My Students Are My Guinea Pigs- SOLC10- March 10, 2015


My Students Are My Guinea Pigs

I actually told my class today that they are my guinea pigs. No, not the cute, furry animals that squeak too much, but the real, live children that I get to try all kinds of things with. I read a lot (some might say that this is an understatement) and this helps me bring new ideas to almost anything. Today I wanted to introduce them to some more strategies for “close reading” in fiction. Thanks to Notice and Note, I was all set to introduce one of the signposts they should look for in fiction. We are reading Katherine Applegate’s amazing book, The One and Only Ivan, so I read ahead a few pages to see which signpost screamed out at me. Tough questions it was. I read a few pages to the students then handed them the next part to read to themselves. Well, they rocked it- they were able to tell me what question was unsaid and what this made Ivan realize. This is a class that will give almost anything a try and it is great fun to experiment with them. It was so successful that I can not wait to try the next lesson. The classroom culture of being brave, trying out new ideas,` and not being afraid to make mistakes may have started with me, but the supportive community that we have built up over the months has spread to them as well. I am consistently amazed at how much of themselves they put out there (the Classroom SOL Challenge being a recent example). I bring in crazy ideas (as do they) and we give them a try. This is not to say that everything is perfect, or that every experiment works out as we had hoped, but we like the feeling that we can take a risk and try new things- together!


6 thoughts on “My Students Are My Guinea Pigs- SOLC10- March 10, 2015

  1. Lee

    I read Notice and Note and then didn’t have any guinea pigs. I’m so glad that you’re jumping in, trying new things, that your students are taking risks, and that you’re sharing with us! Kudos!

  2. LBD

    Thank you for sharing what you are trying. I plan on reading this book as my next read aloud. I would love to tweak your idea for my classroom. Thanks!

  3. rissable

    OMG…we are reading Ivan too! My class sounds a lot like yours…they will try anything! I would love to hear more about the “signposts.” I haven’t read Notice and Note.

    1. Erika Victor

      I really recommend the book- this one focuses on close reading with fiction and teaches 6 “signposts” that readers should pay attention to and the questions they should provoke. We worked on “tough questions” and “memory moments” so far and it is helping us. Let me know if you want to collaborate on Ivan at all.

      1. rissable

        Thank you. I would love to!!!! I found more inspiration yesterday on for Ivan. I’m not finished reading it yet with my class. This is the second year I’ve read it but really wanting to do more with it. Here’s my email… Let’s talk more!

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