Monday, April 29, 2013

Smith / Willett        2nd Grade
Thinking Routine:   Zoom In
Connect:  “Zoom In,” is one way of introducing a topic using portions of a photograph or picture to draw student thinking out.  It uses description, inference and interpretation at the start of a lesson or to further explore ideas.   This was one of the first routines I chose to try with the kids in order to help them connect to something known on a much deeper level.  Students would need to activate prior knowledge and prior vocabulary and connect them to new skills gained with practicing sensory word usage and identification as well as new scientific exploration vocabulary.  This routine was going to help make a solid link between the Literacy content and Science content.
What I did:
   Prior to the lesson I carefully selected some photos of things I found in my house that would be a familiar item to the kids, but would have a solid “Zoom In” quality about them when the picture was taken in a specific way.  I wanted the kids to struggle with what the item could be and really activate their deeper level thinking skills to try to figure out what the picture is showing them, what can they access in their background knowledge to help them, and what new words learned either in Science or Literacy could help them in describing the picture and eventually figuring out the item I wanted to reveal.  I chose a clock, a 10 lb. weight, and a running shoe.  I took zoomed in pictures of each and then a zoomed out picture of each.  I also wrote clues for each item using specific sensory vocabulary to help the kids try to figure out the item.  The picture was shown first, then the kids could guess, then I would reveal one clue, then another, and another, till eventually showing the last clue.  Kids would write their guess on a post it note to discuss with a peer. 
Peers would use the Accountable Talk questions such as: 
     What Makes You Say That?
     Say More About That
     Do You Agree or Disagree
     What Makes You Say That
Once each peer showed their post it, I revealed the zoomed out picture.  I was conscious about leaving the central figure to be shown last as we wanted students to spend "think time" posing their theories about what the image was and how it made them feel. After each piece was reveled we asked them if their thinking about the image had changed. 

Zoom In:  The hands of a clock shown to students during mini-                                                                        lesson                                                                                                                    
Example Clue: “I spin around and around and never stop.”

Zoom In:  The number 10 on a dumbell shown during mini-lesson
       Example Clue:  “I can go up and down when you move me.”

After doing this mini-lesson on the “Zoom In” images, I thought it would be a great idea to integrate the DPS curriculum writing lesson on artifacts with this routine.  Instead of the kids just writing about their artifact, I had them do their own Zoom In pictures of their artifact and write their own clues.  Kids got to choose where the camera image was taken on their artifact item.  I wanted the kids to have the power of choice and to be able to evaluate whether or not their picture image was a true “Zoom In” or not and what choices they would make differently if they could do this again.  The kids also participated in a full-image picture of them with their artifact item.  We stapled the picture of the full image and a label on the back of the zoomed in image and clue writing.  The “Zoom In” work was placed in the hallway and post it notes were provided for other kids and adults to come by and write their guess on the item and place it on the child’s work.  Kids loved this interactive writing activity and would check daily to see who was guessing on their item and if they got it right.

Student-chosen front zoomed image of the helmet with student clue writing, a student response from another grade level, and the back picture of the student with his helmet and label.  Student reflected on the activity and told me he would have chosen to just zoom in on the holes on the helmet to make it harder to guess next time. 

Student used sensory words and clues to describe the item and chose to zoom in on the knot on the front of the bow. 

He liked his picture
and thought that his clues should have included more words to help people guess his item because it was a harder zoom image.

I think this routine was a great way to integrate two content areas and I would like to integrate that more in my curriculum choices next year.  It would be a great idea to incorporate the Zoom In routine when Science is doing the Plant Unit and I am doing Poetry.  We could use the camera again and create zoomed images of plants and create poetry clues to go along with them.  It would be a much deeper level writing and thinking activity for the kids after having the experience with the artifacts early on.


  1. I love that your zooming-in routine had children look at everyday things in a different way. I struggle with getting kids to wonder deeply, and this routine would be a great way for my students to excercise their wondering muscle.

  2. What a powerful lesson getting students to look at things a different way. One of my favorite euphemisms is Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. This was a great way to open those literal thinking second graders eyes and thinking to the world around them. Watching some of the students respond was like watching a flower open it's little head and noticing the fascinating outside for the first time. Aha!!!

  3. This routine always interests me, but I have never been able to determine how to use it in the classroom. What a great way to kick off a unit! Thanks for the idea. We've been using see, think, wonder to kick off our studies, but it would be nice to switch it up. I also like the idea of having kids create their own zoom ins. It could be something they do along with their individual research studies. Thinking ahead to next year, it will be fun because the incoming third graders will already be familiar with this routine.