This week, we started “school” again. From my kitchen table to my kiddos in their bedrooms, living rooms, and backyards, we connect and learn.
So much of what I think about these days is how to create an online experience that feels like the learning we do in class. Transfering simple moves, like the use of post-ts and anchor charts, took me time. What is obvious today wasn’t on week one or two or three. I can only imagine what I will discover by week ten.
This week. we started a new read aloud. As much as I want students to turn and talk, controlling that interaction seemed impossible in a zoom environment.
New norms were set.
During read aloud, audio is muted, screens are off, the chatbox is quiet.
I told students, “Your job is to listen, envision, and jot your thoughts.”
With these expectations in place, I read the first four chapters of Katherine Applegate’s Wishtree.
Pausing to stop and think as a reader. Wondering if wishtrees really existed in the world.
Asking students to jot what they would wish for if they had a wishtree.
Wondering whether Red is a boy or a girl tree.
Wondering what the problem in the story might be.
All along, their answers were muted.
When I got to the stopping spot, I asked students to open up the chat and share their thoughts in writing.
Slowly, it started.
Wishtrees are real. They have them in Japan.
I’d wish for a dog.
Maybe someone is going to cut down the Wishtree.
This is similar to The One and Only Ivan because the main character is talking to us.
It’s also because a human isn’t the main character.
Katherine Applegate likes characters who aren’t human.
I’d wish for my own room.
I’d wish we’d be back at school.
It’s also like Ivan because there are illustrations.
Wishtree is wise.
Optimists are people who see the good in bad situations.
I’m Wishtree and S- is Bongo.
Hey! Why am I Bongo?
Because you’re shorter.
I’d wish for the end of COVID.
Hmm. The good in bad situations. This chat stream was exactly that.