The language used was in places sophisticated, but as we unpacked the content together I knew the learning could be accessed. I then asked them to get into groups or pairs, their choice, and create a DLO that identified the main idea in the text. I'm not sure what I was expecting to be honest but I do know I was not expecting to see learning conversations in actions as they debated the purpose of the author's message. Nor did I expect to see the scaffolds we have used in guided reading lessons suddenly pop up on Chromebook screens. This is exactly what I have been striving towards achieving and it all unfolded in front of me with absolutely no prompting!
Why did this happen? I have many assumptions ranging from the fact I have helped my learners make strong connections through explicit teaching to transference of learning was taking place. To clarify my own understanding I asked my learners why they had chosen to use these strategies to help them respond to the task.
Girl 1 + partner: We used the summary strategy because we wanted to see what the main idea was by thinking about what the most important words were. I knew if I could find these words we could write our own summary of what the learning was. Then from that we would be able to see the main idea because it would be somehow linked to the most important words.
Girl 2 + partner: Me and my partner had a learning conversation so we could agree or disagree on the information we felt was the most important. We did this by looking at both sides of the message then we thought about what we would think was the most important if it was our culture.
Boy 1/2/3: We did the negotiation game because it helps us find the important ideas, then the very important ideas and then the vital ideas. It was good to do this in a group because we could all add different ideas and learn from each other. After we did that we checked our thinking by doing a summary and look Miss, it was kind of the same.
This is definitely a woohoo moment for me because I saw that with explicit teaching and by embedding something in your practice, strong connections can and will be made. My learners were adapting and using new knowledge and skills to make sense of the task ahead. This is especially so when they are seen as purposeful tools that can be adapted to fit the learning across the curriculum. 'Transfer of Learning—the application of skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes that were learned in one situation to another learning situation.' (Perkins, 1992). I am most proud of the fact that this occurred with absolutely no prompting from me!
Examples of the scaffolds that supported the deep learning conversations.