This week I have been completely amazed to watch children learn and practice skills for chavrutah (partner text study). We’re working on listening this week—listening to ourselves, listening to the voice of the text, and listening to the voice of our partner.
In groups of two, children perform a “close reading” of the text. One child states what he hears in the text in his own words. Then his partner responds by saying, “I heard you say…” and echoing what the first child said. Then the second child has a turn stating what she heard in the text and her partner responds with, “I heard you say…”
Children have taken on the responsibility of negotiating who will speak first, holding each other accountable for the echo “I heard you say…” and using body language (eye contact, shoulders turned) to demonstrate careful listening.
What a trusting community we’re building. Children trusted that I was asking them to practice a skill that matters, a skill that is neither too hard nor too easy for these capable children. Children trusted each other when they tried out the “I heard you say…” language and took a risk sharing their close reading with a partner. And I trusted children to take on the responsibility of working with a chavrutah (partner) without me managing their conversation. I look forward to seeing how we’ll continue to trust, challenge, and support each other this year.