Monday, April 15, 2013

I Used to Think/Now I Think...

Connect: The idea of homophones have come up several times in the past few weeks in my 2nd grade classroom.  I have been working with my students on using two/too/to correctly. Also, on her weekly goal sheet, one of my kiddos wrote she wanted to get better at using our/are/hour correctly in her writing. Also, some levels of the DRA ask students to identify roots of words, and I haven’t taught that at all! Although homophones aren’t a part of the second grade curriculum, I decided to spend a small block of time touching on this concept. I wanted to do it in a way that would allow my students to visually see what they’d learned, so I decided to do a play on the I Used to Think/Now I Think routine. I knew from past experience and from conversations at PLC that young students have a difficult time reflecting back to what they used to know, so I decided to revise the routine.

What I did: I wrote the word “homophone” on the board and gave each student a worksheet. I explained that I only wanted them to do the top portion. They independently filled out the top section and turned them in to me. I was able to quickly assess what they knew about this word… turns out, they didn’t know anything!
J Later, I passed their sheets back to them. They took notes in the blank section of their sheets during the lesson. As we discussed that “homo” means same, I realized that they didn’t have any schema for this root. “Phone” was easier for them. They connected it to “telephone,” “iPhone,” “cell phone,” and one student even connected it to “phonograph.” Through discussion, we learned that “phone” means sound, so homophone essentially means “same sound.” After learning more about homophones and brainstorming examples, they students wrote what they now know a homophone is.

Extend: I really liked that the students could reference their own writing to see how their thinking has changed. I am planning on incorporating versions of this routine into more of what we do in my class…I just need to figure out how!

I would have loved if more students filled in the “now I know…” section with their own words rather than just copying the definition I had written on the board.


  1. I love that you go with what the students are interested in...your students wanted to know and understand homophones and you went with it. Great teaching moment and what fun results! Great Job. :)

  2. I think I kind of do this naturally every day but in my own crazy unorganized way. So much easier to use this format. I will definately try this now that we're at the end of the year and their writing skills have improved and I can actually read their handwriting. The kids also like reading about how their thinking changed.
    Way to go Jackson!

  3. I like this routine and we are using it right now in a unit on Native Americans. We revised the routine like you did and I just find it to be so powerful for kids to compare their current knowledge with what they didn't know before. I like that you implemented this for a mini topic like homophones. Sounds like your kids learned a lot!