The Truth about Teaching #sol19
October 29, 2019
This morning, I had a plan, a plan to join some third graders as they began to explore persuasive writing and speeches. A wonderful new book on my desk, I began to reread to plan out my stop and talks. It occurred to me after I had read about ten pages that this particular book wasn’t really going to work. #hatewhenthathappens All my other persuasive text for the most part were loaned out. What to do?
I dug out another book.
Truthfully, I’ve been thinking about a way to use it.
I arrive at the class with a sharpie, my big notebook, some index cards, an anchor chart and this book. Ok, kiddos, I say. You were writing opinions yesterday right? (mediocre answers) . So today, let’s see how this author tells us his opinion.
The book is amusing, full of side comments by the bears. 5 pages in I ask, what kind of book does this seem like to you? The kids look at me incredulously. Perhaps they think their thinking isn’t quite right. Finally a brave students says, it seems like informational. Yep, I said, the author is telling us a lot of facts about bears. Wonder why? Let’s see if we can figure it out. We finish the story and I ask again, what was the author hoping we would do? Again, hesitantly they say, he wanted us to know about bears and teach other people. Why? I asked. Silence… then… he wanted us to help the bears. Why? So they would have food and some place to live.
Then I ask them, is there something you could teach me about that would make me care more about it? Some students stayed on the bears. But two stole my heart.
They may need finesse, but I’d say these people know how to have an opinion.
As I circle the room, one student is writing facts down about guinea pigs. Hmm, I say, are you thinking people should own guinea pigs? In my old school, I had a guinea pig. You did?!?! the table group erupts. We should have a class pet!
We sat down as a group to have a chat about the opinion we should have a class pet. First they want to discuss what kind of pet. Rattlesnake, monkey, dog, cat, guinea pig. They think about the pros. We can pet it when we are sad. It will be something to talk to. It will make kids want to come to school more. And then, one student says, there are reasons why we shouldn’t have a pet. Sure, I say. What? We have to clean up after them. People are allergic. Counterargument. Not taught, just caught. Messy, all over the place, student led learning. Do you think we can really get a pet? they ask.