Student contribution by Diana Ledesma
Overview of the Period
The students read an essay entitled, Bombs, Bullets, and Bureaucracies: the Growth of Centralized States. You can find the article on page two from this link. Before they read, they previewed the article and came up with questions they had simply from scanning it. They wrote those down and shared them as a class. Afterward, I read aloud from the article for two and a half minutes. As I read aloud, I verbalized my thoughts and processes. Once the time expired, the students did the same process in their groups. Diana is commenting on the lesson.
Sharing our thoughts as we read is a good strategy because it helps the reader comprehend the text better instead of just reading. Most of the time, when I read the passage I end up forgetting what I just read. When we analyzed the passage with our groups yesterday, it was easier to remember, because if one of us forgot a definition or a word, one of us would remember it. If none of us could remember, one of us could have searched up the word while the rest of us continued analyzing. Another positive of analyzing in a group was if we forgot or thought that a piece of text was important, one of us would know it was important and make sure that all of us mark it down.
Analyzing in a group did have some cons to it though. It was hard for all of us to decide if a text was important enough to markdown or if it was irrelevant. Another thing, for some of us, it was hard to read aloud. Some people can get really nervous when they have to read aloud to people. If they are too busy thinking about what the people they are reading to think of them, they will not understand what they are reading. Essentially, they will just be saying words. The last thing that groups could have struggled with was comprehending what they were reading. When you are not interested in what you are reading it is harder to care for and understand the text.
Diana’s comments are right in line with my thinking. Overall, I think it was a positive experience. It was my time this year having them verbalize their thought process while reading. Even though it was a bit clunky and awkward for some, the students read deeper than they normally do. Their takeaways were richer and they were connecting to the text. The students were able to be wrong and okay if they didn’t find the right meaning. And, they worked together to expand their understanding.
Humble Giant Moment
The process wasn’t the best for everyone as it was hard for a few. Reading out loud to peers in a group isn’t the easiest thing. Even though they were groups of 3-4, I would go smaller the next time. In groups of three to four, it’s just too easy to not pay attention and big enough to feel awkward when you stubble. When I do it again, I will have them in pairs instead of fours. But, I will do it again…soon.