Monday, February 15, 2010

Under the Radar

I sometimes worry over vacation weeks that I won’t have anything to blog about because my link to teachers and students is cut. Silly me. I forget that this is the age of technology and while I may not be in schools and classrooms, access to great teaching minds is only a click away.

The International Reading Association has launched a new radio broadcast feature that invites renowned thinkers in the area of literacy to speak briefly on an important topic related to the teaching of reading or writing. This month, Kathy Hsu, former president of the IRA spoke about culturally responsive education. At first, I was scared. It sounded like an ivory tower topic. I wasn’t sure how relevant it would be to my work. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised!

Kathy Hsu got me thinking a lot about share time during reading and writing workshop. We all know those students who can’t say enough when we pose questions to the class or ask them to reflect on their learning. But there are others, you know them, too, the ones who prefer to fly under the radar. Left to their own devices, these children would never say anything and we leave the lesson unsure if they understood any of the points we were talking about.

In this brief, ten minute talk, Kathy Hsu highlighted very practical suggestions about share time. She talked about “pair share” and “quick share” and clearly explained what these approaches would look like. I’ve always been a big fan of “turn and talk” but her ideas will help me to shore up the way I implement this in the classroom. After listening, I was so inspired, I felt like I had to write immediately to coax all of you to check it out too. When you have a few moments, go to and listen to what Kathy has to say. Let me know if she will influence the way you ask children to share too!

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