Saturday, May 4, 2013


What I did: Every Monday morning my first graders write a headline describing their weekend.  We then take every free moment in the classroom to discuss our headlines.  For example, while the student of the day gets the calendar and weather map ready for the day, we are sitting whole group and I read out one headline at a time.  Then, the child that wrote the headline gets to orally describe the article that would follow his/her headline.  While the "headline" student shares, the group is sitting with their knees pointed toward that student.  When the student is finished, someone in the group says, "Excuse me _________, but I have a question" or "Excuse me ___________, but I have a connection.  After one response (sometimes two or three responses), it is another student's turn.

Connect:  My goal was to focus on a couple of the thinking routines and make them part of our everyday rituals.  I really wanted my first graders to focus on their thinking and not the routines.  I am also always looking out for opportunities to model and facilitate polite conversation in my classroom and this activity lends itself beautifully.

Extend: We have capitalized on our practice of this routine by using the headline format to synthesize many events in our classroom, from field trips to the leprechaun visit. 

Challenge:  It has been difficult for some students to synthesize their weekend events down to a few words.  I also find that students that have difficulty articulating their thoughts on paper really struggle with the concept of a headline.  These children tend to write whole sentences.  I will continue to help them revise their sentences and determine which words they can cut out to make a snappy headline. 


  1. I love that I have done this same routine and you do it in a completely different way and we both have seen ways that it benefits the learning in our classrooms. First, I think it is so cool that they write a headline every week and the headline is about them. I do a Monday meeting and my third and fourth graders also have a hard time synthesizing their weekends. I think this would be a great way for them to do that. I also think it is so great that this is a way for them to learn polite conversation. They obviously need to learn that, and there is structure in place for them to practice that in their classroom.

    I wonder about students' understanding of what a headline is versus our understanding, considering that less and less kids have experiences with newspapers. Does that make it harder for them to understand that a headline needs to be "snappy?"... that the purpose is to grab your interest and make you want to read the rest of the article? Does it serve the same purpose as a list of results after a google search? Is it the same as the title on a blog post? (I feel very old when I think about these things.) I continue to think that this may be the simplest and most powerful of the routines for me. Thanks for the post.

  2. America, what a great idea! It is hard for kids to synthesize their entire weekend in just one quick phrase. In my classroom we often do a lightning share to share about our weekends. I tell the kids to try and wrap it up in one sentence. We've also used one word to describe their weekend, and now, thanks to you, I have another way to share. How fun for kids to write a headline. This would be another way to let those kids who are super creative share shine. It would also increase the time we spend writing. I'm always trying to brainstorm ways in which we can simply get more pencil on paper time. Perhaps we'll try it tomorrow. Thanks!

  3. This is too cute. Makes them feel like they have a voice and you can move on w/o too much instructional time lost hearing about ALL the soccer games and playdates. I do think it's important for them to share, it's just some never stop.