11 Oct Slice of Life: Thinking about New Ways to Respond to Our Reading
As we work in classrooms, we struggle alongside teachers to make reading notebooks a purposeful tool rather than a “must do” for students. We want students to know that their ideas are important and that taking the time to capture them is essential. We don’t want them to take notes because it is a requirement; we want them to see their ideas as “golden nuggets” that should be treasured. So how can we help readers understand that their thinking is as valuable as the act of reading itself?
We believe one of the answers to this question is response. Do students have a community who listens to their thoughts about their reading? Is their community responding with enthusiasm and interest? Does their community push them to consider new perspectives? If we want students to see the power of their ideas, then we must create communities that foster response.
Our blog is one tool we use to experiment with ways to share our thinking about books with others. Blogging about books each Monday on Jen Vincent’s and Kellee Moye’s meme, It’s Monday, What are You Reading, has helped us to understand the value of response. Each week we look forward to reading posts and responding back and forth with many educators. The ritual of blogging each Monday pushes us to think about how we can make reading response meaningful for students.
This October, instead of putting our ideas about the book we read in writing, we created an audio recording of our ideas and posted them as a QR code. We hoped that by sharing an oral response it would open up possibilities. We were looking for a new way to share oral book talks beyond the classroom walls, to expand the way students can respond, and to find a different avenue for students who struggle to put words on the page. Creating an audio recording could be a newer way for students to share ideas without always putting pen to paper.
However, this process didn’t work out as we expected. We posted our first QR code response last week and we noticed that the responses we received on our blog were different than the typical responses. Bloggers weren’t commenting about what we said about the book or their thoughts on the book. The responses focused on the technology.
As we read these responses, we were left with more questions than answers. Did the technology make it difficult for others to respond? Was the QR code a distraction? Is the purpose of QR codes for one-way communication rather than a way to foster discussion?
We are not sure of the answers to these questions and we will continue to experiment with QR codes throughout the month of October to learn more. As always, our virtual community will push us to think, reflect, and grow as we learn ways to help students see the power of reading response.