Growing Conversation Skills

Throughout this theme I’ve written about strategies we’ve used in Beit Nitzanim to grow conversation skills. It has been my goal to help children know that every voice matters in our community and that my role as the מורה (morah—teacher) is to set up a structure and redirect but not to lead the conversation. Yesterday, I recorded a conversation featuring SIX unique voices. Not everyone contributed an idea, but each child felt confident speaking in front of the group and demonstrated that they had listened to their peers’ ideas. Wow!

Second grader 1: Why didn’t the Egyptians just get off their chariots and walk the rest of it? Because even though their chariot was stuck they weren’t stuck.

First grader 1: Then God would kill them.

First grader 2: Second grader 1, how would they get out of the chariots?

Second grader 2: No it’s not like the wheel stopped moving.

Second grader 1: Why didn’t they just climb onto the front of the horse?

First grader 2: Then they would need to break the front of the chariot to do that.

Second grader 1: Why wouldn’t they just get on the horse and cut the rope to where the chariots were and make the horses run as fast as they could?

First grader 2: First of all they didn’t have scissors.

First grader 3: Yes. And second of all…

First grader 4: …second of all they don’t have swords

First grader 1: They at least have knives or something.

First grader 2: They do have swords, but they have very dull swords.

I’m excited to see how children will continue to grow their conversation skills throughout the rest of the year!

Three first graders share their work during מַעֲגָל סִיוּם (ma'agal siyyum--closing circle).

Three first graders share their work during מַעֲגָל סִיוּם (ma’agal siyyum–closing circle).

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