Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Connect: Each Friday we work on non-fiction with Mrs. Jackson's homeroom. Students pair up and read articles from 'Scholastic News' and 'Time for Kids' to extend their thinking. (For more details, please read my post about our red, yellow, and green light thinking routine.) Chalk talk was the first thinking routine we tried during this time and I found it to be pretty effective- when explicitly taught and modeled.
What I did: The first week we used this I thought I was doing a great job explaining my expectations for what I was looking for. However, upon reading their responses I noticed a lot of them just copied sentences from the text. There were very few original thoughts and responses, which is what I wanted to see from the majority of my students. The following week I decided to model more explicitly with the article they had read the week before. Because the students had already read it, I was able to read the article (to refresh their memory) through quickly and then we started the process of really looking at what it made us think of, questions we had and ideas we learned. The process didn't take as long as I thought it would, and then I allowed them to get the new article for the week and try it again on their own as I circled around and supported struggling groups. THIS was the key! I tell myself over and over that modeling is so important, but it's also my pace. I find that even when I think I'm doing a great job modeling-that I'm not taking the time my students need to really go to that deeper level.
Challenge: For this thinking routine, my biggest challenge was finding a way to explain my thinking about the expectations for their responses so that they were held accountable for the time we were allowing them to read together. I really like the simplicity of the routine, but I would like a routine that is more explicit and shows their thinking with a little more structure. The picture above shows one of the first chalk talks we did with the very basic sentences that were mostly copied from the text. As I allowed for more time and practice (and modeling) I found that we were able to use this routine to bring out the deeper thinking. This was a great routine to prepare us for our adapted version of the red, yellow, green light routine that we began using. We used this routine for a total of 5 weeks before taking their learning and introducing the new routine. Looking back, it was a very simple transition that worked well for our students and I am excited to continue learning along with my students!