Thursday, February 1, 2018

I Continue To Be In Love with Dialogue Books for Democracy, Conversation, and New Learning

I have published on dialogue booklets (which I picked up from Robert Probst) where several questions, around 10, are compiled into a little booklet to initiate conversations between individuals who may or may not have shared experiences, but who likely can offer insight on a shared idea or book.

On Tuesday, in my graduate course on Developmental Reading, I used a dialogue book to get students talking about equity, especially in relation to Nic Stone's Dear Martin.

Dialogue Booklet –
To use with ED 459 & Dear Martin
as a way to initiate conversation
(feel free to stray, but keep each other on task, too) 
  • Start with flow. 1) What is something you do/have done where you have been so much in the flow, you didn’t even realize how much time went buy? 2) Did Dear Martin bring you flow? Why? Why Not? 
  • Grade Nic Stone. A+ is outstanding and F is, well, you know. What do you give Dear Martin? Why? Do you want to give it multiple grades? Why? 
  • Gallagher suggests we need to offer high interest texts in our classrooms. With your knowledge of adolescents, do you think this book will capture their attention? Why? Why not?
  • Characters: Believable or not believable? Does Nic Stone successfully set up Justyce’s interest in S.J. (as contrasted to Melo)? What do you think of the romance line of the story?
  • Do you have a speeding ticket story? Was it you? Someone you were with? What came of it? What was being pulled over like?
  • In Ch. 2, Justyce and Manny are playing a video game (lots of shooting…Boom! Pop! Pop! Pop!). What are your thoughts about video game violence? Does it relate to U.S. violence? Does Nic Stone include this intentionally?
  • Doc’s class initiates debate (allows some things and not others). Where do you stand on debating controversial topics? Are you opinionated? How do you defend the truth as you know it?
  • What’s your read on Justyce’s mom? How do you feel Nic Stone uses her in the story? Does she help readers to understand more of the tensions Justyce faces?
  • Dressing up as a cultural stereotype for Halloween – good, bad, undecided, or I just don’t know. Why would you say this? Sense of Humor or Taking things too far?
  • Is there a race card in the U.S.? race privileges? Do you have thoughts of where we might go in the future in regard to race relations?
  • As a group, prepare a final thought about the dialogue you had and the use of dialogue booklets. It can be a simple sentence.
What was scheduled to be a 25 minute dialogue turned into 55 minutes of engaged, introspective and poignant conversation about Nic Stones book. I was able to point out the fact, too, that they all got closer to the text without me acting as a sage on the stage, but with their insights, talk, and wrestling with the complex issues presented by the young adult novel.

I was interested in the process and asked the students to help me think critically about the activity and whether or not it might be adapted to classroom practices (I love that I have in-service teachers enrolled in my class, too).

I've been using them with mixed communities for years, and love seeing how they go over in a graduate course. I was most thrilled that content teachers: math, history, and science gave the exercise a thumbs-up and articulated ways they could adapt the activity. 

I'm still processing what I overheard from meandering through the groups, and the 20-minute conversation that followed in regard to such practice. (By the way, Nic Stone got extremely high grades - most consistent was A+ for content and the way the book initiates conversations).

Okay, I need to head to New Haven for International Real Out Lout Day! Happy Thursday, Y'all.

Great month, by the way.












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