Phil and Sharon Callen reveal six effective strategies to promote sharing and reflecting in the classroom.
According to the two literacy experts, providing the opportunity to share and reflect through writing or talking is critical to help students learn more about their processes, thinking and achievements, as well as the successes and struggles that have occurred.
So, it’s important that teachers know the strategies on how to draw thoughtful, purposeful written and spoken reflection and sharing.
That’s why on episode 25 of The Teacher’s Tool Kit for Literacy, Sharon delved into six key strategies, starting with the 3 2 1 Comprehension Strategy.
“This is one we can write about or discuss after reading. So it’s three things that you discovered, two things you found interesting, one question or wondering you have … you’ll notice that this alone is making the reader or the listener active,” Sharon said.
The next strategy is the One-Handed Fiction Re-tell that involves using your hand as a prompt to discuss and summarise a short story or particular chapter.
“So the palm of the hand can be my reminder that the title of the story of the chapter is this,” she said.
“Then, my thumb can remind me where and who the story involves. Then my point of finger is the story, or the chapter, starts when. so I’ve used the word starts because our students will often lurch into the middle of something or the end of something, but it starts when, or it starts with this event.
“Then my middle finger is so then what happens. Next, the ring finger is the order of events. And finally, once I get to my little finger, it’s the story or chapter ends when or with. So it’s a nice way of using your hand to remind you of those things.”
The third framework is your secrets of success, where students reveal what they’ve learned when practicing a new skill or new strategy during a lesson.
“So, [as a student] I’m going to probably reference the very strategy or skill that was modelled during that mini lesson and how that played out for me … It’s really getting us to think about how have we been successful as a reader and writer? And what’s the secret of that?” Sharon explained.
“So by articulating what I did, I’m articulating a good reader and or good writer action … so of course the person then listening is really hearing, ‘oh, so that’s how you did that’.”
Sharon expanded on this strategy by providing examples on how teachers can involve the whole class when sharing these insights.
“Especially during a writer’s workshop, I’ll see students doing something where I’ll think, ‘oh my goodness, look at what they’ve just done, how successful has that made their writing’. And I might actually stop everybody if it’s appropriate. I don’t want to stop the writer’s workshop too often, but if I know that that’s going to be a great share for the whole class to learn from this, I might stop with that child and say, ‘oh, can you just share the secret of your success right here, because I think everyone would love to hear that’,” she said.
“So that becomes a term that we can use. Students love it, the secret of my success, what did I do here? They own it, but they absolutely love to share it.”
The fourth framework is the Writing Reflection Wheel, which involves four questions to prompt thinking about writing. However, Sharon emphasised that teachers do not need to use all four questions every single time, but that it should instead be shaped depending on the content and nature of the lesson.
“The four questions are 1, What were you trying to achieve? 2, Where did you have your greatest success? 3, What did you learn, and 4, What would you do next time?” Sharon said.
“You’ll do whatever you know is right for your students … These can only be as good as what we model and how much time we give children. And by time, I mean how regularly we give our students, our readers and our writers, the opportunity to think and talk and write about themselves as writers and readers.
“So, I might reflect on all four at a time, but I might not get past number one because there’s so much there that I want to talk about. And one of those questions might be more suited to the actual skill or strategy you were teaching in the mini lesson.”
Phil added: “These are not fixed. It is not a program of ‘you will do this and then you’ll do that and then you’ll do this and then you’ll do that, and that is how it has to be’. This is teacher decision making”.
The fifth strategy, Turn and Talk, is heavily promoted by Sharon and Phil across their podcasts due to its effectiveness, time efficiency and ability to be embedded into daily lessons.
“So it’s actually uninterrupted. It’s not a discussion. It’s purely the opportunity. It’s really focused and intentional. I have to talk for say 60 seconds, but I generally say 60 to 90 seconds, depending on the age, and depending on what we’re doing. But, this is what I want people to think about,” Sharon said.
“If we add two lots of 60 seconds to the end of our independent reading or our reader’s workshop or our writer’s workshop, I’m adding two minutes to the end of that workshop. Two minutes is not a lot to ask … I say it takes two minutes for every child to have shared and heard somebody share.
“It should be an everyday thing. It isn’t an every now and then thing.”
Finally, the Read Aloud Seesaw is suitable for both fiction and non-fiction read alouds and again involves sharing in pairs.
“So, after hearing something read aloud in pairs, one person goes first and they’re the ‘See’. And they’re going to share something that they recall from the read aloud, using words and phrases and expressions from the text. So this is recalling and this is really focusing in on the use of vocabulary from the text,” Sharon explained.
“The other person, ‘Saw’, then shares something. They recall using words, phrases, and expressions from the text, and this continues … And we keep doing that until someone runs out of something to say, or until the time is up that the class has been given to do this in pairs.
“So it might be a three minute Seesaw. And so we’ve got to go for as long as we can feel. You recall, then I recall then you recall, then I recall. So it’s really building on what we’re remembering from text, but using words, phrases, and expressions, that’s the key to it.”