Recently, as I listened to a group of first graders share their learning, I was reminded of the importance of leaving space for this time at the end of our workshops.
The music started to play and students gathered in a circle on the carpet. When the music finished and everyone was sitting together, the teacher called on the first student to share. I walked over to sit in the circle and listen for a bit. Before the share had ended, four students had been able to share their work and thinking from their learning time.
When I had my own classroom and visitors would come to my room, I was always a little disappointed to see them leave before the share. In my opinion, by not staying to see the share they would miss the piece that demonstrated whether the lesson had worked. Had students been able to take what was discussed and move into the workshop to give it a try? What did learners understand?
We can't overlook the power of possibility in the moments we share with our learning community at the end of a lesson. It's easy as the clock ticks to not make time for the share, but this time is essential for our learning to grow.
Share allows us to:
- Check in with students: Though digital tools allow us to see more of the work students do during their independent learning times, talking with students about their work during workshop allows us an opportunity to hear their thinking, consider their process, and think about next steps.
- Reinforce the learning of the focus lesson: Having students share can give us an opportunity to allow students to share attempts at new learning with peers. It can also provide the opportunity to clarify, reinforce, and restate points from our lesson within the context of student work.
- Build a common understanding (and common language): By coming together as a community to talk about our learning, we can create a common understanding and build common language around new concepts. Students often will share with peers important discoveries that can then be used to build an inquiry. These lessons are always more powerful and carry more weight when shared by a peer instead of directed by a teacher.
- Stretch the lesson: Often during independent work time students stay in their comfort zones, and don't reach for the next step. Share time allows us to build a bridge between students' attempts and the next steps in learning. Sharing also allows us to hear from students who are pushing past the current understanding and working to socially construct learning at a higher level of understanding than might have been possible without utilization of this time.
- Showcase new possibility: By allowing time to share our learning, students can see new possibilities through the work done by their peers.
- Celebrate learning: Share is the perfect time to celebrate new discoveries and new steps in learning. By lifting learners who have pushed to the next level, we open the door for others learners and shine a spotlight on the importance of our time spent learning.