Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Take Me To A Place #SOL18
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Slice of Life: Take Me To A Place #SOL18

“Take me to a place.”

These are five words that always shift us from a dead end to a purposeful conversation with readers and writers.  Whether we are asking them to talk with us about a word they don’t know, a turning point in the story, a funny part, or a moment when the character did something surprising, when we ask kids to, “Take me to a place,” it transforms the conversation.

We have been thinking a lot about why these words make such a difference in our conferences with students.  In that moment when we ask a question and face the blank stare, shoulder shrug or declaration of “I don’t know,”  asking them to take us to a place in the text magically unfreezes them.  Is it the physical movement of turning the pages?  Is it the wait time?  Does this wording make them believe we do not have a specific correct answer in mind?  Is it easier to show than to verbally articulate?

We don’t have the answer, but we do know what it feels like to be on the spot when we can’t remember or don’t know something.  It doesn’t feel good.  Typically, in situations of discomfort people shut down.  They need an entry point to re-engage.  When we prompt, ask more questions or give up on them, we reinforce these behaviors of avoidance. While our intention is to support or scaffold, we end up trying to rescue them.  Our impact is unintentionally sending the message – I am giving up on you.

We need to get kids in the game.  We are meeting too many students who are choosing to disengage in the learning process.  They cannot learn unless they participate in learning actively and reflectively.  Opening the book, turning the pages, and searching for something to discuss, seems to be a catalyst for them to respond.  As teachers, it gives us time to slow down, take a breath, observe their process and gather priceless formative data.

Give it a go –


Take me to a place that was funny.

Take me to a place when you had a strong feeling.

Take me to a place when you could not problem solve a word.

Take me to a place when you were confused.

Take me to a place when the main character faced a problem or a trouble.

Take me to a place when you learn something and thought – that’s cool.

Take me to a place when you couldn’t put the book down.


-you won’t regret it!


We look forward to hearing your perspective.

  • Avatar
    Deb Pellwrin
    Posted at 11:19h, 13 February Reply

    Mentoring move! This shifts the conversation because it gives the student permission to go back in the text without relying on memory to respond.. it would be great to mode in a workshop share with teacher/student!

  • Avatar
    Lorie Barber
    Posted at 11:47h, 13 February Reply

    This is so simple, yet so very powerful. I think it can also work in math. I’ll definyely give it a go!

  • Avatar
    Christine Baldiga
    Posted at 11:57h, 13 February Reply

    yes! Another great move to keep the conversation going without doing all the talking. Less teacher talk and more student talk is a goal of mine in conferring this year. This phrase will be surely added to my bag of tricks.

  • Avatar
    Tammy Breitweiser
    Posted at 14:09h, 13 February Reply

    I love this phrase!
    I am going to BORROW it!

  • Avatar
    Johanna Likolehua Gerboc-Naulangi
    Posted at 20:52h, 13 February Reply

    I LOVE this! This is so powerful! I have to admit that I would never have thought this to be in “teacher” vocabulary, but I think I would even use this with my own children (in addition to my students)! Thank you for this!

  • Avatar
    Elaine Kaye
    Posted at 22:11h, 13 February Reply

    I got chills when I read “Take me to a place…” It opens a door for sure and can spark the imagination.

    P.S. I am a new Slicer. I posted my very first Slice of Life on my blog. 🙂

    A Turtle is a Boy’s Best Friend

  • Avatar
    Melanie Meehan
    Posted at 02:26h, 14 February Reply

    I’m using that one! I still get a lot of mileage from who keeps you up at night?–that one comes from you too. I’m going to use “Take me to a place” when I confer with writers as well, which I do much more often than readers.

    PS It’s also a song! lol

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