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  • Engaging All Learners : Active and Collaborative Strategies for


    Alice UdvariAlice Udvari--Solner, Ph.D.Solner, Ph.D. University of WI-Madison

    Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction 608-263-4645

    [email protected] .

    To learn anything it helps to: To learn anything it helps to: Hear it, See it, Hear it, See it,

    Ask questions about it, Ask questions about it, Discuss it with others, Do it, Discuss it with others, Do it,

    Teach it and thenTeach it and then……Reflect on it. Reflect on it.

    mailto:[email protected]

  • Select a learner who challenges you. Describe this Select a learner who challenges you. Describe this person as a learner using short phrases and single person as a learner using short phrases and single

    wordswords. Jot these descriptors around the semantic map.

  • Abolitionist | Almanac maker | Advertiser

    Balloon enthusiast | Bifocals inventor

    Composer | Cartoonist | Civic Citizen | Chess Player

    Deist | Diplomat | Daylight Savings advocate

    Enlightenment thinker | Electricity pioneer | Experimenter | Entrepreneur

    Founding Father | Flirt | Fire fighter

    Glass Armonica creator | Gulf Stream mapper | Genius

    Humorist | Health nut

    Inventor | International celebrity | Insurer

    Junto creator | Journalist

    Kite flyer

    Librarian | Lightning rod inventor | Londoner

    Medical Engineer | Militia member | Mathematician | Mason

    Natural philosopher

    Organizer (militia, fire dept., street cleaning) | Odometer maker

    Printer | Public relations master | Publisher | Prankster

    Questioner | Quartermaster | Quintessential American

    Revolutionary | Reader

    Scientist | Swimmer | Self-made man

    Traveler | Treaty signer

    University builder

    Volunteer | Visionary | Vegetarian (temporarily)

    Writer | Weight lifter


    Young prodigy | Yankee | Yarn spinner

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  • Say Something Jerome Harste (1996) developed this shared reading strategy

    that promotes comprehension and construction of meaning from text. Students read a piece of text together, then at key points, they stop and exchange thoughts about what has been read. Learners are encouraged to look for relationships between new information and their existing knowledge.

    This active reading structure can be particularly helpful for students who have comprehension difficulties and for students who are unable or unlikely to read material outside of class. Allowing in-class reading assures that all students are on the “same page” so to speak, regarding the content. Directions • Select a piece of text that ranges in length from a few sentences to a few pages. • Place students in pairs and give each learner the reading selection. • Tell students they will be reading the text as a team. Direct them to glance at the

    text and decide the place in the text they will stop and “say something” to one another. Tell them they may share a question that comes to mind, make a key point, connect the information to personal experience, note something that was particularly interesting, or paraphrase what was read.

    • Ask them to begin reading. Remind them to repeat the process of stopping, sharing, and starting until they finish the selection.

    • After all pairs have completed the selection, a whole group discussion can be facilitated.

    Implementation Tip When teaching students to engage in this strategy it may be necessary to demonstrate the process for students and develop a list or menu of different ways to “say something”. The instructor should move around the room during the process to assure that students remain on topic and to monitor the length of the “say something” interchange. The goal is to make brief comments to one another rather than launching into debate or discussion. Examples • In a unit comparing Creationism and Evolution, a high school science teacher used

    this technique with two short readings; one an excerpt from a religious text and the other an essay by Richard Leaky, famed archeologist, to spark interest and controversy on the first day of instruction.

    • Ruben, a fifth grade student who is legally blind is also a very gifted musician. He loved talking to his music teacher about operas he attended with his family and new music he was learning on the piano. To help Ruben share his talent with other students, his music teacher used Say Something in a unique way. Before the class was to attend Peter and the Wolf the teacher asked students to listen to short segments of the symphony. Students were asked to pay attention to how the music portrayed the characters, the dynamics of the piece (loudness and softness), and the tempo. They were then cued to turn to a partner in the class and “say something” about the different elements featured in the lesson. To demonstrate how to engage in the activity, the teacher modeled the structure with Ruben. His complex answers about the composer’s choices (e.g., Ruben noted that all of the characters are represented by a certain instrument) stunned classmates while helping them learn more about the play and about the collaborative structure they were using.

  • • A middle school art teacher used this technique to introduce the surrealist painting styles of Frida Kahlo, Mark Chagall, & Salvador Dali. Each student pair was given a series of pictures by the artists. The teacher used a 3 minute egg-timer to set a time frame for the students to study each reproduction of the artist’s work. At each 3 minute interval the teacher cued the students to stop and “say something” to their partner. Afterward the teacher asked students to comment on their emotional responses to the pictures, on the common or dissimilar styles of painting and on the possible hidden messages intended by the artists.

    Methods to Maximize Engagement & Participation • As noted in the examples above Say Something can be used with non-text material.

    Students may be partnered with one student examining text on a topic and the other examining visual media (photos, pictures). At an agreed upon time frame (e.g., after examining the materials for 3 minutes) students can stop and say something.

    • Students may also be paired with readings on the same topic but at different reading levels. At the stopping points students share what they have gained from their own specific reading.

    • Say Something can be implemented with one person in the partnership reading aloud.

    • For students who read at a different pace, the student who completes the reading first can write down his/her say-something comment while her partner completes the reading.

    • Both students can keep a running list of comments and questions that have been generated and use it during the class discussion. This list can also assist the teacher to assess student accountability.

    • The teacher can prescribe the nature of the exchange between students as was illustrated in the music example above.

    Ideas for Using This Structure in My Classroom

    Udvari-Solner, A., & Kluth, P. (2008). Joyful learning: Active and collaborative learning for inclusive classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Duplicate only with permission of authors

  • Novice or Veteran?

    This structure provides a method for differentiation when there is a clear discrepancy in the class between students who are more experienced and students who are less experienced with a topic or concept. Students who self-identify as novices on a topic have the opportunity to explore multi- sensory and multi-level materials to learn more about the topic while students who identify themselves as veterans on the topic must formulate a fact or example to illustrate the concept. Members of the veteran group must join their separate pieces of information into a coherent mini-lecture which is then delivered to the rest of the class. And novices generate questions from their individual study of the topic to ask (or stump!) the veterans. Directions • It is critical the teacher emphasize that we are all both novices and veterans. Our

    position of novice or veteran is dynamic and will change with different topics or skills. For example, you may be a veteran regarding molecular biology but a novice in ballroom dancing.

    • At the start of a new topic or unit of instruction, do an assessment or ask stud

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