Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Comprehension Through Conversations

     Its our first week back in school and it has been a busy one to say the least! This summer I read several PD books to help strengthen our comprehension through "purposeful" conversations. One of those books was titled "Comprehension Through Conversations" and "Writing About Reading". Both of these books were excellent resources to add to my PD shelf and would highly recommend them for all K-8 educators. Our campus is on a mission this year to teach reading comprehension through purposeful conversations by allowing students to express themselves in a more "meaningful" way. This week I read Jamie Lee Curtis' books to model "turn and talk" lessons so that the students could be introduced to how these lessons should look in a classroom. Inferencing skills are very difficult for ELL learners and it takes lots of practice to be able to infer the author's point of view when reading an article or short story. Turn and talk conversations between students will help strengthen their comprehension through deeper questioning skills and allow them to ask questions for a better understanding of the story. These lessons will also be carried out in all subjects to continue strengthening student conversations. The video link below will give you ways to plan and implement "turn and talk" lessons in your classroom to help strengthen student conversations in a more "purposeful" way. Here are several of my students practicing "turn and talk". We practiced modeling lots of lessons last year and established some rules during a turn and talk session. There are so many variables that take place. For example, how do students ask questions, listen to their partner and look at each other during a session? These are all very important skills that must be modeled over and over by the teacher. The conversations need to be "purposeful" so that students can make real life connections to their own lives. I walk around and listen to their conversations. I give them some kind of signal, clapping or counting down, to come together as a group when our time is up. Then I ask for volunteers who would like to share their conversations with the class. Some did not want to share at the beginning but now they all love sharing and talking!