Let's Do It Together: Shared Experience in the First Days
Yesterday I was invited to a friend's house as her family gathered to make dolmades (grape leaves). For years I have wanted to make dolmades for our family. My husband and oldest daughter love dolmades as well as many other Greek and Lebanese dishes, but trying to make dolmades on my own seemed a bit overwhelming. For weeks I have looked forward to joining my friend's family as they make this traditional family dish. Each year they gather on Labor Day weekend to make hundreds of dolmades to have across the winter months.
Shared Reading and Writing
In my role as a reading intervention teacher, I am moving from room to room getting to know the students I will likely support this year, watching students who may be of concern, and noticing students who are finding the first days of school a bit more challenging. I've looked carefully at the data a bit earlier than I would have as a classroom teacher. As I go into classrooms I am using the previous year's data to inform who may need support.
I'm also noticing students who were at grade level at the end of the year, but seem to be having difficulty using what they know in these first days. As I am sitting beside these students I'm reminded of the importance of shared experiences in the first days of school. These students are not yet sure of the routines and expectations of the classroom. They're just getting back into their habits with books and writing. They're not yet comfortable with their new peers.
- Builds Community: shared experience allows groups to talk together and share common experiences that can be foundational in the first days of school
- Creates a Safe Environment: in shared experience students can try things that might be hard for them to do alone and share success with peers
- Grows Common Language: shared experiences provides opportunities to begin to grow and share common language around learning the community will use across the year
- Develops the Sounds of Language: shared reading and writing can help students get to know the sounds and rhythms of words as well as build vocabulary
- Reinforces Known: shared experience can help students get back to what they know (in youngest literacy learners this might be reminding students of 1:1, using known to monitor, using pictures to help solve with meaning, etc.)
- Nudges Forward: shared experience can be use to subtly introduce a new idea within this context of high support