Enhance Dialogue Instruction Using Video

One #PocomokeScholar is shown reviewing a peers’ Socratic Seminar video on Swivl in order to practice writing dialogue between multiple people. Using the Rules of Dialogue, each student was able to practice writing dialogue of the the four peers in the video as well as the teacher.

Teaching an old dog a new trick was the mantra for today’s lesson. I have taught writing dialogue numerous times before, but sometimes it did not always workout the way I wanted it to. Some kids got it, some were getting better, and some didn’t care what I was teaching.

Today, we took a different approach. Instead of utilizing old tricks, we took a new route to teaching dialogue writing.

The opening video started with something simple as “What do you mean I have to properly punctuate dialogue?” This resource was used for direct instruction on the do’s and dont’s of dialogue. We stopped throughout the video prompting questions showing the different ways to use dialogue — quotation marks and commas, periods inside quotation marks, punctuating dialogue in reverse, etc. Students recorded the different rules in their composition notebook.

Shown is the teacher modeling the Rules of Dialogue pulled from the instructional video.

As we were bringing our direct instruction to an end, there was one last piece to model. The actual writing of dialogue. Sometimes students make little skits and have to write it out. I have told students to imagine they are going through the drive thru at a fast food chain before, but the results had not given me what I wanted — until today.

Altering Instructional Practice

Earlier in the week, our class did a Socratic Seminar on the ending of our novel, Wait Till Helen Comes, and it was recorded using Swivl (shown below). The Socratic was one of our earlier attempts, but I never thought how excited students would be watching their peers. Students were glued to the screen, paying close attention to the their peers. We modeled the first 30 seconds actually writing out the dialogue under the document camera and then turned our students loose to practice the same.

We were flexible on where in the video they used to practice, but each of them were very engaged in the process. Stopping, rewinding, and playing it back to record the dialogue in their notebook.

It seemed simple, but they were excellent today and engaged. I often heard can I be recorded next and be used as the example — referencing the Socratic Seminar.


Next Steps

We focused on the dialogue, next we are going to do some more recording, or maybe even a children’s video, to have students record the dialogue as well as the setting using descriptive language. I cannot wait to teach this lesson again.

Each of our students mastered today’s success criteria:

  • ___ I used quotation marks around my dialogue.
  • ___ I used commas to separate my dialogue tags.
  • ___ I used various dialogue tags to enhance my writing.
  • ___ I placed them either before or after my dialogue to enhance my writing.
  • ___ I placed punctuation inside of the quotation marks.
  • ___ I started a new paragraph every time a new speaker talks.
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The Eleventh Trade by Alyssa Hollingsworth

The Eleventh Trade by Alyssa Hollingworth
Roaring Brook Press, 2018, 288 pages
Grades 5-8
ISBN 978-1-250-15576-4

Sami might have come to the United States with nothing, but he entered with a huge piece of family history, and his grandfather Baba as well. After getting caught up in a crowd, Sami had his rebab, a traditional Afghan instrument, stolen as well as a piece of his grandfather’s heart. He finds the rebab at a local pawn shop with the help of his new friend Dan, but does not have the $700 to buy the stolen item back.

Sami takes an unique route to earning the money — trades. Starting with a common Manchester United keychain that he traded for a broken iPod. By displaying resilience and working towards gaining a more valuable item with each trade Sami vowels to make enough money to get the rebab back. However, run ins with a hot head classmate makes Sami’s journey more challenging than it was intended.

However, in the back of his mind Sami feels guilt for lying to his Baba about his plan to obtain the rebab back, which Sami blames himself for losing. Hearing the perspective of Sami, an Afghan survivor, offers insights into the challenges of a refugee fleeing persecution in his own country all the while holding loyalty towards his homeland.

Hollingworth’s tale is a quest for humanity and friendship by exhibiting the traumatic realities of a refugee child. This middle grades book  offers vivid descriptions of Sami’s highs and lows along the path. Sami is constantly reminded of the dangers from his previous life in Afghanistan as memories flashed him back to dangerous moments of his journey to the Unites States. Even though those dangers are not prevalent in his new home, he has terrible flashbacks of the civil unrest which is looming between Sami and his grandfather.

Recommend: Yes, purchase this title for any middle school classroom.

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