Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Using the Telephone in your Center

My current instructor for a writing class I'm taking for a reading endorsement shared this great idea with us.  Many classrooms now have phones in the room.  You can put that phone to good use and allow parents at home to help in the classroom.  During your writing workshop or even as a reading center, students can call a parent, grandparent or community member and read them their story!  This could be a great way for parents who want to help in the classroom, but can't come to school (usually because of pre-school children at home) to volunteer.  Ask for parents or grandparents who are willing to listen between the times your students might be calling.  Create a list of names and numbers and have it by the phone.  If the line is busy or there is no answer, students simply call someone else on the list.  Let your volunteers know they don't need to call back the missed call.  Instruct your volunteers to give a compliment and ask 2-3 questions after the student has read his/her story.  When the phone call is done, students must revise their paper based on the questioning and response portion of the call.  You could make this a regular rotating center or as a reward for students who follow expectations during writing time.  If they follow expectations, they may be asked to sign up for a conference call.  Volunteers will likely get just a few calls during the week, depending on the number of volunteers you have.

The purpose of this?  Students have an audience for their writing, gain fluency, and can get feedback on the content of their paper.  Often adult readers focus on conventions and students get overwhelmed by the attack on capitalization and punctuation from parents.  The verbal sharing allows parents (or any adult they are sharing with) to comment solely on content.  


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