|Classroom Environment||Lesson Structure||Assessment||Sample Comprehension Lessons|
Students come together at the end of the lesson to share new learning. The teacher guides the discussion to:
- Highlight how strategies facilitated understanding of the text
- Honor and extend students’ thinking
- Develop students’ communication skills
- Provide closure to the lesson that emphasizes student contributions
- Build community and respect for each other’s ideas; learn to listen and listen to learn!
Sharing can occur in different ways, depending on the focus, topic, etc. You will see a variety of forms of sharing across the sample lessons on this website. Usually students sit in a circle so that everyone is visible and all feel included as equals. It is not necessary for every student to share, although occasionally we might simply go around the circle and give each child the opportunity to share, or to decline, as Ms. DuBose does with her kindergarten students in the Monitoring sample lesson.
Another way to give everyone a chance to express their ideas is to sometimes have students share with partners, before or after two or three children have shared with the whole class. In the inferring sample lesson, you will see children share in small groups with others who read the same poem, before one person from each group shares with the class. This is another way sharing can help to deepen children’s thinking.
Students become more actively involved in sharing when we teach them routines that focus on sharing with each other, not always through the teacher. Ms. Blackwell has taught her first graders to politely call on their peers to share “Michael, would you like to share?” and the student responds either, “Yes I would like to share, thank you” or “No I would not like to share, thank you.” Following a protocol recommended in The Primary Comprehension Toolkit, during second semester Ms. Whitman teaches her second graders to ask for “questions, comments, or connections?” after sharing. In her commentary she states, “It’s so important because it lets them own their learning. They become leaders of their learning and I’m just the facilitator.” Sharing becomes the seed of a discussion that can take thinking further, rather than simply an act of recognition of the value of one’s work.
We often want to limit sharing to two or three students. Instead of using equity sticks or randomly calling on students, it is helpful to have some students in mind to share. In this way we can make sure that strong examples from collaborative/independent practice are heard by the entire class. This approach does not mean calling on the same students all the time. As we confer, we work to prepare less confident students to share. Asking them if they would be willing to share and helping them find the words to express their ideas supports them in developing not only their thinking, but their confidence and communication skills as well.