Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Engaging With Literature: A Workshop for Teachers, Grades 3-5
Workshop
Home

About This Workshop

Asking Questions: An Interactive Guide
1. Foundations

2. Looking at Literature

3. Starting Classroom Conversations

Introduction

Key Points »

Learning Objectives »

Background Reading »

Homework »

Classroom Connection »

Teacher Reflection »

Ongoing Activity »

Additional Reading »


4. Classroom Dialogues

5. Using Art and Other Disciplines To Enrich Classroom Conversations

6. Beginning the Year

7. Many Students: Many Voices and Abilities

8. Reacting to Students' Work

9. The Professional Teacher

Site Map


Workshop 3. Starting Classroom Conversations

Introduction

Tim O'Keefe
"Language is so generative that as soon as we start talking, as soon as we start having conversations, we reach these new insights. And so if we're talking about literature, deep levels of understanding and interpreting literature take place when you're talking about it or when you're listening to somebody else talk about it."

-Tim O'Keefe, 3rd-Grade Teacher,
The Center for Inquiry, Columbia,
South Carolina

Think about the last time you and a friend or family member chatted about a book or movie. You probably shared things you each found particularly interesting and talked about what you liked or didn't like. You may have pointed to incidents you connected to personally. Possibly you raised questions about the way things happened or things that puzzled you. These are the kinds of authentic discussions teachers in envisionment-building classrooms encourage among students.

Helping students recognize, acknowledge, and articulate their responses to texts becomes the focus of instruction for teachers leading students in authentic talk about their readings. Teaching students to value questions as useful points of departure enriches their thinking as they explore and develop meanings from texts.

As you watch this video, you will notice students interacting with texts and with one another in both small and large group discussions. Listen as these teachers discuss their goals for such conversations, and the strategies they use to teach students how to interact in such rich and thoughtful ways.

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For a complete guide to the workshop session activities, download and print our support materials.

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