- Large sheet of paper, pens and felt tips
- Large desks (working in groups keeping the distance)
the strengths and weaknesses
- The strength of this activity consists in sharing considerations and possible interpretations of a silent book. That is a book that tells a story without words thus encouraging reflections, imaginations and thoughts mainly about the characters presented. The teacher shows the book stimulating the students’ attention, concentration and curiosity. Then the silent conversation of the Chalk talk makes the students concentrate on what the others are writing and thinking so that they can link their reactions.
the traditional way on how to use it
- The task is divided into two parts to enhance the concept of empathy that emerges from the text. The first part is called Chalk Talk; the students are grouped around three large sheets of paper with a question written in the middle. They have to answer the questions in the middle of the papers related to the three different point of view emerging from the silent book “I walk with Vanessa”.
1. What happened to the angry boy?
2. What is the new girl thinking?
3. What is the good school mate thinking?
- Identifying oneself with a character creates a strong sense of empathy. They immerse themselves in different roles trying to act and think as if they were the characters themselves.
In the second part of the activity the students are asked to write the story. Once the different points of views are discussed it is time to rewrite the story.
The necessary adaptation to use it through empathy and emotional intelligence
- Identifying with the characters and discussing a topic is something the students find stimulating and captivating. They are the key to a new way of thinking. Costa e Kallick wrote: Highly effective people spend an inordinate amount of time and energy listening”
- Our silent activity requires an active listening to be able to understand other people opinions.
1. Leaf slowly through the pages of the book “I walk with Vanessa” or show the pages on an IWB. Don’t shoe the title so that the students aren’t influenced.
2. Ask the students if they already have an idea of the story. Ask them to say nothing but to think about it.
3. Show the book a second time and ask the students to pay attention not to the main characters but to other minor aspects of the story
4. Divide the class into 4 groups (the teacher has already chosen the children). The students sit around large tables, previously prepared, at safe distance and wearing masks.
5. Each table has a large sheet of paper with a claim written by the teacher. Tell them the rules of this type of routine:
o Read carefully the claim in the center of the paper.
o A student starts writing answering the question in the center of the paper with his felt tip and circle his answer in a balloon.
o Another student decides to go on with the same thoughts, writes his answer and link it to the previous one.
o All the comments must be linked to each other and compulsory linked to the main issue.
o Conversation is either silent or written.
o Spoken language is allowed only to decide who’s writing.
o Mximum writing time is 10 minutes per claim.
o The teacher keeps the time.
6. After that the student have 3 minutes to discuss the results.
7. At the end of the first day each group explain their results.
1. The original groups are recomposed
2. The silent book is shown again.
3. Each group rewrites the story starting from the point of view analized on day 1.
4. Each group reads its story to the class and gives it a title.
5. The original title is shown and the student are asked to compare their invented title with the real one.
6. Leave the students with a key word: who is Vanessa?
CLAIM 1 about the new black girl.
- What are you impressed by about the new girl?
- What does she do to join the group?
- What does she do in various occasions as in the gym, in class, outside the school?
- How does she react when the boy with the striped t-shirt talks to her?
- What does she do at home?
- How does she react when the girl with the yellow dress knocks on her door? And when all the other boys and girls approach her?
- In your opinion does she behave correctly?
- What else could she have done?
- What would you have done?
- What are her difficulties?
- - Are things the same in reality or are they different?
- Give reasons for your answer
- CLAIM 2 about the angry boy
- After watching the story, what do you think of the boy with the striped t-shirt?
- How does he behave outside the school compared with the rest of the students?
- What does he say to the new girl?
- What does he do after talking with the girl?
- Why does he behave like this?
- What’s his reaction when he sees all the other students around the new girl?
- In your opinion did she behave correctly?
- How would you have reacted in his place?
- What are his difficulties?
- Could he be different after this episode?
- Does he need help?
CLAIM 3 about the girl with the yellow dress
What does she do when the new girl comes into the class?
What does she notice?
What’s her behavior towards the group in the classroom, in the gym, outside the school? What does she do when she sees the conversation between the boy with the striped t-shirt and the new girl?
How do the others react when she tells them?
What does she do at home? Does she talk about it with anybody?
How does she menage to gather all the other students?
In your opinion did she behave correctly?
What else could she have done?
What would you have done?
In your opinion what are her difficulties?