Today in small groups, I introduced a reader's theater piece.
It was fine. Mostly.
They read it through aloud for fluency. Twice. And then twice on their own. And then with their assigned parts. Then I tried to get them to read the first line as an announcement, like the instructions instructed.
"Speak up!" I told them, "You need to believe that you are the most important person in the room. You need to have presence. You need to speak as though everyone's attention should be focused on you."
I gave an example. I spoke as though I were the example. I was reminded that I need to stand and talk this way in my classroom so my students will pay more attention to me. I had them practice.
It did not go well.
They did not want attention. They did not want to act like they wanted attention. They did not want to make an announcement. They wanted to sit quietly and mumble through their words so no one would hear them.
But who did want attention? Who did want to speak as though she were the most important person in the room? Who did want to demonstrate to her fellow students that they could be just as amazing as she, even though a few minutes earlier she was compelled -- even though her tears -- to begin silent reading?
That's right. And so, because I thought maybe it would help my students in my small group, I relented.
She stood tall, proud, as though she were the most important person in the room and announced, "There is a sandwich in my desk!" The heads of everyone in the entire room turned to look at her (except for one student who was trying really, really, really hard to concentrate on her reading).
"AHA!" I said to my students in my small group, "Did you see that? Did you see how everyone in the class turned to look at Blobfish Lover because she acted like she was the most important person in the room?"
They all shook their heads no. Of course they hadn't, they'd all turned to look at her just like everyone in the class. I pointed this out to them, had her demonstrate again, and had my students in my group try once more.
They stood up this time. They tried to announce it this time. They spoke with slightly more conviction this time. They were better this time. And I guess progress is all I really can ask for.