13 Feb 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.