Entertain an instructional idea with me. Will you?
How about showing your students this short video from Chipotle’s Cultivating Thought, Author’s Series? After viewing the video, students could stop and talk about what they just saw.
Let them “just” talk.
Then you could show it again. This time ask students to consider the “text” through a lens. Maybe they ask themselves what people will think about this kind of writing in 5 years (when they’re in middle school). Maybe they will think about how this connects people or how we are using resources. Who knows. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what they authentically talk about?
Again, they get to “just” talk.
And they talk about what they choose to talk about. There is NO right answer. This is genuine discourse about a shared text.
Next, students jot down a few words they notice as the video “text” plays.
Again, let them talk about their ideas. You might listen in, just an interested observer.
As students talk, they listen to others and grow their own understanding. After talking, engaging with each other’s ideas and sharing their own, let them write down their thoughts with absolutely zero stakes.
They “just” get to write.
They write whatever they want. Whatever they are thinking. Even if they aren’t really thinking. This is community building. This is thought muscle flexing. This is important work.
Students write because they are engaged.
This is a beautiful thing.
Let them “just” write.
Then, perhaps another day, you could read aloud one of the pieces from the author series. Again…students listen, talk, share, zero stakes. Maybe….just maybe, they write.
What could our students do if we set them up to think, talk, think some more, write and talk? It is certainly worth the time to try.
Then let them read a few of the pieces written by authors that not only adorn but illuminate the sacks and cups for Chipotle, the master of all guacamole, lime flavored tortilla chips and fountain soda greatness.
Perhaps this walk around text that is more in their generation will lift the level of engagement in your classroom. Why not give it a try?