Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Beautiful Noise

One of the best parts of my day as a middle school language arts teacher is getting to sit down with my class and reading a book aloud to them. At the moment, we are reading Rebecca Stead's Newbery-winning novel When You Reach Me.

Yesterday we came to the climax of the story where a great deal of the mystery was revealed but there was still enough unresolved where students didn't quite know all the answers. I stopped at the end of this chapter and asked students to create a t-chart in their literature journals of "what I know" and "what I'm still confused about". That writing assignment lasted all of about 30 seconds before students just started shouting across the room at each other, trying to explain what they knew and what they were still confused about. Normally a din in the classroom causes my hackles to be raised and I quickly put a stop to the noise, but in this case, I just sat back and enjoyed the friendly debates. At that moment, there wasn't a single student in the classroom who was talking about anything other than what just happened in the book, what they knew, and what they were inferring. It was a beautiful sight and sound to behold and will probably be one of my all-time favorite classroom memories.

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