Connect: Having meaningful conversations is such a large focus in our classroom, and now that it is in the standards it is even more concrete. We had recently been on a field trip, and Val and I decided to have our kids discuss the field trip, what struck them, and what questions they have by using the Micro Lab Protocol. The purpose of this protocol is to ensure all voices are heard and ideas attending to before actually discussing the topic of conversation. It is very structured, but it was unlike anything we had done before. Here is how it works:
-Share: The first person in the group shares for a set amount of time while the other members actively listen without talking. ~2 minutes
-Pause: Take thirty seconds of silence to absorb everything that was said.
-Repeat: Follow the same routine for the other members.
-Discuss: As a group refer to comments make, make connections, and share ideas around group member's ideas.
Extend: After having our group discussions we not only reflected on the field trip-but also the protocol that guided our conversation. What did they think about using it? Did it help their conversation? If so, how? The kids had varying feelings about the protocol, but most seemed open to using it again during conversations. We did all agree the thirty minutes of silence was awkward, but after laughing we concluded it could be beneficial for some groups.
Some quotes from their reflections were:
"It helped me not talk when other people are."
"Normally it would be really hard to work with the whole group was talking all at
the same time. This way we all got to have one minute to talk."
Challenge: Oftentimes I struggle with protocols that are so struggled and feel anything from authentic. But I remind myself that perhaps this is how we learn to be really good speakers and listeners. We have to slow down to reflect on our actions and how they effect conversations. Now, I'd like to continue to use this protocol, but it does have to be in the right context. This type of structured format doesn't work in all conversations.