What started as a discussion about student work… the typical, “What do we see that went well? What are the trends? How could we improve? Next steps…” turned into a moment of realization about SLOWNESS. Yes, slowness. Teachers don’t often discuss the advantage of doing anything slow. It’s mostly do this faster, meet this deadline, cover all your content… and yet, we realized there are plenty advantages to slowing it down.
Our grade level conversation began with Mr. Bravos sharing a lesson he designed around collaboration through an online discussion forum within the Schoology website. Schoology has become a platform for our grade level team to explore and experience the pillar of collaboration. Mr. Bravos shared that his class began a discussion around the topic of bullying. He posed the open-ended question, “Do you think bullies can change?” and the students were able to share their thoughts, respond to others, and utilize a collaboration tool, Discussion and Opinion Norms.
As our team began analyzing the student work, several patterns were noted: Mr. Bravos shared that students who were typically reluctant to participate in class discussion were given a voice and an opportunity to share through this forum. We also noticed, students were using the discussion tool to write their initial response, however, their replies to other classmates’ ideas seemed less thoughtful. Why could this be? Mr. Bravos felt Schoology wasn’t necessarily the best discussion forum for his students because they had to reload the page frequently for updates to the discussion board. But wait… when considering the “slowness of this tool” from a different angle… some benefits emerged. Slower can be an advantage. Is faster really the best way?
We began discussing how taking advantage of the slowness of this tool can be a great scaffold for “faster chats” later. Students will have time to think through their responses and get used to building on the ideas/opinions of others, utilizing the great teacher-created tool. Why not make the process more prescriptive? Lesson 1- Post your opinion, Lesson 2- Find a response you disagree with and state why using evidence (bring in a text about bullying… this will make the conversation based on a text-dependent question), Lesson 3- Find a response you agree with and state why using evidence, Lesson 4- Follow-up by taking a post and making it better, using the Discussion and Opinion Norms tool, of course! Within this conversation Kelsey shared a great resource that could be used as a scaffold, Analogue Blogging (aka paper blogging).
As teachers, we want so badly to move our students and sometimes we end up moving too quickly. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SLOWNESS.