Students construct meaning from text with a partner during the Say Something activity, which is adapted from Beers’s When Kids Can’t Read (2003). Each student takes a turn to respond to an idea or line from the text by practicing a specific learning strategy such as questioning, making a connection, or clarifying an idea previously misunderstood.
LEARNING CYCLE STAGE
- Choose a text that students can respond to by making connections, generating questions, or applying another learning strategy. Ideally, students should be familiar with the text so that they can engage in fluent dialogue.
- You may want to have a focus question or central idea for students as an entry point to the conversation. As students’ ability to make meaning on their own progresses, they can determine discussion points or questions.
- Pick a student to help you model the Say Something activity. Have a prior conversation with the student to express that at some point during the modeling there will be nothing to say, at which point both partners will reread text to generate conversation points.
- Determine student groupings. This activity is best done in pairs.
- Provide each pair or group of students with handouts that list the Say Something sentence stems. You may modify or edit the list to focus on a new learning strategy as time progresses.
- Determine the length of time you want each student to talk. It is best to first start with three to five minutes and add time as students master the learning strategy and deepen their analysis of the text.
Introduce the focus text to the class. Explain that students will be discussing ideas from the text to make new meaning of what they read. Ask students: “Why is it useful to discuss what we read with other people?”
Tell students their groupings and provide Say Something stems to each group. Share the focus question if you are going to use one.
Choose a student to be your partner as you model the activity.
Ask students to make notations of body language, listening skills, and actual response.
Model strategy with a partner for students. Ask students to discuss what they learned from listening to your talk.
Emphasize that the point of a Say Something prompt or conservation is to construct new meaning.
Model what occurs when both partners have nothing to say. Tell students that they must reread at that point.
Allow time for students to read the text and prepare responses to each prompt.
Students engage in activity with their partner.
Monitor activity as students participate and write down thoughtful responses that you will share with the class.
Class Share-Out: Ask students to share new insights they gained as a result of the Say Something conversation. Invite students to discuss any misconceptions that were corrected as a result of the dialogue.
Reflection: Ask students to reflect on how their understanding of the text was deepened by their use of the sentence stems or a specific strategy.
Students can reflect orally or in writing, in pairs, groups, as a class, or individually.