Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trying Something New: Conversation Logs

My posting has been sporadic, but you all know how teaching goes.  I have once again received a new co-teacher so we're working out our teaching styles now.  However, I did have one thing that we're doing that I'd like to share.  Conversation logs.

A curriculum expert from the service center of our parent company came to observe and assist us for two days a few weeks ago.  We had just started reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton with our class and she thought we might want to get them doing a little more writing and responding to the book so she suggested Conversation logs.

The idea is this:  We have a class set of composition notebooks (I'd bought tons when Staples was selling them for 10 cents each this fall).  Each student is assigned a number that corresponds with a notebook.  Every few days I put up a prompt.  Then, my first period class responds to it.  The second class then comes in and responds to the prompt as well as responds to their peers response.  And so on with my third class.  They can ask each other for clarification, ask another question, agree or disagree, as long as it is appropriate and on task.

I was skeptical at first, I was worried about managing the materials etc.  However it hasn't been too bad and the kids for the most part seem to enjoy it.  A few will even ask if they can check their logs to see if someone wrote back to them.  In light of that I may open it up so that if they'd like to write even when I haven't asked them to they may.

I'll take some pictures to show you how it's going and put them up here, but I think it's a neat idea and would work for many grade levels not just middle school!

Any great insights on how to get kids writing?