Discussion Thursday 2020

A few years ago, as my students were reading “Reading Club” style, I was so frustrated with the way that class discussions were going. It always turned into students listing fact after fact without ever listening to their classmates’ contributions to the discussion!

So I started working out the problems with an activity I call Discussion Thursday.

Discussion Thursday allowed me to step back and let STUDENTS lead our discussions of what we were reading. I was blown away by their ability to do ALLLLL the question asking and answering. I was also blown away by how much they paid attention to one another during these discussions!

So here we are… 2020… Pandemic… Hybrid… I’m teaching from home. We’re reading our first readers of the year thanks to Fluency Matters amazing ECourses and it was time for a Discussion Thursday (on Tuesday) and I was shaking in my slippers (I teach on Zoom, don’t judge).

My first hour class is so quiet. I was particularly nervous about them! Would they talk??? Well, I am proud to report that YES THEY DID! They not only asked and answered questions, they interacted with one another despite whether they were at home or on Zoom!!! I used a Zoom background with the question words and also some of our favorite discussion key phrases. (If you’d like this image, just email! I’ll send it to you!)

The kids completely led our class discussion! I heard every single voice both in class and online and all of them had great things to say about our reader. They talked about Frida Kahlo, her family, her artwork, and themselves! If you’ve hesitated to try it because you’re hybrid, I would encourage you to give it a go! I felt happier than I have ALL YEAR getting to hear from everyone! Still a lot of dark cameras but the voices were there and were evidence they ARE learning in spite of some less than ideal circumstances!

I’m proud of all of you for being out there, in the classroom, teaching students. Thank you, thank you, thank you for loving them and helping them love language even when nobody loves the situation we are in.

13 thoughts on “Discussion Thursday 2020

  1. I would like a copy of the image. Do you present the topic that same day and discuss? I’m not sure if this relates to a story book or just a regular topic. I teach high school and my students seldom contribute.

  2. I love this idea! I am teaching level 3 this year and am looking for more ways for them to interact virtually. I would love a copy of the key phrases could you please email me: sgreene5@wcpss.net

  3. Would you please share your zoom discussion Thursday slide. Thank you –

    Bethany Pflug

    On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 9:39 PM Somewhere to Share wrote:

    > senoracmt posted: ” A few years ago, as my students were reading “Reading > Club” style, I was so frustrated with the way that class discussions were > going. It always turned into students listing fact after fact without ever > listening to their classmates’ contributions to the” >

  4. Hola Carrie, Thank you for your inspiring post. If you are still willing to share the virtual background you made, I would love to use it. Muchas gracias, Sally Denbeaux

    On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 10:39 PM Somewhere to Share wrote:

    > senoracmt posted: ” A few years ago, as my students were reading “Reading > Club” style, I was so frustrated with the way that class discussions were > going. It always turned into students listing fact after fact without ever > listening to their classmates’ contributions to the” >

  5. Please share the zoom background

    Thank you very much

    On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 7:39 PM Somewhere to Share wrote:

    > senoracmt posted: ” A few years ago, as my students were reading “Reading > Club” style, I was so frustrated with the way that class discussions were > going. It always turned into students listing fact after fact without ever > listening to their classmates’ contributions to the” >

  6. Hello Carrie, I would love a copy of the Zoom background that you used for “Discussion Thursday”. I really appreciate all of the materials that you share!

    Have a great day, Alyssa

    Alyssa Crawford Fifth Grade Spanish Immersion Teacher Miscoe Hill School a: 148 North Avenue, Mendon, MA 01756 e: acrawford@mursd.org

    Get a signature like this!

    On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 10:39 PM Somewhere to Share wrote:

    > senoracmt posted: ” A few years ago, as my students were reading “Reading > Club” style, I was so frustrated with the way that class discussions were > going. It always turned into students listing fact after fact without ever > listening to their classmates’ contributions to the” >

  7. Hi Carrie,

    Yes, please send me the question frame. Thank you so much for all of your insights.

    Valene

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  8. Please send the discussion frame slide! I love the utility & simplicity!

    Side Note: I teach MS Spanish but also have two teenagers of my own (both of whom I taught in Spanish I) – 1 graduated from HS last year and is taking a pre-college gap year (due to Covid) and the other is in 11th-grade. Over the years, they have been my “testers” for every new Spanish novel I purchase and they LOVE your books most of all! In fact, my daughter and I are currently reading “48 Horas” – we usually read 2 chapters at a time, because she’s busy with her own schoolwork and life, but we often read 3-4 at a time in this one because she wants to know what happens (2 more chapters to go). Thanks for producing such great stuff!

  9. Hi Carrie – I would love to learn more about the discussion questions/phrases you have helped them kickstart with. I am feeling totally overwhelmed by the silent Zoom stares!

  10. Hi Carrie –
    This is a light at the end of the a LONG tunnel. My 3rd year students are reluctant Zoom speakers so this Fall has been super challenging. I’m thinking of moving into small-group Zoom mode. I would love to know more about how you set them up for success with your discussion kickstart questions. Could you write about post about this scaffolding for virtual classes? Thank you!

  11. Hi Carrie – love this idea! Please share the Zoom background with me. I am hopeful that it will start to break open the silent Zoom boxes I stare at so often…

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