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FIRST GROUP: Bileni Teklu, Katherine Bomer, Latosha Rowley, Rich Thompson|
This is a full transcript of a conversation that was excerpted in the videos for Workshop 1: Foundations. In it, four of the teachers featured in the workshop "talk" out their ideas as they encounter this text for the first time.
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Latosha: Chapter One. Down the Rabbit-Hole. Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or conversation?'
Bileni: You know I'm thinking what are they doing sitting there? I'm curious to know why. They, apparently, have been sitting for a while. So she's getting tired, very tired actually. I'm wondering why they're just sitting there.
Katherine: I totally glossed over them sitting there. But I am thinking about my kids saying ... I mean, I've taught even primary kids and they're always saying, "What is the use of a book without pictures?"
Latosha: I've heard many students say that.
Latosha: So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
Bileni: You know that word "daisy chain"? I wonder how many students would know it. Like I'm thinking to myself, daisy chain?
Katherine: Have you ever made one?
Bileni: No, I don't think so.
Katherine: I haven't either.
Rich: I was thinking about the dandelions and making the dandelion chain and thinking that this was something like a dandelion chain.
Latosha: Oh, yeah. Right. I've seen that.
Rich: Just weaving them. And then they make a kind of a crown or some sort of a tiara or something out of them. But then "all of a sudden," I mean, it just shifts just like that. Because I was getting drowsy into the setting and then all of a sudden, this author decides, "Wait a minute. I am going to shock you guys and take you and go someplace else."
Latosha: Some action. One word that stood out that didn't seem to fit: "stupid." I don't know why we us that there, but maybe we'll find out. So I'm stunned by that one.
There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!' (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.
Bileni: You know that phrase "burning with curiosity"? This is an example of a way this author has chosen to use words in a powerful way. It's not just that - curious. It's a burning with curiosity. And these are the things that I want my children to notice as soon as I teach, they notice.
Latosha: I agree with that. Because that burning makes it deeper.
Bileni: That's right.
Latosha: It's not just on the surface. I mean, she's going to find out. So it's a good point.
Rich: And it pulls you right along with the curiosity thing too.
Latosha: In another moment, down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she would get out again.
The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.
Bileni: Uh-oh. It sounds like there's going to be trouble. Uh-oh.
Katherine: Kids do that all the time, right?
Katherine: And then you know ... I mean, talk about assessment of reading. That's all you need to know to know that kids are already forming a schema for how this is going to go. They know something's going to happen from those words. And sometimes I might even stop in that moment and say what makes you say, "Uh-oh"?
Latosha: What do you think's going to happen? A prediction. Where are you going from there?
Katherine: Right. What's your hunch about what's going to come? And also, what make you say uh-oh right there? What are the words? Let's go back. "Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well," very, very deep. I mean, what are the things that make you go "Uh-oh"? What did make you say "Uh-oh"?
Bileni: I was actually being in another moment "Down went Alice after it, never once considering". When I heard "never once considering." That set up a flag. "Never once considering."
Rich: That just keyed it.
Katherine: That's a cue because people are supposed to consider.
Latosha: Consider, yeah. I'm not going to do this.
Rich: I think the visualization of this is ... maybe it's because I've seen the pictures before. But just it's something that I can ... you can just see this situation down into this she's following the rabbit.
Latosha: It's interesting that there wasn't fear there as well. I mean, you know. I thought that was pretty important.
Rich: Going into new territory.
Latosha: Yeah. Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what was she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there, she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs.
Rich: Okay. This is where I start to visualize that floating down. I was worried a little bit about her falling, you know, just sailing down the hole. But now I'm seeing that it's okay. She's just floating along here.
Katherine: She can look around. And take time. That's so funny. Such a funny writer. And these tiny little things like that. She had time to take a look around her. That's hysterical to me.
Latosha: Yeah, because it goes against nature. I mean, if you're falling, gravity's going to pull you down. Here she is able to float down slowly. Yeah, you're right.
Bileni: As a reader, I'm looking at that sentence and I'm noticing that there's a lot of detail. And sometimes in order for me to form the perfect picture in my mind, I might have to re-read a sentence like that and literally in my mind place where the cupboards and the bookshelves are and go through that systematically.
And that's one of the things I want the students to notice. Take your time.
Rich: Right. Build that scene. Build that picture.
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