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.