S1: Facilitating rich conversations transcript

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Teacher: It’s important to use quality literature in the classroom. I think if a teacher is passionate about it and I’m much more passionate about quality literature then that’s going to transfer into the students and they’re going to be much more passionate about it. I also find that quality literature addresses more complex themes and concepts and I find that students are much more engaged in discussions and engaged in the text when they’re addressing those more complex themes as well.

I model thinking deliberately by doing what I call ‘Think alouds’ and that means that I pose a question during the modelled reading. So, it might be like an ‘I wonder …’ question and then what I do is I model the thinking process that I’m going through. So, I’ll answer my question as well by saying ‘I’m thinking …’ And then I’ll model that to the students about how I’m thinking about that process.

And I’m thinking, well I was wondering if the spider looks like a hero or a villain in this picture. And I’m thinking a villain is … but I’m thinking that he looks a bit like a hero because he’s being so polite the way that he is bowing down to the fly with his hat in front of him. We talked about a stereotype being what most heroes in texts look like and what sort of actions they experience. And then we talked about what most villains do in books and that’s the stereotype for villains. So, you’re right, we said that heroes wear bright colours normally in texts whereas villains wear dark colours.

I think very carefully about the types of questions that I’m going to ask students. I try and use open-ended questions to try and really get students to elaborate, justify their answers and clarify their responses. I also use a lot of building questions so I try questions like ‘How do you know …?’ to try and get students to elaborate on what they’re talking about. And I’d say I include a lot of discussion type questions, so questions where I’m encouraging students to listen and add to one another.

So, in this picture here we’ve started to talk about how shadows and shade and light can tell us more about what’s happening in a story. I’m wondering in this part here, the fly has said to the spider, ‘I’m going to come back and visit another day.’ So, she likes what the spider’s saying. She’s saying ‘Goodbye, but I’m going to come back another day.’ And I’ve noticed that there is light coming in through the window. Why do you think the composer put the fly in light in this picture?

Student: She’s beautiful.

Student: I think she’s in love with the spider and she’s happy.

Teacher: So, I’m very, very explicit in terms of my expectations in a lesson and also the rules so we establish together collaboratively as a class the rules that exist around modelled and shared reading. So, in shared reading for example we talk a lot about how to converse with one another, how to take turns, how to pause when someone finishes speaking. So, I do a lot of that before we start the lesson. To demonstrate learning students first of all can show me that they’re demonstrating their learning through the shared reading experience. So, it’s the way that they answer the questions that I ask, that I pose during the session, the way that they can clarify, justify and elaborate on answering questions. I think it’s also in the questions that they ask when we’re, you know, looking at a text and engaging with a text it’s the questions that they’re posing about the text. And I think the writing is a really good example too because when we do a modelled reading and shared reading experience following on from that we go straight into the writing process. And in that writing process I can see the demonstration of the language that we’ve used during the modelled and shared reading.

So, before we start let’s have a look at our learning goals today and what we’re going to be learning about as we read ‘The Spider and the Fly’.

My students reflect on their learning by first of all looking at the learning goals at the beginning of the session. And then after that session coming back again being able to reflect on those learning goals that we addressed during the session.

Using visual literacy strategies to help us understand. Did we look at the shade, the darkness and the light and did that help us understand the text better?

Students: Yes.

Teacher: How did it help us understand it better Tabe.

Student: It told me a little bit more about the feelings in the story.

Teacher: The feelings in the story.

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