Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Thinking about New Ways to Respond to Our Reading
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Slice of Life: Thinking about New Ways to Respond to Our Reading

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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.

response-4 response-3 response-2 response-1

 

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.

 

 

10 Comments
  • Avatar
    Erika Victor
    Posted at 11:09h, 11 October Reply

    I like your reflections of the comments you received after using the QR code to share your audio. As I read your post I was thinking that my students could also make QR codes from audio book talks on our #IMWAYR Padlet, but after reading your reflections it makes me wonder if the technology might get in the way of them sharing their thinking. I still think I will give it a try with them soon.

    • Avatar
      Tammy and Clare
      Posted at 23:10h, 11 October Reply

      Hi Erika,

      Let us know what happens when you give it a try. We are going to keep trying too – Perhaps together we will figure out some new ideas.

      Best,
      Tammy and Clare

  • Avatar
    Diane Dougherty
    Posted at 13:16h, 11 October Reply

    I see that even the response to the blog post focuses on technology! I’m going to do that too. Being technologically-phobic, I can’t begin to imagine how you do it all, Tammy and Clare. I’m lucky if I can remember by WordPress login password and remember how to post on Two Writing Teachers! I am in awe,

    • Avatar
      Tammy and Clare
      Posted at 23:15h, 11 October Reply

      HI Diane,

      We keep trying to learn. There are so many options available for students, and we want to try to understand just a few of them. Every time we watch a young person on the computer we realize how much we have to learn.

      Best,
      Tammy and Clare

  • Avatar
    Julieanne
    Posted at 13:20h, 11 October Reply

    I think this is a great idea. All new tech takes some time to understand how it works and then more time to mix into our thinking. I’m a serious podcast listener, but first I had to figure out how to access the podcasts. Now, it’s all about the ideas when I listen not the tech. So if we had an app that was as simple as clicking on a google doc or a blog site and earbuds to listen, I can imagine it working beautifully.

    • Avatar
      Tammy and Clare
      Posted at 23:19h, 11 October Reply

      Thanks Julieanne. We appreciate the advice. We need to give time for learning how to integrate a new tech idea daily habits.

      Best,
      Tammy and Clare

  • Avatar
    Linda Baie
    Posted at 14:56h, 11 October Reply

    I would only repeat what Julieanne shared, Claire & Tammy. It takes time to use a new kind of tech with ease, so while I had no problem because I had already used QR codes, it is not a strong habit I have yet. Keep trying it out!

    • Avatar
      Tammy and Clare
      Posted at 23:20h, 11 October Reply

      Hi Linda,

      We like what you said about the time it takes to develop a strong habit. When we learn a new technology, it does take time to remember how it works and how to use it regularly. We will keep trying.

      Best,
      Tammy and Clare

  • Avatar
    Kimberley Moran
    Posted at 21:24h, 11 October Reply

    I find the same thing! When my students were podcasting, parents told me “Their voices are so cute.” Ugh, I thought this was not a cute activity. This was serious research and work. The more I do podcasting, the more I learn how to market it (so to speak) and the more I learn how to help others see the technology as a tool and a product which showcases the process. I love reading your reflections because they are always so honest and thought provoking.

    • Avatar
      Tammy and Clare
      Posted at 23:25h, 11 October Reply

      Hi Kimberley,

      That is it – We wanted the QR code to “showcase the process.” Thank your sharing your progress with Podcasting and for letting us know that it takes time.

      Best,
      Tammy and Clare

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