Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Good Friends: A Primer

A few days ago, I was conferring with a boy in my room and he was rereading an old favorite from the Diary of Wimpy Kid series.  
     In the course of our conference we were discussing the power of a reread and he said to me, "Every time I read this book it's like I'm reading to an old friend... when I read, I hear a really good friend talking to me... it was good for me to come back to it and read it again because as I am reading I'm learning a lot of new stuff about a friend I thought I already knew."
     As we came back at the end of reader's workshop, he openly shared his thinking with the rest of the group about the power of rereading something you've read before (even though I've talked to them a lot about rereading text, they needed to hear it from him and it was his choice to reflect with other readers in the room).
     As a result of him sharing his thinking, we creating an anchor chart with the following comments (note student's initials to give them credit for their thinking).  As students shared their thinking, I recorded what they were saying about J.D.'s comments:

     "Talk to a book like it's a good friend." J.D.
  • You have to think of the book and how it was talking to you. L.H.
  • You have to enjoy the book like it's a friend... you can read it again and again. B.F.
  • Treat it like a friend--take care of it. I.C.
  • You experience it--like it's a friend telling you what to do, you hear its voice. C.T.
  • You read the book like it's talking to you and you respond like you're talking to it.  R.J.
  • It's like you understand it; you can always come back to it. J.D.
  • I play around with it... I imagine it differently than what it says. P.A.
  • I try to think about it carefully...try to understand it better. R.M.
  • I hear a reflecting voice. T.P.
  • I hear a thinking voice. P.L.
      I love these unplanned moments where student thinking takes over... forget any type of reflection (sharing) I had in mind, this is their workshop.  That's the beauty of having a workshop-oriented classroom.  In my mind, there's nothing better, nothing that moves us beyond the power of crafting, composing, and reflecting.  
     As J.D. said in a previous crafting session:  "A workshop is our time to experience learning... it's the students' workshop... it's our time to learn, the students own the workshop (not the teacher)... we have to be creative and it's our time to shine... it's our time to learn... and it doesn't matter if it's a workshop about cooking, reading, writing, math, or building... the workshop is ours!"
    So, over the past few weeks, I've been privy to learning about Workshop 101, taught by my third graders--they've put me back at the primer level of what a workshop can and should be!  But, as "friends" I'm sure they'll be patient with me as I listen in... listen in on their workshop.  It's all about trust...

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