questions that made each other think. 

When the time came to put the stories in writing, they were so much more prepared and couldn't wait to get started. 

Using conversation effectively takes a lot of time and practice. Below are two great resources for using conversation in the classroom. 
Responsive Classroom-Teaching Children How to Converse
Why Talk is Important in the Classroom

How do you use conversation in your classroom? 

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