After we are done retelling the story and acting it out, the students return to the rug, sit in a circle, and get ready for “Torah Talk.” At this point, we go around the circle and each person has a chance to give a personal response by making a comment about the parasha, telling something they remember or especially liked about the parasha, or asking a question. Often, we use a “talking stick” to mark whose turn it is and to remind each other that only the person holding the stick should be talking while others are listening.
Having each child respond to the parasha with a comment or a question allows the students to find their own voices as they make meaning from this text. They have the opportunity to choose favorite sections, to repeat back the parts of the story they understand, or to wonder out loud about their questions. They also have the opportunity to hear each other, and over time they learn to listen and even respond to their classmates’ ideas.
Listening to their comments and questions reinforces my belief that young children are capable of thinking about big ideas. Their words give me some insight into their spiritual development and how they think about God. Their interactions with each other remind me how important it is to create a community of learners with shared language and experiences discussing Torah together.