Stop, collaborate and listen

Stop Collaborate and Listen

You’re singing along to Vanilla Ice now, right? My bad.

Three things that I have tried hard to focus on since our Partnership’s professional development with Martin Westwell are trying to Stop, Collaborate and Listen. Or otherwise referred to as slow it down, collaborate and become noticers.

For the five year olds learning in my classroom these strategies seem especially important and relevant.

I recently adapted a learning task for our new inquiry into Who We Are to incorporate some of the creative thinking for intellectual stretch strategies that I learned. Here’s what changed:

Original task: 

Stop, collaborate and listen

Students were asked, in one lesson, to:

  • Draw a picture of themselves
  • Write their name
  • Draw/write things that they can do
  • Draw/write things that they like

Modified task

Stop, collaborate and listen

Students were asked, over several lessons to:

  • Find a partner
  • Write their partner’s name at the top of the page
  • Write their own name at the bottom of the page
  • Draw a picture of their partner, taking notice of the details that make them unique, which involved:
    • Observing a modelled lesson of stopping and noticing details, then drawing them
    • Having a go at drawing their partner
    • Stopping for a classroom ‘gallery walk’ to notice the details of each others drawings
    • Continuing the drawing of their partner
    • Stopping to share what we noticed when we were drawing

Here’s what that looked like:

Stop, collaborate and listen

I was blown away by how much detail showed in the student’s drawings.

Then, students:

  • Talked with their partner about what their partner can do. Recorded their answers in drawings and writing*
    • stopped and shared with people nearby. What do you notice? What do you wonder?
  • Talked with their partner about what they like. Recorded their answers in drawings and writing*
    • stopped and shared with people nearby. What do you notice? What do you wonder?

*most students are early-emergent, emergent and transitional writers, so need lots of support via scribing, however they are encouraged to have a go.

I learned so much from my students!

Firstly, they needed more modelling of how to ask each other about their likes and what they can do, before being sent off to do it. I will confess that despite trying to s-l-o-w down I was feeling anxious about the time this was taking (three ‘lessons’ for something that previously took one ‘lesson’) and didn’t spend enough time on this. Damn that school pressure! That modelling would have made a huge different to their recording and learning.

Stop, collaborate and listen

Secondly, we really needed to do this learning and recording on one piece of paper between two, not two separate pieces of paper. This was made very clear when two children took the initiative to do just that! I love it.

Stop, collaborate and listen

Thirdly, collaboration and listening to each other across groups was so helpful. As they showed each other their work and talked about it, they would say “oh, I like dogs too!” and add more to their page.

Next time…

I will repeat this learning task, however next time there will be no template. Just an A3 sheet of paper, lots of role modelling and lots of stopping, collaborating and listening.

I’ll let you know how that goes with next years Receptions! If I am lucky enough to teach them again.

How would you transform this task? 

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