Sunday, April 21, 2013


Connect: Shannon Umberger and I decided to spice up our Nonfiction Fridays. Instead of doing the Red Light-Yellow Light routine, we decided to try the Headline routine this week.

What I did: Shannon and I got all our students together, and we led them in discussion about what a headline is. I was surprised by how little schema about headlines the students had. We discussed the headlines in a previous week’s Time for Kids. We also had the kids do a turn and talk to brainstorm what a headline would be for the previous day’s fieldtrip. We split the classes up into two groups. This week, all the boys went to my classroom and the girls went to Shannon’s room. From there, we let them pick partners or triads and they read the week’s issue of Time for Kids. Their job was to come up with a new headline that could be used on the cover of the issue.

Extend: I can see a definite connection between being able to determine the main idea of an article and this routine, and I plan on using it more.

I was quite unimpressed with the majority of the responses from the boys (the girls in Shannon’s room had much better results). Most of the boys just made mild adaptations to the existing headline. I do think, however, that with more instruction they could become much better at this.


  1. Interesting that you had mixed results. I think it is cool that you had a boys group and a girls group to mix it up a little. I like this routine, I think that kids (generally) like the idea that they can be in control of the overall message of their experience by creating the headline. I have also thought that kids find this a very accessible routine because they don't have to write the entire article, they only have to do the headline. Good work.

  2. I found that it was also necessary to have a discussion about what makes a good headline before giving them the task of writing one. Not surprising girls using give better writing results. Have you tried a competition? That'll usually get the boys more motivated. Well done.

  3. Jon and Jeff- Shannon and I try to mix up the groups differently every Friday. We do by letters in a name (if your first name starts with a consonant, go to Mrs. Jackson's room), gender, style of shoe... anything to get them collaborating with new people! I love the idea of a competition between the rooms, no matter how we mix them up! Thanks.

  4. To piggyback with what Havens said, I use competetion with the students all of the time and he's right, it really does work. Comments like "this just goes to show....girls ARE deeper thinkers than boys are!" Works like a charm. The first time I tried headlines, it bombed. Phyllis Johnson gave me a great idea to bring in a real newspaper so the students can read actual headlines and articles. Love that you and Shannon co-teach on Friday's. Spice things up a bit for you and the students!