School is now in session in all of our local schools. Teachers all over are starting to bond with their new students. They are building community. It is said, if teachers spend the first few weeks of the year on community and procedures, the rest of the year will progress with ease. I always found that to be true. It was hard to do that when we had to get ready for state testing in the first few weeks of the year. That is no longer the case. So, building community is a priority for a successful school year. One way to work on community is to start right away with teaching children about accountable talk.
An easy way to do that is to use Bounce Cards. These cards help students to know how to respond to a classmate during read alouds or book clubs. There are three sets of cards: Bounce, Sum it up, Inquire. Each of these topics are approaches to responding to peers comments.
Bounce: students take what their peers say and bounce an idea off of it. ( "That reminds me of..."; "I agree, because...";"That's a great point..."
Sum it up: students rephrase what their peers say and comment on certain parts. ("I hear you saying that..." ; "So, if I understand you correctly..." ; "I like how you said...")
Inquire: students ask a question regarding what their peers say. ("Can you tell me more about that?" ; "I'm not sure I understand..." ; "Have you thought about...")
The cards would need to be introduced individually and with lots of modeling. The conversations won't sound natural at first, but the goal is to get so comfortable with bouncing ideas off of each other that they will be able to do so without any prompts.
It would help to create a large chart paper model of the Bounce Card so students can refer to the chart without needing to take out their Bounce Cards. Hopefully, these ideas will help teachers as they begin their community in their classrooms.