It’s seventh hour and students begin to settle into their seats. Their teacher has greeted them at the door and when they come in they look up on the board for the question they are supposed to answer in their journals. Sounds pretty typical, right? The next part is where the magic happens. After they’ve written for five minutes they get into small groups of four and everyone shares one part of their writing. There is no teacher directing their discussion but students know the routine and they all talk, share, and laugh.
The power in this classroom is that everyone in class is expected to do everything. All students write, all students share, and all students give feedback to each other. No one is able to opt out and all are engaged.
In many classrooms, this same scenario often happens but with one change. After students write or respond, one or two students are chosen to share. Typically, these end up being the same students each day, while the same students remain silent. This silence turns into apathy. Eventually, disengagement.
In 2014, Alexis Wiggins, a fifteen year teaching veteran and daughter of Grant Wiggins wrote a blog post about what she experienced after shadowing two students before beginning as an instructional coach. This is a summary of her first two key takeaways:
Key Takeaway #1:
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