Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Developing a Dialogic Year 7/8 Classroom

After hearing from Jannie last week, I have been reminded to embed techniques to create a "Dialogic Classroom."  I worked very hard to do this last year with my NE/Yr 1 class of five year olds, and even though we experienced some growing pains in the beginning, they were very successful after just a few short weeks.  Today, I was geared up to see how my Year 7/8 students fared!

We are currently studying the World War 1, the ANZAC troops, and the technologies used during the war.  Today, my Maths/Inquiry students spent the last hour of the day digging a little deeper into this Inquiry topic together.  We began by watching a short video clip, that discussed various aspects of WW1 and trench warfare.  At various times during the clip, I paused the movie and posed a few 'thoughts' for the students to consider.

For example, at one point the narrator made a comment about the war not only being "the first industrial war but also the first scientific war."  I paused the clip, and told the students I was going to make a statement that I wanted them to think about.  "I wonder what makes some industrial..." Students were asked to take a minute to think on their own about my statement, and then they were asked to discuss their thoughts on industrial with their neighbour.  After a brief time, students were able to share what they discussed.

The thing I found most interesting was that when another student was randomly asked to repeat what was said, they were unable to do so.  This is something that I will be looking to develop further with my learners as the year progresses.

After we also did a think/pair/share with a similar thought to consider regarding what was meant by a scientific war, we continued with the video clip.  I made sure that I was looking for moments that I could intentionally "feed in order to lift the language readiness" of my learners.  I randomly stopped the clip when a opportunity presented itself to discuss the definition of a potentially unknown word with students.

After completing this process with two different 4-5 minute video clips, the students were led to their Blogs and asked to work with their partner to create a two paragraph recap entitled 'Technology @ War."  Most students will have to complete this task tomorrow, but from the work I was able to see as I circulated this afternoon, I believe that their posts will be stronger because of the dialogic experience that was provided prior to simply writing about the video.

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