Accountable Talk? Sounds like a pretty big concept for First Grade, or so you thought!
Since we have started our Mem Fox author study (see post below) we have been discussing Accountable Talk. Just like in Science, it is important that readers understand how to communicate with one another. In order to make this fun, we started Book Clubs! Book Clubs are a great way to get the students to work as a team, discuss books, and learn from one another. This is their time to agree and disagree. This is their time to listen to one another and to understand that there are times where more minds are better than one! However, it is also important that students understand that they are accountable for what they discuss about books. It is their responsibility to discuss what's relevant--not their favorite silly band they bought last night!
To establish our Book Clubs, we put students into groups of four. The group is given a folder and the students were asked to agree on a name for their club. Once the students agree on a name, one student records the name and then each friend writes their name on the lines so we know who is in each club.
Book Clubs meet during Reader's Workshop after independent reading time and the mini lesson (which often includes a read-aloud). Once they branch off into their clubs, this is where Accountable Talk begins! Each group is given one to two books that the teachers have already read during a read aloud. So far, we have been working with the Mem Fox books from our author study. At this point, the clubs have discussed whether they like a book or not and why, characters in books, and the settings in books.
After the Book Clubs have had met, we come together as a whole group and friends share the things they discussed in their groups. This is our time to make sure that all of our clubs are on the same page. This is also a great chance for friends to see that each group doesn't discuss the exact same things about the same books. Accountable in First Grade? You bet! :)