My Teacher Answer

My lesson was for my students to view a video, think about it, write about it and then talk about it. All whole group as practice for our upcoming book club unit.

A tip I have found helpful is to encourage my 6th graders to choose a structure for their blank page because a blank page can be intimidating. Today, because the video involved the relationship between two characters, I suggested choosing one of these structures: an emotional timeline, a character trait chart or identity webs. These were three structures my students had experience using already.

J: Do I write the right answer or what I think?

Me: Thank you for asking. Do I write the right answer or what I think. (I repeated it so those in the room and at home heard it) That is such a great question. I want you to read the text. Today it is a video we will view. Then I want you to think about the characters. If you chose the emotional timeline, really think about how you think the two characters feel at the beginning, middle and end of the video. Place your mark on the timeline and then write why you placed it there. Something in your reading had you think to place the mark there on the timeline. Then write down why you think that. When you do that – think and explain why you think, it is a right answer. It’s the right answer until you decide to change your thinking. Sometimes during the talking about text, other’s say their ideas and that might change your thinking so be open to letting that happen. But for now, read and think and write it down and think of this as the right answer. Does that make sense?

J: Yeah, thanks.

We viewed the video once.

L: I don’t have any notes for the boy. He didn’t say anything.

Me: Good point, L. We are going to reread the video in a moment. During the 2nd read, pay attention to the boy’s actions. Pay attention to his facial expressions. Pay attention to what you think about his actions and his facial expressions and write about it on your notebook page.

After the second viewing I asked: L, were you able to think and write about the boy?

L: Yeah, thanks.

This padlet shows a sampling of their notebook pages.

We viewed the 2 min. video When Time Stops.
We watched it a 2nd time to add more details to our notes.
Then we had a whole class conversation.
This idea was shared with me by Emily at the TCRWP Social Issue Book Club Workshop.
The class lesson when really well!

9 thoughts on “My Teacher Answer

  1. Anita Ferreri says:

    I too have heard that question (lament) many times from my elementary students and also from my grad students. Interesting, but the grad students do no ask that question as directly! They ask, “What do you want? How long? How many references? How many details?……….Yet, they all want to make the teacher happy.


  2. franmcveigh says:

    Your honesty with your students . . . Think and explain why . . . And it will be right. Sometimes the retraining takes multiple efforts before students trust what we say.

    You got this


  3. jumpofffindwings says:

    I am using this with my sixth graders. I only hope I can execute doing you justice. I am thankful for the inspiration from colleagues.


  4. Fran McCrackin says:

    I can’t watch the video right now because I am in a public waiting room without headphones, but I am intrigued by your lesson, as usual. I’m so glad you continued to write from yesterday, you let us enter your class and find how you responded to J and later to L. You took comments that might make another teacher roll their eyes in exasperation and you brought your students along with respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mgminer says:

    I love the layering reflected in their notebook pages. You can tell that they are thinking beyond plot and beyond character trait identification to the deeper understanding of “How is this like me? How is this not like me?” I’m sure the video brought up a lot of feelings. Your teacher move, “Were you able to …” caught my attention because had he not been able to, the door would still have been open to try again.


  6. Ms Victor Reads says:

    As is so often the case I am able to use your ideas with our third graders. We are working on inferring from images and this week they will look at Another or Drawn Together and I think having an emotional timeline is a great addition to the ideas of ways to respond. The first day they will look at the book on their own (well, as I flick through the pages in a Loom) and make a response. The second day they will get to hear the author read the book with his thinking to layer into their original thinking. They will then revise/edit and explain their reason and why they think this newer work is an improvement. Thanks for inspiring me!


  7. Beth Sanderson says:

    What I love most about this post is how clear it is you are listening to your student’s questions…really listening. L is a student asking in earnest “how do I read this text?” “What should I find?”. Rather than supplying concrete answers, you support L in deveoping the critical reading skills that will serve for a lifetime.
    As a learner, I often find you do the same thing with me when we talk about teaching, writing and life. You, my friend, are a talented teacher.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s