"I think it's important to offer many ways for children to express themselves and their understanding of the book. Some kids are not very verbal or they're shy and [alternate modes of expression]
Language—written or oral—is a customary mode when asking students to respond to literature. However, it is certainly not the only one. Some teachers have turned to the visual and dramatic arts to provide students with alternative modes of response. Other teachers have found ways to use music or dance to help students think about texts from additional viewpoints. These alternative forms of response have the benefit of enriching the conversation by encouraging contributions from students who might otherwise be reluctant to participate. In addition, changing the medium of response pushes students to think about texts in fresh ways as they move from literal comprehension to more complex understandings of the text.
reveal a whole other dimension."
-BJ Namba, 3rd-Grade Teacher,
In this video, the teachers share how they have integrated these alternative response modes—both formally and informally—into their classrooms. In spite of potential difficulties with organization and order, these teachers feel strongly that the value alternate response modes bring students far outweighs possible disadvantages. Not only are their classrooms livelier, and their students more engaged, but they have also found the conversations more insightful and the levels of meaning enriched.
For a complete guide to the workshop session activities, download and print our support materials.