Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Group Reading for Engagement

Living in Japan is great most of the time. However, since we are so far to the right of the map (depending on what map you are looking at) Japan is really far time-wise from many webinars I want to attend. All the IB webinars are Amsterdam time. This translates to midnight Japan time.

On a school night, that can't happen if I am going to keep up with the bouncing students in my room.

I recently watched a webinar in the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Curiousity Series called Using Cliff-Hanging Texts to Ignite Students’ Comprehension. On this day I happened to wake up at 4:00 (how does that happen?) and was able to watch it.

There was one thing that resonated with me about previewing the text. This is something I do often with my lower ESL students; I preview the pictures in the text asking them what is happening, and what they think will happen next. The problem is that doing a picture walk through a story can disengage students in the story preventing them from thinking while reading.

The presenter, May Ellen Voght, walked through a lesson she does with her students, and today I tried it with mine.

I found a version of Jack and the Beanstalk on the BBC and broke it up into chunks, and put each chunk on a slide. We then read each slide together.

At the end of each slide, I asked the students if there were any words they did not know, which I highlighted in blue. I asked them if there were any words on the slide that would help them understand the word, but I did not feed it to them as they were expecting (although some students couldn't resist but to share their knowledge!)

I then asked if there were any interesting words on the slide. I highlighted those in red.

Then I asked if they had a prediction of what would happen next, followed by having them think for about 30 seconds of what the scene might look like.

After reading through the story, we watched the short video that accompanied the story and I asked them if their pictures matched the video. This is something I need to be more clear about next time; I think they thought I meant if their pictures "looked" just like the video rather than what I meant by them thinking of the same general idea.

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