Friday at 2:00 is my favorite time of the week. It’s time for Fluency Idol. All week the students are practicing one poem in school and at home. On Friday I randomly choose 3 students to read the poem in front of the class. The class votes for the person who had the best fluency (rate, expression, pace, prosody) and that person is the winner. Sounds good, right? Would you believe I might have more fun than the kids?
Yesterday, at 2:00 I announced that there would be 10 minutes until Fluency Idol starts. Last week’s Fluency Idol winner chose this week’s poem and it was about a dog that did not want to go to the vet. The kids quickly got out their poetry journals. Immediately they found a teammate to work with and spread out around the room to practice this poem just a few more times.
I was standing near the doorway and I chuckled because if someone walked into the room they would see 1 student on all 4’s on the carpet, others tucked in corners using silly voices, and some looking for props to use. I heard students giving compliments and giving advice. “Why don’t you try saying “uh-oh” like this…” or “That was good, but try using bigger scoops when you read.”
When the timer went off I turned on the “American Idol” Theme song and in unison the students stood up and danced in place. It was more like wiggling and jumping- did I teach them those moves?
Then it was time! I mixed the popsicle sticks nosily on purpose and chose the first contestant. After she performed, of course I, Ryan Seacrest, held a microphone to some of the audience members so they could share compliments.
After 2 other contestants, more dancing and laughs, our Fluency Idol Winner was announced and everyone cheered! He choose from a bag of costumes and had his victory picture taken that will be posted on our classroom door.
My entire class loves these 15 minutes on Friday. Of course I love taking silly pictures, pretending to be Ryan Seacrest on a microphone, and watching students show courage as they perform in front of their teammates. However, the best part is the 10 minutes before the competition. I love watching my students be so independent and supportive of each other. It is the comments like “After I listened to __’s advice I read the poem again and it was so much better” that make me so proud. It is watching the students learn together to improve their reading fluency and love poetry. I can’t wait until next Friday!