Comprehension Check with Sitting Statues


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Suzi Newbury uses drama to enrich the literate lives of the students she works with every day.  One technique is especially quick, easy, and accomplishes a lot.  She calls it the sitting statue.  

When Suzi is reading aloud, her students know they must attend closely because they could be called upon at any moment to show her what they are envisioning by creating a representation.  

Nachma's sitting statue shows how a character in Boxes for Katja may appear when she is starving and in need of help.

Her requests sound something like, "Show me a sitting statue of what Jesse might look like after his sister tells him about Leslie." (She was reading Bridge to Terabithia.)

The students pose and freeze, showing Suzi what their mental images look like.  Suzi can quickly assess to see if they have basic understanding and she is often able to tell who is making inferences as well.  The activity can last less than 10 seconds or may lead to conversations that deepen the comprehension of all participants.  

Suzi shares that some of her students were reluctant at first, but now she gets 100 percent enthusiastic participation.  I saw it with my own eyes and can't wait to try her technique with students myself.

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