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!