Teacher pressure is real. We barely have enough time in the day to teach the academic content, never mind, teach those Social Emotional Learning skills that are students need. So the only way to do it is to integrate our academics to our SEL skills!
And here is one strategy I use to foster collaborative student discussions that support comprehension AND build student relationships through conversation skills.
First, provide students with a text to read independently.
Before reading, ask them to come up with a focus question about the text that will guide their reading.
Have students to use the heading of a text to create a "digging question" (i.e. a why or a how question).
This will help students determine key ideas of a text.
This also improves strategic use of a highlighter.
But the main point is to highlight only answers to the question that the student came up with. This helps to prepare them for discussion times, and it allows it all to be student-driven.
Partner Discussion (2 students) (5 minutes)
With a partner, students should share the questions that they asked prior to reading, the answer to their questions, and discuss and attempt to resolve any confusions about the text.
Group Discussion (4-6 students) (5-10 minutes)
Partner groups should partner up with other partner groups for this step.
In their small groups, each student should share the following: this was my focus question, here is what I found out, and here is what confused me.
Some variations to this can include asking partners to think of one question that they will ask the larger group. After partner discussions, each student can find a passage to read aloud to the larger group, and then, each group member should respond to the selection with why it is important, connections, or with a question.
Have groups share out with the whole class a summary of their discussion OR the teacher can lead a discussion about the text.
Now, here is how you can link SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING to this reading comprehension strategy!
As a class, build a list of discussion norms. By having the students take part in the building of the discussion norms, students are able to take ownership over their daily learning.
Here is an example of a Discussion Norms chart...
After modeling and practicing a few discussions, students should be ready to reflect on their own participation during discussion.
You can use a reflection page similar to this one...
Students should reflect on the skills that they are strong at during discussion and skills that they need to work on.
Next, they should choose ONE skill to begin to focus on improving during discussion.
You can have students fill out a goal sheet with their discussion goal and they can include some success criteria - how will I know when I meet my goal?
After each discussion group, students can reflect on their progress toward their goals, making adjustments if necessary, or setting new goals after achieving the ones they set.
Discussion activities give students a chance to practice goal setting, failing, adjusting, achieving, and effectively communicating.
By Miss Rae
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