In my quest to help students be more “on-task” during carpet time, I have been reading a Ministry of Ed Monograph entitled “Grand Conversations in Primary Classrooms”. In order to prepare students for rich group dialogue, it is suggested that – in addition to time for thinking first – students are also encouraged to draw or write about texts they are reflecting on, in order to give them an opportunity to consolidate their thinking before they engage in grand conversations.
I can't help but wonder... What would the students write about, if they haven’t had time to chat with a neighbour, first? On the other hand, what would they talk about, if they didn’t first have a chance to “ink their thinking”? It’s a bit of a chicken/egg dilemma, it would seem.
I suppose – like so many “good” classroom strategies, flexibility and balance is the key. Different learners will strive under both configurations, so in order to ensure the needs of all are met, a differentiated approach much be taken.
Myself, I’ve done the “talk first and then write” approach… I think I will try to integrate more of the other now, and see what happens with my verbose but often unfocused students!