Kara Pranikoff Guest Host #G2Great Teaching Talk A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking and Conversation

By Jenn  Hayhurst

I think by now everyone know members of #G2Great PLN like to talk. As a matter of fact, my good friend and mentor Dr  Mary Howard just hit 50.5 K Tweets! To use Mary’s words, “What can I say, I like to talk.”

Teachers embrace talk because it is foundational for creating community. A good conversation grants us access to higher levels of understanding. On May 18, 2017 Kara Pranikoff hosted #G2Great to discuss her new book, Teaching Talk, A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking and Conversation and we explored ways to leverage talk to develop greater sophistication for how to use talk to bolster thinking and learning in the classroom.

Bridging research to classroom practice is the heart of Mary’s book, Good To Great Teaching . When we say “yes” to research, the next thing to do is to make our classrooms home to action research. We are all approaching the end of a school year, and now is the perfect time to try out some of the practices we are learning about during our #G2Great chats so we can finish strong and use what we learn in the year ahead.  

As I think about how I can strengthen my  talk practices in my own teaching. These two tweets sparked my learning into action:

Jenny and Kara inspired me to think about and adjust my own practices. First I will more intentionally offer explicit models to increase student engagement within collaborative dialogue and second I will keep a concrete reference of that dialogue use as an instructional springboard to next steps. The following is a transcript of an exchange between a partnership. The transcript is from two students discussing the benefits of using Thinking Tracks. Thinking Tracks is a tool I created, after attending a Summer Reading Institute at the Reading and Writing Project. The intention for the tool is  to help students annotate texts quickly.

 

London: “Well a thinking track is really like used to jot down something. Like if I say, in the book Shortcut, they’re on a train track. That’s surprising to me, so I’d like jot down a surprising mark.”

Daniela: “Yeah, like um I will use this the Thinking Track by surprising. When they were all like looking and listening to the sounds and looking they were all surprised. I was surprised too that the kids were there on the train tracks. It is dangerous because they hurried and looked at the train coming through.  On the other side they thought a train wasn’t coming, but the train passed! Someone could have maybe got hurt.”

London: “It (this book) opens up with a big twist and we just started the book!”

Daniela: “These tracks, like funny, important favorite, and surprised, connecting, I wonder, and there is one more conforce, confus, confusing.” (laughing a little) “You can all use these even the little pictures that show us how to use them.”

London: “It’s just  a quick jot.”

What did my transcriptions do for me as a professional willing to shift my stance as a learner?

It shows me that both students have a strong understanding for how to use the tool.

It shows me that Daniela is learning how to integrate academic talk into her conversational speech.

This conversation gives me some insights as to the kinds of language standards I might want to lean into.

I can see that multisyllabic words, even familiar ones, might be still challenging to read flexibility.

I can use this conversation as mentor text to teach other students how to use the tool in a number of ways!

I can read it aloud to the rest of the class, or even next year’s class to demonstrate the value of the tool by pairing that with a copy of Donal Crew’s Shortcuts.

I can leave a copy of the transcript for students to read and annotate in a write around.

Just the act of transcribing their conversation sends a strong message to my students, we value talk here. It elevates their conversations to a new level of importance. They begin to see each other as a source of information to learn from. Wow!

I am grateful that Kara has elevated my own thinking about talk and I am going to use these points and her phenomenal book to fine tune my thinking this summer.  Yes, this just the beginning of my learning and  I invite you to join me so we can all delve deeper into her remarkable thinking. If you are reading this blog, you are the kind of teacher who is on a constant journey to bring your good classroom practices to great ones. It is every author’s hope that their work will inspire ours. When we read a professional book we are entering into a partnership that aspires to empower learning and benefit the intellectual world that we create for our students. We are co-creating a better opportunities for ourselves and our students. Happy reading.

LINKS

Teaching Talk: A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking & Conversation

http://www.heinemann.com/products/E08676.aspx

Breathing New Life Into the Talk in Your Classroom

http://www.heinemann.com/blog/breathing-new-life-into-the-talk-in-your-classroom/

Looking Back On Our Good to Great Journey

By Mary Howard

My Quote

Life journeys flamed by passion and purpose have always been at the heart of my work. On August 29, 2012 I embarked on a purposeful and passionate journey with the publication of my book, Good to Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters (Heinemann). In late 2014, the sheer magnitude of that event began to unfold when Amy Brennan and Jenn Hayhurst invited me to join a weekly Twitter chat in celebration of my book. On January 8, 2015 #G2Great was born – and my passion and purpose was reignited beyond measure!

Exactly one year later, #G2Great and my friendship with Amy & Jenn has grown stronger. Every Thursday at 8:30 EST, dedicated educators across the country enthusiastically share their joys, dreams, and ponderings that come full circle to the question posed in my book, “How do we move from good to great teaching by focusing on the literacy work that matters? Our #G2Great chat is a weekly dose of inspiration that transformed my personal journey into a collaborative exploration of unexpected twists and turns…and I am forever changed!

Over the past fifty-two weeks, #G2Great has remained true to the very spirit that ignited this shared learning venture one year ago. Our first anniversary seems like a fitting time to launch our blog, Literacy Lenses, a natural progression along a celebratory pathway we have traveled alongside passionate educators who work tirelessly to enrich the learning lives of students.

More than ever, we need shared journeys fueled by an unwavering belief in our profession and a sense of dedication to our work. Amy, Jenn, and I set the stage for the #G2Great journey, but you have been our co-collaborators and your joyful dialogue has propelled our passion and purpose to new heights. We are grateful for this willing partnership and applaud you for all you do…

  • for believing you can and must make the choices that matter
  • for refusing to let anything impede you in achieving great work
  • for acknowledging in your every action that students deserve our best
  • for embracing continued professional learning in the name of children
  • for offering your time, talents and dedication day after day, year after year
  • for saying “NO” to work that doesn’t matter to say “YES” to work that does
  • for insisting that your students are the very heart and soul of decision-making
  • for believing that we still navigate our own journey of passion and purpose

Never underestimate the role you play, secure in the knowledge that you matter; to each other, our schools, our communities, and most of all our children and the direction education can and must take us on their behalf in the future. 

And so from our heart to yours, we celebrate our shared journey with a trip down the Good to Great Memory Lane 2015…

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