The more important and more well-formulated of the thoughts make the cut and get past the gatekeeper. These brain nuggets are ready for prime time, ready to head out into the open for public review.
And then there are some kids whose thoughts are all fast-tracked. The instant the thought occurs, it hops down the tube that leads directly out the mouth--no gatekeeper, no filter. Just, bam! Here's my thought!
Whenever I read aloud from Charlotte's Web, I expect to get some unfiltered brain activity.
A character perches precariously on a feeding trough--Bam! "Oh! He's gonna fall!"
Charlotte makes preparations in the barn--Bam! "I bet Charlotte's going to make a new web!"
Yes, for some, the internal monologue hasn't yet become internal. The external monologue, though, can be quite revealing about kids' perceptions. One year our student teacher was about to choose someone to answer a math question and we got an unfiltered look at Bryson's thoughts on who should be called on. "Joseph's the smartest," Bryson's fast-track brain offered.
Another day, after literacy centers, I noticed Angelo looking down at his palms, fingers spread wide. "Ooh....I got too sticky at that poetry center" he commented aloud. Later that week, at our whole-school meeting, Angelo's thoughts were dropping fast and furious down the Direct-to-Mouth chute.
"Oh, I bet they're going to sing now" he said as a group of kids arranged themselves for a song.
"He's new to guitar club" Angelo continued. "I don't know all the words to this song."
Another teacher sitting nearby overheard the not-so-internal monologue. "Angelo," she said. You're thinking your thoughts out loud--just keep those to yourself." It was then that Angelo replied with something even more scary than hearing an eight-year-old's every thought spoken aloud.
"Oh" said Angelo. "That's not what I'm really thinking."