Remember When

story by Jaci Cox , illustrated by Sarah Davis

Learning Intention:

I am learning how peer interactions change depending on context so that I can appropriately adjust language to suit the social context.

Success Criteria:

  • I can participate in an unstructured and informal discussion about a text.
  • I can then participate in discussion about a text.
  • I can compare the language used in social interactions, depending on the social context.

Essential Knowledge:

More information about how social and cultural factors influence the construction of a text can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Context.

More information about how age, status, expertise and familiarity influence our interactions with people can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Code and Convention.

This story uses a modified version of Daniels (2002) Literature Circles. See Literature Circles Roles for more information about role descriptions.

Prior to reading the text, divide the class into groups of four. These groups may be ability grouped or self-selected depending on the needs of the class.

Read the story. Then provide groups with an opportunity to participate in an unstructured conversation about their opinions and thoughts. Ask groups to record their conversation using software such as Audacity or the Voice Memos app on an iPad. You may wish to provide open ended questions to prompt discussion such as:

  • What did you think the story was about?
  • Did you feel like there was a point or a message to the story?
  • Did you like the story?

Next, explain to students that they are going to have a more structured and purposeful conversation about the story. Provide students with the following roles: Questioner, Literary Luminary, Illustrator and Connector. Students read the text again and complete the tasks attached to each of these roles. Once again, students discuss the text. This time the discussion is timed (suggestion, use an interval timer of two to three minutes to allow each group member to speak). The discussion is also purposeful and structured. Each group member will present their task without being interrupted and attentively listen to their peers. Record the conversation again.

Explain to students that our language choices and interaction skills vary depending on the social context of the situation. Discuss the elements of social context and the types of social interaction that goes with each context. For example:

  • Explain that these social interactions were discussions between people who are a similar age and are familiar with each other. A discussion between peers.
  • Peer to peer and unstructured: informal language, talking over each other, lots of ideas, topic shifting around all of the time, some people talk more than others.
  • Peer to peer and structured: more formal language, listening and turn taking, less ideas discussed and in greater depth, everyone being provided an equal opportunity to talk.

Format the features of these social interactions as a checklist. Instruct groups to listen to their two discussions again and to identify if they met the features of these checklists.

Extension: you may wish to compare the social interactions between peers to the social interaction between the narrator and Grandma in the story. Identify features of this social context (differences in age and status, with a high degree of familiarity but a change in level of expertise as the grandma is losing her memories). As a class, create a checklist for the features of language interactions between children and their grandparents and then ask students to identify examples in the text.