Silent conversations

Experimenting with year 10 today – read them Ray Bradbury’s The Veldt. I LOVE this story. I love the developing tension, the characterisation, the prescience. Amazing.

I read it aloud so the timing was controlled, so we all finished at once. Following this, we had a silent conversation. VERY unusual for us! This is a class that always has a lot to say, and I mean, a LOT. (I have to admit, I also find it very hard not to talk :)

I explained the ground rules – 1 piece of paper for a group of 4. 1 pen. 1 focus question at a time.

‘Listening’ to what is written, working out a way of taking turns (some – the most anarchic kids in the class, did it one after another! others through grabbing for the pen, or otherwise making their urgency to ‘speak’ visible in some way). I explained that Hattie etc advocate having a colleague observe to contribute to feedback, and reminded them that I reflect on each lesson and their participation/learning as I can observe it.

Great stuff – my colleague was able to give excellent critical feedback – which she will post, and I’ll provide the link to later.

Looking at the groups was fascinating. As I mentioned, the kids most likely to ‘rule-break’ took deliberate turns. Others bursting with ideas and desperate for the pen, others stalled a bit at first and needed a bit of a prod with a question from me.

Interestingly, they nearly all used words and arrows – very few images.

One of the cool things about the strategy, especially for this class, is that it gives everyone a voice, and by the time you have the chance to comment, you’ve had more thinking time and so it seemed comments were ‘deeper’ than they otherwise might have been. It also means that comments are not ephemeral, they can come back to them and continue to build on each others’ ideas.

At the end of the lesson few stayed to chat, as they often do, and asked if we could do it again – saying they really liked it, liked the focus it gave.

I’m looking forward to their feedback on their blogs.

One thought on “Silent conversations

  1. I think that the reason that most people chose to write rather than draw is that most of what we were discussing on the paper was of an abstract nature – it’s not very easy to quickly draw something representing psychology and relationships that everyone will understand.

    That being said, even if it was something that we could represent in pictures, I think that people still would have chosen words because it’s often quicker. The example you gave was pretty much all in words as well so I don’t think it even crossed most of our minds.

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