Class Read Aloud and Collaboration

Have you read The Wild Robot in your class? If not, I highly recommend it! I used it as a class read aloud after returning from lunch every day.  My kids were so captivated and hyped about the release of The Wild Robot Returns that we continued reading the second book together. We all absolutely adored Roz and Brightbill! Not only are the books written in conveniently short chapters, but the story will surely hook your students and lead to some great conversations!

I also found Peter Brown’s writing very unique in that the narrator would say things like, “and as you know, reader…” or “now, reader…” One of my favorite things about it, was that my students caught on to it! As this was a read aloud, we only spent about 10 minutes reading or talking about it each day, yet when we were reviewing writing styles, a few students actually wrote similarly in their own narratives! I’m telling you, your students will listen intently to this charming story! [12/31/18 edit: Listen to my review of The Wild Robot Returns on the YA Cafe Podcast!]

We finished The Wild Robot Returns in the last few weeks of school and I gave my students thirty minutes to complete this collaborative challenge from Study All Knight . Each student had to cut, color, and contribute to the assembly of the group poster.

I’ve used a similar product from her at the beginning of the year. I spent way too much time cutting out each piece, labeling it, and trying to put it together because I thought that it would be easier than having the students make it. Let’s be real, the perfectionist in me wanted to make sure it got done the way I wanted it to. Deep down I knew that was the wrong approach, but I just wanted my students to see the metaphor in the poster “that they are part of something larger.” By the end of the year, I had a greater sense of risk-taking and framed it as a challenge for my students.

It was life changing.

The students fully took control of their own work, leaders rose up, and it was completed within thirty minutes and they did a beautiful job! I loved hearing them talk to each other about where their pieces needed to go and the way they guided each other in placing the pieces together. I didn’t see anyone grab the piece from someone else nor did I see anyone ask another student to simply do it for them.

My teacher heart was full. Moral of the story: Challenge yourself to trust your students to surprise you!

Study All Knight’s resource also comes with pages for students to answer writing prompts. I gave the students two prompts to choose for their writing. They could either write about their favorite character and why or whether or not there should be a third book. The latter prompt was a big topic of discussion in our class and it got quite interesting to hear my students’ ideas! Some of them came up with pretty creative ways to keep the story going! 

How do you encourage collaboration in your classroom?

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