Reflection: Student Grouping Discussing "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" - Section 2: Reading and Discussing the Story


     When I received training in Common Core I learned about a study from Dr. Todd Risley called the 30 million word gap.  He followed 42 families of various socioeconomic levels for 4 years.  His research found that the amount of talking in the home is one factor that can affect the success of a child in school.  The research also found that children from higher income homes are exposed to 30 million more words than children that come from lower income homes.  Rice University's college of education has posted a great synopsis of the study.  If you'd like to read more about this important research, click here.   Todd Risley's interview is enlightening as well. The video isn't long but it will really give you something to think about as you plan to incorporate more talking into your classroom.

     So how does this affect the classroom?  You'd be surprised how much.  Each year students come to us with varying ability levels.  Their families are of different income levels.  A quote that stood out to me in my Common Core training is "If we want to level the playing field in economic disparity in this country we need to start in the English Language Arts Classroom."  Wow- talk about powerful. 

     My classroom became a language rich classroom this year.  We talk all day long and in every single subject area.  When you have a child talk, you are exposing them to using correct sentence structure, new vocabulary, and language development.  I've learned this year that having students talk throughout the day is good for ALL of them.  My students with speech problems have improved, because they practice speaking throughout the day.  Those in my classroom that have had fewer experiences than others have broadened their knowledge base by reading and speaking in depth about various topics.  Being a language rich classroom doesn't just mean having words displayed around your room.  Get your students talking - all day every day.  You will see tremendous growth if you change this one aspect of your classroom.

     What specifically are you looking for when you have students talk? You'll have to listen to your students talk to see what needs they have.  After listening to my students talk the first few days of school, I noticed that several of my students who needed speech services needed help with correct pronoun use in sentences. So as students were talking, we worked on this skill.  I also focused on making sure students actually used new vocabulary when talking to each other.  So if we were talking about prey and predators, I made sure they understood these terms by how they used these words in their sentences.  Finally, I made sure that students talked to each other using complete sentences.  Students need to speak in complete sentences before you can expect them to write in complete sentences.  Each teacher will need  to work on different skills based on student needs.  Hone in and really listen the first few days of school.  Set your goals for what you want students to accomplish when speaking, and then allow them to have lots of practice  speaking to each other.

  Why Talk So Much?
  Student Grouping: Why Talk So Much?
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Discussing "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs"

Unit 6: Comparing and Contrasting with the Three Little Pigs
Lesson 1 of 5

Objective: SWBAT describe the characters, setting, and key details in the story and help the teacher record the details on a circle map.

Big Idea: Today we are diving into the story and discussing it in detail. We are going to know the story well so we can compare and contrast with another story on our Day 3 lesson.

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