I've just finished Workshop 1 and I must say it was impressive. Carol O'Donnell is an amazing model of engaging students.
Part of her success is definitely linked to the rich texts and wonderful experiences she has planned for her students; I can tell that I've chosen the right course to take because I enjoyed reading O'Donnell's selections and peeking in on her lessons. Her students seem challenged by the texts, but not overwhelmed. She's chosen wisely. And the way each text was enriched by her discussion questions was extraordinary. She's really a master at carefully worded questions that seem unforced and at giving up the control/responsibility of the discussion to the students. I was shocked at the intelligence of the students' remarks and at their level of comfort in leading the discussion. The concept of Peer Facilitation Circle is not entirely new to me, but she uses it so effectively that I know I'll be incorporating it soon --- those students truly seemed empowered by that strategy. I'm wondering if any teachers reading this use it and if it is that effective for you.
Also, any tips in getting it started would be helpful.
I want to reach some of the same goals she is and I'm considering using Talk Show, too. I already teach Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, which is about the growth of a community from distrust to inclusion. I think Talk Show could help my students empathize with the characters in the book on a deeper level. I have them write as if they were a character in the book, but having them "be" the character and answer questions as the character will most likely help them see the character more as a "real" person. I believe the students asking the questions can benefit too. They need to understand each character to write thoughtful questions.
What a great beginning to my first internet class.
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Received on Thu Mar 29 11:05:54 2007